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KEPT AT BAY

-Messenger photo by Britt Kudla Tanner Peterson of Fort Dodge picks up a grounder against Des Moines Roosevelt on Wednesday at Ed McNeil Fields in Fort Dodge

Des Moines Roosevelt had nearly a full week to stew on a four-game losing streak, which came just before an extended layoff.

Rested and playing with a sense of urgency, the Roughriders got back on track with a doubleheader sweep of the Fort Dodge baseball team on Wednesday at McNeil Field.

Scores were 5-0 and 4-0 in favor of Roosevelt.

The Dodgers (14-13 overall) were riding high after an impressive twinbill victory of their own on Monday against Mason City. That momentum was halted by the Roughriders (15-10), who twirled a pair of pitching gems and did just enough offensively to keep their distance on a perfect evening at the ballpark.

“We just weren’t able to get that ‘breakthrough’ hit,” FDSH head coach Blake Utley said. “At the end, you credit their pitchers for getting the job done when it mattered most. We had our chances, but they worked their way out of it and kept us from maybe getting back (within striking distance).”

The Dodgers stranded two runners on base in the third, fourth and fifth innings of the opener. Roosevelt pitchers buckled down when it mattered most, recording 12 strikeouts — including seven looking.

The nightcap was more of the same. Fort Dodge again stranded eight runners — the same number as game one — but struck out 11 times. Eight were on called third strikes.

“Our pitching and defense, for the most part, was good enough to keep us in it. We battled there,” Utley said. “We just needed more consistent, competitive at-bats — especially with runners on base. It’s tough to overcome that many strikeouts. But again, (the Roughriders) obviously deserve a (hat tip) for some of that, too. They were pitching and playing with a purpose.

“It’s an experienced, senior-dominated ballclub, and we have a lot of underclassmen (with as many as six freshmen and sophomores on the field at the same time). It’s a learning process. We caught them at what ended up being a bad time (with both their recent struggles and having six consecutive days off).”

Freshman Kolton Schiltz pitched 3• innings of hitless relief in the first contest. Freshmen Tru McBride and Tanner Peterson reached base twice, as did sophomore Jaxson Dencklau.

Peterson had two hits in the nightcap, with Dencklau and junior Royce Pederson reaching base twice.

Dencklau worked two innings of relief with three strikeouts. Junior Rylan Kingrey struck out the side in the seventh.

Fort Dodge relievers logged 6• combined innings on the night, allowing no earned runs with seven strikeouts.

Leadoff hitter Jake Espeland was a home run shy of the cycle in the opener for the Roughriders. He scored twice, flying out to the wall in his final at-bat. Espeland golfed a two-run double with two outs in the second to plate a pair.

Espeland also turned in three innings of effective relief on the mound, striking out six.

Miles Lorentzen, Roosevelt’s ace, worked five shutout innings with seven Ks in the nightcap.

Fort Dodge is back in action on Saturday at Saydel. The Dodgers play Des Moines Christian at 10 a.m. and Bettendorf at 12:30 p.m.

DM ROOSEVELT 5, FORT DODGE 0

Roosevelt 121 100 0 — 5 10 0

Fort Dodge 000 000 0 — 0 4 0

WP–George Bell; LP–Will McElroy. 2B–DMR: Jake Espeland, Jecari Patton. 3B–DMR: Jake Espeland. SB–DMR: Jake Espeland 3; FD: Rylan Kingrey.

DM ROOSEVELT 4, FORT DODGE 0

Roosevelt 110 110 0 — 4 11 0

Fort Dodge 000 000 0 — 0 4 2

WP–Miles Lorentzen; LP–Rylan Lara. 2B–DMR: Andrew Swanda 2, Evan Smithson.

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