Any chance of building more momentum with a signature victory never materialized here Friday for the Fort Dodge softball team.
Stepping out of conference play, the Dodgers (21-12 overall) dropped both ends of a doubleheader against No. 4 (Class 4A) Carlisle by identical 6-3 scores.
Senior catcher Taylor Messerly managed the lone hit for FDSH in the opener - a one-out bloop single to left field in the fourth inning. All three Dodger runs were unearned after the Wildcat right fielder dropped a bases-loaded fly ball hit by Riley Hartman later in the frame, pushing the home squad briefly in front.
Perennial power Carlisle, which has qualified for state in each of the past five years, eventually closed out the game with five unanswered scores of its own.
"We really learned a lot about our team by playing (the Wildcats)," Fort Dodge head coach Andi Adams said. "I absolutely believe that it only helps us when we play the best. Even though we didn't come away with a win, these are the types of games that we can look back on as great learning experiences later on down the road."
Mallory Kilian (12-5) took the loss in the circle, scattering six hits and four earned runs over six innings. The sophomore right-hander walked three and fanned three.
CARLISLE 6, FORT DODGE 3
Carlisle 001 003 2-6 7 2
Fort Dodge 000 300 0-3 1 0
Shyanne Dubois (W, 13-3; 7 IP, 1 H, 3 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 6 K) and Elin Landgren; Mallory Kilian (L, 12-5; 6 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 3 K), Megan Gibson (1 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 0 K) and Taylor Messerly.
2B-C: Katie Berg, S. Dubois, Taylor Davis. SB-C: T. Davis; FD: Lexi Astor (2). MH-C: Abby Davis (2). RBI-C: T. Davis (2), Hattie Hupke, Gabby Dubois, A. Davis. LOB-C 7, FD 4.
CARLISLE 6, FORT DODGE 3
Carlisle 060 000 0-6 3 1
Fort Dodge 200 000 1-3 7 0
Gabby Schnathorst (W, 13-2; 7 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 1 K) and Landgren; Gibson (1 1/3 IP, 1 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 0 K), Cassie Tjebben (0 IP, 1 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 0 K), Meagan Hartman (5 2/3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K) and Messerly.
2B-C: S. Dubois; FD: Madi Bennett, Riley Hartman. HR-C: S. Dubois. SB-C: Hupke; FD: Maddie Egli. MH-C: S. Dubois (2). RBI-C: S. Dubois (3), Lauren Kruse; FD: Bennett (2), Hartman. LOB-C 1, FD 4.
Lexi Astor contributed a pair of stolen bases for the Dodgers, while Madi Bennett drew two walks.
Abby Davis sparked the Carlisle offensive charge with a 2-for-4 effort, while Taylor Davis notched a double, two RBI and one run.
In the nightcap, Fort Dodge jumped in front early once again on a two-run double from Bennett in the first, which fell just out of the reach of the Wildcat second baseman.
Unable to hold the visitors in check, the Dodgers then allowed a six-spot in the second. Carlisle (26-5) actually batted around behind five walks and only one hit.
Leadoff batter Shyanne Dubois, who finished 2-for-4, delivered the knockout blow with a three-run shot over the fence in left.
"(The Wildcats) are just a softball machine," said Adams. "At the same time, we were able to score six runs off them, which you don't see many teams do (only six times in 29 games before Friday had opponents scored at least three runs against the Wildcats).
"They also only had one stolen base after coming in with over 100 (Carlisle leads all of 4A this year with 113 steals in 116 attempts)."
Riley Hartman recorded a RBI double in the seventh for FDSH's last tally, driving in courtesy runner Kinna Teske. Astor, Lani Van Zyl, Kilian, Maddie Egli and Messerly each added singles.
Despite receiving a no-decision, eighth-grader Meagan Hartman fired 5 2/3 innings of scoreless relief, yielding only a harmless one-out infield single by Hattie Hupke in the fifth. Hartman walked none with three strikeouts.
"I can't say enough about the job Meagan did after already playing in a freshman doubleheader earlier in the day," Adams said. "Riley is on fire at the plate right now, too. It's so great to see her stepping up and producing."
Next action for the Dodgers is Monday in a CIC Northern Division twinbill at Mason City. The Dodgers split with the Mohawks in their previous meeting this season.