The Cranbrook Bandits continued their strong start to the 2015 American Legion Baseball season with a third-place finish in Kalispell this past weekend.
After opening the campaign undefeated through three games in Libby, Mont., the Bandits (5-2) battled to a 2-2 weekend in Kalispell from May 15 to 17.
The Bandits bookended their weekend with a pair of victories, opening the tourney with a 7-5 triumph over Edmonton on Friday afternoon before closing things out with a 7-2 win over Calgary ‘A’ Sunday afternoon.
Sandwiched between the wins were a pair of losses to Ferris and Calgary ‘A’.
The Bandits weekend-opening win over Edmonton came courtesy a run-scoring single from Brandon Ouilette (.333 BA/.481 OBP/.381 SLG) in the bottom of the fifth inning. Rylan D’Etcheverry (.333/.556/.333) crossed home plate to score the sixth run of the night for Cranbrook.
Rookie Shayne Walker (2-0, 1.66 ERA) earned his second win of the season, going six innings strong, allowing six hits and three earned runs while striking out three batters.
At the plate, Caden McCormack (.286/.375/.429) led the offense for the Bandits, hitting 2-for-3 with two RBI.
A Friday evening tilt against Ferris saw the Bandits blow a three-run lead in the top of the seventh inning before falling 6-4.
Ferris tallied five runs in the top of the seventh inning, storming back from down 4-1, before stymying the Bandits in the bottom half of the inning to claim the win.
Tyler Thorn (0-1, 0.88 ERA) held the mound for six innings and took the loss, striking out three along the way.
Robert Nickell (.444/.545/.444) went 2-for-3 at the dish, crossing home once, while Cedar Kemp (.333/.588/.333) knocked two RBI.
Friday’s loss to Ferris wasn’t the only night the Bandits saw a lead evaporate before their eyes.
After knocking in six runs in the top of the first inning, the Bandits carried a 10-7 advantage into the bottom of the sixth inning before surrendering four runs, falling 11-10 to Calgary ‘A’.
Connor Armstrong (1-0, 1.24 ERA) took the start, going 2.2 innings and striking out two batters, while walking five.
Daniel Mercandelli (0-1, 14.70 ERA) was eventually tagged with the loss, throwing one inning and allowing four runs.
Ouilette and Brendan Bird (.375/.565/.812) each went 2-for-4 at the plate, scored twice each and clubbed in one run.
The Bandits were provided an opportunity to exact revenge on Calgary ‘A’ Sunday afternoon and they made good on the chance with a 7-2 triumph.
Bird (0-0, 0.00 ERA) started the game on the mound, going 2.1 innings and striking out one batter.
Jake Bromley (1-0, 4.20 ERA) eventually claimed the win, tossing 1.2 innings and only allowing one earned run.
Bromley (.467/.526/.467) got it done on the offensive side of the ball Sunday, registering a perfect 2-for-2 mark at the plate, along with one RBI and two runs.
Next up, the Bandits hit the diamond at Confederation Park in Cranbrook for the first time this season with a 1 p.m. matinee against the Kootenai Valley Rangers Saturday, May 23.
Sunday afternoon, the team ships east to take on Fort Macleod at Pincher Creek.
Cranbrook Bandits head coach Paul Mrazek was unavailable for comment prior to print deadline Wednesday evening.
*Statistics listed in brackets are based on entire season’s play.