Reed City softball finally gets past Pine River

LEROY — Courtney Morgan had to admit that winning a predistrict game was especially rewarding to come against a team that frustrated her Reed City softball squad in the past: the Pine River Bucks.

Morgan allowed five runs on eight hits and three walks while striking out six in leading the Coyotes to a 10-5 predistrict win over the Bucks on Tuesday.

Pine River, the defending district champs, defeated the Coyotes in the district finals two seasons ago. Earlier this season, with Reed City undefeated at 8-0, the Bucks handed the Coyotes a 9-4 loss.

“It was cold and nobody wanted to play our last game. (Tuesday), we knew we had to come in and get the job done,” Morgan said, adding that on her own pitching performance. “I think I did pretty good.”

“The last time we played them, we made a lot of defensive changes,” Reed City coach Roger Steig said. “I think our strength of schedule the last few weeks of the season, we played a tough level of ball with the tournaments we went to in Belding and Portland… we learned a lot.”

The Coyotes were able to get out to a 5-0 lead against Pine River and pitcher Jamie Justin. In the first inning, Amanda Steig scored on a double steal. In the second, it was 2-0 after Steig’s sacrifice fly and 4-0 after Emma Lockhart hit a two-run triple with a blast to the opposite field.

The Bucks loaded the bases against Morgan in the second but the Coyote right hander struck out two batters and then retired Chelsea Nelson on a fly out.

Steig scored on a wild pitch the top of the fourth for a 5-0 lead.

Pine River got two runs back the bottom of the fourth on Alexis Sebastiano’s RBI double and Kelsey Carper’s RBI bounceout. But Reed City exploded for five runs in the top of the sixth for a 10-2 lead. RBI singles by Sam McDonald, Taylor Steig and Heather Huss highlighted the inning.

Pine River loaded the bases in the sixth and Erica Buchner drove home a run. Kassy Nelson reached base on an error to make it 10-4. Pine River got a run back in the bottom of the seventh but it wasn’t enough.

Amanda Steig, Taylor Steig, Emma Lockhart, Huss and McDonald had two hits apiece. Ally Stieg, Morgan and Skiler Brigham also had hits.

“Every inning, they came at us,” Roger Steig said. “We were able to shut them down. That’s a quality team we beat (Tuesday).”

Reed City is 25-9 and plays Lake City at Pine River on Saturday in district tourney action.

Alex Sebastiano had three hits for the Bucks while Cayman Gatt had two hits and a double. Brooke Sebastiano and Eric Buchner also had hits.

“I give Reed City credit, they came ready to play and executed,” said Pine River coach Laura Mumby.

Pine River’s season ends at 25-10.

“It was a big deal for us to beat Pine River because they did give us our first loss,” Morgan said. “I can honestly say this is my first time on varsity that we beat Pine River and it feels great.”

Visit the photo gallery to see more photos from Tuesday's game.