Mark "Manley" Walthers drives in the winning run for the Bandits.
On Sunday July 20th, the Rancho Murieta Bandits (4-4) concluded their season with a one-ace victory over the Sierra Highlanders (3-5). It was a special day at the park, as the Bandits brought home a final win in front of the home town “cranks.” The Bandits had dropped two other one-run ball games to the eventual league Champion Amador County Crushers. But it was the Bandits this time who ended up scoring the final run in this close contest.
The Bandits returned home scuffling from a 9-ace loss to the second place Mother Load Miners (6-2). From year to year, the Bandits just can't solve those darn Miners. But with a fresh set of legs, and tight focus, the Bandits took to the field in hopes of finishing the season at .500.
It was a rough start for the Bandits after the top of their line-up went down in order. The Highlanders struck for three runs in the bottom of the first frame. Strong hitting by the Highlanders, and more defensive miscues looked to sink the home team. But in the third, the bottom half of the line-up came alive, as Todd “Full Nelson” Dilbeck and Ben “Coco” Hardt led the charge for three Bandit runs to tie things up.
Yet the Highlanders would not be denied in the fourth, when “Soupbone” and “Slick” were driven in by “Highball” to make the score 5-3 in favor of the traveling team. After a conference at the mound between hurler, Matt “Splint” Corsaut, and behind, Blake “Calaboose” Carmichael, the Highlanders were shut down the rest of the inning. Fine leather flashed from Jonathan "Junk Yard Dog" Aberle and Justin "Shoeless" Jones also prevented more Highlanders from crossing the plate. However, the banner defensive play came from Center Scout, Terry "T-Bone" Conway. After catching a deep fly ball in center, "T-Bone" tossed a one hopper to "Calaboose" and nailed "Marmot" at the plate to end the Highlander's fifth inning threat.
In the top of the sixth, “Calaboose” and “Splint” started a one-out rally, and were knocked in by slugger “T-Bone." With the teams knotted at five, Mark “Manley” Walthers continued his hot striking ways, and drove in “T-Bone” for what became the winning run! “Splint” retired the next six Highlander strikers in order, and the final home victory was complete!
Although the regular season for Vintage Base Ball is over, the Gold Country Vintage Base Ball schedule continues. In Ione (Howard Park) this coming Sunday, July 27th an All-Star game (11AM) and California Cup Championship match (2PM) are scheduled. The festivities include a home run derby (including Bandit “Coco”) and a BBQ lunch for all ballists and cranks dressed in period attire. Come on out to support your All-Star representatives in the game ("Calaboose," Rob “Rib-eye” Rinaldi, “Coco,” and "Junk Yard Dog"). The GCVBB Champion Amador County Crushers will vie for their second trip to Massachusetts for the Vintage Base Ball World Series. They face off against the Santa Clara Stogies in a rematch of last year's contest.