ALMA — The Airedales awoke from their slumber on Friday in the nightcap of their 5A-West doubleheader against Morrilton.
Alma batted around in two innings and romped to a 14-1 win to invoke the run rule and snap a five-game losing streak.
The Airedales (4-8, 3-1) lost all four games in the Central Arkansas Invitational last week to Little Rock Catholic, Cabot, Russellville and Springfield, Mo., Kickapoo and managed just seven runs.
“We’re usually the smallest school in that tournament, but it’s to get us ready for games like this,” Alma head coach Kevin Edwards said. “We want to see that pitching and be in those situations and be in tight games. Our conference is tough. You’ve got to show up and execute in our conference.”
Friday, Alma pounded out 14 hits in just four innings behind a one-hit effort by Will Montgomery to earn a split.
Tracy Blakley singled with an out for Morrilton (6-6, 1-3) in the first inning, took second on a bad throw on an attempted pickoff, went to third on a passed ball and scored on a wild pitch. Toney Hawkins walked and stole second and third, but Montgomery retired the final two batters before throwing four innings of no-hit ball to earn the win.
Alma sent 11 batters to the plate in the bottom half of the inning to quickly erase the 1-0 deficit. The first eight Airedales reached base in the five-run inning. Judah Dean’s triple scored Adam Wilbanks, who singled and stole second to open Alma’s inning. Cade Spencer singled home a run, and Dylan Brown doubled home another in the inning.
“We had to come out in the second game, jump on them quickly, regain the momentum and take care of business,” Edwards said. “We practiced all week, picking up the tempo, working harder and focusing.”
Alma added two runs in the second inning, scored a single run in the third inning, and blew it open in the fourth inning with six runs.
Dean singled home a pair of runs in the fourth while Spencer, Brown and Dylan Ross all added run-scoring singles. Alma again sent 11 batters to the plate.
“It started feeding over to everybody and everybody jumped on the bandwagon,” Edwards said. “We started swinging it.”
Dean drove in three runs in the game, and Spencer and Brown each had two RBIs. Courtesy runner Josh Parker scored three times for Brown, who had three hits. Wilbanks scored three runs on a single, double and walk. Spencer was 3-for-3 with three singles.
Morrilton 4, Alma 3
GAME 1 – John Cheek scattered six hits and went the distance for the Devil Dogs in the first game of the doubleheader.
Toney Hawkins belted a two-run homer in the fourth inning, after Tracy Blakley singled to open the inning, to give Morrilton a 2-1 lead.
Morrilton added two more in the fifth to take a 4-1 lead on run-scoring singles by Blakley and Cheek.
“Cheek pitched well, we played well behind him and got a couple of timely hits,” Morrilton head coach Todd Sparks said. “That was really the difference, but he pitched well.”
Alex Burris gave Alma a 1-0 lead with a solo homer in the fourth, and Alma cut Morrilton’s lead to 4-3 with two runs in the sixth on a two-run single by Brett Farris that scored Cade Spencer, who singled, and Dylan Brown, who doubled.
Cheek retired the final two batters of the fifth inning and retired the side in order in the seventh to earn the win. He struck out six and walked two.