How Haden Roark did his part in helping Van Buren achieve doubleheader sweep against Alma
The Van Buren Pointer baseball team followed Haden Roark’s lead on Tuesday.
Roark paced the Pointers in a 5A-West doubleheader sweep of rival Alma with two hits in the opener and four more in the nightcap as Van Buren took a pair of 10-0 wins at Iverson Riggs Field at the Field of Dreams.
The sweep is the second straight for the Pointers (15-6, 8-2) in the 5A-West on top of last week’s 1-0 and 8-1 wins at Mountain Home.
“We’ve been talking about how hard it is to win back-to-back games in conference,” Van Buren coach Luke Weatherford said. “It’s a long day. It takes a lot of concentration and a lot of effort to play 14 good innings. We challenged our guys that we need some sweeps down the stretch here.”
Van Buren only needed 12 innings Tuesday, ending both games early via mercy rule.
In the opener, Roark popped the ball up in his first two times at the plate, and the Pointers led just 1-0 through three innings.
“It was a little bit of a slow start,” Weatherford said. ‘We had a few bad at-bats. We hit a few balls right at them.”
Van Buren stranded five runners in the first three innings before Roark doubled deep into the gap in left center field to score Connor Brady, who had walked with two outs and stole second, for a 2-0 lead.
Van Buren sent 11 batters to the dish in the fifth inning to score seven runs and crack the game open.
Roark delivered the big hit with another double that scored two runs, which made the score 7-0.
On the mound in the opener, Connor Johnson was his spectacular self again.
Johnson, who improved to 7-0, allowed a lone single in the third inning to Ledger Anderson, which was also the only base runner by the Airedales (5-15, 2-8). Johnson struck out 12 as well.
Roark had a double and three singles in the second game with three runs scored.
“Going into the year, we weren’t sure who was going to hit in that leadoff spot,” Weatherford said. “We knew he was one of our guys that could do it. He stepped up. He’s leading our team in hitting.”
With six straight hits to end the night, Roark raised his batting average to .443.
“He had a couple of bad at-bats early but made the adjustments and got back on the top of the ball,” Weatherford said. “He ended up having a good day. He’s done a good job all year for us.”
While he’s leading the Pointers in runs scored, he also drove home four runs.
“You’ve got to take advantage of those opportunities,” Roark said. “Those were a lot of fun.”
Devin Gattis earned the win for the Pointers in the second game, going all six innings and allowing five hits with 10 strikeouts.