The Cranbrook Bandits continued their American Legion Baseball campaign south of the border at the Firecracker Tournament in Polson, Mont., this past weekend. Though the American hosts celebrated Independence Day, there was little for Canada’s lone representatives to cheer about, as the Bandits lost four of five outings.
The Bandits lone win of the weekend came July 4, as they worked past the Mission Valley ‘B’ Mariners. Rookie right-hander Shayne Walker (6-3) tossed 5.2 innings while only surrendering one earned run, leading the Bandits to a 6-2 triumph.
The weekend affairs dropped the Bandits to 14-18-1 through 33 games in their American Legion Baseball season.
The Bandits opened the tournament on July 2, falling to the Libby Loggers by a final margin of 8-4.
Starting pitcher Devon Marra (3-3) lasted one inning as he allowed four earned runs on four hits and one walk.
The four-run first inning put the Loggers out front for good and they added four more runs in the fifth and sixth innings to pad the advantage. A two-run effort in the bottom of the seventh by the Bandits made the affair a bit closer, but it wasn’t enough to change the outcome.
Tyler Thorn went 2-for-2 at the plate and drew two walks against the Loggers, while driving home two runs.
Luke Haggerty went the distance on the mound for Libby, striking out two batters en route to the win.
In the second day of tournament play, the Bandits were doubled up 6-3 by the Missoula Pioneers.
Once again, the Bandits fell behind early as the Pioneers scored three runs in the first inning to take a lead they refused to relinquish.
Earning the start on the bump, Thorn (2-3) threw five innings and struck out nine. Despite only giving up four hits, the veteran was saddle with the complete-game loss.
For the Pioneers, Hunter Jiminez went six innings deep, earning the complete-game victory while striking out five batters.
With two games scheduled for Independence Day, the Bandits were knocked around by the Mission Valley ‘A’ Mariners in the morning, falling 16-2.
The game remained close as the Bandits trailed 3-2 through two innings before the Mariners blew things open with a nine-run effort in the bottom of the third inning.
Starting pitcher Brendan Bird (0-3) lasted two innings, only giving up two hits and surrendering three earned runs. From there, the Bandits rolled through a relief crew of four, as each of Noah Rennette, Rylan D’Etcheverry, Thorn and Daniel Mercandelli worked in an effort to slow the onslaught.
Marra and Jake Bromley each knocked home one run, accounting for all of the Bandits offense.
Jacob Harrod tossed a complete game to claim the win for the ‘A’ Mariners.
The final game of the weekend was a close one, as the Dillon Cubs eked out a 5-4 victory over the Bandits July 5.
Marra returned to the mound, going three innings this time around, striking out four batters while only allowing two hits and one earned run.
From there, Connor Armstrong (2-2) came on in relief, firing 3.1 innings.
The two teams exchange blows, remaining tied 2-2 through five innings before the Cubs grabbed a 4-2 advantage in the top of the sixth. Despite a one-run response from the Bandits in the bottom of the inning, the Cubs tacked up one more in the top of the seventh. The two-run edge would be enough for a Cubs victory as the Bandits were only able to muster one last run in the bottom of the seventh.
The Bandits return to action once again this weekend, heading south to Kalispell for four games.
A doubleheader on Friday, July 10, sees the Bandits take on the Okotoks Dawgs at 12 p.m. before facing Priest River at 5 p.m.
July 11 pits the Bandits against the Kalispell Lakers before wrapping up the weekend July 12 with an early outing versus Medicine Hat.