McDonald gives Bucks spark as catcher, infielder, pitcher


LEROY — Mitch McDonald enjoyed a taste of district and regional title success in 2013 with the Pine River baseball team and wanted an encore this season.

The Bucks ended the season with a 26-6 record. They were district champs again and played in the regionals Saturday but lost 2-1 to Morley Stanwood.

Coming into May, the weather had canceled several Pine River games. The Bucks went one stretch with four twinbills in six days.

“It’s going to throw everyone off if you don’t play for a week and a half,” McDonald, a catcher and infielder, said. “Coach is keeping us ready, keeping us in the gym. We’re still batting. It didn’t affect us too bad.”

The only major down moment for the Bucks during the regular season came in a doubleheader loss to state power Beal City.

“They had a real good pitcher, he was pretty solid,” McDonald said. “Our bats went dead against him. The second game, I felt we could have batted better.”

But it’s been quite a season for the Bucks, McDonald, said, noting that many teams wouldn’t mind having their record. The Bucks were able to get enough pitching to handle a tough stretch. McDonald’s pitching talents have also been utilized.

“I’ve had my days where I do good,” McDonald said. “I’ve had days where I don’t.”

Catching and shortstop have been positions where McDonald, a versatile player, feels very comfortable.

“We’re hitting pretty good,” McDonald said. “This team can definitely hit better than what we have. A lot of games will definitely help. Repetition helps everything.”

The Bucks were stymied offensively against Morley Stanwood. But McDonald is among the key returnees for next year.