Not only did the Bandits string together four wins this weekend, but they did it with pretty dominant performances.
Especially at bat.
The Cranbrook team downed the Libby Loggers 11-9 and 14-5 on Saturday, and toppled the Whitefish Glacier ‘B’ team 14-0 and 8-4 on Sunday.
Sweeping the Loggers was especially sweet, seeming as the team did it on their home turf, said Devon Marra.
“It felt pretty good. I think everyone was a bit nervous, coming into our first couple home games. I think we played two great games and shut them down pretty well in front of all our fans, so that was a good feeling,” he said.
The Bandits pulled out the first win at 11-9, but faced a 9-4 deficit after the third inning. However, a strong performance in the fifth at the plate allowed the Bandits to score seven runs and take the lead and the win.
“It was great to come back and win that first game, because we were down five and to rally and get seven runs to take a three-run lead and shut them down and keep the lead to win was huge,” said head coach Paul Mrazek.
Added Marra: “We didn’t get our heads down. That’s something we’ve been working on. Sometimes we get our heads down and get down about it, but we stayed in the game, chipped away and battled back.”
The Bandits rolled through the rematch, taking an early lead—including a seven-run tally in the second inning—to win 14-5.
“I think it was just the momentum,” continued Marra. “We came came back and won that [first] game, it was a good game and just kept everything going into the next game.”
Mrazek said he definitely noticed the confidence coming out of his dugout in the second half of the home double-header.
“Game One was quite sloppy on both sides with errors, but Game Two, that’s when we started hitting the ball on the ground and doing a much better job offensively,” he said.
Following their set at home on Saturday, the Bandits went down to Whitefish for their double-header with the Glacier ‘B’ team, coming up with another pair of victories.
“That carried into the Whitefish games, where the kids were hitting the ball on the ground a lot, which makes it tough on the defence, rather than hitting the ball in the air,” said Mrazek.
The first came via a 14-0 shutout, where Marra gave up only four hits in five innings and threw for six strikeouts. After only four innings, the Cranbrook team had build up their 14-run lead.
“We know Glacier B is a team we can play with and beat, so we just went out there and did what we do best—we swung the sticks really well that day and had about 15 hits that first game, so that was good,” Marra said.
The Glaciers got back into it in the rematch, but the Bandits took an early five-run lead and never looked back to win 8-4.
Again, it came down to the team making smart plays at the plate, continued Mrazek.
“There was hard ground balls up the middle, hitting gaps, and that turned into line drives, and line drives into alleys and extra base hits,” said Mrazek, “so I think the kids are really seeing the importance of being able to hit the ball on the ground and make the defence make the play.”
The Bandits head back down across the 49th parallel this weekend for a pair of games against the Kootenay Valley Rangers out of Eureka on Saturday, along with another doubleheader with the Glaciers on Sunday.