FD softball players make all-CIML team
Tjebben, Alstott on elite list in ultra-competitive Iowa division
After fully embracing the challenge of playing in the state’s toughest conference, Fort Dodge continued to enjoy the fruits of its labor on the awards circuit recently by seeing a total of 10 softball players land on the all-CIML Iowa Conference teams.
Senior Bre Tjebben and junior Daphne Alstott were named to the first squad, with senior Kaden Pederson, sophomore Loghen Schnetzer, freshman Tristin Doster and eighth-grader Jalen Adams all making the second team.
Despite being unranked and largely overlooked in the preseason, the Dodgers had one of the most successful campaigns in school history. Fort Dodge went 36-8 overall — setting a program record for wins during the modern 40-game era — and qualified for the state tournament, losing there to Cedar Rapids Jefferson in the quarterfinals before knocking off Dubuque Hempstead on the consolation side.
“To even be mentioned as an all-CIML player in any capacity is an incredible honor,” FDSH head coach Andi Adams said. “If you look at the individual talent in (the Iowa Division) alone … there are so many juniors and seniors who were all-state and are going on to play at the highest level (in college).
“I’m incredibly happy for Bre and Daph. We probably had a few (second teamers) that could have been in that first group as well, but that’s kind of the way that it works (for underclassmen) — you pay your dues, keep proving yourself, and eventually, you get there.”
Tjebben, also a first team all-state selection, hit .418 and drove in a Dodger-best 50 runs. She struck out only four times in 153 at-bats, and also went 8-3 as a pitcher with a 2.05 earned run average.
The Iowa Central Community College recruit fired a complete game from the circle in Fort Dodge’s 5-2 regional final upset of Urbandale — a fellow CIML Iowa heavyweight which saw its run of three consecutive state appearances end at the hands of the Dodgers.
“Bre was the sun to this group,” Adams said. “Everyone revolved around her, and she brought light and energy to her teammates. She and Kaden were who the younger players wanted to fight for, and answered to when it came to being accountable and responsible.
“Her pitching performances in (both regionals and at state) were nothing short of spectacular over the course of her career. She had so many clutch moments. But for everything she did as a player, it pales in comparison to who Bre is and will be as a person moving forward.”
Alstott batted a club-best .471, scoring 50 runs and driving in 38. The third baseman also swiped 21 bags.
Alstott was a second team IGCA all-state choice, and made the Class 5A all-tournament squad at Rogers Park as well.
“Daphne accomplished quite a bit during her freshman year, but struggled at times with injuries as a sophomore and just couldn’t quite get on track,” Adams said. “She could have used that adversity as an excuse and stopped working, but to her credit, she treated it as motivation and became an even better player because of it.
“When you don’t perform up to your own standards, you can either take the easy route and throw in the towel or you can get back to work and overcome your obstacles. She did that, which is a great lifelong lesson.”
Pederson went from being a defensive specialist without many plate appearances to hitting .319 with 26 runs scored and 24 RBI in her last Dodger season.
“I will always use Kaden as an example of patience and perseverance for future players,” Adams said. “She took what she needed to work on seriously to become a more well-rounded player, and was someone her teammates could really look up to. Her maturity and development were so key to what we accomplished this year.”
Despite suffering a serious knee injury in the offseason, Schnetzer still managed to slug seven home runs and drive in 42 while batting .346. The first baseman hit a walk-off long ball to give the Dodgers their state victory over Hempstead.
“Loghen wasn’t anywhere near 100 percent, but she battled her way through and had a very productive year,” Adams said. “We’re looking forward to seeing what these next two years will hold for her. She’ll get stronger and tougher.”
Doster was arguably FDSH’s most productive all-around player, batting .384 and leading the squad in home runs (8), doubles (18), RBI (44), and slugging percentage (.660). The catcher also stole eight bases and only struck out seven times.
“As was the case with the all-district and all-state teams, Tristin was unfortunately behind some incredible older talent at her position,” Adams said. “She’s a strong athlete playing what I consider to be our toughest position every day. She had a terrific season. Not making the first team will only motivate her, because she already has the ability and the numbers.”
Adams hit .360 as a varsity rookie with 33 RBI. She led the Dodgers in victories (19) and strikeouts (113) from the pitching circle as well, while sporting a 2.57 ERA.
Adams, Andi’s daughter, was a third team all-state utility choice.
“(Assistant) Coach (Sam) Edwards joked with me and said, ‘it’s OK to praise your daughter from time to time,'” Andi Adams said. “I’m very proud of her, just like I am all of her teammates. She’s come a long way. She has a long way to go.
“I don’t want Jalen to rest on this or think there isn’t a lot of work still to be done, but she already knows that. And she knows I don’t feel any differently and won’t treat her any differently than the rest of (the squad).”
Junior Aubrey Davis (.301, 31 RBI, team-best 16 sacrifice bunts), sophomore Katelyn Werning (9-2 record, team-low .172 batting average against, 2.18 ERA), freshman Chloe Wertz (.276, 29 RBI) and eighth-grader Tory Bennett (.355, 18 RBI, 10 SB) were honorable-mention selections.
“Remember all of their names, because there are bigger and better days ahead for all of them as well,” Adams said. “And even (freshman right-fielder) Sophia (Klinger), who didn’t have the plate appearances (to qualify) but was one of our better defenders, definitely deserved recognition.
“On one hand, I suppose we were a little ahead of schedule in terms of what we accomplished (in 2018). But the vast majority of these girls are just getting started. And they’re hungry. They appreciate (the honors), but that’s not what they play for. They’re going to fight to bring home a title on their home soil (at Rogers Park), and that will be the goal until they’re done here (at FDSH).”
The Dodgers (14-6 in the CIML Iowa) tied for second with Johnston in the league standings. Fort Dodge and the Dragons qualified for state.
Urbandale was the division champion with a 16-4 mark. All three were in the season’s final Top-10 poll, while West Des Moines Dowling also spent the vast majority of the year ranked in the Top-15.