Blue Package Delivery defends Bandit Bash title

Rum River catcher Billy Shay received a little “glove love” from pitcher Josh Coleman after he pulled in a foul tip on a strikeout to get the Bandits out of a jam in the top of the fourth against Quamba. Photos by Greg Hunt

By Greg Hunt/Isanti County News

The heat encasing Larson Field in Cambridge for the annual Bandit Bash tourney last weekend didn’t matter that much because there was plenty of Killebrew Root Beer to drink.

And there was also plenty of good games in the town team gathering which saw Blue Package Delivery win its second-straight Bash title by defeating Champlin 7-0 in Sunday evening’s championship.

Rum River third-bagger Jake Gagne waited to tag out a Cub on a force play after he made a nice snag of a hot grounder against Quamba.

The host Rum River Bandits didn’t fare so well since they ran into solid pitching in their two tourney games. On Friday night, Quamba paid back the RR boys with a 3-1 victory in the quarterfinals. The Bandits had good threats going in the middle innings to break into the Cubs’ lead, but Quamba hurler Jeff Oslin came up with good pitches to get out of trouble.

In the Saturday afternoon consolation semis, the Bandits fell to Nowthen 1-0 even though Kevin Auth gave up just one hit– a solo homer. Nowthen limited Rum River to 3 hits.

Bandits pitcher Josh Coleman continued his strong summer of amateur ball by throwing well in Rum River’s 3-1 loss to open the Bandit Bash Friday night.

“But overall, it was a good tournament. There were no blowouts with a lot of good games played– and even a couple upsets. We just didn’t get the big hit when we needed it in our games,” described Bandits skipper Tom Koplitz on Monday. “It was fun to see Nowthen– a Class C team– defeat ‘A’ team Bloomington Bandits 5-2 in the 5th-place game.”

In the 3rd-place game Sunday afternoon, St. Francis clipped Quamba 5-3.

Blue Package Delivery was led by tourney MVP pitcher Colin Helhauber. Kopltz added that the BPD centerfielder made one of the great all-time catches at Larson Field when he raced back 30-feet on a liner, then made an all-out diving catch at the wall to save a possible three runs against the LoGators in the championship.

Next up for Rum River: June 8 vs. Metro Knights at Sandquist Park (4 p.m.); at Hinckley, June 11 (7:30 p.m.);  June 14 serving free Killebrew Root Beer vs. Kensington at Sandquist Park (4 p.m.).

Eastern Minny League: Mora 8-2, 13-6; Rum River 9-4, 10-8; Princeton 9-4, 9-6; Hinckley 8-3, 10-8; Nowthen 6-7, 6-8; Quamba 4-7, 6-14.

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