Champion Dodgers dominate all-CIC North teams

After winning an outright conference title for the third time in the last five years, Fort Dodge landed 10 players on the recently-released 2013 Central Iowa Conference all-Northern Division baseball teams.

Seniors Tyler Vaughn (P), Devon Harms (C) and Tommy Halligan (INF), sophomore Austin Halligan (OF), junior JC Hatcher (INF) and senior Keegan Gormally (UT) were all named to the top squad for the Dodgers, while junior Cory Alexander (INF) and freshman Kole Kampen (UT) each made the second team.

In addition, senior Parker Van Zyl and junior Andrew Stover both received honorable mention status.

Fort Dodge, which was a Class 4A state runner-up last summer, finished 27-15 overall and 8-4 in the league this year. The Dodgers were ousted in a 1-0 substate final decision by top-ranked and 2012 state champion Ankeny.

On the mound, Vaughn went 7-4 with a 2.64 ERA. The Iowa Central signee fanned 64 in 69 innings of work. At the plate, Vaughn batted .281 with 36 hits and 27 runs scored.

“Tyler has been in our program for five years, and he’s had 17 wins the past two seasons,” FDSH head coach Blake Utley said. “He prepares very well for each start, and he’s a pitcher you want on the mound with the game on the line. I think Tyler will do very good things at Iowa Central.”

Harms started all 42 games behind the dish, while notching a .991 fielding percentage. The Buena Vista recruit batted .279 with 36 hits and 25 RBI.

“I think Devon is one of the best defensive catchers in the state,” said Utley “He’s an extremely hard worker that lays it all on the line for his team.”

Tommy Halligan, a future Grand View University player, managed a .388 average with 45 hits, 26 RBI and 21 runs.

“Tommy started his career off as a catcher, but after he got injured, he developed into one of the best third basemen we’ve had recently,” Utley said. “He’s just a real solid ballplayer both offensively and defensively.”

Austin Halligan paced the team in hits (51), runs (41) and stolen bases (18) out of the leadoff spot in the order, while batting .386 with 22 RBI. He also went the whole season without committing an error in center.

“Austin’s a very talented kid that can run down the ball as well as anyone the Dodgers have had since I’ve been involved in 2003,” said Utley. “Just like (older brother) Tommy, he plays hard all the time.”

Hatcher, a shortstop, compiled a .367 average, 51 hits, a team-high 34 RBI and 24 runs. Pitching-wise, he was also 6-3 with a 3.61 ERA in 52 1/3 frames.

“JC’s another extremely talented individual that was the most athletic guy on our team,” said Utley. “He could’ve just as easily been picked at pitcher or utility. When he puts his all into (the game), he’s pretty fun to watch.”

As a right fielder, Gormally batted .388 with 40 hits, 32 runs and 18 RBI. He was 6-4 with a 2.84 ERA in 64 innings pitched.

“Keegan was probably the hardest worker on our team,” Utley said. “He’s a very smart guy that gets the most out of his ability. He was an awesome guy to coach.”

Alexander, a second baseman, held a .343 average with 47 hits, 31 runs and 27 RBI. Kampen was 3-2 with a 3.59 ERA in 37 innings. Offensively, he batted .254 with 18 hits and 18 runs.

Van Zyl, a 1B/DH, recorded a .305 average, 32 hits, 18 RBI and a team-best two home runs in 37 games. Stover went 3-2 with a 3.78 ERA in 29 2/3 innings.

“It was exciting for our senior group to win the last CIML Iowa Conference title (in 2012) and first-ever CIC Northern Division championship,” said Utley. “We prepared all offseason to get back into a spot to face Ankeny with our season on the line. We played our hearts out for seven innings, but we just ran into a pretty good pitcher (in University of Arkansas commit Keaton McKinney).”