BIG RAPIDS — Pine River’s softball team opened its season with a 20-15 and 15-7 sweep over Big Rapids Crossroads Charter Academy on March 29 in nonleague action.

In the first game, the Bucks had 23 hits compared to only three for Crossroads and took advantage of eight Cougar errors.

“We have a solid foundation of kids that play ball and do fundamental things right, we just have to fine-tune things,” Pine River coach Laura Mumby said. “But when you have your first game, that’s what you have. I was pretty excited overall.”

Alexis Bennett was the winning pitcher in the first game. She gave up three hits but walked 22 batters while striking out 13. Carleigh Trowbridge had four singles and one RBI for Pine River, while Bennett had three hits and one RBI, Jenna Johnson a single and two doubles and four runs scored, Bekah Dean had two doubles a single and two RBI, Taylor Warner had two singles and two RBI, KayLee Goodman and Hannah Hill two hits apiece and Kyla Johnson a single, double and triple and five RBI.

The Bucks scored four runs in the first, three in the third and eight in the fifth, and out-hit Crossroads 14-4. Kourtney Brock had two singles and three RBI, while Dean had two hits and two RBI, Stokely had two doubles and two RBI, and Kyla Johnson had a triple and two RBI.

Dana Hill was the winning pitcher. She allowed four hits, walked seven and struck out five.

Jenna Johnson at catcher and Kyla Johnson and Chelsey Terburgh in the outfield, Goodman at first base and Dana Hill and and Brock pitching, along with Trowbridge in the outfield, are among the key players for the Bucks.

“We have five seniors, five juniors and two sophomores,” Mumby said.

Bennett and Dean will also be pitching for the Bucks.

“I think we’ll be stronger,” Mumby said of her pitching staff. “With four of them vying for it, it puts pressure on all of them. They’ve all worked hard in the offseason to locate pitches. We’ve got some promising things coming up. I think our offense will be the biggest thing. We played pretty good defense behind our pitching. We have to throw strikes and hit our spots.”

The Bucks played last Wednesday at Grant but the game was rained out after three innings.

“It’s always a goal to win the Highland Conference and districts,” Mumby said. “This is a group that works together. Everyone wants to win for each other.”

Pine RIver is home April 12 in nonleague play against Lake City.