Dodgers open postseason

SIOUX CITY – Fort Dodge’s first postseason baseball test will come tonight against a familiar opponent.

The Dodgers (22-18 overall) will battle Sioux City North in a Class 4A, Substate 1 opener.

Start time is set for 7 p.m. at Lewis and Clark Park.

Earlier this year, FDSH split its two meetings with the Stars. The Dodgers claimed a 7-4 victory at the Mason City Invitational, while falling in an 11-1 decision at Ed McNeil Field.

Senior JC Hatcher (.407 BA, 48 H, 35 RBI, 25 R), junior Austin Halligan (.379 BA, 44 H, 39 R, 13 SB), senior Cory Alexander (.362 BA, 46 H, 27 RBI, 25 R) and senior Andrew Stover (.341 BA, 42 H, 27 RBI, 19 R) are the focal points in Fort Dodge’s lineup. As a team, the Dodgers are batting .318 with 333 hits, 234 runs, 187 RBI and 61 stolen bases.

Entering tournament play, FDSH has dropped eight of its past 10 games.

Either Hatcher (6-2; 49 2/3 IP, 31 H, 24 BB, 57 K, 1.69 ERA) or Stover (5-3; 49 IP, 50 H, 17 BB, 39 K, 3.14 ERA) will likely receive the starting nod on the mound for the Dodgers.

Spearheading the Sioux City North (25-14) offensive charge are junior Robert Neustrom (.544 BA, 68 H, 46 RBI, 41 R), junior Daniel Tillo (.495 BA, 52 H, 36 RBI, 23 R), sophomore Brody Gugat (.408 BA, 29 H) and sophomore Roy Baker (.346 BA, 28 H, 21 RBI). Among all 4A programs, the Stars rank first in hits (399), first in doubles (77), tied for first in batting average (.360), second in runs (293), second in RBI (255), tied for third in slugging percentage (.486) and sixth in on-base percentage (.430). On 13 occasions this season, North has scored in double figures.

Tillo (6-0; 43 IP, 18 H, 11 BB, 53 K, 0.98 ERA) and Neustrom (5-0; 38 IP, 31 H, 13 BB, 50 K, 1.11 ERA) are the top pitchers for the Stars, who have lost five of their last six games. North placed fourth in the Missouri River Activities Conference at 14-10.

No. 6 West Des Moines Dowling (27-10), Sioux City West (24-15), Ames (22-15) and defending state runner-up Sioux City East (23-15) round out the rest of 4A, Substate 1 bracket.