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Bandits provide Spokane a presence at Senior American Legion state tournament

Loaded with some of Spokane’s best baseball talent, the Senior American Legion Spokane Bandits have qualified for the eight-team state tournament that starts Saturday in Centralia.

The Bandits, one of five Spokane-area Senior teams, finished 11-1 in league and 39-19 overall, coach Kyle Krustangel said.

The Bandits recently won both games in the Spokane Regional and advanced as the No. 1 seed out of the four-team pod along with the Apple Valley Packers of Wenatchee. They play Saturday in Centralia.

“We were lucky to get the players we have,” Krustangel said. “We were able to make the semis in every tournament we played.” The team includes three players who played last year as freshman at Wenatchee Valley College. They are Matt Hare (Ferris), Michael Taylor (West Valley) and Cory Gieffers-Jessett (Lewis and Clark).

The team also includes Michael Thew from St. George’s; Connor Cherry, Joe Gottsch, Steven Machtolf and Brendan McClary from Gonzaga Prep; Anthony Coballes, Tyler Hojnacki, Karver Pate and Patrick Smith from Lewis and Clark; Cole Flett and John Sage from West Valley; and Griffin Davis, Ryan Lorenz, Tim Yoshihara and Tanner Parker from Ferris.

The Bandits are the first Senior Spokane team to qualify for the state tournament since they advanced in 2011, said Andy Franklin, president of the Spokane American Legion.

“It’s a good accomplishment for Spokane Legion baseball and the hopefully they will go over there and bring home the state title,” Franklin said.