With the 2015 American Legion Baseball season on the horizon, Cranbrook Bandits head coach Paul Mrazek has finalized his roster.
With 13 returning players at his disposal, Mrazek selected two fresh faces to add to the Bandits’ active roster along with three new recruits to the team practice roster.
Joining the active crew are a pair of 14-year-olds. Carson Meggison and Shane Walker will provide a youthful infusion into the Bandits’ lineup heading into the 2015 campaign.
“These guys, they’ve got the arm strength. They’ve got good velocity. They can throw the distance that’s needed at this level,” Mrazek said. “They can throw with the speed that’s needed at this level to make plays. Their direction is good. Their fundamentals on fielding grounds balls and fly balls were the highest.
“They have pretty good swings. We’re going to be changing their mechanics a little bit and perfecting things. At the plate, they have good balance and they have good hands.”
Mrazek said he envisions both Meggison and Walker suiting up in the infield, as well as throwing off the mound this season. Exactly where in the infield is still to be determined as Mrazek stressed the importance of inserting players into positions where they are comfortable at an early age.
The practice roster will be filled out by Hayden Mastel, Linden Meggison and Parker Thompson.
In total, Mrazek looked at 10 hopeful players over the course of tryouts spanning April 22 through 24 in both Cranbrook and Kimberley.
With the roster set, focus turns to preparations for the team’s season-opening tournament scheduled for May 9 and 10 in Libby, Mont. The Bandits’ first practice is slated for May 5.
“First thing is base-running,” Mrazek said. “It’s great if we get on base, but it’s no good if we don’t know what we’re doing running the bags. We’ll be covering base-running a lot.
“We’ll be working on hit-and-run, bunting and safety squeeze. In addition to that, they’ll just be getting a lot of reps. I like to start with making sure we’ve got good mechanics with our throwing, fielding and hitting.”
Following the season-opening tournament in Libby, the Bandits visit Kalispell, Mont., for their next action May 15 to 17, before returning to Cranbrook for home-opening games May 23 versus Eureka.
This weekend, the Bandits will also be hosting a kids’ camp at Confederation Park Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
2015 Cranbrook Bandits Active Roster
Connor Armstrong (OF, SS, P)Brendan Bird (INF/OF)Jake Bromley (OF, 2B)Kei Chloplan (P, C, OF)Rylan D’Etcheverrey (2B)Cedar Kemp (3B, P, C)Devon Marra (P, 3B, SS)Cayden McCormack (OF, P)*Carson Meggison (INF, P)Dan Mercandelli (P)Robert Nickell (2B, P)Brandon Ouillette (2B, OF)Noah Rennette (2B)Tyler Thorn (OF)*Shane Walker (INF, P)
* = new recruit for 2015