Pine River baseball, softball teams look strong

Bucks baseball returning plenty of talent

Shawn Ruppert is back for another season as Pine River softball coach.

Shawn Ruppert is back for another season as Pine River softball coach.

File photo

LEROY – Pine River baseball and softball teams are hoping for success this season.

But right now, they’re looking for good weather so they can play some games.

Veteran baseball coach Shawn Ruppert has fond memories of the 2021 season.

“We got some big league wins and overachieved for most of the year,” he said.

The Bucks graduated many outstanding players including Hunter Kanouse, who pitched a perfect game against McBain; and Garrett Sumpter, who was a consistent third baseman and Zack Lemmon who had some key hits in various games.

“We have to work hard play together and have fun,” Ruppert said. “”We have good returning depth when everyone is available.”

In the Highland Conference, “Beal City will be a state championship contender once again,” Ruppert said. “I hope we can compete. We will show up and play hard.”

Returners from last year include seniors Connor Rouse at infield, Ben Lockhart in the outfield and Dillon Blood and Cole Hill at pitcher, junior Jake Smith at infielder and pitcher, plus Austin Dean at catcher and pitcher and sophomore pitchers Nathan Marks and Cash Wheeler.

Coach Mike Nelson’s softball team was 16-23 overall last season and 3-11 in the Highland. Returning from last year’s team are juniors Madison Smith, Alyna Nichols, Alivia Martin, Amanda Hill and Madisyn Sparks and sophomore Vivian Maddox.

Newcomers are juniors Emilie Rees, Karlie Snyder and Sara Rendal and freshmen Mary Nichols, Sadler Mumby and Delanie Sparks.

“We want to improve on last year’s overall record and conference record,” Nelson said.