Building momentum for tournament play was a top priority for the Fort Dodge softball team in its regular-season finale here Monday.
Despite starting the night off on the right foot, the Dodgers (19-20 overall, 7-13 in the league) settled for a CIML Iowa Conference split against Marshalltown at Rogers Sports Complex.
On the heels of a 7-3 triumph in the opener, FDSH dropped an 8-5 decision in the nightcap.
"I thought we played very well in the first game and had a number of people step up and do their jobs for us," Dodger head coach Andi Adams said. "Even though we had plenty of chances, it's always tough to win two games. Marshalltown is a capable team that just beat (then-No. 3 Class 5A) Valley (a week ago Monday) for the first time in 18 years. I was still proud of the fight we showed all the way until the end."
In game one, Fort Dodge collected 12 hits - from eight different players - and managed three runs in both the first and fourth innings and one more insurance score in the sixth.
Jamie Haden, a sophomore designated player, went a perfect 3-for-3 with a RBI and a run scored out of the No. 9 spot in the order for the Dodgers.
FORT DODGE 7, MARSHALLTOWN 3
Marshalltown 101 010 0-3 9 2
Fort Dodge 300 301 x-7 12 1
Lauren Mazour (L, 6 IP, 12 H, 7 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 2 K) and Taylor Wagner; Mallory Kilian (W, 11-9; 7 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K) and Taylor Messerly.
2B-FD: Madi Bodholdt, Kilian, Jamie Haden. 3B-M: Mazour. HR-M: Wagner. MH-M: Wagner (3), Madi Bellile (3); FD: Haden (3), Kilian (2), Bodholdt (2). SB-M: Wagner. CS-M: Kari Smith; FD: Chelsy Krantz. LOB-M: 7; FD: 4.
MARSHALLTOWN 8, FORT DODGE 5
Marshalltown 240 010 1-8 11 3
Fort Dodge 100 201 1-5 9 2
Taylor Vaske (W, 7 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 K) and Wagner; Megan Gibson (L, 6-9; 7 IP, 11 H, 8 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 2 K) and Messerly.
2B-M: Cassidy Blackford. HR-M: Wagner; FD: Maddie Egli. MH-M: Blackford (3), Bellile (2); FD: Lexi Astor (2), Lani Van Zyl (2), Kilian (2). SB-M: Blackford (2), Bellile, Quinn Goodman. CS-M: Goodman. LOB-M: 5; FD: 7. DP-FD: 1.
"It was encouraging to see Jamie swing the bat so well," said Adams.
Freshman Mallory Kilian and sophomore Madi Bodholdt each delivered two hits with a double and a RBI for FDSH. Bodholdt also crossed the dish once, while junior Taylor Messerly came through with a two-run single to center field in the bottom of the fourth.
Going the distance in the circle was Kilian (11-9), who scattered nine hits with one walk and four strikeouts.
Sparking the Bobcats (16-20, 7-13) with three hits apiece were Taylor Wagner and Madi Bellile. Wagner also went deep, scored three times, drove in a run and swiped a base. Cassidy Blackford added two RBI.
After spotting the visitors an early 2-0 edge in the second contest, the Dodgers were left playing catch-up the rest of the way. FDSH actually brought the potential tying run to the plate five times in the last two frames and failed to capitalize.
Sophomore Lexi Astor, freshman Lani Van Zyl and Kilian all produced a pair of hits for Fort Dodge, while sophomore Maddie Egli blasted her third round-tripper of the season - a two-run shot to center in the fourth.
"Maddie had another big hit for us, but we wasted too many opportunties," Adams said. "There were some balls we could've made plays on that we didn't. We just didn't perform like we need to heading into the postseason."
Blackford was 3-for-3 with two runs and a RBI for Marshalltown, and Bellile was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and a run knocked in. Wagner also crushed her second long ball of the evening to leadoff the game.
With the split, the Dodgers finished 2-2 against the Bobcats this year after winning seven of the previous eight meetings in the head-to-head series.
"Playing the type of schedule we do will only help us now," said Adams. "We should be prepared for anything we face (at tournament time)."
Fort Dodge will battle the winner of either Sioux City North (13-21) or Sioux City West (8-20) in a 5A regional semifinal here Saturday at 7 p.m.