Nate Whitson drove in two runs Monday as Alma edged Van Buren, 2-1, in nonconference play.
Alma took a 1-0 lead in the first when speedy Cade Spencer was hit by a pitch, went to third on Adam Wilbanks’ single, and scored on Whitson’s sacrifice fly. Spencer singled, stole second and scored the go-ahead run in the third on Whitson’s two-out RBI single.
The Airedales (8-10) have won a season high four consecutive games and eight of the last 12.
The Pointers (9-14) looked like they were going to snap Alma’s winning streak. But Airedales starter Will Montgomery repeatedly wiggled out of trouble thanks to strikeouts and key defensive plays.
Center fielder Wilbanks made a long running catch on Caleb Bauman’s bases-loaded drive in the second, first baseman Drake Huffaker speared Levi Froud’s bunt attempt for a double play in the fifth and second baseman Josh Parker snagged Quinton Ray’s two-out smash in the sixth to prevent the Pointers from tying the game.
“Will threw well,” Alma coach Kevin Edwards said. “He got behind some hitters here and there, but when he hits his spots and his mechanics are right, he’s effective. I was glad to see Dylan (Ross) come in and shut the door.”
Montgomery (1-1) pitched into the sixth inning before giving way to Ross. The junior right-hander came on with runners on first and second and struck out Aaron Jones. Then he caught a break when Ray lined a shot to right field, but Parker made a leaping catch to end the inning.
Ross struck out two of the three hitters he faced in the seventh to earn his first career save.
Van Buren’s Hunter Ryan and Spencer Rapin hit back-to-back doubles in the second inning. After Jake Bogner was hit by a pitch that loaded the bases, Jones hit a smash to third for a force out but scored Ryan to tie the game.
Ray lined out to center for the second out, but Colton Tucker reached on an infield single to load the bases for Bauman. He hit a deep liner to left center that Wilbanks outran for the final out.
“I thought we’d get a few and they got out of that,” Van Buren coach David Loyd said. “It’s kind of disappointing because we’ve been playing pretty good here lately.”
Whitson has five RBIs in his last three games.
ALMA 2, VAN BUREN 1
Van Buren 010 000 0 — 1 4 0
Alma 101 000 x — 2 8 2
Ryan and Hogan; Montgomery, Ross (6) and Brown. W - Montgomery, 1-1. L - Ryan. Sv - Ross (1)