Limited Bandit Squad Advances to Gold Country Tournament Final
Sunday July 26; 10:00AM (Stonehouse Park) - Rancho Murieta Bandits v. Amador Crushers
Despite a depleted roster from injuries and family duties, a squad of nine Bandits proved to have solid resolve on Sunday July 19 in defeating the Repressa Pioneers (Folsom) by a score of 5 tallies to 4.
Recognition goes the Pioneers, who played one of the best games of the young club’s history. Jungle was artful on the mound for five innings, and Rally played an exceptional defense at Short Tender before finishing duties as hurler in the last three frames. However, the great play of the Pioneers could not defeat the determination and unity that has come to be known as Bandit Ball.
As has become the custom, clean defensive play proved to be the main reason for Bandit victory on the day. Nary an error was recorded. However, skilled and knowledgable play reigned.
After being burned by the infrequently used “potato ball” play by the Pioneers in the third frame, the Bandits returned the favor in the sixth. Initially, the Pioneers used a shaved apple to fake an overthrow at third tender to pick off both Bacon and Cookie, at third and second bases respectively. After seeing the apple tossed into left field, both runners took to advancing a base, only to be thrown out by the behind who had hidden the real ball during the scramble. Careful inspection of the rules of play was made by the bench of the Bandits, however the Sir assured the side that the play was “legal” because it isn’t specifically “illegal”. Huzzah to the Pioneers for such crafty play, for it allowed them to escape a bases loaded situation after giving up the only tally of the day to that point.
The Bandits continued on, playing expertly in the field for the next several innings. Unfortunately, the Pioneers were able to gain the lead with a double-base hit and a subsequent four-base hit in the fifth. The Bandits returned the favor of two tallies in the bottom of the frame, with T-Bone earning his second RBI of the day, giving the Bandits a 3-2 lead.
The Pioneers once again tried to mount an offensive comeback in the sixth inning. But after Sauce recorded two quick hand-outs, the third striker reached safely only to be picked off base with the same “potato ball” executed perfectly by the Bandit Hurler, and a pickle rundown by Splint (1B) and Short Tender Bacon. A loud retort from the Bandit dugout could be heard by all, noting “The Bandits know how to go to school!”
The Bandit half of the sixth frame saw the Bandits add another tally with outstanding running by Boose. After earning a safe hit, he proved once again to be the artful dodger of the base paths by stealing second base, and taking third after a batted ball by Leather. Unexplainably, the Pioneers then shifted the position of infielders by having first tender Fancy join Curly at behind. As hurler, Rally then attempted to purposely throw seven successive unfair balls to Pyro so as to prohibit the Bandit from striking the ball; a style of play clearly in violation of the spirit of base ball. The stratagem proved to be poor, as Rally became caught up in the act of trickery and committed a clear balk, allowing Boose to score uncontested on advancement to home base.
With the Bandits up 4-2, the Pioneers proved yet again to be determined foes, mounting another two tally, four base hit in the seventh inning and tieing the game at four tallies per side. Yet, once again the Bandits proved why they are the Brigadoons of Highway 16. With the Pioneers seemingly ready to take the lead in the top of the eighth inning after a leadoff walk and a safe hit, they had base runners at first and second with no hand-outs. Cookie then expertly played the ball into a two-hand-out maneuver. After he called for a high pop fly as short tender, he allowed the ball to drop safely to the ground. At such point, he flipped the ball to an alert Splint at second base, who then proceeded to whip the ball to third tender Bullet. Artfully picking the ball off a bounce, Bullet then tagged the Pioneer runner to quiet the rally.
The Bandits then opened their half of the eighth frame with two successive safe hits by Splint and Sauce. After an intentional walk of Boose, the bases were loaded, with no hands down. Snake-bit Leather then hit a solid line-drive, only to be recorded as a hand-out by the Pioneer left scout. This was followed by an unfortunate foul-tip hand-out by Pyro. With two-hand outs, and a pensive dugout, Bullet stepped to the line. After taking the first ball as an unfair pitch, he dug in and promptly drove the next offering into deep right center field for a victorious hit, and finishing the day as the Bandits best striker with four safe hits and two RBIs. Superb ginger sir!
The victory has set the Bandits up for a first place match against the nemesis Amador Crushers, who once again brought controversy on themselves in their match with the Miners. Several of the Miners were distraught over questionable equipment being used by the Crushers, most notably a large glove being used by the Short Tender that looked more like a pillow than the ballist glove worn by honorable players. A meeting of captains during the week will likely bring resolution to the legality of the glove before the championship showdown.
The final tournament match will be played at Stonehouse Park in Rancho Murieta on July 26th; 10:00AM. The winner will be recognized as the first seed from the league in the Cal Cup (played August 22 and 23 in RM), and the loser will enter the tournament as the third seed. Teams from the Bay Area leagues have yet to be announced.