The Cranbrook Bandits Senior ‘A’ team put a screeching stop to their seven-game losing streak after finding their groove against the Libby Loggers on Wednesday afternoon.
Playing in their fourth doubleheader since Saturday, the Bandits took both games in five innings with 13-2 and 24-1 mercy victories. It was superb outings for two of the squad’s veteran pitchers as Carson Meggison and Dan Mercandelli both picked up impressive wins on the mound.
In the first game of the afternoon, Meggison played the entire game and threw 97 pitches. Tossing nine first-pitch strikes and recording eight strikeouts, he was on his way to shutting out the Loggers until the top of the fifth when a double cashed in their only two runs.
Offensively, Robert Nickell led the way for the Cranbrook side as he put up three hits in four at-bats and finished the game with three RBIs. On defence, the team was perfect and didn’t make a single error while Hayden Mastel made a team-leading eight plays from the field.
Following up that game half-an-hour later, the Libby Loggers started strong and managed to score the first run of the evening in the top of the opening inning. The Bandits then made the routine defensive plays to get their turn at bat quickly, earning six runs and storming back into the contest.
From there, Cranbrook dominated the proceedings and put up 13 runs in the bottom of the fourth inning alone. In total, the Bandits had 11 hits with Quinn Grist leading the team with hits in all three of his at-bats. Meggison, Brandon Thorn and Ryley Ducharme all had multiple hits as well.
Mercandelli started the game on the mound and threw 45 pitches in four innings before Alex Smith closed the game. In what was probably his final pitching performance as a Bandit in a regular season game, Mercandelli was very sharp and only allowed two hits, while walking zero batters.
With the pair of victories, the Bandits are now at 7-11 and in sixth place out of eight teams in the West ‘A’ Montana League standings. The Loggers dropped to 3-11 and remain in last place. Cranbrook is set to conclude their regular season on Saturday afternoon at home with a doubleheader against the seventh-place Missoula Mavericks who are 4-12.
Overall this season, the Bandits ‘A’ team hold a 13-17 record. They will likely wrap up their season at the District tournament in Hamilton, Montana from Thursday, July 26 to Sunday, July 29 unless they come out on top and make the state championship.