Saturday, November 03, 2012

'Rakers fall in playoffs; '12 season ends

CONCORD -- A season that had a little bit of everything came to a sudden stop in the first round of the D league playoffs Saturday when the Muckrakers sustained a 22-17 setback to the Strippers in a morning game on Field 5.

The 2012 finale was an eventful, closely fought battle befitting two of the finer ballclubs D League has to offer. The 'Rakers had things pretty much where they wanted them, with the game close in the sixth inning and The Men of Muck wielding the hammer in the bottom of the seventh.

But then the Strippers did something awfully mean -- and really, is there anything meaner than a nasty stripper? -- by scoring 10 runs in a seemingly endless top of the seventh. It was a bit too much of a hole for Yer Heroes to dig out of, although try they did, rallying for five runs before running out of time, and outs.

The Muckrakers held leads of 2-0, 4-1 and 5-1, fell back 7-6 and 12-9, came back to tie it 12-12 ... but then came the fateful seventh inning that did not go the way of the Muckistas.

It wasn't for lack of trying. The Mucksters rapped out 26 hits,with nine 'Rakers having multiple-hit games. Ten 'Rakers scored runs, 10 'Rakers drove in at least one run.

Chris Wagnon, batting out of the 11-hole, blasted a triple in the second to plate Eric Leithliter, who'd doubled. In the third, Scott Brama singled home Matt Knauff to give the Mucksters their biggest lead of the day, 5-1. But those darned Strippers rallied for 21 runs over the next four innings to dash Los Muckereros' title hopes.

Still, there were fine performances all around. Leadoff man Matt McCall went 4 for 5, Chris White topped off his remarkable season by going 3 for 5, Leithliter was a nifty 3 for 3, Randy Striegel had three hits and scored three runs, Reed Johnson had two hits, two ribbies and two runs scored. Justin Boyd's one hit was an RBI triple during the 'Rakers' three-run uprising in the sixth inning. Brian Kroll continued his late-season excellence, going 2 for 4 with a run scored.

But when it was all said and done, the Mucksters took in a pitch for Martinez indoor softball and resigned themselves to convening once again in the spring. If next spring is as eventful as was the fall campaign, then good times are indeed ahead for the Muckrakers, each and every one of them.

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