It was smooth sailing for the Fort Dodge baseball team in its postseason opener here Friday night.
Moving within a single step of their fifth state tournament bid since 2005, the fourth-ranked Dodgers (33-7 overall) blanked Sioux City West by a 6-0 count in a Class 4A, Substate 1 quarterfinal at Rogers Sports Complex.
With a trip to Principal Park in Des Moines on the line, FDSH will now host the winner of either Sioux City North (22-18) or Sioux City East (33-8) in a 4A substate final here Wednesday. The Stars breezed to a 15-3 five-inning triumph over Boone last evening, while the Black Raiders downed Ames, 9-7.
"We know the degree of difficulty will continue to go up from here, but the only team we're concerned with right now is the Dodgers," said FDSH head coach Matt Elsbecker, who improved to 226-108 in his 11 years at the helm. "I saw a lot of good things (Friday). We had 10 hits and were probably one big hit away from pulling away (the Wolverines) even more. At the same time, West was hungry, too, and wanted to win just as much as we did."
Ace junior right-hander Tyler Vaughn (9-0) fired a four-hitter in the complete game shutout for the CIML Iowa Conference champion Dodgers. Vaughn, who walked two and fanned four, sent down the first eight Wolverines (4-30) he faced and allowed only one baserunner to advance into scoring position. He also helped his own cause with two hits and a sacrifice bunt out of the No. 6 spot in the order.
"I struggled to keep the ball down, but I just went out and competed, and was able to make some quality pitches for outs," Vaughn said. "Motivation from pitching always seems to carry over into hitting."
FORT DODGE 6, SIOUX CITY WEST 0
Sioux City West 000 000 00 4 1
Fort Dodge 014 100 x-6 10 0
Tucker Askelson (L, 0-6; 6 H, 10 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 0 BB, 0 K) and Trevor Treglia; Tyler Vaughn (W, 9-0; 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K) and Devon Harms.
2B-FD: Luke Vandermaten (2), Will Gormally. MH-SCW: Treglia (2); FD: Gormally (2), Vandermaten (2), Isaac Lehman (2), Vaughn (2). SB-FD: Tommy Halligan (2), Andrew Stover, Austin Halligan, Harms, Vandermaten. LOB-SCW: 5; FD: 6.
Seniors Will Gormally, Luke Vandermaten and Isaac Lehman all delivered a pair of hits as well for the Dodgers, who went a perfect 6-for-6 on stolen base attempts. Gormally added two RBI and crossed the dish twice, while junior Tommy Halligan swiped a pair of bags, including a theft of home off a perfectly executed double steal with sophomore courtesy runner Andrew Stover in the bottom of the second. Fort Dodge also batted around in the third, erupting for four scores.
"I liked what we did on the mound and defensively," said Elsbecker. "We just have to keep the ball rolling."
Trevor Treglia went 2-for-3 for the Wolverines, while Wade Tompkins and Tre Christianson collected one hit apiece. West dropped 17 of its last 19 games to close out the season.