Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Short-handed 'Rakers give strong effort but fall to S.O.P.

CONCORD -- Call your humble correspondent crazy -- wouldn't be the first time -- but your softball scribe holds strongly to the conviction and cannot be dissuaded that on some blessed day, the Muckrakers will start a game with 10 players and keep that amount the whole game through.

Of course it will happen, The Muckrakers will see that it is so. It's just that it hasn't happened just yet. So far, the 'Rakers are 0-2, both in terms of wins and in games in which they've fielded a full 10 for an entire game.

The Men of Muck did the best they could with what they had last Thursday, but they still fell to S.O.P. by a count of 11-6 to fall to 0-2 in the nascent C/D Summer League season.

Los Muckeros were short-handed from the start, with only nine available players taking the field. Actually, the 'Rakers started with eight, then were further fortified when Scott Brama was able to arrive, at least allowing the Mucksters to get closer to 10.

It took a bit for the 'Rakers to get going in this one, as they went six up, six down over the first two innings and saw themselves facing a quick 6-0 deficit on Field 1. But the Scrappy Nine took matters into their own hands and launched a comeback that had S.O.P. back on its heels for a few innings.

The Merry Men of Muck reeled off four runs off six hits in the third inning to get right back into the ballgame, cutting the deficit to two. Flummoxed S.O.P. was held scoreless, thanks to some tight 'Raker defense, for four consecutive innings.

Notable defensively during that span was shortstop Marshall Murray quick-minded throw to third baseman Reed Johnson, who tagged out a straying S.O.P. base runner. And there was Randy Striegel, making a rare 'Raker appearance in center field, making a fine running catch of a bloop to rob an S.O.P. batter of a hit.

The Muckrakers, though, weren't exactly lighting up the scoreboard themselves following the four-run extravaganza in the third. A promising rally withered on the vine in the fifth inning when catcher Dave Taxier grounded out with the bases loaded to end the inning.

But in the sixth, singles by Matt McCall (3 for 4, two runs scored) and Striegel (2 for 4, two runs scored) and Murray (3 for 4, ribbie) and a sacrifice fly by Chris White (1 for 3, two RBIs) resulted in two runs scoring, good enough to tie this mother at 6-all.

However, S.O.P. came back to break Muckraker hearts everywhere, scoring five times in the top of the seventh inning. When the 'Rakers came up empty in the bottom of the frame, that was all she wrote, let's hit the parking lot and discuss the NFL draft.

But one must say the Muckrakers showed an abundance of spunk, given the short-handed circumstances. Better days, with fuller lineups, are ahead.

No comments: