Guarded against any chances of a potential upset, the Fort Dodge softball team took care of business in its postseason opener Saturday night.
In a Class 5A, Region 1 semifinal at Rogers Sports Complex, the Dodgers (20-20 overall) rolled past Sioux City West by a 9-1 count.
FDSH accumulated 12 hits in the game and was never threatened after erupting for four runs in the top of the first. All nine Dodger starters finished with at least one hit.
Messenger photo by Dale Wooten
Fort Dodge's Maddie Egli makes contact against Sioux City West in a Class 5A regional semifinal on Saturday at Rogers Park.
"You come prepared regardless of who you're playing, and I was proud of how we came out from the start," Fort Dodge head coach Andi Adams said. "We actually won the toss, but we felt comfortable (Saturday) batting first and chose to be visitors.
"I thought 1-9 in the order, we did a great job of hitting the ball."
Seeking their second consecutive state tournament bid and seventh overall in the last decade, the Dodgers will now square off with top-ranked Ankeny (35-6) in a 5A regional final Tuesday at 7 p.m. in Ankeny. The defending 4A state runner-up Hawkettes advanced last evening with a 4-1 triumph over Mason City.
FORT DODGE 9, SIOUX CITY WEST 1
Fort Dodge 400 041 0-9 12 0
Sioux City West 000 100 0-1 2 1
Mallory Kilian (W, 12-9; 7 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K) and Taylor Messerly; Sam Birkes (L, 8-19; 6 IP, 12 H, 9 R, 5 ER, 4 BB, 2 K), Anna Shanafelt (1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K) and Rylee Rann.
2B-FD: Maddie Egli, Haley Rustvold, Jamie Haden. MH-FD: Rustvold (3), Egli (2). SB-FD: Chelsy Krantz, Lexi Astor, Lani Van Zyl. LOB-FD: 8; SCW: 2.
Earlier this season in its own invitational, Fort Dodge dropped a 2-0 decision to two-time reigning outright CIML Central Conference champion Ankeny.
"I think seeing (the Hawkettes) once already should help us, along with the tough schedule we played (in the CIML Iowa Conference)," said Adams. "This is a fun group to coach, and we don't want this (season) to end yet. We'll be ready to play on Tuesday."
Haley Rustvold, a senior right fielder and No. 6 hitter, powered the Dodger offensive barrage with a perfect 3-for-3 effort, two RBI and two runs scored.
Sophomore Maddie Egli also contributed two hits, drove in a pair and crossed the dish twice, while classmate Madi Bodholdt added a two-run single and senior Chelsy Krantz scored twice. FDSH went a perfect 3-for-3 as well in stolen base attempts.
Going the distance in the circle was ace freshman hurler Mallory Kilian (12-9), who allowed only two hits with one walk and six strikeouts. Kilian retired the first nine Wolverines (10-22) she faced and sent down the side in order in five of the seven frames.
"I thought Mallory stepped up and pitched her best game of the season," Adams said. "Our defense was also outstanding and made all the plays behind her."
Down 4-0 in the fourth, Sara Dese plated Anna Shanafelt with a two-out RBI single to center field for West's lone tally.