Pine River designated hitter eyes strong season at plate

LEROY — Alyssa Johnson is among the key returnees on this season’s Pine River softball squad. Johnson and her teammates on Monday entered their third week of practices. Last season, Johnson was a designated hitter and hit around .250. She was content with what she was able to do for her first varsity season.

“I would push it to where it needed to be pushed,” she said.

Johnson spent as much time as possible hitting during the offseason.

“I’ve been working on my hands, getting them around quick,” she said.

Johnson is hopeful of a “lot higher” batting average this season and is confident of her chances for success. She will probably be focusing on more than just hitting.

“This year, I’ll probably be playing a position,” she said, pointing to third base, a position she played in junior varsity and middle school. “I have a good arm and I’ve been working on my fielding.”

Fielding is obviously something Johnson and other players can work on more effectively when the ball fields are playable.

The Bucks had scheduled a game with Vestaburg for this Wednesday but the weather and field conditions are not likely to allow it. The next scheduled game after break is April 8 at Manistee Catholic Central while the first home game is April 11 with Manistee.

“We’re definitely young,” Johnson said. “We’re going to work on our hitting and hopefully get runs.”

In the Highland Conference, Johnson pointed to McBain as among the teams to beat.