Morgan Paulson spent the majority of her summers at Rogers Park as a prep standout.
On Friday night, the 2005 Fort Dodge Senior High graduate came back home.
Paulson returned to become the first Fort Dodge player ever to be inducted into the Iowa Girls High School Softball Hall of Fame.
"It's truly a humbling experience to be placed in the Hall of Fame,'' Paulson said. "I feel so honored to be part of an elite group of softball players.
"I am so thankful for family, coaches, teammates and fans who have supported me throughout my ASA, high school and college career.''
The five-time Dodger all-stater was humbled by the history-making event.
"Being in the softball Hall of Fame is a really meaningful honor in itself, but being the first in Fort Dodge history is very special, especially knowing Fort Dodge has had many outstanding players over the years,'' Paulson said. "I hope I have set an example for younger players to work hard in order to achieve their dreams on and off the ball field.''
With arguably one of the best five-year stretch in FDSH softball history, Paulson was named to the all-state softball team after all five seasons, including a third team selection as an eighth-grader.
As a senior and junior, the Dodger shortstop was picked for the Class 4A elite all-state for the Class 4A Elite All-State team. As a junior, she was the 3A offensive and defensive player of the year. In her sophomore and freshman campaigns, she was on the 3A all-state first team.
Paulson helped led Fort Dodge on an unprecedented school run of four state tournament runs between her first season (2001) to her final (2005). During that span, the Dodgers compiled a 210-40 overall mark.
"Playing at the state tournament in Fort Dodge was an unbelievable experience,'' Paulson said. "Every game was a home game for us. I will never forget the support we had from the Fort Dodge community.
"The atmosphere at the state tournament is unlike any other.''
Paulson finished her Fort Dodge career with a .410 average, 82 doubles, 30 triples and 232 RBI.
After her career as a Dodger, Paulson went on to have a stellar career at Northern Iowa as a first baseman.
Paulson received a thunderous ovation in her return to Rogers Park on Friday in the place where it all began.
"I think it is safe to say that every team has the goal of reaching the state tournament come July, but it takes a lot to reach that goal,'' Paulson said. "My teammates and I spent many hours in the weight room, in the batting cage and on the field to ensure we were prepared for each and every game, not to mention the time we spent practicing in the offseason.
"I have utmost respect for coach (Andi) Adams and what she has done with the Dodger softball program. I have no doubt in my mind that she is working with great groups of dedicated softball players and I hope to see them back at state soon.''
Adams had the luxury of having Paulson for the first five seasons of her tenure at FDSH.
"I'm so proud of her accomplishments, and not just in softball,'' Adams said. "She is an even better person. She didn't let any of the accolades get to her head through the years, and there were a lot of them.
"It's just amazing that she played for me and now she's my friend. Morgan earned her enshrinement in her Dodger red and black, and that proves how much she loves Fort Dodge. There is no honor higher than this, and she is very well-deserving.''