Great weekend for Bandit Bash

The Rum River amateur baseball squad was blessed with a rain-free weekend to host its 4th annual Bandit Bash June 25-27 at Larson Field in Cambridge. Blue Package Delivery, a Class A team out of the St. Paul League, won the championship with a 6-3 victory over the defending champ Bloomington Bandits Sunday evening.

Rum River shortstop Peter Johnson had a strong defensive tourney, including turning a double-play to snuff out a rally against Bloomington in the June 25 semifinals.

“The crowds were great for the games, we broke our hamburger sales record  and all seven visiting teams committed to return for next year’s tournament,” said Bandit general manager Tom Koplitz.

His Rum River gang opened the Bash with a 4-0 win over Minneota Saturday morning. Cole Willcoxen threw seven strong innings, striking out 5 while allowing 6 hits and 2 walks for the shutout. The Bandits played errorless ball behind him. Shortstop Peter Johnson also game through with a gem of a play when he dove to stab a line drive with the bases loaded and doubled off the runner at second to get Willcoxen out of the inning.

Travis Earls put the team on the board with a 2-run homer in the second inning. Patrick Larson’s RBI single later that inning increased the Bandits’ lead to 3-0. In the fifth, Larson doubled and scored on Nate Holley’s base hit.

The Saturday night feature game had Rum River taking on Class A team Bloomington where they ran into tough pitching from Nick Cobb. Throwing good heat and a cutting slider, Cobb held the Bandits to 1 hit, that by Tim Koplitz in the fourth in the 10-0 win. Johnson had a handful of more solid plays at short including turning a 4-6-3 double-play with Mike Koplitz to get the team out of the third inning and making a full-extension dive grab of a hot liner in the fourth. Bloomington (18-2) broke open a 5-0 game with 5 runs in the sixth.

Bandit second-bagger Mike Koplitz taking a hack against Bloomington June 25.

In the 3rd-place game Sunday afternoon, Princeton of the Eastern Minny knocked off Rum River 12-0. Again, the Bandits faced a good pitcher in Josh Ludwig who gave up just 1 hit, that by M. Koplitz.

“Our guys are still battling, and they’re having fun playing the game. It was nice to get that first win of the season (against Minneota),” said skipper T. Koplitz.

Centerfielder Nick Wong of Blue Package Delivery was named tourney MVP by hitting 7-for-10 on the weekend with 6 RBI, including knocking home the game-winner in the finals.

• The Bandits are off for the holiday break; their next game will be hosting Coon Rapids July 6 (7:30 p.m.).