DALLAS CENTER - Fort Dodge softball coach Andi Adams is not afraid of a challenge.
Minutes after the Dodgers' tournament at West Des Moines Valley was rained out last Saturday, Adams was on the phone with the coaches at Dallas Center-Grimes and Carlisle - two of the top programs in Class 4A - trying to schedule a game for early this week.
"When you want to be in serious contention (late in the season), you have to play the best teams," said Adams, whose squad dropped a 5-0 decision to top-ranked (4A) and defending state champion Dallas Center-Grimes here Tuesday. "The girls didn't even hesitate when I asked them if they wanted to play (DC-G).
"This is going to show us where we are and where we need to be. We learned a lot about ourselves. Every time we play, we are learning more about ourselves and the things we need to work on."
University of Missouri recruit Paige Lowary, a hard-throwing left-hander, struck out 11 and allowed three hits to power the Fillies to their eighth straight victory. Lowary, who has a 0.00 ERA this season, set the Dodgers down in order in the first, second, fourth, fifth and seventh innings.
Fort Dodge (9-1) had its best chances to score in the third and sixth.
Dallas Center-Grimes 5, Fort Dodge 0
Fort Dodge 000 000 0 - 0 3 0
DC-Grimes 100 030 x - 5 11 0
Mallory Kilian and Molly Matthes. Paige Lowary and Paige Shanno. WP - Lowary. LP - Kilian. 2B - Lowary, Dani Heritage (DCG), Rachel Lowary (DCG). HR - Tabitha Taylor (DCG). SB - Allison O'Brien (DCG), Brooke Kramer (DCG). Sac - Heritage, Jackie Peyton (DCG). LOB - Fort Dodge 4, DCG 9.
In the third inning, the Dodgers put runners on second and third as Brielle Ulrich and Lexi Astor both reached on infield singles. Lowary (5-0) ended the Dodger threat, though, with her seventh strikeout.
In the sixth, Lani Van Zyl reached on a walk and Mallory Kilian singled to put runners on the corners with two outs, but the Dodgers could not push a run across.
Dallas Center-Grimes scored single runs in the first and second innings and broke the game open with three runs in the fifth behind a solo home run from Tabitha Taylor and a two-run double from Dani Heritage.
"We had opportunities," Adams said. "We had runners on base and we have to capitalize on those."
Kilian took the loss for the Dodgers. The right-hander (5-1) struck out two, walked four and allowed 11 hits.
Adams said she'd like a rematch with the Fillies.
"I told (DC-G coach) Steve (Schlafke) that we'd like to see them again - hopefully in Fort Dodge (at the state tournament)," Adams said. "We're going to learn from this, move on and get stronger."
Fort Dodge doesn't get much time to rest as the Dodgers host top-ranked (5A) Johnston in a doubleheader tonight at Rogers Park.