Baseball season is tantalizingly close and the Cranbrook Bandits will get their 2017 campaign rolling on May 1 with their first day of tryouts.
The city’s Montana League American Legion team is expecting to have approximately 24 players fight for four spots on their ‘A’ team and 14 spots on their new junior ‘B’ team.
According to Bandits head coach Paul Mrazek, cuts will be made after the first day and their two-day process is tested and reliable.
“Years ago, it was a one-day thing and last year it was two days [as well],” he said. “We’ve got a very good evaluation system. I just worked with Baseball BC last Wednesday and what I do is very similar to them.
“We’ve been doing it for years and we can narrow it down pretty fast. It just takes some time, you’ve got to be out there for two and a half hours [on] both days.”
Mrazek said that the young players will be led through a variety of drills that allow the coaching staff to evaluate their footwork, throwing ability, outfield play, batting and more on the first day.
For those who make it back for day two, the activities will become a little more advanced, with some ground ball work, and the players will continue to get a chance to show off their hitting.
While talent is key, that isn’t all it takes to be a part of the Bandits.
“We’re looking for players who [are willing to make] a long-term commitment,” Mrazek said. “We’re looking for players who want to develop and stay in the program. Generally, we’re looking at 14 to 17 [years old] for the junior team, up to 19 for the senior team.
“It’s [also a] big parent commitment too with all the fundraising we do and running the concessions and working with everybody.”
The first tryout for the 2017 team is on Monday, May 1 at 4:30 p.m. at Confederation park and the final tryout is the subsequent Wednesday at the same place and time.