Cranbrook Bandits ‘A’ head coach Pau Mrazek (#24) visits pitcher Dan Mercandelli at home plate during the team’s game against the Calgary Jr. Dinos on Friday, May 26, 2017.

Cranbrook Bandits ‘A’ head coach Pau Mrazek (#24) visits pitcher Dan Mercandelli at home plate during the team’s game against the Calgary Jr. Dinos on Friday, May 26, 2017.

Cranbrook Bandits ‘A’ team struggle against Kalispell, Missoula

Team only manages one win in Montana road trip, continue defensive struggles

The Missoula Mavericks are not that good.

While they may have beaten the Cranbrook Bandits ‘A’ team 10-0 and 15-2 on Sunday afternoon, Bandits head coach Paul Mrazek said those results were because of his own team’s play.

“We did not pitch well,” Mrazek explained. “They’re a solid team but they’re not overpowering in any way. They weren’t out-hitting us, it was all pitching [and] walks and errors.

“We’ve got to clean up the defence and pitching.”

Overall, it was a tough weekend for the Bandits, who played a total of four road games in the third weekend of their regular season play.

In their first doubleheader against the Kalispell ‘A’ Lakers on Saturday, the team fell 14-9 before picking up their game and winning 10-8.

“In game one, we didn’t play very well,” Mrazek said. “Between pitching and errors, we weren’t hitting the ball hard [or] hitting a lot and hitting it well.

“We turned it around in game two [and] Brandon Thorn had a great outing [on the mound].”

In game one, the Bandits out-hit the Lakers 11 to ten. Tasuki Ishihara picked up the loss for Cranbrook in a game where he pitched four innings, allowing nine runs, six hits, and striking out two batters.

Parker Thomson led the team in hits after going 3-for-4 at the plate and putting up three RBIs.

In the second game, the Bandits once again had 11 hits and were led by Cedar Kemp who went 3-for-4. Thorn tossed five and two-thirds innings, allowing six runs, and four hits.

Carson Meggison earned the save for the Bandits, as he went in and recorded the last four outs.

Despite grabbing a 6-2 lead after five innings, the ending to the Bandits only win of the weekend was closer than Mrazek would have liked.

“We almost gave that [win] away, it ended up being close,” the coach said. “We were up by four and gave two back, and they had runners on third and they were knocking our door but we managed to hold onto that, so that was a good win against a good team.”

Against Missoula, pitching once again became a concern.

In game one, Rylan D’Etcheverrey took the loss after pitching three innings, allowing eight runs, six hits, and striking out two batters. He was relieved by Quinn Grist and Ryley Ducharme.

In game two, Dan Mercandelli took the loss after one and one-third innings, surrendering seven runs, six hits, striking out one, and walking one. He was relieved by Greg Rebagliati and Jake Bromley.

Parker Thomson was the lone bright spot on offence for the Bandits, with a single in game one and two RBIs in their second loss.

The Missoula Mavericks, on the other hand, did not commit a single fielding error during the second game while also having nine players picking up hits and three players finishing the game with multiple RBIs.

Both games against Missoula were called after five innings due to the ‘mercy’ rule.

“We’ve got to continue to work on our defence and throwing strikes,” Mrazek said. “Our pitchers are throwing too many balls too high.

“When you throw the ball up at the letters, they’re not swinging. We’ve got to keep the balls down by the knees and below the knees and that’ll get them swinging.”

The Bandits next games are a doubleheader against the Glacier Twins, on the road in Whitefish, Montana, on Saturday, June 17. Mrazek knows that the Twins have a strong program and is expecting another challenge.

So far this season, the Bandits ‘A’ team have a 2-5-1 record in American Legion Montana League play and a 7-11-1 record overall.