Rebels drop doubleheader to Pine River

Lucas Richardson delivers a pitch for the West Michigan Rebels during a game against Pine River on Thursday. (Dylan Savela/News Advocate)

ONEKAMA — Eight of the last nine outs West Michigan recorded in the opening game of Thursday’s doubleheader against Pine River were strikeouts.

But the Rebels weren’t necessarily mowing down the competition.

The Bucks did plenty of work in between each K to take an 11-2 victory in the opener before completing the sweep with a 6-1 nightcap win.

“Today, we just got snake bit,” said West Michigan coach Jim Richardson. “Pine River came to play, and we just had trouble finding the strike zone. That hurt us a lot.”

The Rebels (5-3-1), a summer baseball team consisting of high school-aged players from local schools, struggled at the plate as well, with just four hits in each contest.

“We’re not here to walk,” Richardson said of summer league play. “We watched way too many third strikes tonight. We need to be aggressive. That’s why we’re here.”

Despite the poor offensive outing however, Richardson was quick acknowledge the summer league’s theme still being fulfilled.

“It is summer ball, so we don’t practice every day. And we’ve got a lot younger team this year than we have had in the past,” he said. “I’m just really happy we have the kids we have, who want to be here, because they have been playing really well. There was some poor decisions in the field that hurt tonight, too, but we had guys playing different positions. It’s still high school-level ball, so they should learn those positions, but it’s also summer ball. That’s what we’re here to do.”

After falling behind 5-0, the Rebels got two back in the top of the second when Brethren’s Dakota McLeod knocked a two-run single. But West Michigan’s scoring would end there.

Bear Lake’s Stephen Verrett, Frankfort’s Brennan Flynn and Brethren’s Devon Nelson also had a hit in the opener, but Pine River scored steadily, plating runs in each of the five innings.

The Rebels’ Lucas Richardson, Verrett and McLeod split time on the mound.

“That was kind of the goal today — try to get a bunch of pitchers in,” Richardson said. “Six guys pitched, which is somewhat what my idea was. We’ve got to get some of these guys some innings, today it just didn’t work out for us as far as winning the games.”

In the nightcap, West Michigan cut a 2-0 deficit in half when soon-to-be Onekama freshman Jon Eno knocked a two-out single in the bottom half of the third, which was followed by Richardson’s RBI knock just past the outstretched glove of Pine River’s right fielder.

The Bucks scored a run in the fourth for a 3-1 edge and plated a trio of runs in the top of the sixth to put the game out of reach.

The Rebels’ Joe Eno, Dalton Lakso and Nelson split time on the mound, while Richardson went 2-for-2, Flynn 1-for-2 and Jon Eno 1-for-2 at the plate.

Visit the photo gallery to see more photos from this game.

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Posted by Dylan Savela

Dylan is the county reporter for the News Advocate, he also is in charge of the Small Town Life, religion and senior pages. He can be reached at (231) 398-3111 or dsavela@pioneergroup.com.

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