Bandits drop close ones on opening weekend

by nathan oster

They didn’t necessarily get the outcomes they wanted, but the members of the South Big Horn Little League’s minors team got something every bit as important last week, as they went through the experience of playing their first officially sanctioned Little League games.

Big Horn Federal is sponsoring the team of mostly 8-, 9- and 10-year-olds, who are going by the name of the Bandits.

Game one was Thursday at the Art Schutte Sports Complex.

The Otto-Burlington team was the opponent.

The game went four innings, with Otto coming out on top 4-3.

Manager Ken Wright wanted it to be a learning experience for his team, so he used a different pitcher in each inning, with Isaac Gayton, Coby Henderson, Weston Adams and Cale Wright each working a frame.

“I wanted them all to get a taste of it,” he said.

There wasn’t a lot of hitting. So early in the season, pitchers for both teams struggled to find the strike zone, which meant a lot of walks — and a lot of base stealing. Wright said it was to be expected.

“Realistically, the whole team is new,” he said. “Last year we were supposed to have two games — and we didn’t even get both of those in. So by Little League minors standards, it was the first game for all those kids. Overall, I think it went pretty well”

Beto Diaz-Rios and Cale Wright were credited with Greybull’s only hits.

On Saturday the Bandits played in Lovell. Again it was a four-inning affair. And again, it was close.

“It was 6-6 with two outs and two strikes on their batter in the bottom of the fourth” when things went south for the Bandits. Lovell plated six runs before the final out of the inning was recorded to win 12-6.

The same four pitchers worked the Lovell game.

Offensively, the Bandits got a pair of hits from Cale Wright, as well as an inside-the-park home run by Weston Adams.

It was Opening Day for the North Big Horn Little League, so the games were only part of the fun, Wright said. Some members of the majors team participated in a Hitter’s Challenge and there was a bouncehouse and games for the youngersters.

Opening Day for the South Big Horn County Little League will take place Saturday, May 17. Plans are still being finalized for that. Before then, the Bandits will get in several games, starting today (Thursday, May 8) at 5:30 p.m. in Otto. On Saturday, May 10, the Bandits host Lovell starting at 10 a.m.