Just when it looked like the Fort Dodge baseball team was ready to snap out of a rare seven-game funk, Mother Nature took over and wiped out the annual intra-city baseball rivalry game between the Dodgers and St. Edmond.
Due to lightning and rain, play was halted in the top of the fifth inning of Thursday night's contest between Fort Dodge (13-10 overall) and the Gaels (13-8) at Rogers Sports Complex.
The Dodgers were leading by a 7-1 count with one out and runners at second and third. No makeup date has been announced.
Messenger photo by Britt Kudla
Fort Dodge's Thomas Hartley connects for a hit against St. Edmond on Thursday at Rogers Park. For more photos, please visit CU?at www.messengernews.net
"I thought our guys were focused and ready to go (last night)," FDSH head coach Blake Utley said. "It was nice to see us get things turned around a little bit and have a good feeling back.
"After going through a tough part of our schedule, our boys want to be at the ballpark again."
No. 8 batter Thomas Hartley went a perfect 3-for-3 with two runs scored and a RBI for the Dodgers. Seniors JC Hatcher and Andrew Stover each delivered two hits, while classmate Cory Alexander added a pair of RBI.
FORT DODGE 7, ST. EDMOND 1
Fort Dodge 140 11-7 11 1
St. Edmond 100 0x-1 5 2
Andrew Stover (4 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K) and Cainen Hiracheta; Jason Setterdahl (4 1/3 IP, 11 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 1 K) and Ryan Szalat.
2B-FD: Stover. SB-FD: JC Hatcher (2), Cory Alexander, Gunnar Conrad, Thomas Hartley. MH-FD: Hatcher (2), Stover (2), Hartley (3); SE: Setterdahl (2).
As a team, FDSH collected 11 hits and five stolen bases. The Dodgers plated at least one run in four different frames, including four in the second.
Hatcher singled with two outs in the first, stole second and third, and came home on a RBI double to center field by Stover. After the Gaels immediately answered with an unearned run on a throwing error in the bottom half, Drew Hansen and Austin Halligan were hit by pitches consecutively with the bases loaded to push Fort Dodge back in front.
Hartley later crossed the dish on a passed ball to cushion the Dodger advantage, followed by a sacrifice fly from Alexander.
"I don't know if we ever match up with (Fort Dodge) very well," said St. Edmond head coach Joe Shanks. "Two of the innings they scored, though, started with an error, which you can't afford to do against any school.
"The last couple of years it's been hard to generate much offense against their pitchers."
Stover was in line for the victory on the mound, scattering five hits and no earned runs over four innings. The Iowa Central recruit walked one and fanned five.
"I thought Andrew pitched well," Utley said. "If we can string some hits together, we're a tough team to beat. Once we settled in, we had some quality at-bats."
Jason Setterdahl, a sophomore, helped his own cause with two hits for St. Edmond. Hank Crimmins, Reid Johnson and Logan Fear all managed singles. Crimmins also scored the lone Gael run.
Defensively, Crimmins made a highlight-reel catch in center field to end the second. He earlier gunned down a Dodger runner at third when he overslid the bag.
"Hank made an exciting play there," said Shanks. "I was thinking I was at a showcase for college scouts. He's a good player."
Setterdahl, a southpaw, went the distance for the Gaels, walking none and striking out one.
Entering Thursday's contest, Fort Dodge had won the last four meetings against St. Edmond. In the all-time series, the Dodgers hold a 26-6 lead.
"We have a very good relationship with (the Gaels)," said Utley. "I have a lot of respect for Joe and their program."
Next action for the Dodgers is Monday at CIC Northern Division rival Marshalltown (11-10). St. Edmond returns to North Central Conference play tonight at Clarion-Goldfield (4-10).