Bandits kick off new season

Cranbrook baseball team plays weekend tournament in Libby, Montana

The Bandits get in some practice at Confederation Park.

The Bandits get in some practice at Confederation Park.

The boys of summer are back.

The Cranbrook Bandits opened the new season this weekend, picking up a win in four games during a tournament in Libby.

The Bandits opened with a 6-3 win over the Kootenay Valley Rangers, but were dumped 24-0 by the Missoula Mavericks and 11-4 by the Strathmore Reds. The team made it a close one in their last game, but were edged 5-4 by the hosts, the Libby Loggers.

There is some new blood on the roster this year, with some younger faces complementing the return of the veterans.

“We have to work with younger players really hard to get to the level we have to be,” said Bandits head coach Paul Mrazek, as he addressed his team before practice on Tuesday afternoon.

Devon Marra, a pitcher who is returning from last year, said the weekend was a good way to identify strengths and weaknesses to work on.

“We had a pretty good first game for our first one of the season, we took a win against Eureka [Kootenay Valley], beat them 6-3, but after that we kind of fell apart in the other games.”

The Bandits were beat pretty handily by Missoula and Strathmore, but rallied to make it a close affair with Libby.

“The last game, it was a really good game, it was really close,” said Marra. “Everyone tried pretty hard but it just wasn’t our game to win, I guess.”

The two bruising games against Missoula and Strathmore exposed a few things that the team needs to improve, added Marra.

“We need to work on our outfield a lot, we had a lot of dropped balls in the outfield that should’ve been caught,” Marra said. “We need to work with our pitchers more, and keep our heads in the game, the whole game, not just a few innings.”