Pine River pitchers stymie Reed City

REED CITY — Devin Ruppert has a good idea how any game he throws will go after the first few pitches.

If the Pine River juniors can throw strikes with his curve ball, that will make his ‘average’ fastball that much faster and he will have a good day.

If Ruppert can’t throw his curve ball for strikes, hitters will wait for the fastball and get hits.

Thursday, Ruppert’s curve ball was unhittable.

The right hander struck out 15 batters and did not allow a hit as the Bucks rolled to an 8-0 victory over Reed City in a game that was stopped after six innings because of rain.

“I was getting my curve ball over and that helps because my fastball isn’t very fast,” Ruppert said.

Pine River coach Shawn Ruppert agreed with his son’s assessment.

“He hit his spots when he needed to,” Shawn Ruppert said. “He was able to throw his curve ball for strikes ahead in the count and behind in the count. He has to do that because (his fastball) is not overpowering.”

With Devin Ruppert silencing Reed City’s bats, it was the offense that came to life for Pine River. Skyler Nelson had three hits and a pair of RBI and Mitchell McDonald had two doubles.

Garrett Long also had two hits, including a home run.

“We play good defense that if we can score runs, we can play with anybody,” Devin Ruppert said.

Reed City coach Scott Shankel tried out a new line-up for the non-conference contest. He praised Ruppert’s effort on the mound, but said the team needs to do a better job of getting into the right frame of mind.

“We let the pitcher dictate the outcome,” Shankel said. “(Pine River) is a good ball club, but sometimes we don’t come focused in non-league games, but that shouldn’t make a difference in our approach at the plate.”

Shankel doesn’t believe focus will be a problem today when the Coyotes will put their perfect league mark on the line against Holton in a key Central State Activities Association doubleheader.

“We are focused on conference,” Shankel said. “That is one of our goals, we want to win the league.”

Pine River is in action again Saturday when it travels to the Chippewa Hills Invitational.