Cranbrook Bandits pitcher Carson Meggison on the mound at Confederation Park. (Townsman/Brad McLeod File Photo)

Cranbrook Bandits pitcher Carson Meggison on the mound at Confederation Park. (Townsman/Brad McLeod File Photo)

Cranbrook Bandits Senior team makes strides in wild weekend

‘A’ team overcomes slow start at Kalispell tourney, win three of four games for third place finish

The Cranbrook Bandits Senior ‘A’ baseball team received a wake up call on Friday night, losing their tournament opener 19-1 to the Mission Valley Mariners.

Playing at the ‘Canadian Days’ tournament over the weekend in Kalispell, Montana, the Bandits had a rough start defensively but bounced back quickly and won the following day 19-0 over the Olds Spitfires. From there, they won two more games and finished in third place in the ‘A’ division of the competition.

According to head coach Paul Mrazek, the Friday night game was a disappointing result, especially after having competed well against Mission Valley in a 15-8 loss the previous weekend.

“We didn’t hit as well as we did the week before and basically we pitched quite poorly [as well],” Mrazek said. “[After the game] we talked about that as a team and showed [our pitchers] what we were doing and what needed to be done.”

The message was received loud and clear. The Bandits were a different team against a weaker opponent in Olds on Saturday and the culminating factors led to another lopsided game, this time in their favour.

“We turned it around [and] pitched very well,” Mrazek said. “We also hit the ball much better. Basically, the big difference was pitching and defensively, we were strong.”

Ending the round robin against the hometown Kalispell Lakers ‘A’ team, Cranbrook relied on their veterans to pull off a gutsy 3-1 win. Senior Carson Meggison started the game and gave them the chance to win, while Greg Rebagliati served as their closer. Although they did not make the championship game as a result of the runs that they allowed in the opener, in a rematch against Olds, they ended the tournament with a 17-6 victory.

“We started fine and were doing well, cruising along. Then, [we] decided to go flat and have a nap and they let the Olds team back in the game,” Mrazek said. “We should have walked away after five with them scoring zero and it probably would have been an 11 or 12-0 game, but we didn’t make some plays, we made some errors [and] walked a couple of people.”

While the team managed to hang on for the win, according to Mrazek, the Bandits still need to be more consistent moving forward to compete against top American Legion sides.

“It’s about them having the confidence and knowing that they can do it,” the coach said. “It’s about pitching well and we pitched much better this weekend. So, definitely [we’ve] taken a lot of steps in the right direction, [but there is still work to be done] just mentally having the confidence and knowing that they can do it, not letting up, not drifting, not going flat.”

This upcoming weekend was originally scheduled as the Bandits home tournament, but will now just be a series of games against the Calgary Redbirds. After playing two tournaments so far this year, the ‘A’ Bandits have a 4-3 exhibition record.

Cranbrook Bandits