After a clean sweep in Medicine Hat a week ago, the Cranbrook Bandits picked up a win in four games this past weekend during American Legion baseball action in the U.S.
“Lots of guys were playing really well, the rookies were playing well,” said Tyler Thorn, after practice on Tuesday afternoon at Confederation Park. “We had a tough weekend on the defensive side of the game, but overall, we made a huge improvement at the bats, way better hitting and the energy was better.”
The Bandits played a double-header with the Libby Loggers on Saturday, winning their opener 6-5 and dropping the rematch at 15-9, before suffering a pair of losses against the Whitefish Glacier ‘A’ Twins on Sunday.
Head coach Paul Mrazek said he is starting to see good things from his players.
“[We] got some players in different positions, pitching’s a little thin, so it’s tough to get through the weekend, but everyone got some time and saw some really good things out of the younger pitchers, so it was promising,” Mrazek said. “It’s just going to take time.
“Then we had some guys make some outstanding plays out there and things are starting to click. On the other side, there were some outs that we should’ve had, the players need to start getting more comfortable out there and know that they can make the play. They make it in practice, they can’t tense up in the game.”
Despite a 5-0 lead for the Loggers after four innings, the Bandits rallied to to tie it up 5-5 at the bottom of the sixth, and scoring in the eighth to take the win.
Cedar Kemp drove in three runs on one hit, while Devon Marra had two RBI’s and Brandon Ouilette had one.
Kei Chlopan, and Marra scored runs, while Brenden Bird and Brandon Ouilette made it home twice.
The bats went to work, with Ouilette leading at the plate with four hits, with Thorn and Marra each connecting twice.
Kemp had a big game on the mound, pitching for six complete innings before Marra closed it out.
“It was a slow start,” said Thorn. “We were down 5-0 up until the fourth inning, then we started to get the sticks going. We strung together two innings full of some good hits and scored a couple runs, so got to 6-5 in the seventh inning and Devon went in to close it out—our ace.
“Things got a little tense, a little close, they had a man on third and we threw a passed ball and managed to get the guy out at home, so it was a very tense game.”
The two teams went at it again right after, but the Loggers got their revenge with a 15-9 win.
It was a shootout at the start, with Libby going up 11 runs after three innings, but the Bandits kept up on the scoreboard, scoring eight times.
Libby pulled ahead in the fourth with another four runs, while the Bandits only added a single in the sixth inning.
Marra had a big game at the plate with four RBI’s, while Ouilette, Thorn, Robert Nickell and Jake Bromley brought in the rest of the runners.
Ouilette and Robert Nickell split the majority of pitching duties, while Chlopan and Bird also spent some time on the mound.
Following the doubleheader, the Bandits went up against a strong Glacier Twins ‘A’ team on Sunday, losing at 11-3 and 10-0.
Bird had a pair of RBI’s, bringing home Noah Rennette and Chlopan, but the Bandits couldn’t keep pace with the Glaciers.
The Glaciers tightened up after the first game, shutting out the Bandits on the plate to earn a 10-0 win.