Dodgers blank Gaels

The wind was blowing in at Dodger Stadium Friday evening, so the Fort Dodge baseball team broke out their small-ball offense and used it to get past city rival St. Edmond, 3-0, at a packed Ed McNeil Field.

The third-ranked (Class 4A) Dodgers, now 17-8, rebounded from Wednesday’s doubleheader losses to Ankeny to post their fourth straight win in the series against St. Edmond, which fell to 10-11 for the season.

Fort Dodge had two bunt singles and two sacrifice bunts while receiving the perfect complement to the short game – strong pitching and solid defense.

Senior Keegan Gormally went the distance, allowing just three hits, and the Dodgers backed him by turning a pair of double plays and picking a runner off first base.

“That’s just our style,” FDSH head coach Blake Utley said. “It puts pressure on the defense and speeds up the game for us. Our goal is to get teams to play at our speed. The kids have the green light (to bunt) for the most part if they see something. I think I only called one drag bunt all night.”

Gormally (4-2) worked out of a few jams, stranding runners at third base twice. He got a 6-4-2 double play to end the fifth, and the Dodgers’ got another double play to end the contest.

“Gormally was pumped up for this one,” said Utley, who was working his first Dodger-Gael game as a head coach. “He’d been thinking about this game all day. He let his emotions get to him a little bit, but then he settled down.

“Keegan is a team player and will do anything to help us win. That’s why he got the ball as a senior.”

St. Edmond freshman Robert Flattery (3-3) took the loss. He scattered nine hits, never allowing the Dodgers more than two hits in one frame.

Flattery was helped by a double play as well, and the Gaels caught a runner stealing after a strikeout.

“Robert mixed his speeds and threw a lot of strikes. I was happy to see that,” said SEHS head coach Joe Shanks. “He showed poise on the mound.

“(The Dodgers) can bunt. That puts a lot of pressure on a defense. It’s very effective.”

Fort Dodge managed just single runs in three different innings against Flattery. The Dodgers stranded three runners at third base.

FDSH?broke through in the third. Gormally singled with two outs and courtesy runner Andrew Stover hustled to third base on a single to right by Austin Halligan.

Stover scored the first run on a wild pitch, while Halligan was left at third after two fly balls to right field.

Fort Dodge made it 2-0 in the fourth. JC Hatcher led off with a bunt single and then stole second. He scored on a two-out single from Devon Harms.

The Dodgers’ final run came across in the sixth. Parker Van Zyl doubled down the third base line – the day’s only extra-base hit – and pinch runner Sam Kolacia scored on Harms’ second RBI of the contest.

Harms was a perfect 3-for-3 with a bunt single of his own. Hatcher was 2-for-3.

The Gaels had several chances against Gormally despite just three hits.

Gormally walked Ryan Szalat and hit Hank Crimmins with a pitch to put two runners on in the first with just one out. However, Harms picked off Crimmins at first and a fly to left field ended the threat.

The Gaels put runners on second and third in the fourth, but two flies to Austin Halligan in center ended that frame.

“Any time you play a team from across the city it always means little more,” said Utley. “I enjoy seeing these two teams play. It was a good crowd and a nice night. It made for a fun time at the ballpark.”

Shanks echoed those sentiments.

“Everyone gets pumped up for this rivalry,” he said. “I try not to, but it’s hard sometimes. I want to win this game. I like that we see good pitching and that can help us in the long run. Hopefully we can learn from it.”

Fort Dodge ran its record in the series to 26-6. St. Edmond’s last win was in 2009 when the Gaels posted a 3-0 victory.

In Friday’s JV game, the Dodgers won 12-7. Drew Hansen, Sam Cook, Cain Hiracheta, Eric Puls and Thomas Hartley all had two hits each for Fort Dodge, now 4-0. Kolacia got the win on the hill.

Patrick Bocken had three hits and Colin Flattery a pair of hits for the Gaels, now 9-5-1.

The Dodgers hit the road today for a pair of games in the Saydel Invitational. They play Davenport West at 12:30 p.m. in Johnston then meet Norwalk at 5:30 in Saydel.

The Gaels return to North Central Conference action Monday at Humboldt.