After securing the league title in their previous game, the Rancho Murieta Bandits (9-0) set their sights on a new goal…bringing the California Cup home. But before the California Cup is played, the Bandits scheduled two “friendly” games versus familiar faces in the Gold Country Base Ball League. On Sunday July 18, the Bandits took on fellow Cal-Cup participant, Sierra Highlanders. In an uncharacteristic high scoring game for the Bandits, the home team still prevailed, with a tally of 18-15.

Balls were flying all over the diamond from start to finish. The Highlanders promptly took a 5-0 lead on strong hitting, with a little help from Mother Nature. A high sky and the bright sun blinded the scouts, leading to balls falling cleanly. But the Bandits were undeterred, striking back for six tallies in the bottom of the first, to take a slim lead.

The game remained a tight contest for the following five innings. Lead changes of one or two tallies were exchanged. Greg “Bacon” Jorgensen entered the game to hurl in the third inning, and slowed down the Highlander bats. Timely hits from “Bacon," Bob “Bullet” Gignilliat, Terry "T-Bone" Conway, and Todd "Pickled Penny" Pennington, kept runners advancing to the plate for the Bandits. However, by the middle of the sixth frame, the Highlanders had gained an 11-10 advantage. It was then that the Bandit bats came alive with the help of some muffed attempts by the Highlanders in the field. After six complete innings, the Bandits cruised to the largest lead of the day, standing on top at 18-11. But the Highlanders did not stand down, and mounted a four run rally, with no hands (outs). With Scott “Leather” Oltmanns regaining his composure, and Bandit solid defensive play returned, the game was ended on a “Bacon” to “Bullet” force at second.

The Bandits have one more “friendly” match-up on the schedule, as they prepare for the Cal-Cup. The Bandits are taking on the two-time Cal-Cup Champion, Amador County Crushers (Sunday, July 25, 12:30PM at Amador High School).

The California Cup is set to be staged here in Rancho Murieta on August 20-21 (Saturday and Sunday). The Bandits hope to continue the Gold Country hold on the California Cup, as the Crushers were victorious last year when the event was hosted by the Santa Clara Stogies. The Stogies, and another team representing the Bay Area, will match-up against the Bandits and the Sierra Highlanders. The winner of the tournament will be crowned champion of the California region of vintage base ball. More details will be forthcoming as the event comes near, but plan to come to Stonehouse Park II for some entertaining base ball action!

For more information about the team, the league, or the Cal-Cup, please contact Blake “Calaboose” Carmichael at drblake4@yahoo.com

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