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WERTZ GOES OUT IN STYLE

Dodger senior softball player clutch in championship-game victory

Messenger photo by Britt Kudla: Chloe Wertz of Fort Dodge rounds the bases after hitting a home run in the state championship game at Rogers Park.

Chloe Wertz admits she’s watched the video replay of her home run in the state championship game a time or two.

Or ten. Or…

“Probably thousands of times already,” Wertz said. “I couldn’t even sleep that night…I was just so excited.”

Wertz broke the scoring ice in the Class 5A final between top-seeded Fort Dodge and Ankeny Centennial last Friday night at Rogers Park, sending a frozen rope over the centerfield fence to put her Dodgers ahead to stay on their way into the history books.

Wertz isn’t a prodigious power hitter — the long ball was just her second of the season and fifth in 411 career at-bats — but the four-year varsity starter has always shown a penchant for clutch hits in pivotal situations. And none was bigger than this moment.

“After that first hit (a groundout to seemingly end the at-bat) was called an illegal pitch and I got another opportunity to start something, I just took a big breath and swung,” Wertz said. “I honestly didn’t even know it was out…I was sprinting to first, then the crowd was screaming and I just couldn’t believe it. I had the biggest smile on my face.

“As a senior, you just want to go out with a bang and make the most out of every game. That last out, I was just speechless — tears were rolling down my face. I just said to my teammates, ‘We did it.’ It’s been our dream to be state champions, and we’ve worked so hard each and every day. I am so happy to end my high school career with the best coaches, teammates and community.”

Wertz hit .322 with 34 RBI this season, landing on the honorable mention all-CIML Iowa Conference charts. She missed only three career starts in four seasons despite dealing with numerous injuries, and the Dodgers went 137-23 overall with Wertz on the diamond — the highest win percentage in school history.

“Honestly there are really no secrets (to succeeding at an elite level),” Wertz said. “Just work hard day in and day out. Practice when nobody’s watching.”

Wertz’s softball career is over — she isn’t planning on playing collegiately — and her time at FDSH is done as well. It’s a bittersweet feeling, but the closure of finishing on top will certainly help with the transition.

“I will miss everything about being a Dodger; those girls are my sisters, and forever will be,” Wertz said. “I will support them no matter what, and always have their back.

“I’ll miss my coaches for sure. They’ve taught me so much — not only about softball, but other life skills, also.”

TIMEOUT WITH CHLOE WERTZ

Vacation destination: British Virgin Islands.

Person I would like to have dinner with: Ken Roczen.

It would surprise people that: one of my fingers are bent permanently.

My sports role model: Andi Adams.

My everyday role model: my mom and dad.

I can’t go a day without: showering.

Nickname: Chlo, Chlo Chlo or Chody.

Superstition: not braiding my hair before games.

Most heated rivalry:

Ankeny Centennial.

Favorite road trip: spring ball drives to tournaments.

What are you listening to right now? The Kid LAROI.

Favorites…

Team: Iowa football.

Class: Spanish.

Movie: The Kissing Booth.

Book: Friday Night Lights.

Phone app: Snapchat.

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