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MUST-SEE FD

Dodgers are the total package, so don't wait to watch

Messenger photo by Britt Kudla: Fort Dodge senior Chloe Wertz (10) and junior Tory Bennett enjoy a lighter moment after a softball game at Rogers Park.

The victories come with the power of an avalanche, and often, in rapid-fire fashion.

If you blink, you’ll miss a Fort Dodge softball win streak. In the last 24 days, the second-ranked Dodgers have prevailed 22 times in their last 23 games. A run of 14 in a row before a 1-0 setback against No. 1 Muscatine that could have gone either way. Eight straight triumphs since.

Most of the time, the scores aren’t even close. During this most recent three-and-a-half week tear, Fort Dodge has plated 216 runs and allowed only 19. Head coach Andi Adams’s squad has 13 shutouts and five other games with just one run allowed in that period of time. Thirteen contests have ended via the mercy rule, including the last six in a row.

The Dodgers were 36-8 in 2018, 35-7 in 2019, 28-4 in 2020, and they’re 28-4 this season heading into Wednesday’s Senior Night doubleheader against Mason City at Rogers Park. That’s 127 victories and 23 losses — an .847 win percentage — in the last four years combined.

The individual statistics are just as staggering. Senior all-stater Tristin Doster — ostensibly an impossible out lately — is batting .489 with 10 home runs and 38 RBI in the team’s 32 games. Doster shattered the school’s career home-run record on Monday night, a year after former teammate and 2020 FDSH graduate Loghen Schnetzer broke it herself.

Eighth-grader Mariah Myers, a prodigious talent with a keen eye at the plate, is hitting .500 over the course of nearly 100 at-bats. She’s driven in 48 runs — the second-highest total in Class 5A — and, like Doster, hasn’t struck out yet.

At all. Not once.

Junior Jalen Adams continues to overpower the opposition from the pitcher’s circle. She’s 17-1 with an 0.49 earned run average. Teams are batting just .102 against her. The University of Iowa recruit is 80-9 in her career, with 590 strikeouts in 522 innings pitched.

Six Dodgers — Myers, Doster, Tory Bennett (.451), Adams (.404), Maia Davis (.402) and Sophia Klinger (.375) — are currently batting .375 or better. Seven have 20 or more RBI. Eight have scored 20 or more runs. And eighth-grade hurler Lucy Porter is still unbeaten, sitting at 11-0 with a 1.27 earned run average.

All of this against the 10th-toughest schedule in the entire state, as Fort Dodge is 15-4 against ranked opponents.

It’s easy to look at the Dodgers’ summer schedule and think to yourself, “I’ll get to a game soon.” It basically amounts to a six-week blitz of 40 games, and we’re already in the home stretch.

Wednesday’s twinbill versus the Mohawks is the regular-season home finale. The program will pay tribute to its four seniors: Doster, Klinger, Chloe Wertz and Dallas Richardson. Doster, Klinger and Wertz have been mainstays in the lineup literally every single day during this four-year stretch of domination. Richardson is the kind of active student-athlete that inspires youngsters to get involved and stay involved, no matter how busy the schedule may seem.

Our community tends to take all of this for granted. Years and years of wins and state tournament appearances create the illusion that Fort Dodge’s softball success comes naturally. Adams’s program makes it look easy when, in fact, nothing could be further from the truth.

The Dodgers win in June and July because of the work they put in during the offseason. The commitment they have to Adams’s system. The chemistry that develops after years of time spent together. The trust they have in each other.

It’s quite a sight to behold. Head out to Rogers Park on Wednesday and see for yourself. The sun is setting on the 2021 regular season, but then the real fun begins.

As far Fort Dodge is concerned, there will always be room for more fans on the road to a coveted state championship.

Eric Pratt is Sports Editor at The Messenger. Contact him via email at sports@messengernews.net, or on Twitter @ByEricPratt

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