Dodgers one step away
The second-ranked Fort Dodge softball team easily took care of business in its postseason opener Saturday night.
Pushing their winning streak to 14 straight games, the Dodgers (33-7 overall) earned a 12-0 six-inning shutout over Spencer in a Class 4A, Region 1 semifinal at Rogers Sports Complex.
With a state bid on the line, FDSH will now host Le Mars (20-16) in a 4A, Region 1 final here Tuesday at 7 p.m. The Bulldogs advanced with a 9-6 victory last night over Sioux City Heelan.
“We did what we normally do by hitting, bunting and running the bases aggressively,” Fort Dodge head coach Andi Adams said. “I thought defensively we made some great plays again, too. Overall, I was very proud of how our girls executed (Saturday).”
Junior Mallory Kilian (17-4) went the distance in the circle for the Dodgers, allowing just one hit with two walks and six strikeouts. The University of Northern Iowa recruit threw 46 of her 78 pitches for strikes.
Kilian also helped her own cause offensively with a perfect 3-for-3 effort at the plate, including a RBI triple and a two-run longball – her 13th of the year and 24th of her career. Kilian, a No. 3 batter, finished with five runs driven in.
“Mallory’s been awesome,” said Adams. “She has so much confidence right now.”
Becca Sunken, another junior, delivered a single, a double and her first homer this season for Fort Dodge. Sunken scored once and drove in three.
“Becca was amazing, too,” Adams said. “She definitely showed why she’s earned her spot in the (designated player) role.”
Senior Lexi Astor collected two hits and two runs for the Dodgers, while juniors Lani Van Zyl and Toryn Pederson and senior Maddie Egli all crossed the dish twice. Egli knocked in a pair, and junior Bre Ulrich added two stolen bases.
“(Egli) really stepped up, which is what we need from her. That’s great to see from a senior in the postseason,” said Adams. “Up and down the lineup, we had a lot of people make contributions.”
As a team, FDSH racked up 10 hits and five stolen bases. The Dodgers, who were errorless, never looked back after plating a pair of runs in the top of the first.
Anna Glover blooped a two-out single to left field just out of the reach of Astor in the fourth inning for the lone Tiger hit. Karis Rohde (two walks) and Kari Kramer (hit-by-pitch) were the only other Spencer (11-17) players to reach base against Kilian, who retired the side in order in both the second and fifth frames.
With the win, Fort Dodge improved to 11-4 at home this season. The shutout was the third straight and 13th of the year for the Dodgers.
Due to rain earlier in the day, Saturday’s first pitch was pushed back an hour from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
“The staff at Rogers Park did an excellent job of getting the field ready,” Adams said. “I’d also like to thank (FDSH athletic and activities director) Matt Elsbecker for taking his time to help out.”