Tuesday, April 16, 2013

'Rakers have one f'd-ed up opener in losing to Conquistadors

CONCORD -- If any softball team in this god-forsaken universe understands the glory, the danger, the consequences and repercussions of the F-word, it is your beloved Muckrakers, the team with the vocabulary most feared and loathed by the Concord Recreation Department.

The 'Rakers, for perhaps the second time in ballclub history, dropped a stray F-bomb that was picked up by The Powers That Be, and the PTB again did not take kindly to the act, resulting in the expulsion of the party deemed guilty, which didn't help matters at all in what turned out to be a 22-21 loss to the Conquistadors on Summer League Opening Night on Thursday on Field 3.

This time, the unmentionable was mentioned by a 'Raker  who let fly That Nasty Word after he'd hit an infield grounder in the third inning. Not that it was such an unheard-of thing, but the timing could not have been worse, as the league superintendent was nearby, and unfortunately, her hearing was excellent and unfortunately, one noble Man of Muck was tossed from the game, with each of his subsequent at-bats going down as an out.

What the Muckrakers couldn't abide was the fact that the Conquistadors' shortstop had dropped an F-bomb of his own after not making a play in the first inning, and yet he was allowed to stay in the game and was let off with a warning. City of Concord, where is thy justice?

Who knows if the F-bomb incident was truly the decider in what was one hell, er, heck of a ballgame. Truth be told, the 'Rakers could have hit just a little better -- although they totaled 28 hits and 21 runs Thursday, not a bad showing at all -- and fielded a little better. Have said, or written that, it's a long season -- 11 games to go -- and if this is a bad game, then good things are indeed in store for Yer 'Rakers.

Incident aside,  Thursday's setback was a case of the Conquistadors matching the Muckrakers blow for blow, with them wielding the hammer as the home team. And the Conquistadors took full advantage, scoring four times in the bottom of the sixth inning to take the walk-off win.

Not the most pleasant way to launch the season, yet the 'Rakers could look back on several highlights. They scored in every inning, had rallies of seven runs (in the fourth), six (in the sixth) and three (in the first). Leadoff man Matt McCall homered during the big fourth-inning uprising, and six 'Rakers had three hits or more. Marshall Murray never did make an out, going an authoritative 5 for 5, and Eric Leithliter also did the perfection thing (4 for 4). Shortstop Randy Striegel collected four safeties, and belting out three hits each were McCall, Matt Knauff and Reed Johnson. Pitcher Chris White went the distance, and at the plate tripled in a pair of runs in the fourth frame.

The Mighty Mucksters put forth one last great rally in the sixth, scoring six times and retaking the lead, making it look like opening night just might be a winning one for this group, even with one automatic out in the lineup from the third inning on.

And yet, it was not to be. You might say the 'Rakers fought the law, and the law won. But there will be other, and better days, you may count on it. At least 11 of them in the regular season, it says here.

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