SIOUX CITY - The fifth-ranked (Class 4A) Fort Dodge softball team stayed in an early-season rhythm with a pair of lopsided victories in the Sioux City Heelan Invitational here Saturday.
The Dodgers (5-0 overall) posted two mercy-rule wins, defeating top-ranked (3A) Sergeant Bluff-Luton, 10-0, before routing homestanding Heelan, 15-0.
''The kids are just doing a little bit of everything right now, and they're doing it all well,'' FDSH head coach Andi Adams said. ''We followed up a strong sweep of (No. 4, 5A) Ankeny Centennial (on Wednesday) with a solid performance (yesterday), which is good to see.
''I am really encouraged by the hunger and intensity the players are showing in every inning and with every pitch.''
The Dodgers plated 25 runs on 25 hits and didn't commit a single error in the sweep. Seniors Lexi Astor and Madison Bodholdt and sophomore Madi Bennett all had three hits against SB-L, while junior Mallory Kilian (3-0) earned the win by striking out eight and not surrendering a run.
''I think our lineup is very hard to prepare for,'' Adams said. ''Our gap hitters can and will lay down bunts if the situation dictates. We're very versatile.
FORT DODGE 10,
SERGEANT BLUFF-LUTON 0 (6)
Fort Dodge 315 001 - 10 13 0
SB-Luton 000 000 - 0 1 4
Mallory Kilian and Molly Matthes, Madi Bennett (5); Ludwig and Van Zellen. 2B-FD: Lani Van Zyl.
FORT DODGE 15,
SIOUX CITY HEELAN 0 (4)
Fort Dodge 213 9 - 15 12 0
SC Heelan 000 0 - 0 2 1
Meagan Hartman, Cassie Tjebben (4) and Molly Matthes. 2B-FD: Madison Bodholdt. 3B-FD: Meagan Hartman. HR-FD: Mallory Kilian.
''The execution has been terrific so far; we're putting pressure on the opponent's defense and not letting up.''
Kilian went 3-for-3 against the Crusaders with a long home run. Astor, Bennett, junior Lani Van Zyl and freshman Meagan Hartman added two hits each.
Astor and Bennett both drove in three runs. Hartman (2-0) was the winning pitcher, with junior Cassie Tjebben making her season debut in relief after a bout with strep throat. She struck out two.
''They've just been fun to watch,'' Adams said of the 5-0 start. ''I think our past struggles and inconsistencies really drives and motivates these players. They're gaining confidence, but also staying grounded and realizing it's still all about hard work and doing the little things right.''
The Dodgers will make up their postponed varsity contest with Waterloo East on Monday at Rogers Park. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m.