Pine River senior likes softball team’s prospects

LEROY — It’s a young Pine River softball team, and coach Laura Mumby will be relying a lot on players like senior outfielder Erin Millen.

Millen is ready for the challenge.

The Bucks opened their season March 24 at Suttons Bay with a doubleheader split. Millen had two hits.

“We have a good defense,” Pine River coach Laura Mumby said. “We don’t have shut-it-down pitching. I think our big game will be to outscore people offensively. We have a good mix of fast speed and powerful bats.”

Millen is looking to be among those with the productive bat.

The Bucks lost a doubleheader at Chippewa HiIls, but had rallies in the last inning that nearly pulled out the win in 7-6 and 5-4 losses. Millen had a hit in the first game.

Last year, Millen played right field but is focusing on left this season.

“I think I’ve improved a lot and our team has improved a lot,” she said. “It’s been a lot of fun. I think I’ve improved in my fielding. I’ve definitely been getting better.”

Millen has had early-season success at the plate.

“I think I’m hitting really well,” she said. “I definitely need to stay focused on hitting it to certain places like getting my line drives together.”

Pine River comes back next week from spring break and plays at Manistee Wednesday. The home opener is Monday with Mesick. All are nonleague games. The Highland Conference opener is April 24 at McBain.

The Bucks have started off 1-3, but Millen is convinced there’s plenty of wins in Pine River’s future.

“Our team is doing very well,” Millen said. “I’m very happy. I love this team. It’s so much fun. I love going to practice every day. I believe it’s going to be a good season. We need good defense (every game) and have to trust each other.”

“I’ve been really impressed with the fight the kids have,” Mumby said after last week’s doubleheader. “They had no give up in them.”