Former PR standout reflects on first season at WMU

LEROY — Myranda McDonald says she made a big step in the college ranks after one season of softball at Western Michigan University.

But the former Pine River standout athlete is looking to taking an even bigger step as she gets ready for her sophomore season at Western.

McDonald saw action in 43 games for Western and started 32 games. She batted .128 with 11 hits in 86 at-bats and had five RBIs, plus a home run and fielding percentage of .960. Her first career hit came on Feb. 10 against Arizona State and her first career RBI on March 5 against Bethune-Cookman.

“I played about 70 percent of the year,” McDonald said. “I started off at third base and also DHed and also pinch hit. I didn’t care, I just wanted to play.”

McDonald also had a solo homer against North Dakota State on March 18 and had an RBI in each game of a twinbill against Central Michigan on April 1. McDonald singled and scored a run against Oakland on April 5 and had pinch-hit singles May 6 against Ball State and May 15 against Ohio University in the win that clinched the Mid American Conference tournament title.

She had a .960 fielding average. She is listed as a utility player for the Broncos.

“For me, it was an awesome season,” said McDonald, who took on the challenge of the transition from high school to NCAA Division I college softball.

The season ended for the Broncos at 25-30 when they lost 4-0 to Note Dame in the first elimination game of the NCAA regional championships at the University of Michigan.

In her senior season at Pine River, McDonald was all-state with a .479 batting average and 31 RBIs.

She also played basketball for Pine River and recently worked out in a scrimmage at the middle school gym with current members of the Bucks’ team.

McDonald likes her team’s prospects for the 2012 college softball season. Western graduated seniors like first-team MAC standout Lexi Jager, who recently signed with the National Pro Fastpitch Chicago Bandits team.

But the Broncos are returning seven seniors, two juniors and five sophomores to their roster. Among the returning seniors is third baseman Gracie Barstad, who was the 2011 MAC Player of the Year.

“We have several starters back and have a good chance of doing well,” McDonald said.

Meanwhile, the former PR standout, who played on two regional championship Pine River softball teams, will have a busy adult fast-pitch schedule this summer to get ready for her sophomore season.