Shutout win has Dodgers in semis for first time since ’06
One at-bat sometimes defines a game.
For top-ranked Fort Dodge on Monday at the state softball tournament, one at-bat did just that — and also showed the grit and determination that epitomizes its program.
Dodger pitcher Jalen Adams had that moment at the plate during her team’s 7-0 victory over Bettendorf in a Class 5A quarterfinal at Rogers Park.
Fort Dodge (27-3 overall) will now face No. 6 Ankeny Centennial (22-8) in the 5A semifinals on Wednesday. First pitch is slated for 12:30 p.m. on Dodger Diamond.
The Dodgers, who are making their third straight state appearance and 16th overall, won a first-round contest for the first time since 2006 by blanking the Bulldogs (19-7).
“We were a lot more comfortable,” Jalen Adams said. “We felt more relaxed and were confident.
“I felt we wouldn’t lose. I had a lot of faith in my ‘sisters.'”
Fort Dodge has reached the state tournament 11 times under head coach Andi Adams. The Dodgers are in line to at least tie their best state finish in school history.
“I usually don’t cry, but this cracked me,” Andi Adams said. “We are our own little pack. They were calm, cool, and held their composure. They’re ready for this.”
In the third inning of a scoreless contest, Jalen Adams feel behind in the count with two quick strikes. Adams then dug in and kept fighting off pitch after pitch from Bettendorf’s Sophia DelVecchio.
After seven foul balls and 13 pitches, Adams connected, blasting her first home run of the season to dead center to score Sophia Klinger and put the Dodgers up 2-0.
Adams happily skipped around first and second, and after crossing the plate, received a big hug and kiss from her emotional mother.
The ice was broken. The pressure, lifted.
“My mom doesn’t cry very often, but I saw tears,” Jalen Adams said. “We wanted to win for each other and her. She puts so much work into this. She cares for all of us and we care a lot about her.”
Heading into the state tournament, Adams had played in 115 games at the varsity level, accumulated 366 at-bats and 172 hits (.470 career batting average). She had homered only once before Monday.
“Jalen is a terrific hitter. She just went up there and did a great job,” Andi Adams said. “She knows what to do. When she hit that out, I was just happy for her, and for the fact that we were finally on our way.”
The longball took the wind out of the sails of the Bulldogs, as the Dodgers tacked on five more runs in the next two innings.
“We play with high energy,” Jalen Adams said. “Once we get going, we just keep going.”
It was junior Chloe Wertz’s turn in a clutch situation next. Wertz, hitting out of the eight spot in the Dodgers’ lineup, delivered a big two-out hit to score sophomore Haley Wills and classmate Malia Lowrey.
In the fifth, Fort Dodge’s career home-run leader — senior Loghen Schnetzer — laid down a sacrifice bunt to score sophomore Maia Davis and put the Dodgers up 5-0.
The final blow came when Wills laced a double to the outfield fence, scoring junior Tristin Doster and sophomore Martyne Lowrey.
“I was hoping it was going to go out,” Wills said. “But it was still a good hit to score some runs.
“This team plays so well together and we get along really well. I’m proud of my team. Coach (Adams) works so hard to get us prepared. We did this for her.”
Adams (19-1) was brilliant in the pitching circle, as the Bulldogs were unable to connect much with the Dodger ace. She allowed only two hits and two extra base runners on walks.
The sophomore fanned eight batters in all, including five through the first three innings. She took a perfect game into the fifth before allowing a single. Adams got into one jam in that frame, but Wills caught a line drive to stymie the threat.
“We were so loose,” Andi Adams said. “These girls put a ton of work in. I feel it for them.
“They truly do it for each other and play together as a family.”
Wills, Adams and Wertz finished with two RBI each. Wills had two hits.
Adams, Wertz and junior Sophia Klinger contributed hits as well.
FORT DODGE 7, BETTENDORF 0
Bettendorf 000 000 0 — 0 2 2
Fort Dodge 002 230 x — 7 5 1
WP–Jalen Adams, (19-1, 7IP, 2H, 0ER, 2BB, 8SO); LP–Sophia DelVecchio (4IP, 3H, 4ER, 4BB, 2SO), Emily Rigdon (2IP, 2H, 3ER, 4BB, 1SO); LOB–Bettendorf 3, Fort Dodge 4; 2B–B: Olivia Anderson; FD: Haley Wills; HR–FD: Jalen Adams; SACB–B: Bre Caffery; FD: Haley Wills, Tory Bennett, Loghen Schnetzer, Martyne Lowrey; SB–FD: Maia Davis; RBI–FD: Jalen Adams, Haley Wills, Chloe Wertz, Loghen Schnetzer.