The Cranbrook Bandits ‘A’ team have been hard at work this past week and are looking to avoid a repeat of their performance last weekend.
The Bandits lost both games in a doubleheader against the Mission Valley Mariners last Sunday, and coach Paul Mrazek was not impressed.
“Our heads were not in the game,” he said following the 14-3 and 15-13 losses. “We didn’t take advantage of opportunities to score runs, and people [were] not running the bases hard.”
As a remedy, Mrazek held an extra practice on Monday instead of having a day off.
“[The] infielders need more work, that’s where we need to clean stuff up,” the coach said. “[This week], practice has been good.”
Over the weekend, the team will continue their American Legion Montana League conference play with two doubleheaders. The Bandits play on the road against the Kalispell Lakers on Saturday, June 10 and the Missoula Mavericks on Sunday.
Mrazek knows that both series will be a challenge.
“We lost to Kalispell twice this year, one was a close game and [we] played very well [but] we didn’t play well the next day,” he said, referring to tournament play earlier this year. “Missoula is going to be tough [too], they’re a good team [and] a well-established program.
“I’m interested to see what they’re like, I watched their ‘AA’ team play last year at [the] State [Championship] and they were solid so I’m excited to see what the ‘A’ team looks like.”
Mrazek does not envision his team not being able to be competitive, however.
“In all these years that we’ve been in Montana, there’s never really been a single A team that we couldn’t play [well against] if we play the game right.”
Securing wins, according to the coach, will come down to keeping things simple and just executing.
“We need to make the routine plays, when we get a ball hit right at us — it doesn’t matter if it’s hard — we need to make that play,” Mrazek said. “We need to make outs when we get the opportunity to get [them] so that we can get the pitcher off the bump and he’s not throwing 35 pitches in an inning.”
Following the games in Kalispell and Missoula, the Bandits ‘A’ team will be on the road for a third straight weekend as they take on the Glacier Twins in Whitefish, Montana on Saturday, June 17. After four games, the team has a 1-2-1 record.