Surge to silver
The Fort Dodge softball team rediscovered its rhythm in the 14th annual FDSH Invitational at Rogers Park this weekend.
Unfortunately for the Dodgers, their championship-game opponent was swinging an even hotter bat.
Iowa City West, an unranked squad with a deceiving overall record, sneaked up on the field to capture the championship on Saturday by crushing No. 11 West Des Moines Dowling and then taking down Fort Dodge in the finals, 4-2.
At first glance, The Women of Troy (11-12 overall) appear to be underachieving this season. West was 31-11 a year ago, and had made an appearance in the season’s first IGHSAU Class 5A rankings last month. Yet they started 3-11, with five losses in which they’d given up at least eight runs.
Despite not having any significant roster changes, West has resurrected itself by reeling off eight victories in its last nine contests — including four at Rogers Park to earn the title.
The Women of Troy plated three quick first-inning runs against the Dodgers (12-11), and that wound up being enough in the finals. Fort Dodge got within 3-2 in the fifth on a Loghen Schnetzer home run, but West added a seventh-inning insurance run and retired head coach Andi Adams’ squad in order to seal the deal.
”They sure look like a (Top-15 ballclub) right now,” said Adams, whose program was denied a sixth FDSH Invite title. ”There is a lot of talent in their lineup, but more than anything, they brought more energy than we did — both on the field and in the dugout. You can tell they are a confident team right now, and they’re feeding off (being the aggressor).
”They did it to Dowling and they did it to us right off the bat. We have to not only match, but surpass the (intensity of) our opponent. We were close; we were in position (to win the championship). It’s disappointing, but with that being said, we made a nice run to get there. It was good to get back on track.”
The longball against West was the fourth of the year for Schnetzer, just a freshman.
The Dodgers knocked off a pair of rated foes to reach the finals, taking down No. 4 (Class 1A) Newell-Fonda on Saturday morning, 5-2, and fourth-ranked (4A) Winterset in the afternoon, 4-2.
Eighth-grader Tristin Doster had two hits, two steals and a pair of runs scored against the Huskies, while Tehya Miller recorded two hits and Bre Tjebben contributed an RBI triple. Winterset (20-5) led 2-0 early, but the Dodgers clawed back against standout pitcher Sophie Stover.
Senior Meagan Hartman earned the victory, with Tjebben retiring the final six batters to notch the save.
Fort Dodge plated three runs in the third inning against the Mustangs (19-7), and stayed in control from there. Schnetzer had two hits, including a double, while Tjebben drove in a pair and tossed a complete game five-hitter. She didn’t walk a batter and struck out five.
Adams thanked Rogers Park superintendent Jim Winter and his staff for ”exceptional work” throughout the tournament. Rain halted action on Friday evening, pushing the schedule into Saturday morning.
”It was a long day, but they did an incredible job of getting things ready first thing (on Saturday),” Adams said. ”Jim and his crew are the best. They are ready to help no matter what at a moment’s notice for all of these teams and the fans involved. We really appreciate their effort and professionalism.”
Adams also lauded the support of FDSH activities director Matt Elsbecker and his assistant, Ryan O’Leary.
”This is a first-class event because of the people,” Adams said. ”We have 16 quality teams here year after year, and they are treated the right way. That’s a credit to everyone who is invested in our tournament, and we’re very thankful for that.”
Dowling (14-6) defeated Winterset in the third-place contest, while Ankeny (10-12) pulled away from Newell-Fonda to take fifth place.
FORT DODGE 5, NEWELL-FONDA 2
Fort Dodge 003 101 0 — 5 9 1
Newell-Fonda 001 100 0 — 2 5 3
Bre Tjebben (W) and Maggie Harvey; Ella Larsen (L), Olivia Larsen (4) and Peyton Wilken. 2B–FD: Tristin Doster, Loghen Schnetzer.
FORT DODGE 4, WINTERSET 2
Fort Dodge 002 010 0 — 4 6 1
Winterset 200 000 0 — 2 7 2
Meagan Hartman (W), Katelyn Werning (5), Bre Tjebben (6, SV) and Maggie Harvey; Sophie Stover (L) and Emma Lowden. 2B–W: Macy Johnson 2. 3B–FD: Bre Tjebben.
IOWA CITY WEST 4, FORT DODGE 2
IC West 300 000 1 — 4 7 1
Fort Dodge 000 020 0 — 2 6 2
Kylie Heisdorffer (W) and Kaitlynn Fangmann; Meagan Hartman (L), Bre Tjebben (4) and Maggie Harvey. HR–FD: Loghen Schnetzer.