Pine River sweeps Reed City for district baseball title
LEROY — Pine River defeated Reed City 4-0 in the Division 3 district title game for baseball on Saturday.
Devin Ruppert went five innings and struck out seven batters while allowing one hit and one walk.
Skyler Nelson had two hits and an RBI. Ruppert and Lincoln Erickson had two hits. Luke Harris added a double while Tyler Lewis and Brandon Hoaglund also had hit.
Jordan Straub took the loss to Reed City. Ryan Willis and Ray Phenix had hits for Reed City.
Pine River will play in the regionals at Holton on Saturday
In the semifinals, Pine River beat McBain 4-1.
Erickson was the winning pitcher and went all seven innings. He allowed one earned run, fanning 12, giving up two hits and no walks. Joe Gingrich had three hits and an RBI. Erickson had a double and RBI. Ruppert and Mitch McDonald also had hits.
“It’s been the same story all year,” said Pine River coach Shawn Ruppert, “especially when Devin and Lincoln come out and throw like the way they’re capable of. We don’t give up a lot of runs and the defense has been good. We only gave up (few) hits on the day.
“We stuck out over 20 batters in two games. That makes it easier on your defense too. The seniors showed up Saturday. With graduation (on Friday) you worry. But I thought they were leaders today. They did a job of it.”
The Coyotes beat Manton 4-1 in the other semifinals. Phenix was the winning pitcher and allowed one hit. Josh Saez and Willis both had hits and two RBIs. Phenix had two hits. Eric Grannis, Ricky Droke and Austin Hansen had one hit each.
Pine River is 22-5.
“We should have scored more runs,” Ruppert said. “We didn’t run the bases as well as we normally do.”
The Bucks “are on a pretty good run,” of district titles in the last eight years, Ruppert said. “These guys aren’t going to be satisfied with just a district. I hope they’re not satisfied.”
Reed City coach Scott Shankel was happy with his team’s performance.
“I thought the boys played well,” he said. “We left some guys on base. Our pitching and defense was really good. The second game, I thought Straub pitched a good game to keep Pine River down to four runs. We had a couple of situations when we had bases loaded and guys on second and third. We kept them at bay.
“Offensively, we struggled a little bit.”
Shankel said a key moment occurred in the third inning with Pine River up 2-0. The bases were loaded with one out. Straub batted a hard-hit ball to shortstop. He flipped it to second for one out. It looked like Straub beat the throw to first to end the inning but the umpire called him out.
“If he scored it would have been 2-1 with runners at second and third. But that’s the name of the game. Sometimes you get the call and sometimes you don’t,” Shankel said. “That was our big inning opportunity and it took the wind out of our sails. But all credit goes to Pine River. They have a good ballclub. They have a couple of really good pitchers. We’ve seen them both. Our kids hung tough with them. You don’t see pitching like that every outing you have. I give my kids credit. They played tough.”
Reed City ended the season at 8-23.