LEARNING CURVE

-Messenger photo by Britt Kudla
Tristin Doster of Fort Dodge makes a diving catch against Johnston on Wednesday at Rogers Park

-Messenger photo by Britt Kudla Tristin Doster of Fort Dodge makes a diving catch against Johnston on Wednesday at Rogers Park

The Johnston softball team might have graduated five regulars from last year’s Class 5A state championship team, but the Dragons are definitely once again a contender.

Led by timely hitting, No. 5 Johnston scored a doubleheader sweep of 12th-ranked Fort Dodge here Wednesday night at Rogers Park.

Scores were 6-2 and 10-3.

For Dodger (9-10 overall) head coach Andi Adams, having her players compete against a program like the Dragons (17-2) was a way for them to grow as athletes.

“That’s one of the elite programs out there in the state today,” Adams said. “And that’s what I love about playing in the CIML. We are going up against the Johnstons, Dowlings and Urbandales of the state on a nightly basis.

“Sure, we want to win these games and every game, but I believe we are growing so much as players and a team when we compete hard against these programs.”

Adams admitted afterwards that a key going into the night was to contain four-time all-stater and University of Missouri signee Brooke Wilmes. Fort Dodge pitchers Bre Tjebben and Meagan Hartman did that, as Wilmes was 0-for-5 vs. Tjebben and just 1-for-3 vs. Hartman.

The rest of the Johnston lineup, though, picked up the slack.

In the opener, No. 9 hitter Ellie Roquet was 4-for-4 with a double and three RBI, while Emma Ford drove in two. The nightcap saw Ally Schaer carry the offense, hitting a two-run homer in the first and delivering a two-RBI double in the seventh.

“We wanted to keep Wilmes off the bases, which we did,” Adams said. “But they proved that 1-through-9 they are as talented as anyone in the state.

“I thought Bre and Meagan did a really nice job pitching; we just didn’t back them up. You cannot give teams like Johnston extra outs and we did.”

Wilmes, who entered the night batting .583, did connect for an RBI double in her final at-bat of the night.

Emily Flint earned the win opposite Tjebben in the first, striking out 13 batters. Tjebben allowed just two earned runs on seven hits.

Hartman had a two-run homer in the opener, while Daphne Alstott had a double and stole two bases. In the second, Tjebben had two hits and drove in two, while Harvey was 2-for-4 with an RBI.

Fort Dodge returns to action this Friday and Saturday, hosting its own invitational. The Dodgers open with Harlan.

JOHNSTON 6, FORT DODGE 2

Johnston 010 102 2 — 6 10 1

Fort Dodge 000 200 0 — 2 5 3

Emily Flint (W, 7 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 13 K, 0 BB) and Ally Schaer; Bre Tjebben (L, 7 IP, 10 H, 2 ER, 1 K, 4 BB).

HR–FD: Meagan Hartman. 2B–J: Ellie Roquet. RBI–J: Emma Ford (2), Ellie Roquet (3); FD: Meagan Hartman (2). SB–J: Emma Ford.

JOHNSTON 10, FORT DODGE 3

Johnston 200 200 6 — 10 10 1

Fort Dodge 200 000 1 — 3 7 3

Claire Henkenius (W, 4 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 0 K, 0 BB), Allie Bustad (S, 3 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 K, 0 BB) and Ally Schaer; Meagan Hartman (L, 6• IP, 9 H, 9 ER, 1 K, 1 BB), Katelyn Werning (ªIP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 K, 0 BB) and Maggie Harvey.

HR–J: Ally Schaer. 2B–J: Brooke Wilmes, Ally Schaer. RBI–J: Brooke Wilmes, Ally Schaer (4), Hannah Espeland (2), Alish Rusch; FD: Bre Tjebben (2), Maggie Harvey. SB–J: Sydney Illg, Emily Flint.

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