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Dodgers one step from state trip

—Messenger photo by Britt Kudla Fort Dodge senior Loghen Schnetzer will help lead the top-ranked Dodgers in a Class 5A regional final tonight at Rogers Park.

Through all the trials and tribulations of the season, the one certainity that remained for the Fort Dodge softball team — the love of the game.

The year began with the season in jeopardy, to being able to take the field. Once the season started there was always the chance of the season coming to a hault or a quarantine period with one positive test of COVID-19.

“This year went from hopeful, to devastation, and to fear of thinking if we were doing the right thing of playing,” said Fort Dodge head coach Andi Adams. “This has been a complete rollercoaster ride of emotions. I take my hat off to every coach.

“Before the season started we had to hope that the kids were being deligent of working on their own. I have been blessed to have such a wonderful staf from the middle school all the way up, who tried to figure something out early. I want to thank the bus barn for being flexible to get us to game. Kevin Astor (FDSH athletic director) has been a humengous rock star for getting us from zero games to a schedule that has would be competitive for us.”

Through it all the top-ranked Dodgers stayed together with one thought on their mind — capturing the school’s first ever state softball championship.

“This is what they love,” Adams said. “They were frustrated when we couldn’t play, but once we began they wanted to play, and once we started, they wanted to compete. This team is very competitive. All of their love for the game is just built from the mentality that we have.”

The Dodgers (25-3 overall) will face Sioux City North (9-10) in a Class 5A regional final at Rogers Park for a berth in the state tournament.

First pitch is slated for 7 p.m.

Fort Dodge, who has won 10 straight games, is looking for their third straight trip to the state tournament and fifth in the last six seasons. This would be the 16th time in school history.

“We want to take advantage of this season and this team,” Adams said. “It’s good to make it to state, but we expect much more than that. We are beyond that point.

“You can’t take the state tournament for granted because “she” is mean. It will welcome you there and bam it’s over. We want to have a great tournament for our town, our community and everyone who supports us.”

Fort Dodge’s postseason opener and two regular season games that were slated against Ames were canceled because of COVID-19.

The Dodgers enter the final with an experienced lineup. Senior Loghen Schnetzer leads the state with 45 RBI. She is tied for first with nine home runs and is fifth in total bases.

Sophomore pitcher Jalen Adams finished the regular season with a 17-1 record and a 0.60 ERA. She has struck out 143 batters in 94 innings.

At the plate Adams is tied for the state lead with 17 doubles and is second in hits with 55. She is batting .606.

Junior catcher Tristin Doster ranks in the Top-5 in the entire state for total bases (1st, 90), RBI (2nd, 41), hits (3rd, 51), doubles (4th, 14) and runs (5th, 39). Doster is batting .554 with seven home runs.

Sophomore Tory Bennett ranks in the state’s Top 15 for runs (1st, 45), stolen bases (4th, 27) and hits (14th, 40).

Sophomore Haley Wills is hitting .338 with 22 RBI and 25 hits. Sophomore sisters Martyne Lowrey and Malia Lowrey have 25 hits each. Martyne has driven in 13 runs, while Malia has 17 RBI.

Sophomore Maia Davis and junior Sophia Klinger have 19 runs and 11 RBI respectively. Junior Chloe Wertz has 11 RBI.

The North Stars dropped their final two regular season games and are coming off a 13-0 win over Sioux City East in the semifinals.

Junior pitcher Courtney Johnson is 4-9 with a 3.60 ERA and has struck out 74 batters.

Junior Bailey Anderson is the North Stars’ leading hitter at .404. Anderson has driven in 15 runs. Sophomore Avery Beller has 20 RBI on the season and 21 hits.

The state tournament will be held at Rogers Park starting July 27 and running through July 31.

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