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Adams, Doster first teamers again

Three other Dodgers flank FDSH battery; Gael Kruthoff recognized as well

Messenger photo by Britt Kudla: Tristin Doster of Fort Dodge celebrates the team's state championship at Rogers Park.

For the third consecutive season, the Fort Dodge battery of Jalen Adams and Tristin Doster garnered first team Iowa Girls Coaches Association all-state softball honors.

The state champion Dodgers landed five total players on the list, which annually recognizes the best of the best in the state’s five prep classes. Senior Sophia Klinger, junior Tory Bennett and eighth-grader Mariah Myers were all third-team selections in Class 5A.

St. Edmond senior Kacey Kruthoff earned honorable mention status in 1A.

From the area, Humboldt senior Kendal Clark was a repeat first team all-stater in 3A. She was joined by Wildcat teammate Jori Hajek on the elite list.

Newell-Fonda teammates Ella Larsen and Bailey Sievers — both seniors — landed on the first team in 1A for the golden Mustangs.

Messenger photo by Britt Kudla: Jalen Adams of Fort Dodge is now a three-time first team all-state selection.

FDSH head coach Andi Adams and Newell-Fonda’s Courtney Darrow — a former Dodger standout — were named coaches of the year after leading their teams to titles in 5A and 1A, respectively.

Adams and Doster were dominant again for the Dodgers, who went 38-4 overall and captured the first championship in school history. The future Iowa Hawkeyes put up unparalleled numbers at their positions for the program that finished at the top of the 5A landscape.

Adams, just a junior, went 25-1 overall from the pitcher’s circle with an 0.66 earned run average. She struck out 219 batters in 159.2 innings, and opponents hit only .100 against her.

Adams — the 5A all-tournament captain — also batted .422 at the plate with five home runs and 28 RBI.

Doster closed her prep career as the school’s all-time home run leader, with 37 longballs during her five-year varsity stint. This season, Doster sported a .543 average with 13 home runs and 53 RBI.

Both Adams and Doster led all of 5A in numerous pitching and hitting categories, respectively. They are just the fourth and fifth Dodgers ever to make first team all-state at least three times, joining Morgan Paulson (2002-05), Tieryn Potratz (2007-09) and Mallory Kilian (2013-15).

“It’s a moment like now where you take a step back and realize how incredibly rare all of this is,” Coach Adams said. “Not just being first team all-state for such a long period of time the way Jalen and Tristin have been, but to perform at an elite level while touching the ball on literally every defensive play.

“I don’t know how many batteries have been first team three times, but it has to be a very short list. They’re both tough, strong-willed, spirited players. They don’t always get along, but it’s because they’re incredibly competitive and wants what’s best for the program. They want to win. This (individual) stuff is nice, of course, but it takes a back seat to what they just accomplished (last Friday) with their friends and teammates.”

Adams had mixed emotions about her other all-staters. She was ecstatic for Klinger, always a defensive stalwart who “transformed herself into a complete player through hard work and sheer will” at the plate.

Klinger, a four-year starter in the outfield, hit .425 in 2021.

“Sophia became what I call a ‘self-made’ hitter,” Adams said. “She decided to put the work at the (Softball) Connection and even at home. Look at her now. I’m just ecstatic for her. She’ll walk away from her high school experience as an all-stater and a state champion.”

Adams’ mood shifted, though, when discussing Bennett’s third-team assignment for the second consecutive season.

“Let me just put it this way: if there are two better shortstops top to bottom, or that many better infielders, out there in 5A, I’d like to see them,” Adams said. “I’m both frustrated and disappointed. I know there aren’t any guarantees with this and there’s very little you can do about it, but to say Tory isn’t at least a second teamer is ridiculous in my book.

“But I know Tory. It will only motivate her and fuel her going into her senior year.”

Bennett batted .455 with 36 RBI, a team-high 50 runs scored, and 23 stolen bases. She also committed only two errors for a fielding percentage of .981.

Myers became just the fourth eighth-grader in program history to attain all-state status before ever setting foot on campus at FDSH. She was among the state’s leaders in RBI (57) — the second highest single-season total in school history, behind only Paulson’s 58 — while hitting .431 with seven home runs.

Myers joins Adams (third team all-state as an eighth-grader in 2018), Paulson (2001) and Dyann Peterson (2001) in exclusive, precocious Dodger company.

“Mariah made it look easy, and it’s not — especially for a kid her age at the 5A level,” Coach Adams said. “She’s an incredible talent. She only committed two errors in the field (at catcher and first base), and like TK (Doster), didn’t strike out once. The offensive numbers are incredible of course, but her advanced understanding of the strike zone, her overall patience and what she gave us in the field…really just an amazing year. And she’s just getting started.”

Clark batted .506 with 11 home runs, 14 doubles, 42 runs scored and 29 RBI for Humboldt. Hajek hit .438 with 5 HRs, 35 RBI, 43 runs and 11 triples.

Sievers was a repeat first teamer after carrying a .395 batting average with 56 runs and 30 RBI for Newell-Fonda, which finished 38-4 overall. Larsen returned to the all-state squad — she didn’t make it last summer, but had been honored twice before — after hitting .446 with four homers and 47 driven in.

Mustang ace freshman Kierra Jungers, who went 29-3 from the pitcher’s circle with a 1.03 earned run average and 264 strikeouts, landed on the second team. Teammate Maggie Walker was a third-team pick.

Kruthoff, a five-year starter for the Gaels, batted .360 with 14 doubles and 19 RBI. St. Edmond went 16-11 overall.

North Union, which reached the 2A state field, had three first-team selections: Emily Meyer, Olivia Von Bank and Sam Nielsen. All are slated to return for the Warriors in 2022.

Kelly Stoakes of Webster City made the third squad in 4A. Lilian Etherington of Algona was a third-team honoree in 3A, as was Emma Anderson of South Central Calhoun in 2A. Bailey Meister of Bishop Garrigan was an honorable mention selection in 1A.

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