How The Quad Cities River Bandits Are Handling Early Struggles
Starting 0-3 in the early season, Manager Omar Lopez had an idea of getting all the team together after the game and have a team bonding event. Along with having a minor league baseball team affiliated with the Houston Astros, the Quad Cities also has a minor league hockey team affiliated with the Minnesota Wild. Lopez called for the whole River Bandits team to take in a Quad City Mallards game not just to support the other players, but get closer to their own team. Only a couple of the players knew all the rules and what it entailed to play hockey, but everyone had a blast. That actually proved to be an important part in Managers Omar Lopez’s strategy of team bonding.
As I stated previously, a lot of players had never been to a hockey game nevertheless know the rules to the game. The players from the Dominican have never experienced the game and some of the other players were confused. That’s how this team bonding started to work because it just so happens Pitchers Alex Winkleman, who is a die hard St. Louis Blues fan, and Andrew Thome (A alumni of UND who just won the national championship for hockey) played hockey in high school. I talked with teammates Jacob Dorris and Andrew Thome about this and Jacob stated: “It was a good dynamic because you had these two guys (Alex, and Andrew) who knew the game and Andrew even playing the game where the Dominicans and the other players were asking questions to them about the game was very cool.” I was there hanging out with them and I saw pieces of those missing puzzles early on starting to find the connected pieces. The team definitely needed this and props to Coach Lopez for recognizing it and doing something about it
Quad Cities River Bandits Recap: April 10th
At a wet Modern Woodman Park with game time originally slated at 1:15 PM I was wondering if they could test those team bonding skills on the field. After a twenty five minute delay we had baseball and curious to see how they would come out. The first three games the starting pitching had not put out a long performance and with a thin bullpen already, pitcher Matt Bower had to have a strong performance and he answered the call. Bower went five strong innings before giving up a run, Andrew Thome came in and had a solid 3 innings giving up 6 hits and only one run. The pitching was great holding Cedar Rapids to two runs through nine.
Bandits got their first run in the sixth thanks in large part to the two speedsters SS, Osvaldo Duarte and 3B, Antonio Nunez getting singles and OF, Kyle Tucker driving Duarte in with an RBI groundout. After Ralph Garza gave up a run in the 9th making it 2-1 Cedar Rapids, Pat Porter led off the bottom of the ninth with a clutch triple. Designated Hitter Anthony Hermelyn brought that important run home with a single. Cedar Rapids got another one in the top of the tenth in which Bandits had something going in the bottom of the inning with Daz Cameron getting his first hit as a River Bandit and Duarte getting a single too with no outs but after Kyle Tucker grounded into a DP, Dexture McCall struck out to end the game, with the Bandits losing 3-2 in extras. They drop to 0-4 but Omar Lopez’s team building idea is definitely taking shape, just be patient.
Daz Cameron, OF: 1-for-5 (first hit on the season)
Kyle Tucker, OF: 1-for-5, 2B, RBI
Matt Bower, LHP: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K
Player of the Game
Anthony Hermelyn, DH: 2-for-3 RBI,BB
Kevin McCanna (-.– ERA)
**Photo Credit: Richard Guill**