Pine River baseball team set to be league contender

PITCHER: Raden Holmes is set to be among Pine River’s top pitchers this season. (Pioneer file)

PITCHER: Raden Holmes is set to be among Pine River’s top pitchers this season. (Pioneer file)

LEROY — Pine River’s baseball team had a chance to see action last week before spring break and scored a 3-0 win over Grant.

But coach Shawn Ruppert and his team returns next week and will prepare for a heavy slate of games in April and May.

Practices started on March 13 but many of the players were still involved with the Pine River basketball team in regional action that night.

“We won’t have a lot of time prior to our first game,” Ruppert said going into the second week.

He was hopeful of spending some time last week outdoors.

But regardless of early-season weather, Ruppert likes the makeup of his team. Staying healthy will be critical since the Bucks battled injuries last season.

“We have a pretty good crew back,” Ruppert said. “We should be pretty good.”

Staying healthy will be critical for the Bucks.

Returnees include Tristen Nelson, Raden Holmes, Matt Stone and Mason Powell, who was injured for most of last year, plus Bradley Holmes, Andrew Park and Luke Hill.

“They all started at one time last year,” Ruppert said.

Powell and Raden Holmes are expected to be among the top pitching prospects for the Bucks.

Pine River was on break this week, along with other area schools.

The season is set to resume next week with a non-league away doubleheader at Reed City on April 7. The following week, the Bucks are set to have games April 10 at home with Mancelona and April 13 at Gladwin. There are also home games April 17 with Manistee and April 19 with Big Rapids.

The Highland Conference season starts April 25 at home with Marion. The Bucks are expecting Beal City and Evart to be among the contending teams in the Highland.

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Posted by John Raffel

John is a sports reporter with the Pioneer as well as the Herald Review and The Lake County Star. He also coordinates the weekly Pioneer sports outdoors page. He can be reached at (231) 592-8356 or by email at jraffel@pioneergroup.com.

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