“Fifteen wins and 153 runs scored are both Bandit records,” stated Tom Koplitz, manager of the Rum River Bandits baseball club. “We did it with hard work, dedication by enough players to make a difference and great support from our communities, fans and sponsors.
“The Bandits’ first season in the Eastern Minny was a very rewarding one, and one that we can build on for 2013. Two playoff victories, including a win over the number one seed, was a season highlight,” Koplitz continued.
The addition of new players at key positions was a big plus, with Josh Coleman, Tyler Kronstedt, Dan Schoess, Matt Ziebarth, Tim Hale and Billy Shay.
“Veteran players like Kevin Auth, Jake Gagne, Ben Poidinger, Brian Pose, Cole Willcoxen, Chris Lund, Luke Mago, Will Newstrom and Mike, Tim and Eric Koplitz helped set a high standard of play for the new guys,” said Koplitz.
The Bandits also had two pitchers drafted by the Eastern Minny League playoff champion Mora Blue Devils. Kevin Auth and Tyler Kronstedt both had appearances in the Region 1C tournament.
The support from more than 25 businesses in the area was exceptional again this year, especially Killebrew Root Beer and the Grandy Lions. Many individuals also chipped in with excellent contributions to help offset the ever-rising costs of operating a town team.
Koplitz thanked the Bandits Boosters for their support throughout the season, as many of them attended every game. “Our 5th Annual Bandits Bash was a success again this summer, with excellent crowds on hand, great baseball played by all teams and tremendous support by the Bandits work crew,” he noted.
Koplitz also thanked 360 Imagewear for their support of the tournament and the local newspapers for their coverage of the team.
“Next year should be even better,” he explained. “The Bandits will add a few more pieces to the team, and hopefully the dedication and commitment by a few more players will help us get to the next step: a berth in the Region 1C Tournament.”
The Bandits also worked to improve Larson Field and Sandquist Park this summer. Twenty-eight new light bulbs and paint on the scoreboard at Larson Field made for a much better fan experience at home games. A donation of fence topping (over 1,000 feet), field tarps, tarp weights and a line painter at Sandquist Park have been good upgrades at the city field.
Countless hours of work by players and fans (raking, field preparation before and after games, and garbage removal, weed removal, etc.) helped maintain the two fields.
For more details, a complete list of sponsors and lots of photos, visit www.htosports.com/rumriver and find the Bandits page on Facebook.