Dodgers defeat pair of ranked foes
WEST DES MOINES — The second-ranked (Class 5A) Fort Dodge softball squad earned a pair of impressive victories at the West Des Moines Shootout here on Saturday.
The Dodgers were obviously pleased with the end result of wins over No. 2 (4A) Winterset, 14-2, and eighth-rated (5A) Johnston, 3-1. There are still consistency concerns at the plate, though, that head coach Andi Adams knows must improve as June progresses.
“It was a fabulous day overall,” Adams said. “Our pitching and defense were both terrific. Winterset and Johnston are two of the best around year in and year out. So it’s good to be (making strides) even though I feel like we’re still under-performing some (offensively) in certain games.”
The FDSH bats were rolling against the Huskies. The Dodgers (8-3 overall) plated seven runs in the second inning and six more in the third, ending the contest via the mercy rule after four frames.
Eighth-grader Mariah Myers kept up her torrid early-season pace with a three-run home run and a two-run single. Myers has 19 RBI in her first 11 varsity games.
Senior Chloe Wertz was 3-for-3, and classmate Sophia Klinger was 2-for-3 with two runs and a pair of RBI.
Wertz and senior Tristin Doster doubled. Junior Tory Bennett and sophomore Reese Pederson scored twice.
Junior Jalen Adams improved to 6-0, surrendering just a two-run homer to Winterset’s Lauren Carter. Adams struck out five in the four-inning complete game.
“When Mariah is focused on hitting line drives especially, she just scorches the ball,” Adams said. “She has so much natural talent and power. It was good to get production up and down the lineup, especially from the seniors.
“Jalen made one mistake (to Carter), but really buckled down after that. She’s responded well (to adversity) all season.”
The Dodgers got off to a quick start against Johnston’s Kira Draeger, who had defeated them in the season opener at Rogers Park. Fort Dodge tallied two runs in the first and another in the second for a 3-0 advantage.
That was more than enough for eighth-grader Lucy Porter, who twirled 5 1/3 innings of three-hit ball. Porter is 2-0 with an 0.48 earned run average since Adams summoned her to the varsity level.
“Lucy was phenomenal,” Adams said. “Ice in her veins. And the defense was outstanding behind her. It’s great to see her confidence growing, and the support (she receives) from her teammates in the field.”
Draeger – the daughter of former Webster City standout Kari (Hilton) Draeger and granddaughter of legendary Lynx softball coach Dave Hilton – settled down for the Dragons and finished with a four-hitter over seven innings of work.
“We’re still trying to find that secret ingredient for the second game (of the day), where our offense tends to tail off,” Adams said. “Draeger did a good job again of hitting her spots, mixing things up and keeping us off-balance again.
“I just think we have to focus more on putting the ball in play and manufacturing runs. When we get on base and make things happen, we’re at our best. We have too many good hitters in this lineup to struggle the way we have at times. I think we just start pressing. But we’ll get there.”
Bennett went 2-for-4 with a double. Wertz and Maia Davis drove in runs.
Fort Dodge returns to action on Monday at No. 13 Ankeny (5-2). The Dodgers return home from a long road trip on Wednesday versus Ames (5-1).
FORT DODGE 14, WINTERSET 2
Winterset 020 0 – 2 2 2
Fort Dodge 076 1 – 14 12 0
WP–Jalen Adams (6-0; 4 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K). 2B–FD: Chloe Wertz, Tristin Doster. HR–FD: Mariah Myers; W: Lauren Carter. SB–FD: Sophia Klinger.
FORT DODGE 3, JOHNSTON 1
Fort Dodge 210 000 0 – 3 4 0
Johnston 000 001 0 – 1 3 2
WP–Lucy Porter (2-0; 5.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K). SV–Jalen Adams (1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K). 2B–FD: Tory Bennett. HR–J: Kinsley Theobald. SB–FD: Tory Bennett, Maia Davis.