Cranbrook Bandits ‘A’ team pitcher Brandon Thorn throws on Saturday, June 3 during the inaugural ‘Bandits Alumni Game’ at Confederation Park. (Brad McLeod Photo)

Cranbrook Bandits ‘A’ team drop doubleheader in Mission Valley

Team loses 14-3 and 15-13 in rough Sunday afternoon in Polson, Montana against young opposing lineup

“It was not pretty.”

Cranbrook Bandits ‘A’ head coach Paul Mrazek was not impressed with his team’s performance on Sunday afternoon in a road doubleheader against the Mission Valley Mariners.

The team kicked off the afternoon on the receiving end of a 14-3 blowout and then followed it up with a 15-13 loss. They were the Bandits first two losses of the American Legion Montana League regular season after having earned a win and a tie against the Kootenai Valley Rangers during the previous weekend.

“We came out really flat and lost to a very young team,” Mrazek said. “Some of their seniors were at grad so it was a very young team that they put together for a conference game.”

Although Mrazek thought that his pitchers did a solid job and gave them a chance to win, he believes that they were let down by their defensive play.

“We had a rough first inning but then [Jake] Bromley came around on the mound and was pitching well [but] it was just a bunch of errors,” he said of their first game. “[Our] heads were not in the game and we weren’t paying attention and Mission Valley ran on us whenever they wanted.”

In the first game, the Bandits went down 8-0 after only two innings and were never able to recover. Hayden Mastel and Carson Meggison each drove in one run to lead their team.

For the second straight week, the second part of a doubleheader was ugly for both teams involved. After tying the Rangers 13-13 in a game that was called due to darkness in their previous outing, the 15-13 loss to the Mariners was not a shining example of the sport.

“Both teams weren’t playing well, there were a lot of errors [and] that’s how you get into a high-scoring game like that,” Mrazek said. “Brandon Thorn was throwing well, then they started getting to him [after] three at-bats.

“Once again, [however], we didn’t play well defensively. We were not making routine plays and getting [those] outs.”

The second game was more of a back-and-forth contest, with the teams exchanging the lead until the fifth inning when Mission Valley took over.

The Bandits had 11 hits in the game with Mastel, Greg Rebagliati, and Noah Rennette each collecting multiple hits. Mastel, Rennette and Bromley led the team offensively by driving in two runs each.

In order to address their struggles, Mrazek called for an extra practice on Monday for his infielders.

“[We need to] get more reps and break it down and get back to [handling] ground balls simply and correctly,” he said. “[In general though on Sunday], our heads were not in the game. We didn’t take advantage of opportunities to score runs, and people [were] not running the bases hard.”

Mrazek is hopeful for a better effort and execution during their upcoming weekend road matches against the Kalispell Lakers on Saturday and the Missoula Mavericks on Sunday.

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