Pine River summer baseball team goes 0-1-1
LEROY — Many lessons are learned by high school baseball players throughout the summer.
As Pine River co-coach Steve Nelson was heard to say frequently during a doubleheader Tuesday, June 28, against Brethren-Manistee, “that’s why we play summer ball.”
When a Brethren-Manistee shortstop gloved a groundball with runners on first and second and tagged out the Pine River runner coming to third, Nelson again shared a lesson learned by his team:
“Never run into a tag, guys. We won’t be doing that again.”
In the first game against Brethren-Manistee, Pine River was tied 6-6 with its opponents after the game was called following the sixth inning in order to get in another contest. Skyler Nelson had two hits for the Bucks while Grant Gugle, Garrett Long and Mitchell McDonald added one apiece.
Devin Ruppert was the winning pitcher in four innings of work. Tyler Lewis pitched two innings.
Lewis had two hits in the second game which went five innings with Pine River losing 5-2. Long, McDonald and Nelson had one apiece. Brethren-Manistee scored all of its runs in the second inning.
Nelson started for Pine River on the mound while McDonald finished in relief.
Pine River came out of the twinbill with a 4-2-1 record.
“With summer ball, you like the fact the kids are here,” said Steve Nelson, serving as summer co-coach with Shawn Ruppert, who coaches the spring baseball squad. “These kids are hoping to play varsity ball next year for Shawn at Pine River. There’s a lot to learn. They’re doing a good job of that.”
Tuesday’s opponent was actually a mixture of players from Brethren, Frankfort, Manistee and Onekama.
“They’re a good team, the kind of team you love to play during summer,” Nelson said.
Lewis will be a junior next season He spent most of this past season on the junior varsity squad.
“We played well in the first game,” he said on Tuesday. “We hit the ball pretty good. The second game we had some mistakes and didn’t hit as well as the first game.”
Lewis has been playing third base and pitching. He’s working on throwing faster as a pitcher.
Skyler Nelson, an infielder and pitcher, saw varsity experience as a freshman.
“I started off not very good, as the year went along, I progressed a lot and was doing pretty good,” Nelson said. “I was more confident in the field and my batting improved a lot.”
Nelson said he’s trying to get better at the catching position. Offensively, he just wants to get in more swings.
As a pitcher next season, “I want to get a better curveball,” he said.
Pine River graduated seniors like Nick Warner, but Skyler Nelson still likes his team’s prospects.
“We have a pretty young team but I think we’ll be pretty good,” Nelson said. “We’ll hit the ball pretty good.”
Nelson is also working on basketball and football during the summer. He said the basketball team has finished its summer work and had camps at Hope College and Cadillac.
The Bucks will play this Thursday at Kingsley and will have two more home games in July.