Dodgers can’t stop Dragons
Fort Dodge baseball coach Blake Utley wants his team to “trust the process” as the Dodgers struggle to break out of a nine — game losing streak.
So far, he said, they are doing just that.
The Dodgers ran into a buzz saw Thursday night at Ed McNeil Field as top-ranked (4A) Johnston belted six home runs in the doubleheader for 11-0 and 9-2 victories.
Johnston (14-1) held the Dodgers to just one hit in the opener and four in the nightcap.
“They are the No. 1 team in the state because of their pitching rotation,” said Utley, whose team fell to 5-13.
“They are consistently in the zone. I thought our pitchers did well for a little, then we just lost it.
Good teams like Johnston will expose your weakness and they did just that (tonight).”
The Dragons came in the night with just one home run as a team, but leadoff hitter Drew Beazley quickly doubled that total, hitting the third pitch of the game over the left field wall. Beazley led off the nightcap with a homer as well and followed that up with a shot in the third inning.
Caleb Kuennen had two home runs in the first game. Jack Dryer also went deep for the Dragons in the second game. Johnston finished with 12 extra base hits in the two games among its 23 total hits.
“We are preaching the process and not the outcome,” said Utley. “We’ll keep pushing that. It’s hard to stay focused when we haven’t had the success. We’ll get better with experience and everyone is getting that.”
Johnston starter Adam Stiles allowed just a single by Luke Williamson in the opener. He was relieved by Nathan Blanchard, who pitched a perfect sixth inning. They combined to strike out six Dodgers.
Andrew Zimmerman was just as dominant in the second game, allowing just one hit through five innings. He struck outeight batters, including striking out the side in the fifth.
Fort Dodge finally got on board in the bottom of the sixth against Keaton Duckett, getting an RBI groundout from Drake Miller and a RBI double from Tyrnan Lara.
The Dodgers finished with four hits in the second game.
“The good thing about baseball is we get to restart right away. We’ll do that (Friday). Our attitude has been good. We have great kids. They believe in what we are doing. We have been honest with them where we stand,” said Utley.
Fort Dodge is back at Ed McNeil Field tonight starting at 5 p.m. in a doubleheader with Des Moines Roosevelt. The Rough Riders took a 7-8 record into a doubleheader with Lincoln last night.
Johnston 11, Fort Dodge 0 (6 innings)
Johnston 110 306 — 11 11 0
Fort Dodge 000 000 — 0 1 3
Adam Stiles, Nathan Blanchard (6) and Derek Hackman. Keaton Jones, Anthony Wagner (5), Mason Bodholdt (6) and Shane Halligan. WP–Wagner, Bodholdt 3. 2B–J: Drew Beazley, Andrew Nord. HR–J: Beazley, Caleb Kuennen 2. HBP–J: Peyton Williams (by Jones). SB–J: Alex MacGregor. CS–J: Nord, Hackman. DP–Fort Dodge. LOB–Johnston 8, Fort Dodge 2.
Johnston 9, Fort Dodge 2
Johnston 102 302 1 — 9 12 1
Fort Dodge 000 002 0 — 2 4 0
Andrew Zimmerman, Keaton Duckett (6) and Kuennen. Kade Solverson, Bryer Nelson (6), Halligan (7) and Halligan, Nathan Blocker (7). WP–Duckett. PB–Kuennen. HBP–J: Heckman (by Nelson); FD: Jones (by
Zimmerman). 2B–J: Hackman, Jack Dryer, MacGregor; FD: Tyrnan Lara. 3B–J: MacGregor. HR–J: Beazley 2, Dryer. Sac–J: MacGregor. SB–J: Williams, Dryer; FD: Brycen Bell, Drake Miller. CS–J: Nord, Kuennen; FD: Williamson. DP–Johnston. LOB–Johnston 9, Fort Dodge 5.