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Dodgers play for league title

July 6, 2012

AMES - Fort Dodge's pursuit of a second CIML Iowa Conference baseball championship in the last four years will have to wait another day.

The third-ranked Dodgers (28-5 overall, 16-2 in the league) had their scheduled twinbill with Ames (4-26, 2-16) postponed on Thursday due to excessive overnight rains in the area. The city received a little over an inch of precipitation during a thunderstorm early yesterday morning.

Friday's makeup doubleheader will be at Brookside Park, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Senior Nathan Matthes (4-0) and sophomore JC Hatcher (5-0) are the scheduled starting pitchers in FDSH's rotation.

No. 5 West Des Moines Valley (25-9, 14-4) is the only ballclub still in the title hunt with the Dodgers. A single win this evening or a Tiger loss at Mason City would sew up the crown for the red and black.

Fort Dodge also captured a CIML Iowa crown on the diamond in 2009 - its first since joining the league 16 years prior - with a 15-5 record. The Dodgers' current mark is the program's best in league play since 1990, when they were 31-4 overall and 16-0 in the Big Eight.

Head coach Matt Elsbecker's squad has strung together five consecutive winning seasons in CIML Iowa action, where FDSH has accumulated a 69-29 conference record. In Elsbecker's first three campaigns with the Dodgers, they were 9-51 in the league. The program hadn't posted a single plus-.500 CIML tally in its first 15 years of membership.

Fort Dodge is 145-56 overall during that five-year span, with at least 27 victories in each season.

The Little Cyclones had lost 20 consecutive games before earning a split at Mason City on Monday. Fort Dodge defeated them at Ed McNeil Field by scores of 12-4 and 14-4 on June 19.

Fort Dodge is the top seed in the upcoming Class 4A, Substate 1 tournament, which begins at Rogers Park with the Dodgers facing Sioux City West on Friday, July 13. Ames meets No. 2 seed Sioux City East (27-6) in the opening round of the same substate.



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