Head coach Andi Adams continued to see encouraging signs from her Fort Dodge softball team on Saturday.
Wrapping up play in their own invitational at Rogers Sports Complex, the Dodgers (10-12 overall) settled for a sixth-place showing in the field of 16 teams with a 1-1 mark.
Following a 10-0 five-inning triumph over ninth-ranked (Class 2A) Emmetsburg in game one, FDSH was upended by Harlan in the nightcap, 9-2.
"Playing the schedule we do will only make us better," Adams said. "We need to learn lessons from games like these against talented teams. Even though we (went 2-2 over the weekend), I thought we still gave a valiant effort."
Sophomore Lexi Astor and senior Emily Grell each delivered three hits against the E-Hawks (16-7) out of the No. 1 and 3 spots in the order, respectively. Astor also scored twice, while Grell and sophomore Maddie Egli both drove in two. The Dodgers collected 12 hits in the contest and locked up the win with a walkoff RBI single to left field from Astor.
"We did exactly what we needed to again in that first game (against Emmetsburg all-state hurler Faith Schmidt), which is bunting, stealing bases and mixing in some big hits in between," said Adams. "When we can (execute small ball), we make things real frustrating for the other team."
FORT DODGE 10, EMMETSBURG 0 (5 Inn.)
Emmetsburg 000 00-0 5 3
Fort Dodge 102 16-10 12 0
Faith Schmidt (L; 4 2/3 IP, 12 H, 10 R, 0 BB, 4 K) and Miranda Vlasman; Mallory Kilian (W, 5-5; 4 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K), Cassie Tjebben (1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K) and Taylor Messerly.
3B-FD: Maddie Egli. MH-E: Jacque Carlson (2); FD: Lexi Astor (3), Emily Grell (3). SB-FD: Astor. CS-FD: Astor. LOB-E: 5; FD: 3. DP-FD: 1.
HARLAN 9, FORT DODGE 2
Fort Dodge 101 000 0-2 6 1
Harlan 030 006x-9 15 1
Tjebben (L, 2-1; 2 1/3 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 1 K, 2 BB), Megan Gibson (3 2/3 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 1 K) and Madi Bennett, Messerly (3); Taylor Schaben (W; 7 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 K) and Kelsey Croghan.
2B-FD: Grell; H: Abby Sonderman, Ashlee Kolbe, Schaben, 3B-FD: Kilian. MH-FD: Grell (2), Kilian (2); H: Bri Nelson (3), Schaben (2). SB-FD: Astor, Chelsy Krantz; H: Jenna Hoch, Carly Heese, Bri Nelson. CS-FD: Becca Sunken. LOB-FD: 4; H: 11.
Picking up the victory in the circle was freshman Mallory Kilian (5-5), who scattered four hits, no walks and two strikeouts over four innings. Cassie Tjebben, another freshman, recorded the last three outs in relief.
Defensively, freshman shortstop Lani Van Zyl also started a smooth 6-3 double play to end the top of the third.
Jacque Carlson was 2-for-2 for the E-Hawks, who fell to No. 1 (2A) North Union by a 13-0 five-inning count in the seventh-place matchup.
Facing the Cyclones (18-4), FDSH jumped out to an early advantage when Kilian brought home Grell on a RBI triple, however, all the momentum quickly shifted back to Harlan. Taylor Schwartz knotted the game with a two-out RBI single in the second frame. Three batters later, Jenna Hoch came through with a go-ahead, two-run single of her own, which gave Harlan a lead it would never relinquish. The Cyclones eventually sent 11 hitters to the dish in the sixth, erupting for six scores on four hits.
"Harlan is always a respectable team that has been is in and out (of the 3A rankings)," Adams said. "Our pitchers just got behind in the count too much, which you can't do against another tough lineup like that."
Grell and Kilian both produced a pair of hits for the Dodgers, who were once again without the services of starting senior left fielder Haley Rustvold (bruised ribs). Kilian plated the other Fort Dodge tally as well with a single to center in the third.
Bri Nelson managed three hits for Harlan, while starting pitcher Taylor Schaben helped her own cause with two hits, two runs and a RBI. Despite winning for the ninth time in their past 10 games, the Cyclones stranded 11 baserunners, including 10 in scoring position.
Next outing for the Dodgers is Monday when they welcome Ames (11-10) for a CIML Iowa Conference battle. First pitch is set for 6:15 p.m.