Dodgers split in ranked clash

The wait was worth it for Fort Dodge freshman Kole Kampen.

After having his first two scheduled starts of the season rained out, Kampen finally was able to take the mound and he came through with a five-hitter to lead the seventh-ranked (Class 4A) Dodgers to a 9-0 win over West Des Moines Dowling in the first game of a CIC twin bill at Ed McNeil Field Wednesday.

In the nightcap, No. 6 Dowling jumped to an early lead and held off the Dodgers for a 10-6 victory.

Kampen, who was supposed to face Sioux City East on a couple of occasions, struck out five batters and didn’t allow a hit until the fourth inning. He kept the Maroons (9-3) guessing all night, recording nine outs with easy pop flies to the infield or outfield.

“Kampen looked very good,” said Dodger coach Blake Utley, whose team is now 10-3 after the split. “He competed well and got ahead of hitters. He had faced (Dowling) in a Legion game this spring and did well against them. That was a great first official start for him. He looked good and got out of a couple situations when he got in trouble.”

The Dodgers backed Kampen with 12 hits, including a 4-for-4 game from junior J.C. Hatcher and a big three-run double from senior Keegan Gormally.

Gormally’s double came in a 5-run second inning that put the Dodgers up 6-0. That inning was started by back-to-back batters getting hit by pitches. Halligan had triple and scored for a 1-0 lead after the first.

The Dodgers added two runs in the fifth on RBI singles from Tyler Vaughn and Nate Sunken. Hatcher drove home the final run in the sixth on an infield single.

Dowling threatened in the fourth putting two runners on base, but Kampen worked out of that jam. He did the same thing in the seventh, fanning the final batter of the game with two runners on.

The Maroons jumped on Gormally in the second game, getting a three-run home run from Nate Hunter and a two-run shot from Anthony Denkinger in the top of the first inning.

Jake Lewton hit a pair of solo shots for Dowling off Gormally.

Fort Dodge started to chip away in the fourth, scoring four times to make it 6-4. Tommy Halligan had an RBI double while Hatcher had an RBI ground out and Gormally a run-scoring single. The Dodgers’ fourth run scored on an error.

Dowling answered with two runs in the fifth to make it 9-4 before the Dodgers scored two in the fifth on an RBI double from Austin Halligan and an RBI ground out from Devon Harms.

Dowling pushed it to 10-6 in the seventh inning, and then had to hold off the Dodgers in the bottom of the frame.

Austin Halligan and Harms both singled then Tommy Halligan was hit by a pitch to load the bases. But a strike out and ground out left the bases loaded as the game ended.

“We have talked all year that if we get strong pitching, we can be successful,” said Utley. “Keegan got behind batters and against a good hitting team like Dowling they are going to hurt you.

“I did like how we started to come back. We just didn’t come through in the end.”

Dowling finished with some weird numbers in the split. The Maroons turned five double plays, but they also hit six Dodger batters and committed six errors in the two games.

Austin Halligan finished 3-for-4 in the second game and made a diving catch in center to end the fourth inning, saving at least one run.

The Dodgers are back in action Friday for a CIC doubleheader at Des Moines Roosevelt. That’s a make-up contest from May 30.