Dodgers make a statement
No. 11 Fort Dodge softball team sweeps eighth-ranked Urbandale, improves to 16-2 overall
Speechless, stunned and scared to death was the only way Andi Adams could describe it.
Players and fans held their collective breath on Monday during warmups, as Kaden Pederson lay motionless in center field, moments after the senior had collided with second baseman Aubrey Davis.
When Pederson got up, she had a gash on her arm after being cut with a cleat.
Pederson was rushed to the hospital, and received 10 stitches in her non throwing hand.
The 11th-ranked Dodgers (16-2 overall, 7-1 in the CIML Iowa Conference) rallied around their sudddenly-injured leader and swept eighth-ranked Urbandale (9-4, 3-3), 7-6 and 9-2, in an early-season showdown and litmus test for FDSH.
“We were all holding our breath,” Adams said. “When one of your senior leaders is down like that, it’s a very scary thing. Kaden has been playing lights-out this year. With her out of the lineup all of a sudden, we just had to figure it out find a way.
“I just told them, ‘she’s going to be fine. We have to step up and play for her.'”
The Dodgers did just that and earned their first sweep of a ranked opponent since defeating West Des Moines Dowling on the road in 2016.
Urbandale senior pitcher Jessica Walljasper entered the contest with a 1.67 earned run average, and the J-Hawks carried a team ERA of 2.68. That took a hit in a hurry, as Fort Dodge banged out 16 runs and 21 hits.
“We have unbelievable team chemistry,” Adams said. “We are riding this momentum and proving how hard we work doesn’t have anything to do with size or age.
“You can’t cut corners in the dark if you want to shine under the bright lights. And we haven’t cut any corners on the way here.”
Fort Dodge teed off on both Walljasper and junior hurler Kayla Staples. Freshman Tristin Doster teed off on both pitchers, blasting a two-run homer off Walljasper and a three-run shot off Staples in the first inning both times.
Doster has now driven in 25 runs on the season, which ranks in the Top-5 of Class 5A. Senior Bre Tjebben is also in the Top-5 with 28 after socking a two-run homer in the opener.
In the first contest, Urbandale clung to a 3-2 lead after a two-run homer from Northwestern University recruit Skyler Shellmyer and a solo shot from Walljasper. But the Dodgers strung together a five-run fourth inning to take a 7-3 edge.
Junior Daphne Alstott scored the first run after advancing to third on a Haley Wills double, then stealing home for the first run of the inning.
Eighth-grader Tory Bennett drove in Wills with an RBI single, then scored on freshman Chloe Wertz’s single. Tjebben topped off the scoring with her two-run blast.
Urbandale senior Allison Yoder cut into the lead with a three-run long ball in the fifth to trim the deficit to 7-6, but the J-Hawks were never able to tie it or gain the upper-hand.
Alstott, Wills and Bennett finished with two hits each.
Eighth-grader Jalen Adams shut the door in the final two innings, improving to 7-1 on the season. Adams allowed six hits, striking out six and only walking two.
“These younger kids have been playing for years. They were ready,” Adams said. “All they wanted was a chance to compete and prove themselves.”
It was all Fort Dodge in the second contest, as the Dodgers shot ahead 9-1 early.
Doster started the scoring with her three-run blast, then Wertz delivered a two-run single. Bennett scored in the second after pinch running for Doster.
In the third inning, the Dodgers tallied three more runs on an Adams RBI single, a Tjebben RBI double and Davis scoring on a wild pitch.
Adams finished 3-for-4 with an RBI. Tjebben had two more hits, and Wertz had two hits as well.
Sophomore pitcher Katelyn Werning scattered nine hits to stay unbeaten, picking up her seventh win of the season.
“We have our tablesetters, but every one can knock in runs,” Adams said. “These girls don’t just go up there and swing the bat. They want and know how to hit. Our pitchers (Adams and Werning), did a phenomenal job against one of the best offenses in the state.
“I’m very blessed to have this team. We’re having a lot of fun.”
The Dodgers are back in action on Wednesday when they face 14th-ranked Johnston on the road. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.
Fort Dodge hasn’t beaten Johnston since 2006.
FORT DODGE 7, URBANDALE 6
Urbandale 002 130 0 — 6 6 1
Fort Dodge 200 500 x — 7 11 1
Jessica Walljasper (L, 6 IP, 11 hits, 2Ks, 1BB) and Jordan Henderson. Jalen Adams (W, 7IP, 6 hits, 6Ks, 1BB) and Tristin Doster. 2B–FD: Haley Wills, Chloe Wertz. HR–U: Skyler Shellmyer, Allison Yoder, Jessica Walljasper; FD: Bre Tjebben, Tristin Doster.
FORT DODGE 9, URBANDALE 2
Urbandale 001 100 0 — 2 9 2
Fort Dodge 513 000 x — 9 10 2
Kalya Staples (L, 6IP, 10 hits, 1SO, 2BB) and Jordan Henderson. Katelyn Werning (W, 7IP, 9 hits, 0SO, 1BB) and Tristin Doster. 2B–FD: Jalen Adams, Bre Tjebben, Chloe Wertz. HR–FD: Tristin Doster.