With two tough games against the Kootenai Valley Rangers, the Bandits have come home to regroup before hosting a pair of doubleheaders this weekend.
The Cranbrook boys made it a close one in Eureka against the Rangers to start, but lost 3-1, and gave up the lead to an 11-9 decision in favour of their opponents during the rematch.
Bandits head coach Paul Mrazek said his team got down early in the opening match, and couldn’t make up the deficit. Despite that, there were some bright spots, he added.
“[Tyler] Thorn pitched great,” said Mrazek. “He threw 71 pitches in six innings, which is a really low pitch count, and 79 per cent of his pitches were around the knees, so he’s keeping the ball down and he gave our team a chance to win, but the guys didn’t hit the ball.
“We didn’t generate any runs and on top of that, a couple errors added to making it difficult.”
The Bandits had a short break before heading back out onto the field for the rematch. It was a much better beginning, as the team went up 7-2 after two innings, but the lead didn’t last.
“We turned it around, came out and the first inning of Game Two we scored five, had four hits in the first inning. Then we got a couple more the next inning, but then we went to sleep,” said Mrazek.
“We let Eureka slowly creep back in. Next thing you know, it’s 8-2, 8-4, and 8-6. Next thing you know, we’ve lost 11-9.”
Again, it was a combination of playing well in some areas, but coming up short in others, Mrazek added.
“Devon [Marra] pitched well, he pitched well enough to win again, and the bats went flat after the second inning,” he said.
“We had a total of eight hits—four of those were in the first inning, so that means for the next six they didn’t do much.”
Though the pitching was good, the bats weren’t making hits and some fielding errors proved costly.
“We got to have the full package. We can’t go out and pitch well and not hit the ball and expect to win,” Mrazek added.
“We got to pitch well, we got to field well and we got to hit well. You got to have all three things. If you do that and you make a couple errors, you’re still probably going to win.”
The two losses served as a lesson on confidence after stringing together four wins in a row a few weeks ago.
“You can’t go 4-0 one weekend and then show up the next weekend thinking you’re going to win,” Mrazek said.
“I think they get that now, and we’ll see what happens this weekend.”
The Bandits will face the Whitefish Glacier ‘B’ team on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Confederation Park, which they’ve beaten in all three meetings.
On Sunday, the Bandits host the Bitterroot Bucs—a new team they have yet to meet.