Sunday, May 06, 2012

Muckrakers dim AMR All-Stars

CONCORD -- Sometimes repetition is a good thing. It bears repeating: sometimes repetition is a good thing.

The Muckrakers certainly learned this lesson on Thursday, when their second win of the young season, a 19-11 surpassing of AMR All-Stars, bore a striking, if not chilling, resemblance to their opening night triumph one week earlier.

The ‘Rakers went to 2-0 using the game plan that served them so well for openers: a relentless offense and a sterling defense that puts a stranglehold on their opponents’ hopes of a comeback.

Again, the Men of Muck got down early, surged past their foe, then flashed the fancy leather to hold their opponents scoreless over the crucial closing frames.

There AMR was, putting up four runs in the first, two more in the second and adding five more to take an 11-8 lead going into the bottom of the third. But the Merry Mucksters has the proper response each time (three in the first, five in the second, six in the third to gain the 14-11 advantage).

The difference was, the Muckrakers weren’t done scoring -- and they made sure AMR was. The Muck-N-Ators put things away for all intents and purposes with a five-run rally in the bottom of the fifth. In the meantime, the fine pitching of Chris White in conjunction with the defenders behind him ensured AMR goose eggs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. Game, set, match.

White has played like a man possessed in the early going. His single in the first inning plated Matt McCall and Randy Striegel and kick-started his 4 for 4 game, with four runs scored and five RBIs, all team highs. After two games, White has only gone 8 for 8 -- go ahead, try to do better. Bet you can’t.

Of course, White has ample help with the offensive fireworks. Yer Heroes raked 21 hits over five innings. El Capitan Matt Knauff, playing on damaged wheels, went 3 for 4 and drove in three runs and scored three times. Dave Alcorn drove in three in going 2 for 2, and also in the double-hit category were McCall, Reed Johnson and Eric Leithliter.

But what separates this team from the pack is its defense. Playing what is for him a new position, first baseman Alcorn made two nice short-hop scoops at the initial sack. McCall made probably the play of the game when he made a diving stop of an AMR grounder with runners on base, going on to record the out to get the ‘Rakers out of a jam. And Chris Wagnon, weilding a new-to-him Cesar Cedano-model glove, made a nice catch just inches off the turf in right field.

There were a multitude of plays that resulted in a second-consecutive win -- and that’s a style the Muckrakers wouldn't mind repeating the rest of the season.

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