With the slate wiped clean, the Fort Dodge softball team hopes to benefit from familiar surroundings here tonight.
The Dodgers (19-20 overall) will take on Sioux City West (10-21) in a Class 5A, Region 1 semifinal.
First pitch is set for 7 p.m. at Rogers Sports Complex.
After becoming the first large-class program in over a decade to qualify for the state softball tournament with a losing record last summer, Andi Adams' FDSH squad looks to make another unlikely run back home this time around.
"We're taking one game at a time and preparing for another postseason run just like last year," said Adams, who owns a 403-179 mark in 12 seasons at the helm. "Our girls have put in a lot of hard work and are extremely excited.
"Our schedule has definitely prepared us for what we're about to see."
Mallory Kilian, a freshman, will receive the starting assignment in the circle for the Dodgers this evening. Kilian (12-8) sports a 1.75 ERA in 22 appearances this season, spanning 120 innings of work.
Senior Emily Grell (.437 BA, 45 H, 38 RBI, 17 R), sophomore Lexi Astor (.435 BA, 50 H, 27 R, 27 SB) and Kilian (.374 BA, 43 H, 19 RBI, 11 2B) are the top offensive threats for FDSH, which closed out its regular season with a home CIML Iowa Conference split against Marshalltown on Monday.
"We have seven people in new positions from a year ago," Adams said. "We're still a work in progress for a lot of reasons, but we stick together and have a great chemistry."
Following a tight 6-5 victory over city rival North in their tournament opener, the Wolverines will attempt to pull off their second straight upset. West's regional quarterfinal triumph Thursday was its first postseason victory in 18 years, and also avenged two previous losses to the Stars from earlier this summer.
"We know records mean nothing in the postseason, and (West) wants this game just like we do," said Adams. "Hopefully, we can have a great crowd come out (to Rogers Sports Complex) and support us."
Catalysts for the Wolverines are junior Sara Desy (.325 BA, 27 H, 17 RBI), senior Anna Shanafelt (.321 BA, 26 H, 22 R) and junior Heaven Coughlin (.292 BA, 21 H).
Pitching for West will likely be freshman Sam Birkes (8-18; 4.72 ERA).
Tonight's winner advances to face top-ranked and defending 4A state runner-up Ankeny (34-6) in a 5A regional final on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at a site to be determined.