Monday night’s Cal Ripken playoffs at Rogers Field in Rohnert Park, evenly matched between Rohnert Park Blue and River Park through the first four innings, saw the visitors score eight times in the final two innings. Curtis Muraki of River Park ignited the lopsided score by leading off the fifth with his second home run of the night.
Muraki, the River Park shortstop, had a career night at the plate going 4 for 4. After his brother, Thomas, led off the game by being hit by a pitch, Curtis went deep, blasting the ball over the centerfield fence. He singled in his second at bat and scored. After homering again in the fifth, again to deep centerfield, he doubled in the sixth and later scored his fourth run of the night. He also played flawless shortstop snagging two line drives and scooping up two grounders.
The scoring went back and forth through the first four innings. After the Muraki homer in the first, Rohnert Park shutdown River Park for two innings. Rohnert Park pitcher, Parker Doerres, struck out four batters in a row before yielding a single to Curtis Muraki in the third.
Meanwhile, Rohnert Park tied the score in the second on a single by Joey Waterman.
River Park went ahead temporarily in the third following a single, a wild pitch and an infield error by Rohnert Park.
In the bottom of the third, the home team took the lead. After Mason Magallon and Andrew Salgado walked with one out, Kaden Durenburger singled. Rohnert Park led at the end of the inning, 4-3.
River Park’s first two batters reached on a single and an error in the fourth. After second baseman Finn Tierney singled, the visitors re-took the lead 5-4.
With one out in the bottom of the fourth, Mason Magallon singled and later scored, tying the game at 5-5.
The tie was broken in the top of the fifth when leadoff hitter Curtis Muraki homered on the second pitch. A Rohnert Park error, a hit batsman and three walks allowed River Park to score four more runs and the visitors led 10-5.
River Park shut down the home team in three at-bats in the bottom of the fifth. And then the visitors proceeded to score three more runs in the top of the sixth as Thomas Muraki, hit by a pitch, moved to third and later scored as his brother Curtis doubled. An error, a wild pitch, a walk and a single left River Park going into the bottom of the sixth leading 13-5.
Two groundouts and a strikeout finished the game for Rohnert Park. The home team will have an opportunity to redeem itself and remain in the tournament. It must play a full game as it played the first four innings in this game. The question that remains: how to contain the slugger, Curtis Muraki?