Park enjoys strong junior season on mound

LEROY — His final pitching appearance of the season may have been among his best for Greg Park.

But it’s understandable if Park remembers Saturday as a disappointment.

The Bucks lost 2-1 to Morley Stanwood despite a strong performance from Park, who allowed only four hits and had seven strikeouts. But he couldn’t best Morley Stanwood’s Tim Cairnduff this particular evening.

But it ended a noteworthy junior season for Park who took over as Pine River’s No. 1 hurler from a quarterfinalist squad that graduated its top two pitchers following the 2013 season.

“It’s been pretty successful,” Park said. “I pitched pretty well throughout the season. I’m ranked (first for wins) and second for strikeouts. But we’ve done it as a team.”

Park had 11 wins and 103 strikeouts. 

Looking back at March as he was getting ready for the season, Park said his reaction to meeting those two standards would have been “maybe I can do it. I tried to stay consistent and throw a lot of strikes.”

A fastball, curve and slider have been Park’s favorite pitches.

One of his favorite memories was a win over Evart in which he was one pitch away from a perfect game. “I threw a curveball and he poked it over second base,” Park said.

Ironically, as the Bucks were preparing for the Morley Stanwood game, Park pointed to one key aspect for having success in the regional.

“We need to hit the ball,” he said, “and keep doing what we have been doing.”

But Cairnduff stymied the Bucks with a 15-strikeout performance.

Park batted over .300.

In his first varsity season as a pitcher, “I pretty much caught on,” Park said. “The games last year helped me a lot.”

The Bucks still had a banner season and one key factor is that Park is among the returnees next year.