Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Muckrakers back in action Thursday

CONCORD -- After taking an extended Fourth of July break to celebrate the establishment of our country -- and, by extension,  softball -- the Muckrakers finally take to the field again Thursday for a 9:30 tilt on Field 2.

Perhaps the break came at a bad time for the Rakers, winners of two of their past three games. The Men of Muck are coming off a loss, but a loss of some distinction, a 25-22 thriller to Ohm Boys on June 19. This one had trouble written all over it, as it was one of those dreaded 6:15 affairs. In past, the Rakemeisters have been hard-pressed just to field a team and avoid forfeit, with winning the damn game almost a secondary concern.

Manager Matt Knauff did an admirable job of scrambling and recruiting on the run, resulting in a nine-player turnout, which included a rookie, Mike Lopez, making his Muckraker debut.

Then there was the matter of actually playing the game. Things did not look so swell when the Ohm Boys came right out and scored seven runs in the top of the first inning and added eight more runs in the second and 10 more in the third.

But the Muckrakers responded with some heavy hitting of their own, batting around in the second and third innings.

Each of the Muckrakers contributed to the 24-hit offense, but the exploits of Matt McCall stood out. All the No. 3 hitter did was go 4 for 4, smacking a three-run homer, two triples and a single. He drove in an astounding seven runs and scored five times himself. Have a game, Matt McCall.

Such was the output on this evening that McCall was far from the only star. Leadoff man Ben Enos went 5 for 5 with five runs scored and Knauff, in the two hole, had four hits, four RBI and four runs scored.

The list of fellow contributors was strong:

-- Lopez, in his initial Raker at-bat, lashed an RBI single and ended up going 2 for 4;

-- Dave Alcorn, continuing his comeback tour, went 2 for 2 and drove in two runs;

-- Chris Wagnon, Dave Taxier and Paul Knauff all had two hits apiece;

-- Justin Boyd drove in two runs and pitched admirable long relief, taking over when a shakey Taxier decided he'd had enough.

It was certainly a memorable game, even considering it was a loss, and yer Rakers would do well to carry over the spirit of this one into the season's final three regular-season contests.

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