Pine River pitching gets job done in sweep over Evart
EVART — Pitching is always a concern for a high school baseball coach when your schedule includes five doubleheaders in seven days.
But so far so good for the Pine River Bucks.
The Pine River pitching staff came through again in 14-0 and 9-1 victories over Evart in Highland Conference action on Friday.
The Bucks were playing their third doubleheader since Tuesday. They played two at Glen Lake Saturday and two at Marion on Monday.
Pine River came out of Friday’s game at 18-3 overall and 10-2 in the league.
Greg Park went five innings in the first game for Pine River, allowing only a hit to Evart’s Adam Zinger, walking none and striking out 10.
“Greg, I thought that was one of his better efforts of the year,” Pine River coach Shawn Ruppert said.
“We didn’t hit the ball and they hit the ball really well,” Evart coach Josh Johnson said. “That was the bigger difference.”
It was a tight game with the Bucks leading 2-0 after three. But then they erupted for four in the fourth and eight in the sixth for the 14-0 advantage. Brandon Hoaglund got the sixth-inning rally going with a two-run double. Alex Knapp had an RBI double and Andrew Alberts added an RBI single.
Four Pine River batters were hit by the pitch to spark the Bucks’ offense. The game ended on the mercy rule after six innings.
Andrew Race took the loss.
“We’ve been playing decent,” Ruppert said. “In a couple of games, we haven’t run the bases like we’re capable of.”
Mitchell McDonald had a single and three RBIs while Hoaglund added a double, triple and single with five RBIs. Park had two hits while Tony Moore and Brady Long also had hits.
“On fielding, we just need to keep doing what we’re doing and not let mistakes come back and get us with another mistake,” Long said. “It’s been our hitting. When we have runners on, we usually hit the ball.”
In the second game, Pine River built a 6-0 lead before Evart scored in the fifth on Tre Dyer’s RBI groundout. Evart scored twice in the first and second innings and once in both the third and fourth and added three runs in the sixth, including two on Tony Moore’s RBI singles.
Hoaglund went the first six innings, allowing two hits and five strikeouts, Moore pitched the final inning.
“Brandon has been consistent this year,” Ruppert said. “The two guys I brought in at the end, both of them did a good job.”
Moore, McDonald and Nelson, plus Grant Ruppert had RBI hits for Pine River. Hoaglund, Mason Powell and Long added hits.
“I thought we got a little sloppy at times,” Shawn Ruppert said. “But I was happy with how we played. I thought we hit Race well the first game.”
Tom Hyde took the loss in the second game.
Evart is 6-11-1 overall and 5-3 in the Highland.
The Wildcats played at McBain on Tuesday and are at Beal City Thursday.