Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Muckrakers off to undefeated Fall League start

CONCORD -- Let's just say the Fall Guys are faring a whole lot better than the Boys of Summer.

Who knows how this whole thing will turn out, but the Muckrakers are currently the big boys on the D-League block, starting their fall season 2-0 following an 8-7 topping of the Hitmen and a 14-11 shading of the Chicharones in 3D.

The current campaign certainly bears little resemblance to the summer season when the Muckrakers went winless in their first five games and started off their year with a 1-5-1 mark. Given that, the 'Rakers did well to finish up 4-7-1.

Yet, the summer season served as some sort of springboard to your current first-place Men of Muck. Suddenly, close games in the second half starting going the 'Rakers way. And Los Muckeros continued the good feelings into the fall season, with the results available for all to see.

Not that the 'Rackers came blasting out of the blocks in the fall. In the Sept. 5 opener, the Muckrakers scored just two runs in the first four innings, both those scores coming in the first frame. But the Mucksters shook of the rust and rallied righteously for 12 runs over the fifth and sixth innings to leave Chicarones in 3D in their rearview mirror.

Randy Striegel took hitting honors in this one, going  3 for 5 and driving in five runs, including clearing the bases with his triple in the third inning. Matt Knauff enjoyed a 3 for 4 game and like Striegel scored three times, and left fielder Scott Brama turned in a fine shoestring catch that started a double play, and had a 2 for 4 outing to boot.

Speaking of close games finally turning the 'Rakers' way, there was their 8-7 heartstopper on Sept. 12 that required a three-run uprising in the bottom of the seventh to secure the walk-off win. Marshall Murray supplied much of the power, clubbing homers in the third and fifth innings and going 3 for 3 with four RBIs in the victory. Ben Enos filled in nicely with three hits, and Knauff and Matt Anderson also added a pair of hits.

It certainly represents an impressive start, and the 'Rakers will look to come off their bye week to keep things going, with five games remaining on the regular-season schedule. There will be challenges along the way -- the 'Rakers got some bad injury news about Anderson, who is out for the rest of the season. So calling all Muckrakers -- it's all hands on deck for what's shaping up to be a winning proposition.

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