LAT league hoping to get break in the weather

LEROY — If the weather cooperates on Wednesday, the Local Area Teams (LAT) League will finally make its summer softball debut.

But that’s a big “if” the way things have been going.

The summer league, consisting of teams from Cadillac, Manton, Pine River and Reed City, was scheduled to be in action the last two Wednesdays but was rained out both times.

As a result, two Tuesday makeup dates have been set: July 8 and 15.

With the regular dates of July 9 and 16, that means the teams will see back-to-back doubleheaders. Wednesday this week is still on if the weather cooperates. The summer season ends July 16.

Action starts at 5 p.m. each date. Teams play two six-inning games each date against the same opponent. Reed City and Pine River had been scheduled to play each other last Wednesday.

All games are at the Bristol softball diamonds.

In the past, Pine River had teams in the LAT league and at Mount Pleasant, but not this season. The same applies to Reed City’s girls.

“It was so far for the kids,” Pine River coach Laura Mumby said. “A lot of teams were running out or not having enough kids.”

Mumby like the closeness of the Bristol diamonds for her players.

Teams mostly consist of players that will be in grades nine through 12 for 2015.

“If people run short, they can use kids that have graduated,” Mumby said.

The main incentive is obviously giving girls playing time regardless of the circumstances.

“If we have some kids at a volleyball camp, I’ll use other kids,” Mumby said. “We want to get them on the field.”

The Bucks graduated their two pitchers in Alexis Stokely and Brooke Pennington. This summer will give Mumby a chance to look at some new pitching prospects including Courtney Smith, a transfer from Reed City.

The Bucks have some girls returning from last spring’s team.

“We graduated five kids,” Mumby said. “We have a good mix (of returning and new players.)”

Reed City returning player Ally Yarger noted that her team has Sunday practices during the summer.

“I definitely am focusing more on my hitting,” she said. “I’m working on hitting the ball harder and keeping my head on it. I want to work on fielding too and get after tricky hits and work on that too, being able to backhand the ball, stuff like that... fielding the ball better.”