Bandits build on successful 2012 campaign

“15 wins and 153 runs scored are both Bandit records” stated Tom Koplitz, Manager of the Rum River Bandits amateur ball club. “We did it with hard work, dedication by enough players to make a difference, and great support from our communities, fans and sponsors!”

Koplitz added, “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 No. 1 seed Princeton, was a season highlight.”

The addition of new players at key positions was a big plus, including 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 to set a high standard of play for the new guys,” said Manager 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 at Hinckley.

The support received from over 25 businesses in the area was exceptional again this year, especially Killebrew Root Beer and the Grandy Lions who provided the Bandits with outstanding support. 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, many of them attending 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.” Koplitz also thanked 360 Imagewear for their support of the tournament, and the local newspapers for giving the Bandits some coverage.

“Next year should be even better. 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 painting 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 to maintain the two fields.