The Rancho Murieta Bandits (8-0) were crowned 2010 Gold Country Vintage Base Ball League Champions at home on Sunday June 27th! The Bandits charged their way to an 8-2 victory over the defending champion Sierra Highlanders (4-2). When the final out was tallied, the growing number of “cranks” (fans), celebrated the victory at Stonehouse Park from behind the plate, and lined out to the outfield fence.

The Bandits lost the bat toss, which relegated them to the visitor half. But the Bandits struck hard and fast, as lead off striker, Blake “Calaboose” Carmichael (3x4, 2R), hit a hot smash to left for a single. A lined double to left-field from Scott “Leather” Oltmanns (2x3, 2B, R) secured runners on second and third with no outs. Hot hitting Matt “Splint” Corsaut (2x3, 2 SB, R) followed with a single, and the scoring parade was on. After RBIs from Darrin “Cookie” Kitchen and Terry “T-Bone” Conway, the Bandits held a 3-0 lead .

No more scoring occurred until the Bandit half of the fourth. Todd “Penny” Pennington used his signature speed and aggressiveness to manufacture a run. After a single, followed by two stolen bases, Jonathan “Junk Yard” Aberle brought in “Penny” and the Bandits led 4-0. “Calaboose” Carmichael then led off the sixth inning with another single, and was brought to the plate by another “Cookie” Kitchen RBI effort.

The 5-0 Bandit lead was more than enough for starting hurler, “Splint” Corsaut, who tossed 4 innings and surrendered only three hits. The Bandit defense also did their part to keep runners from advancing to the plate, including a laser toss deep in hole the hole from short stop Greg “Bacon” Jorgensen. Todd “Nellie” Dilbeck also nearly turned an unassisted double play as second tender.

With the score 5-0 in the sixth, the Highlanders took advantage of two uncharacteristic “muffs” (errors) by the Bandits, and tallied an unearned run off of reliever “Junk Yard” Aberle. But the damage was limited, and heading to the final inning of the day, the Bandits were safely ahead 5-1. Unsatisfied, the Bandits collected three more tallies in the top of the seventh. Three consecutive Bandits reached base to start the inning, including a towering shot to right from Mark “Manley” Walthers. Bob “Bullet” Gignilliat brought in a run, as did John “Deuce” Dodson, and a Bandit championship was only three outs away!

Closer “Leather” Oltmanns was ready to shut things down, but the Highlanders would not go quietly. The first three strikers reached safely on clean hits, and one run crossed after a double to left center. But “Leather” collected himself, inducing two weak pop-ups. A slow grounder was charged by “Calaboose” who tossed over to first to nab the runner, and the celebration and Huzzahs were on! All told, it was a fine game played by all ballists, and the gentlemanly nature of the game was evident from both sides throughout the game. The Bandits will have two weeks off, and return to the field to close out the regular season in late July, and a first ever Cal-Cup appearance for the team. More details to come!

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