No. 10 Dodgers sweep Clinton

CLINTON – The No. 10 (Class 4A) Fort Dodge baseball squad responded in a big way following their first loss of the season.

The Dodgers (5-1 overall) swept 2013 state semifinalist Clinton here Saturday, winning 8-3 and 3-2 to exact some revenge from a year ago.

Last season, the River Kings (1-4) took a pair of games from FDSH inside Dodger Stadium. Head coach Blake Utley’s squad returned the favor yesterday afternoon, rebounding from a Friday loss at Davenport West by defeating Clinton’s top two starting pitchers.

”It was nice for us to show that we can have a short memory and get back at it without any lingering effects,” Utley said. ”We used our bunt game a lot and put pressure on their defense, and it worked in our favor.

”This was a productive weekend road trip for us. Clinton scored 27 runs against us on our home field a year ago, and they ended up reaching the state semifinals at the end of the season. They have a very solid program and a good ballclub, and we saw some really good pitching again, which always helps make us better.”

Senior JC Hatcher earned the victory in the opener, logging five innings with two walks and five strikeouts. Brandon Archibald worked the final two frames to seal the deal.

Fort Dodge plated four runs in the third and never looked back. Sophomore Sam Kolacia drove in four runs, while sophomore Sam Cook and senior Cory Alexander each recorded a pair of hits.

Junior Spencer Barber also had a straight steal of home plate for the first run of the contest.

”We caught them off-guard a few times and had them a little rattled,” Utley said. ”We scored eight times against their No. 1 pitcher (sophomore Cole Pennock, who was 11-3 in 2013), but only had one extra-base hit.”

The Dodgers then pieced together a two-out rally to steal the nightcap. Trailing 2-1 in the seventh, junior Drew Hansen brought home Kolacia to tie the score. Junior Austin Halligan then roped a double to the wall for the go-ahead run.

Halligan relieved Kolacia in the seventh, and escaped a bases-loaded jam to earn the save.

”We were down to our last strike,” Utley said. ”Drew battled and came up big with a clutch hit, and then Austin did what I expect a four-year varsity player to do, both at the plate and on the mound.

”Our starters were very effective; they had good command of their pitches. It was nice to gain some confidence both pitching-wise and at the plate, especially in comeback fashion (for Game 2).”

Fort Dodge returns to action in a CIC twinbill at Urbandale on Tuesday. First pitch is set for 5 p.m.