Monday, May 23, 2011

Not Those Guys Again! Rakers Fall to, Yes, The Guys

CONCORD -- You know what the Guys had to be thinking before their little link-up with the Muckrakers last Thursday on Field 3.

"Oh, the Muckrakers ... them again, for the second week in a row. The team we beat by 10 runs. The team that scored just two runs and had just 10 hits against us. We shall smite them again, with ease. And then we'll pick a better name for our team, because the one we have right now is kinda plain and boring."

Well, the Guys still have the same tired moniker as far as we know, but they also got the fight of their lives and emerged feeling relieved to take home the "W" after a 14-13 slugfest.

Giving it their all following a bye week, the 'Rakers put their previous outing vs. the Guys in the rearview mirror and returned to their normal, robust-hitting ways and lashed 24 hits in this go-round. The Men of Muck led late, 12-9, but the stunned Guys roared back and used the long ball to surge back in front.

Los Muckrakeros found themselves needing two to tie, three to win in the bottom of the last inning, but their last-gasp rally fell just short. Rick Browning led off the comeback attempt by smartly drawing a walk, and leadoff man Randy Striegel -- yes, you heard that right, Bub, leadoff man -- bashed a single to send Browning to third. One batter later, Dave Alcorn singled in Browning to cut the Guys' lead to one. Alas, that's as close the Yer Heroes got, and they were forced to accept their fourth consecutive defeat of the season.

Although saddled with yet another close defeat, the 'Rakers did return to their high-scoring, big-hitting ways. Perhaps this was helped along by a lineup shakeup from Fearless Leader Chris Wagnon, who placed Striegel atop the order, and Striegel responded with a 4 for 5 outing with three runs scored. Alcorn moved into the three hole for the first time and pounded out three hits while driving in a couple. Shortstop Reed Johnson held down the fourth spot quite nicely (3 for 5, three ribbies). Wagnon and Jose Gomez also had three-hit games. And so forth and so on on down the lineup.

And the 'Rakesters played the solid defense as well, none as frequently as Alcorn, who earned the nickname "Wi-Fi" for his showing at the Hot Spot. Alcorn stopped many a rocketed blast at third base, wielding his sturdy glove and recording out after out. Gomez also had a nice stick-with-it feed to Reed at second base for a forceout.

Starting hurler Dave Taxier (two hits) collected a strikeout in the game, but karma came back to bite him where it hurts the next inning when he himself struck out looking. Such is life in the D-league fast lane.

In the final analysis, this one boiled down to the Muckrakers' persistent all-singles attack vs. the Guys' long-ball power, and in the end, long-ball style won out, but just barely. The Muckrakers proved in this one they are ready for a seven-inning scrap, any time, anywhere.

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