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INTENSE FOCUS

Locked-in Dodgers advance to semis with pair of wins

Messenger photo by Britt Kudla: Fort Dodge’s Calliegh Zimmermann dives to make a stop at first base next to teammate Ashlyn Wills on Friday at Rogers Park. For more photos, please visit CU.messengernews.net

It was a simple conclusion for the third-ranked (Class 4A) Fort Dodge softball team after their first two games at the FDSH Invitational at Rogers Park on Friday.

The Dodgers (15-4 overall) came ready to play.

After a torrid stretch of eight games in as many days, the Dodgers had two days to prepare for this weekend.

That’s when head coach Andi Adams’s squad went back to work.

Fort Dodge drilled and worked on technique, shoring up some deficiencies during some much-needed practice time.

“When you play a packed schedule almost every night, you don’t have a lot of time to work on things,” Adams said. “So we just had two really solid days of practice where we were able to address some lingering issues.

“They were encouraging each other and using that Dodger grit.”

The extra effort showed as Fort Dodge knocked off Mid-Prairie (5-9) by a 10-0 count in five innings. In the quarterfinals, the Dodgers then turned back 14th-ranked (5A) Cedar Rapids Kennedy (11-8) by a 10-1 score in five innings.

“I’m super proud of them,” Adams said. “They are finding ways. We beat a really good Kennedy team and made it look relatively easy.

“Our pitchers and defense were outstanding.”

The Dodgers will now face seventh-rated (5A) Ankeny (11-7) in the semis at 2:15 p.m. on Diamond 1 Saturday. No. 5 (5A) Ankeny Centennial (15-3) meets top-ranked (3A) Williamsburg (15-3) in the other semifinal.

The championship is slated for 5:45 p.m., as is the third-place contest.

In the quarterfinal against the Cougars, the Dodgers turned in a near-flawless performance, with no errors, solid baserunning and steady defense. Offensively, FDSH pounded out 12 hits and stole four bases.

The bottom of Fort Dodge’s lineup came up big, as 7-9 hitters Maeleena Meyer, Calliegh Zimmermann and Teryn Rippentrop went a combined 7-for-9. Meyer, a sophomore, and Zimmermann, a freshman, had two hits each, also driving in four combined runs. Rippentrop, a sophomore, had three hits and drove in a run. They combined to score four times as well.

Freshmen Hope Alstott and Ellie Doster had two hits. Doster had a double and Alstott drove in two. Senior Mackenzie McIlrath also drove in a run and scored twice.

Freshman Maddie Hoshaw scored two runs, while junior Meah McCaleb and sophomore Ava Wessels also scored.

“Our baserunning was really good,” Adams said. “Maddie Hoshaw is an outstanding runner and a huge part of our offense.

“She’s very consistent. You can’t overlook that part of our game — we need smart, aggressive baserunners.”

Porter (10-4) earned the victory, allowing five hits and only one earned run.

Eighth-grader Aubrey Alstott (5-0) took a perfect game into the fifth inning. The pitcher had a clean line, with no runs, no walks and no strikeouts.

Against the Golden Hawks, it was the top of the order that did most of the damage. Hope Alstott and McCaleb combined for five hits and five runs. Both had doubles.

Alstott added a triple, while McCaleb drove in a run and scored three times.

Zimmermann had another multi-hit game, going 2-for-3 with two runs driven in. She was 4-for-6 on the day with three RBI.

Doster contributed a double and drove in three runs. Senior Macy Brown recorded a double and an RBI. McIlrath also drove in a run and scored a run.

Hoshaw crossed home twice.

FORT DODGE 10, MID-PRAIRIE 0 (5 innings)

Mid-Prairie 000 00 — 0 1 4

Fort Dodge 430 12 — 10 11 0

WP–Aubrey Alstott (5-0), 5 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 SO); LP–Kadence Grout (4 IP, 11 H, 7 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO); LOB–Mid-Prairie 0, Fort Dodge 3; 2B–FD: Hope Alsott, Meah McCaleb, Ellie Doster, Macy Brown; 3B–Alstott. SACF–FD: Kenzie McIlrath; SB–FD: Maeleena Meyer, Meah McCaleb (2), Maddie Hoshaw; MH–FD: McCaleb (3), Alstott (2), Calliegh Zimmermann (2); RBI–FD: Doster (3), Zimmermann (2), McCaleb, Brown, McIlrath, Meyer.

FORT DODGE 10, CEDAR RAPIDS KENNEDY 1 (5 innings)

Kennedy 000 10 — 1 5 3

Fort Dodge 114 4x — 10 12 0

WP–Lucy Porter (10-4) (5 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 0 SO); LP–Peyton Stineman (3 IP, 10 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 SO); LOB–Kennedy 5, Fort Dodge 6; 2B–FD: Ellie Doster; SACB–FD: Macy Brown; SB–FD: Maeleena Meyer, Meah McCaleb, Kenzie McIlrath, Maddie Hoshaw; MH–FD: Teryn Rippentrop (3), Hope Alstott (2), Doster (2), Meyer (2), Calliegh Zimmerman (2); RBI–FD: Meyer (3), Alstott (2), McIlrath, Zimmermann, Rippentrop.

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