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Another milestone for Adams

Dodger softball coach reaches 700 career wins with 7-0 shutout of Ballard

Messenger photo by Eric Pratt: Fort Dodge's Tristin Doster ropes a double against Ballard on Friday at Rogers Park. The Dodgers beat the Bombers, 7-0.

Never one to track records or personal milestones — especially mid-season — Andi Adams only briefly reflected on what 700 career coaching victories means to her after second-ranked (Class 5A) Fort Dodge defeated Ballard by a 7-0 final at Rogers Park.

It was a poignant moment, though.

Adams became just the 40th head coach in Iowa high school softball history — and the third woman ever — to reach the plateau. In her 24th overall season and 21st at FDSH, the 45-year-old Webster City High School graduate took a step back and gave a nod to the assistant coaches, players, parents, grandparents and even the grounds crew dotting the Diamond 1 landscape on Friday afternoon.

“This…this is what it’s all about,” Adams said. “Look at the whole atmosphere: all of these people have a stake in Dodger softball and what it means to this community. That’s what makes me most proud: the culture. This isn’t about me. It never has been. It’s the family of players, former players, fans, coaches, helpers, volunteers, workers…they all (collectively) make this work. If someone were to ask me what 700 looks like, I’d point to this (scene). It’s the kind of environment I always dreamed of.

“Thankfully, they all want to be a part of it. They bought into this program, and the kids and families who make it work. It’s not just about supporting me and the other coaches; it’s about being there for each other.”

Fort Dodge won its seventh consecutive game, improving to 13-3 on the season. Adams’s daughter, Jalen, fired a two-hit shutout with eight strikeouts, and helped her own cause with three hits at the plate.

The 11th-rated (Class 4A) Bombers (11-6) had won 11 out of 12 since an 0-4 start, but they were simply no match for the Dodgers.

“They’re always a solid, well-coached program,” Coach Adams said of Ballard. “This was kind of an odd day, given we were completely out of our routine (the single varsity game was scheduled for 1 p.m. due to an umpire shortage, then delayed an hour by rain). (The team) tried its best to make things as normal as possible, but it’s not easy with an early-afternoon start.”

Senior Chloe Wertz drove in three more runs for the Dodgers. Adams and senior Tristin Doster both doubled twice. Junior Maia Davis scored two times.

“Again, we had a balanced attack and had a lot of different players step up (offensively),” Adams said. “It’s just great to see things starting to click. Even our outs are mostly hard-hit balls.”

Adams extended her scoreless innings streak to 18, improving to 9-0 on the year and 72-8 in her career. The University of Iowa recruit passed Andrea Holst for third on the school’s career strikeout charts, pushing her career total to 533.

“(Ballard head coach) Charlie (Husak) said that you rarely see a pitcher go from being first team all-state as a sophomore and improve as much as she has (this year),” Adams said. “That was nice of him to point out. J’s worked very hard to get to this (level) instead of being satisfied with where she was (in 2020).”

Fort Dodge was facing its 12th ranked 4A or 5A opponent in its first 16 contests.

Adams’ career record currently stands at 700-309, with 12 state tournament appearances. She is the all-time winningest coach — regardless of sport — at FDSH, and one of the youngest Iowa Girls Coaches Association Hall of Fame inductees in state history.

The former Buena Vista University All-American had brief coaching stints at St. Edmond and Eldora-New Providence before taking over with the Dodgers in 2001.

Fort Dodge, last summer’s 5A state runner-up, has been to state in five of the last six seasons.

The Dodgers return to action on Monday at Mason City.

FORT DODGE 7, BALLARD 0

Ballard 000 000 0 — 0 2 3

Fort Dodge 032 200 x — 7 9 1

WP–Jalen Adams (10-0; 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 K). 2B–FD: Jalen Adams 2, Tristin Doster 2. SB–FD: Tory Bennett, Chloe Wertz.

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