It was another beautiful day at Stonehouse Field II in Rancho Murieta. Approximately 100 “cranks” filtered around the ball-yard to check out the vintage game. The Rancho Murieta Bandits (1-0) came out swinging the lumber, and gained a victory in their opening day match versus some old teammates on the Ione Preston Nine (0-2).

Despite a few shaky defensive plays behind him, Craig “Shooter” Sheehy remained dialed in. He limited the Nine to one tally in the opening frame, with no balls leaving the infield. The Bandits captured the lead in the bottom of the first, and did not look back. Three of the first four batters scored, and the scoring was capped off by muffin Scott “Leather” Oltmanns’ run scoring single in his first at-bat in his Bandit career.

Shooter continued to dominate the next two innings, striking out the side in the second, and facing only three batters in the third. The Bandit strikers continued their scoring ways in the next two innings as well. Muffin “Bullet” Bob Gignilliat drove in two runs with a base knock. But it was muffin Colby “Cheddar” Craig that provided the exclamation point in the score book, crushing a two-run home run in the third.

The Preston Nine pressured the Bandit defense in the fourth, but only managed to score one run before Rob “Rib-eye” Rinaldi made a heads up play from the second tender position. He tossed the ball to a racing Shooter, just beating the striker to first base. Matt “Splint” Corsaut and Jonathan “Junk Yard Dog” Aberle combined to close out the next three innings, only allowing one hit, while striking out five. In the Bandit sixth, “Philthy” Phil Albee led off with a single, and was driven in by Blake “Calaboose” Carmichael’s double. Terry “T-Bone” Conway brought in Calaboose to complete the scoring on the day.

All in all, it was an enjoyable day for the Bandits, their cranks, and the visiting Preston Nine. The scene included gentlemen playing in their collared shirts, with the officials in their Sunday finest (per the custom of the 1880’s). Even the cranks got to chime in on close plays, keeping everyone in attendance involved.

Community involvement has made this league great fun for all, and it would not have been so successful without the help and support of the cranks. Rancho Murieta Rotary Club was manning the barbeque to keep the cranks well fed, all the while mini-cranks retrieved foul balls for tootsie-pops. Special thanks to Justin “General” Cogswell for lending a hand to get the field ready. The home team is greatly appreciative that we can all enjoy such a great amenity!

The next Bandit game is 1:30 PM on Sunday April 26th. It will be played at Argonaut High School versus the two-time defending champion Amador County Crushers. The Bandits and Crushers played two tightly contested matches last year, and the Bandits hope to claim sole possession of first place with a victory. Come on out and enjoy the vintage game “on the road” or stay up to date on the Bandit web-site here on .com, or at www.gcvbb.com.

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