- Alma School District
Fry, Airedales take baseball leap 7/15/22
Fry, Airedales take baseball leap
By Kevin Taylor
The long road to respectability included some highs and lows this summer. This week, on the hot artificial surface at Hunt’s Park, Alma baseball coach Brian Fry got a glimpse into the future.
He liked what he saw.
Competing in the Class A Zone tournament, Alma won two of three games during the three-day event, including a 6-5 come-from-behind win over conference foe Mountain Home.
Alma’s 25-game American Legion schedule included most of its 2023 roster, saving the team’s leading hitter from 2022, senior-to-be Derek Hatcher.
“It was good to play,” Fry said. “The kids, they’ve bought into now. They see the benefit of playing higher classification, and playing into July now.”
The Airedales split with the Fort Smith Junior Sportsman, which included an 8-5 loss and a late 9-7 come-from-behind victory.
Alma overcame a 6-2 deficit in its finale, which featured a seven-run inning. The big inning included a two-run double from Avery Bowerman and Camden Curd’s hustling infield single with the bases loaded.
In addition to playing time with the Airedales this summer, Curd, Branson Brogan, Noah Likens, and in-coming freshmen Logan English and Easton Daily saw extended playing time with their respective travel teams.
“Logan English, he can play. Easton Daily, he’s going to be a threat at the plate at every level,” Fry said. “Those two guys are going to help us (in 2023).”
Thirty years ago, Alma fielded a double-A legion team that competed with long-ago established legion programs like Coke, Kerwin’s, Jay Oil, and Paper Clip.
One of the advantages of playing a 25-game summer schedule, Fry said, is seeing how his pitching measures up. Curd won both games in relief this week, with Brogan closing out Wednesday's victory with a pair of strikeouts.
“I think this summer did a lot for our guys on the mound,” Fry said. “Our pitching has really come along. We ran out five or six guys. (Piercen) Howell and Cash (Wilson) both pitched well. And Noah, he’s been pitching on the weekends with his team (Express). I like where we’re at.
“It (experience) was huge for us.”