With the 2015 American Legion Baseball season on the horizon

With the 2015 American Legion Baseball season on the horizon

Put me in, coach

Cranbrook Bandits ready to play and defend 2014 Montana State 'B' Championship as 2015 American Legion Baseball season approaches

The boys of summer are back…almost.

In anticipation of summer, the Cranbrook Bandits held tryouts for the 2015 edition of their American Legion Baseball squad Wednesday night at Confederation Park in Cranbrook.

“It’s exciting. The last couple weeks, I’ve been getting excited to get out here again,” said Bandits head coach Paul Mrazek prior to tryouts Wednesday evening. “I think [our players] are ready to go and roll into this.”

Though tryouts are in the books, the 2015 ball season for Cranbrook’s local club won’t get underway until the weekend of May 9, when the Bandits travel to Libby, Mont., for their season-opening tournament.

Despite the 16-day wait until opening day, expectations are already high for the Bandits, with 13 players returning from the 2014 Montana State ‘B’ Championship squad.

“A lot of these teams are gunning for us,” Mrazek said. “We have to make sure we are confident, but we can’t get too cocky.

“We’ve got to continue to get better and go in there with the expectation we’re going to play everyone the same way. We’re going to play our game. It doesn’t matter how we’re playing offensive or defensively. Make our routine plays.

“We can’t go in there too confident and on our heels thinking it’s going to be an easy win just because we’ve got 13 returning players. I’ll be setting that tone of, yeah, we did well [last season], but we’re going to continue to improve.”

Mrazek’s returning crew is a strong one, fuelled by MVP and Offensive Player of the Year Devon Marra, as well as Defensive Player of the Year Brandon Ouillette and Pitcher of the Year Tyler Thorn.

Even with a heavy compliment of returners, Mrazek faces some tough decision-making as he looks to fill out his roster with fresh faces from the East Kootenay region.

A total of nine hopefuls hit the diamond Wednesday evening, headed by players from Cranbrook, Creston and Kimberley.

“I’m looking for kids that I see with athleticism that are coachable that I can develop,” Mrazek said. “Whether a kid goes and plays college baseball or not, that’s another story. But I’m working to develop all my players.”

Wednesday’s session provided Mrazek an opportunity to evaluate all hopefuls on their throwing and hitting mechanics, arm and bat strength and direction, and last, but certainly not least, defensive abilities in regards to fielding ground- and fly-balls.

If the Bandits program is a testament for Mrazek’s work in development, the 2014 season is proof of how far he’s taken the program.

In 2014, the Bandits put forth their best season on record since Mrazek took over the head coaching duties in 2007, going 20-23 en route to claiming the Montana State ‘B’ Championship with a decisive 11-5 victory over the Medicine Hat Majestics.

Following Wednesday’s tryouts, Mrazek intended on assessing the results before making decisions on final roster spots.

With 13 returners and the option to carry 16 players, there is room for up to three new bodies on the active roster with an additional two slots on the practice roster.

The Cranbrook Bandits baseball team features players aged 15 to 19.

Between practice time and games, the team hits the diamond upwards of six times a week, with game play typically coming in the form of weekend tournaments, often featuring double-headers.

The Bandits provide the highest form of competitive baseball in the East Kootenay. During the 2014 season, they played 43 games over an 11-week period and the aim is to hit a similar mark again in 2015.

The Bandits’ first home games of the 2015 season are slated for Saturday, May 23, with a double-header against Eureka.

Just Posted

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

Students at Creston Valley Secondary School put together an art installation of a replica residential school room. (Photo by Kelsey Yates)
Creston students create art installation of residential school room

The replica was decorated with a small bed, school uniform, and notes written with pleas for help

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Second dose vaccinations accelerating throughout region: Interior Health

To date, more than 675,000 doses have been administered throughout the region

1914
It happened this week in 1914

June 13 - 19: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the archived newspapers… Continue reading

Cranbrook Arts has opened the doors of their  new gallery space to the public with their inaugural exhibit, Kootenay’s Best.
‘Kootenay’s Best’ opens Cranbrook Arts’ new gallery

This exhibit has been in the works for the past several months and features the work of more than 50 emerging and established artists from across the Kootenays

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Most Read