The Cranbrook Junior ‘B’ Bandits had a dream start to their conference schedule last weekend. Playing on the road in Libby on Sunday, they picked up a five-inning mercy victory with a 10-0 score.
While they struggled a little in the second part of their doubleheader, the Bandits then beat the Loggers 5-3 in a seventh inning comeback to give them a 2-0 record. Now, with four more games scheduled for this upcoming weekend, head coach Robin King is excited to see what will come next.
“Every opportunity is a learning opportunity,” King said. “The [team is] learning about me, I’m learning about them and I’m learning about the league and the approach we need to take. Now we get to get into it. We have a pretty heavy schedule for the next month and a little bit, all culminating in the big tournament at the end [so] we’re excited about it.”
The Junior Bandits face the Kalispell Lakers ‘B’ team on Saturday afternoon in a doubleheader, then head to Whitefish, Montana for a pair of Sunday games against the Glacier Twins ‘B’ team.
Cranbrook split an exhibition doubleheader at home with the Lakers in May, winning the first game 9-6, before succumbing to an error-filled 16-1 loss. While the Bandits have not yet met the Twins this season, they have a 5-4 record in American Legion league play so far this season.
Last weekend, the Twins won both their games with a 15-4 defeat of the Kalispell Lakers ‘B’ squad and a 12-3 win over the Libby Loggers.
With enormous strides made over the past month, King is eager to see the Bandits continue their gradual forward progress against a pair of teams that he knows have plenty of talent.
“The meetings that I had with the guys this week showed that they’re anxious to play good ball,” the coach said. “They all want to get better [and] meld as a team… these types of competitions are what they’re looking for.”
With two wins in their first Montana League games of the year and an 8-6 record overall, the Junior Bandits will look to break their win total from their inaugural 2017 campaign early. Last season, the team was 8-20 and did not manage a single win against American competition.
Following this weekend, the Bandits have four games next weekend on the road against the Bitterroot Bucs ‘B’ team and the Glacier ‘B’ Twins. They will then participate, along with the Senior ‘A’ team, at a tournament in Libby.
While the ‘A’ Bandits are off this weekend, they will start their regular season the following week with games on Friday, June 15 in Kalispell and then home doubleheaders that Saturday and Sunday against the Mission Valley Mariners and the Bitterroot Bucs.