Pine River softball players complete strong season

LEROY  — One season has ended and Pine River’s softball team is ready to start another one.

The Bucks ended their season earlier this month with a 5-3 loss to Manton in the Division 3 regional final.

Five Pine River players received all-conference honors. Jenna Johnson, Chelsey TerBurgh, Carleigh Trowbridge and Paige VanHulst were on the first team, while Tailor Charles picked up honorable mention honors.

Johnson was a junior catcher.

“Jenna had to make a transition from all-district shortstop last year to our catcher this year,” Pine River coach Laura Mumby said. “She ran the infield and helped lead pitchers along. She called her own game, asked lots of questions, and became very good at it. She is our lead-off hitter who sparks our offense while picking up key RBIs throughout the season.

Johnson was named Pine River’s Most Valuable Teammate.

TerBurgh was a junior center fielder and won her team’s hustle award.

“Chelsea is the captain of the outfield,” Mumby said. “She is a slap hitter who has absolute bat control, and our offense is made more dynamic by her ability to bunt, slap, hit over the infield, and hit gappers in the outfield.

Trowbridge, a sophomore outfielder, also was all-district.

“Carleigh hit in the three spot most of the year,” Mumby said. “She has a great eye for the ball, and can hit to both sides of the field very well. She is a true first baseman, but made the transition to outfield and did a great job.” 

VanHulst, a senior shortstop, batted .343 with seven doubles, two triples, one home run and 26 RBIs.

“Paige has great range and ran the infield as a vocal leader that modeled how to pull through in clutch situations,” Mumby said. “She also had some big hits in key games to keep us in the game, lead a comeback, or give us the go-ahead run. She will be greatly missed offensively, defensively and as a leader on this team. Paige’s true love for softball is evident in the effort and hustle she puts forth day in and day out whether in practice or a game.”

Charles was a junior second baseman and also had all-district honors.

“Tailor has a stellar glove and great range at second base,” Mumby said. “She is the player that I know will make the play all the time. She made diving stops, caught pop ups deep in the grass, and covered first base every time she was supposed to. She hit in the eighth spot in the line up, but produces quite a lot of pop for such a small girl.”

Pine River’s final record was 15-20.

“Our last day was our best day by far,” Mumby said. “At the beginning of the season we had a good idea of what to do and we fine tuned things a lot. Halfway through, I kept telling our girls it’s like we’re tying our shoes but not tight enough to keep the laces tight all day long. We couldn’t get outs we needed to get consistently.

“In districts, we beat Manistee 5-3, doing little stuff right all the time. We lost 5-3 to Manton, but they for sure earned it. Our girls played good all the way round. We went out on a good note. I’m excited for next year. We only graduate (three players).” 

LAT LEAGUE

Mumby announced that the Local Area Teams League would start this Wednesday at the Bristol diamonds. Pine River will be playing Cadillac, Reed City and Tri County in the league, which goes until mid-July and features doubleheaders every week.

Tri County takes Manton’s place in the league this season.

“The last three weeks Tri County is hosting their games,” Mumby said. “Cadillac, we and Reed City will go down there. We are down there July 15.”

Mumby said players who will be on the JV level next year can play local Pony League action in the summer. Mostly juniors and seniors will be on the Pine River LAT league team.