Pine River players thriving on summer baseball

LEROY — Baseball is staying active this summer in Pine River.

While there’s technically no summer program for the varsity, Brent Ruppert, who was the Bucks JV coach during the spring, has a team on the diamond.

Basically, Ruppert is working with a 15-and under team consisting of junior varsity players.

“It’s kids that were freshmen this year and are going into sophomore this season,” he said. “Our kids who will be freshmen, we’ve had one game with 16 and 17 years olds.”

Pine River beat Brethren 4-2 in a 15 and under game and also beat Cadillac. Three’s also a loss to Mason County Central.

There are games scheduled July 10 at home with Benzie Central and July 11 with Brethren with the 15-under squad.

“We’re looking into get the 16-and-under group into a tournament in Petoskey, the first week of August.”Top ballplayers include Payton Pacola, a left-handed pitcher; Grant Ruppert, a pitcher and catcher, who did well during the JV season; Matt Goodenow, Dylan Loop and Cody Lambert.

Ruppert said the main reason behind summer ball is to get those players that are inbetween Little League and high school age some playing time.

‘“We struggle finding someone else to play,” he said. “We have to travel to Benzie. We have to try to get our own games. This is the best time of Michigan to play, especially in July and August. But they’re so busy with football and basketball.”

He does have some players that will be on the varsity next season including Greg Park, Brady Long, Alex Knapp, Andrew Alberts and Luke Sizemore.

“They show potential and promise,” Ruppert said.

Luke Harris, a sophomore who played varsity ball, might see action with this team, Ruppert said.