The third-ranked (Class 4A) Fort Dodge baseball team inched two steps closer to accomplishing their first goal of the season Monday evening, sweeping another CIML Iowa Conference doubleheader from Marshalltown.
By picking up 6-3 and 15-4 triumphs at Ed McNeil Field on a hot, steamy day, the Dodgers (28-5 overall, 16-2 in league) stayed atop the conference standings with just two games left on their slate.
Fort Dodge travel to Ames on Thursday with the league title on the line. First-pitch is set for 5:30 p.m.
Tyler Vaughn improved to a perfect 7-0 by tossing a seven-hitter in the opener. Vaughn struck out four and walked just one, throwing 70 pitches over the seven innings.
"Tyler went out and competed like we needed him to do," FDSH head coach Matt Elsbecker said. "He got a lot of grounders for outs, and our defense did a great job behind him."
The Dodgers put two runs on the board in the second after JC Hatcher ripped a double that plated courtesy runners Andrew Stover and Keegan Gormally. Hatcher finished with three RBI in the contest, adding a sacrifice fly in the fourth.
FORT DODGE 6, MARSHALLTOWN 3
Marshalltown 000 102 1 - 3 7 1
Fort Dodge 020 121 x - 6 8 4
Devin Weishaubt (L, 0-1, 4 2/3, 7 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 0 K, 5 BB), Tyler Moranville (5, 1/3, 0 H, 0 R, 0 K, 0 BB), Blake Judkins (6, 1, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 H, 1 K, 1 BB) and Paul Fienup; Tyler Vaughn (W, 7-0, 7, 7 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 4 K, 1 BB) and Devon Harms. 2B - FD: Will Gormally, JC Hatcher. RBI - M: Alex Thompson, Judkins, Bennett Mann; FD: Tommy Halligan, Vaughn, Hatcher (3). Multiple hitters - FD: Gormally (3).
FORT DODGE 14, MARSHALLTOWN 4 (5 inn.)
Marshalltown 400 00 - 4 9 1
Fort Dodge 054 24 - 14 16 1
Mann (L, 3-5, 6 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 0 K, 2 BB), Connor Bueghly (3, 2/3, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 K, 1 BB), Fienup (4, 1+, 5 H, 6 R, 6 ER), Moranville (5, 0, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER) and Kyle Carnahan; Gormally (W, 4-2, 5, 9 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 K, 0 BB) and Harms. HR - FD: Isaac Lehman. 2B - FD: Edwards, Austin Halligan. RBI - M: Mann, Hunter Hillguys (2), Buehgly; FD: Gormally (3), Luke Vandermaten, Edwards (3), Lehman (3), A. Halligan (4). Multiple hitters - M: Carnahan (2), Mann (2); FD: Gormally (2), Luke Vandermaten (3), Lehman (3), A. Halligan (2).
Fort Dodge picked up solo runs in the fourth and sixth, while plating two in the fifth. Will Gormally was 3-for-4 with two runs scored, while Tommy Halligan and Vaughn each drove in a run.
In the nightcap, Gormally (4-2) overcame a four-run first to pick up the win. He settled down after the rough start, allowing just three hits over the shortened contest.
Gormally's offense backed him up, plating five runs in the second, four in the third and six more over the final two innings. The last three runs came on an Isaac Lehman three-run homer that bounced off the top of the wall in center.
Helping his own case, Gormally plated three in the game, finishing the doubleheader 5-for-8 with three runs scored. Luke Vandermaten collected three hits and Sam Edwards plated three runners.
"We had a little trouble adjusting (to Marshalltown pitcher Bennett Mann) at the start, but we were able to get in a rhythm at the plate," Elsbecker said. "Our kids fought hard for this sweep."
Fort Dodge has six league sweeps to its credit this year, with the other two doubleheaders resulting in splits with No. 5 Valley. The Tigers faced seventh-ranked Waukee Monday night in a key league battle.
"We want to win the conference title; that's our first goal for this week," Elsbecker said. "We know what we need to do and we just need to keep pushing forward."