LEROY — Pine River’s baseball team appears to be talented enough to have another banner season.The Bucks were scheduled to have some action this week, depending on the weather.

Veteran coach Shawn Ruppert was working with 16 players early in the practice season and indicated he might cut it down by a few players.

Andrew Alberts (outfielder), Lucas Harris (first base, outfield, catcher), Brady Long (outfield), Greg Park (pitcher, third baseman), Mitch McDonald (pitcher, shortstop, catcher), Alex Knapp (catcher), Tony Moore (outfield, shortstop, pitcher), Mason Powell (infielder, pitcher) and Grant Ruppert (catcher) are among the players back this season.

Ruppert is a junior and Powell a sophomore while the others are seniors.

“I expect us to be pretty strong,” Ruppert said. “We should be pretty solid up and down the lineup. We should be pretty deep.”

Pine River was 24-6 and won the district last season.

Beal City, a perennial state power, is expected to be the team to beat in the Highland Conference again. The Aggies were state runner-up the past two seasons and won the title two seasons prior to that.

“We’re getting outside as much as we can,” Ruppert said last week. “With everything as wet as it is, it’s hard to do some of that.”

If the weather and field conditions allow it, the Bucks are set to be at Farwell on Thursday, at Cedar Springs on Friday and at Chippewa Hills on April 1 in a nonleague game. The first game after the holiday break is April 13 at Kent City. The first home game is April 20 with Mesick.

Pine River opens the league season April 24 at McBain. The Pine River Invitational is May 2.