JOHNSTON - The Fort Dodge softball team was left with a bitter taste of defeat after an improbable loss here Wednesday night.
The Dodgers (22-15 overall) were swept by Johnston, 6-0 and 5-4. In the nightcap, FDSH led by four runs with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning before the Dragons rallied to tie the contest and eventually prevail in their next at-bat.
"I think we played great softball, but we just couldn't slam the door when we were ahead 4-0, so it's very frustrating," said Fort Dodge head coach Andi Adams. "Johnston is a team that has won (12 of its past 13 games) and is peaking at the right time.
"It was very intense and great to watch."
Mallory Kilian went 2-for-4 offensively in the second contest for the Dodgers, while Taylor Messerly added a double.
Despite coming within just one out of a complete game shutout, eighth-grader Meagan Hartman (2-4) suffered the tough-luck loss.
JOHNSTON 6, FORT DODGE 0
Fort Dodge 000 000 0-0 1 1
Johnston 000 033 x-6 8 0
Mallory Kilian and Taylor Messerly; Haylee Towers and Addy Pender.
JOHNSTON 5, FORT DODGE 4 (8 inn.)
Fort Dodge 000 400 0- 4 6 1
Johnston 000 000 41-5 7 3
Meagan Hartman and Messerly; Shuda Jarboe, Sara Knee, Towers (7) and Pender.
2B-FD: Messerly; J: Bernadette Willis, Stanzy Snyder.
Stanzy Snyder plated the winning run for the Dragons (25-11) with an RBI double.
"Meagan did a great job of hitting her spots," Adams said. "Our defense also made some phenomenal plays behind her."
Kilian managed the lone hit for Fort Dodge in the opener.
Freshman Haylee Towers fanned 13 in the victory for Johnston, allowing only one baserunner. The Dragons tallied three runs in the fifth and three more insurance scores in the sixth.
"(Towers) was very impressive," said Adams. "Playing schools like Johnston will only make us better, though. We still have a lot to play for this season, including a conference championship."
Next action for the Dodgers is Friday when they host No. 7 (Class 5A) West Des Moines Valley.