The Central Iowa Conference softball doubleheader between Fort Dodge and fifth-ranked (Class 5A) Ankeny here Wednesday was billed as a potential regional tournament rematch.
Head coach Andi Adams hopes her Dodgers get another crack at the defending state champions in the postseason. And if that happens, she's expecting a much better performance than what she saw last night.
The Hawks (21-8 overall) swept through FDSH at Rogers Park, winning 3-1 and 6-1 in the first meeting between the two programs since last year's thrilling 1-0 regional final at Ankeny.
The Dodgers (19-10) were much more competitive in that matchup than what they showed at times yesterday, but Adams believes her squad has the potential to bounce back if the opportunity later presents itself.
''We definitely weren't at our best (Wednesday),'' Adams said. ''I think we found out a little more about ourselves and we also picked up some pointers from Ankeny. This was a learning experience, both in what we need to do to match that kind of intensity and what they do to gain a mental edge on their opponent.
''Ankeny has that swagger. They're the champs and they have a tremendous amount of team confidence. They want to force the issue and be the aggressor, and you have to give them credit for still playing hard and hungry even with (the 2012 title) in their trophy case.''
ANKENY 3, FORT DODGE 1
Ankeny 000 030 0 - 3 8 1
Fort Dodge 000 000 1 - 1 6 0
Serena Blank (W, 8-1; 7 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K) and Kendyl Lindaman; Mallory Kilian (3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1K), Megan Gibson (L, 0-1; 4 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 2 K) and Taylor Messerly. 2B-A: Kendyl Lindaman. S-FD: Kinna Teske.
ANKENY 6, FORT DODGE 1
Ankeny 023 001 0 - 6 10 3
Fort Dodge 000 000 1 - 1 9 0
Serena Blank (W, 9-1; 7 IP, 9 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K) and Kendyl Lindaman; Cassie Tjebben (L, 7-3; 4 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 0 BB, 1 K), Meagan Hartman (3 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 K) and Taylor Messerly. SB-FD: Lani Van Zyl, Lexi Astor.
A three-run Hawk fifth inning broke a scoreless tie in the opener, as a pair of perfectly-place fly balls dropped into the Dodger outfield before Hawk freshman phenom Kendyl Lindaman delivered a run-scoring double. Fort Dodge managed only a single run despite having numerous opportunities to crack the ice.
''We made some mistakes in the field communication-wise that just can't happen,'' Adams said. ''Plus we stranded too many runners and didn't take advantage of the chances we gave ourselves (at the plate).
''That adds up to a long day when you're facing an opponent of this caliber.''
Lani Van Zyl and Madi Bennett both had two hits in game one for FDSH, which didn't have an extra-base hit or a walk in either contest. Maddie Bodholdt plated the lone Dodger run with an RBI groundout.
Ankeny struck early in the nightcap, tallying two runs in the second and three more in the third. Fort Dodge again recorded its only run in the last frame, when Mallory Kilian came through with an RBI single.
Van Zyl again had two hits for the Dodgers, as did Lexi Astor and Kilian. Fort Dodge stranded nine runners on base.
Eighth-grade pitcher Meagan Hartman worked three effective innings of relief in the latter affair.
''I thought our pitching was fine,'' Adams said. ''Mallory didn't give up a run (in the opener), then Megan Gibson came in and did well. And Meagan Hartman showed a lot of competitiveness, challenging their hitters despite not having a lot of career varsity innings under her belt.
''When you hold Kendyl to a 2-for-8 day (Lindaman came in batting .523 with 16 home runs and 47 RBI in just 27 games), that's an accomplishment. There are just a lot of little things that we can't be doing and need to clean up - especially given how late in the season we're getting.''
Fort Dodge potentially could face the Hawks again in a regional final on July 16 in Ankeny. The Dodgers will take on either Sioux City East or Sioux City North in the semifinals on July 13 at Rogers Park, while the Hawks meet Ames that same night on the other side of the bracket.
Ankeny eliminated Fort Dodge in a regional final last summer. 1-0, on its way to the 5A state title.
The Dodgers host Marshalltown (7-13) in a CIC Northern Division make-up twinbill here tonight at 6:15 p.m.