Dodgers fall in 14-inning tilt
OTTUMWA — Top-ranked (Class 5A) Fort Dodge had to gut its way through a long road trip to face No. 11 Ottumwa on Monday.
First, it looked like the Dodgers could be in danger of getting swept. Then head coach Andi Adams’ squad appeared to be on the brink of taking two from the Bulldogs.
At the end of a late night and 20-plus innings of tense action, FDSH came to the conclusion it got about what it deserved out of the doubleheader: a frustrating split.
Carley Winn’s walk-off home run in the bottom of the 14th inning gave Ottumwa a marathon 4-3 victory in the nightcap at Frank Huston Field, handing the Bulldogs — rated third in the preseason — a bit of a boost after a rough opening week. The Dodgers pieced together a late rally to take the opener, 3-2.
Adams struggled to process the statistic from the second contest that kept Fort Dodge (9-2 overall) from finishing off Ottumwa (2-4) at any point as the extra frames piled up: 20 runners left on base. The Dodgers had a wealth of opportunities despite not being at their best, but came up empty time and time again until Winn sealed their fate.
“You just can’t expect to win on the road against a team like this leaving that many runners stranded,” Adams said. “And not just the 20, but the situations. Runner on second with no one out. First and second with no one out. Runner at third with one out. Basically if there was a scenario for a (missed opportunity), we found a way to squander it.
“To have nine hits and 10 walks and only score three runs…it’s just a reminder that we’re a long way from where we need to be, both physically and mentally. It was a long drive down here and Ottumwa’s a really solid team, but we can’t get into excuses. The effort and the execution just wasn’t where it needed to be, given (the opponent).”
Fort Dodge fought back from a 2-1 deficit in the opener after starting pitcher Jalen Adams gave up a pair of unearned runs in the bottom of the fifth. Senior Loghen Schnetzer homered to tie the score in the top of the sixth, and in the next frame, Adams doubled home Maia Davis to put the Dodgers back up.
“Jalen was phenomenal,” Adams said. “She twisted her ankle really early in the first game, but fought her way through it. I was very proud of the way she competed. And Loghen came up big to swing the momentum back in our favor.”
Adams struck out 12 in seven innings, scattering three hits without allowing an earned run. She was 1-for-1 at the the plate with three walks.
Schnetzer’s blast was her fourth long ball of the year and 29th in her career.
Haley Wills and Kacy Nickerson got locked in a pitcher’s duel to highlight the nightcap, as each hurler wiggled out of trouble time and time again. Ottumwa stranded 14 runners on base as Wills went the distance, allowing four earned runs in 13 innings of work.
“Haley kept fighting. She really set the tone for us,” Adams said. “We made some outstanding plays behind her. Tory (Bennett) did some great things at short. Sophia (Klinger) made big catches in center. But ultimately, at some point, the offense has to back Haley up and get the job done.”
The Dodgers went up 3-2 in the top of the 11th, but the Bulldogs answered with a run of their own to extend the game. Winn’s homer led off the bottom of the 14th.
Adams was 3-for-6 with two doubles and two runs scored. Tristin Doster went deep and was 2-for-7 with two RBI. Malia Lowrey had two hits as well.
Schnetzer walked five times in the second affair. Four were intentional passes.
“We have to get more from the five through nine spots in the order,” Adams said. “Going (3-for-28 combined) just isn’t going to cut it.”
Ottumwa began its season with a pair of losses to No. 6 West Des Moines Valley. The Bulldogs then split with Ankeny.
Fort Dodge returns to action on Wednesday, hosting Marshalltown at 5 p.m.