WEST DES MOINES - The fourth-ranked (Class 4A) Fort Dodge baseball team stayed in the driver's seat for a potential CIML Iowa Conference title with a split against No. 6 (4A) West Des Moines Valley Thursday night.
After seeing their 12-game win streak snapped in a 10-0 five-inning setback in their opener, the Dodgers (19-4 overall, 10-2 in the league) bounced back with an 8-5 triumph in the nightcap.
"(The Tigers) came out swinging, and I think we were pressing a little too much in that first game," said FDSH head coach Matt Elsbecker, whose squad finished 2-2 against Valley this year. "We didn't have a very good showing for whatever reason, but you also have to credit the fact that Valley is a good team and their pitcher (Nate Whitham) did a nice job of throwing strikes."
Luke Vandermaten, Tommy Halligan and JC Hatcher all contributed two hits for the Dodgers, who stranded runners in scoring position in three different innings.
For the Tigers (19-7, 9-3), Jake Pauley went 3-for-3 with two doubles and three RBI.
In game two, Halligan, Tyler Vaughn and Hatcher each had a pair of hits. Hatcher also drove in three and picked up the victory on the mound. Hatcher (4-0) scattered eight hits over four innings. Vaughn recorded the last six outs for his first save of the year.
FORT DODGE 0 (5 Inn.)
Fort Dodge 000 00-0 7 0
Valley 414 01-10 13 2
Luke Vandermaten, Andrew Stover (4) and Devon Harms; Nate Whitam and Jeff Pullen. 2B-V: Tanner Hinkle (2), Brody Baumann, Jake Pauley (2), Ben Miller.
FORT DODGE 8, VALLEY 5
Fort Dodge 100 230 2-8 13 2
Valley 100 400 0-5 9 5
JC Hatcher, Keegan Gormally (5), Tyler Vaughn (6) and Harms; Austin Stephens, Kyle Duncan (5), Nate Marshall (7) and Pullen. 2B-FD: Vaughn; V: Baumann. 3B-V: Hinkle. HR-V: Nolan Lodden, Nate Meyer.
"Our guys really hung in there and competed hard," Elsbecker said. "Credit our seniors as well for showing great leadership."
Nolan Lodden and Nate Meyer each went deep for Valley.
Next action for the Dodgers is Monday when they welcome defending 4A state runner-up Mason City (9-17, 3-9) for a conference doubleheader. First pitch is set for 4 p.m.