Head coach Blake Utley struggled to find a silver lining in the performance of his Fort Dodge baseball team here Monday.
The Dodgers (21-17 overall, 6-6 CIC Northern Division) were swept by Ames for a second time this season, falling by scores of 8-7 and 17-4 at Ed McNeil Field.
With the two losses, FDSH has now dropped five straight and seven of their past eight games.
"It's pretty frustrating, but we just didn't come ready to play (Monday)," Utley said. "I'll take the blame for this (sweep). At the same time, you can't walk so many people (the Dodgers issued 13 free passes) and still expect to beat a team like Ames. Our pitching obviously didn't get the job done."
In the opener, the Dodgers rallied back from a pair of six-run deficits to deadlock the contest in the sixth. Sophomore Sam Kolacia's sacrifice fly to right field brought home senior JC Hatcher with the tying run. Matt Flummerfelt's RBI double later scored Alex Brammer with the game-winner for the Little Cyclones (22-13, 11-1).
"It was good to see us fight our way back in Game 1," said Utley. "We've just got to find a way to be the aggressor from the start. It's always tough when you dig yourself such a big early hole."
AMES 8, FORT DODGE 7
Ames 013 210 1-8 9 2
Fort Dodge 000 133 0-7 11 2
Ethan Hahn (5 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 2 K), Zach Woodbeck (W, 3-1; 2 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 1 K) and Toran Shahidi; Andrew Stover (L, 4-3; 7 IP, 9 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 5 K) and Cainen Hiracheta.
2B-A: Austin Nowers, Chris Sorrentino, Alex Brammer, Matt Flummerfelt; FD: Austin Halligan, Hiracheta, JC Hatcher, Kole Kampen. 3B-A: Nowers. HR-A: Erik Dempsey. LOB-A 6, FD 8. DP-A 1, FD 1.
AMES 17, FORT DODGE 4 (5 Inn.)
Ames 702 08-17 16 0
Fort Dodge 103 00-4 4 1
Grant Koehler (W, 1-2; 3 IP, 2 H, 4 ER, 4 BB, 1 K), Jake Stone (2 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K) and Shahidi; Cory Alexander (L, 2-3; 2/3 IP, 4 H, 7 ER, 4 BB, 0 K), Brandon Archibald (3 1/3 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 2 K), Drew Hansen (1 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 1 K) and Hiracheta.
2B-A: Dempsey. HR-A: Brammer; FD: Kampen. SB-FD: Sam Kolacia. CS-FD: Sam Cook. LOB-A 10, FD 4.
Junior Austin Halligan, Hatcher and sophomore Cainen Hiracheta each delivered two hits for Fort Dodge. Cory Alexander, Hatcher and Kolacia all crossed the dish twice, while Hatcher and Kolacia both drove in two.
For Ames, Austin Nowers and Will Weber collected two hits apiece. Erik Dempsey also blasted a two-run longball to right field in the fourth. Nowers, Chris Sorrentino and Brammer each scored twice. Nowers chipped in three RBI.
With all the momentum still on their side, the Little Cyclones pulled away behind an early seven-spot in the nightcap.
Kole Kampen, a sophomore, sparked the Dodgers with a three-run homer in the third - his first of the season. Kolacia plated Halligan with the other FDSH tally on a ground out to shortstop.
Brandon Archibald, Andrew Stover and Thomas Hartley all managed singles for Fort Dodge, which was outhit on the night, 25-15.
"Hitting-wise, I thought we had some good swings on the day," Utley said. "Kole hit the ball real well on his home run. The bad part was the score was already 9-1 as opposed to 3-0."
Nowers was a perfect 4-for-4 with a walk and two runs scored for outright league champion Ames, while Joe Bappe finished with three hits and four RBI. Brammer launched a three-run shot as well in the fifth.
Defensively, the Dodgers turned a 6-3 double play and gunned down a Little Cyclone base runner at the plate on an 8-3-2 putout. Hatcher also robbed Ames of at least one more score with a nice leaping catch at second base. Both Hartley and Stover made impressive diving stops at first.
Twenty of the 25 Little Cyclone runs remarkably came with two outs.
Dating back to the 2012 campaign, Ames has now won eight of the last nine meetings against Fort Dodge.
Stover (4-3) and Alexander (2-3) each took losses on the mound for the Dodgers, who are now 6-10 at home this year.
Wrapping up their regular season, Fort Dodge welcomes Ankeny Centennial today. First pitch for Senior Night is set for 3:30 p.m.