By JOHN McBRIDE
Fort Dodge, Iowa
It may not have been as easy as expected, but the Fort Dodge softball team started defense of its CIC Northern Division crown with a doubleheader sweep of Marshalltown at Harlan Rogers Park last night.
The No. 4 (Class 4A) Dodgers won the opener 2-0 and took the nightcap 8-1.
Fort Dodge is now 9-0 for the season and 2-0 in the CIC North. The Bobcats fell to 1-7 and 0-2 but still managed to give the Dodgers everything they wanted.
“We absolutely want to repeat (as CIC champs),” said Adams. “They know people are going to give us everything they have. I was impressed with Marshalltown. Their pitcher threw well against us. Marshalltown definitely came ready to play.”
The Dodgers got solid pitching from Mallory Kilian and Cassie Tjebben, who allowed just five hits combined in the two games.
“Malloy and Cassie did a great job of keeping their composure. Our defense did a great job. We were able to get out of a couple jams,” said Adams.
Kilian allowed just one hit in the opener. She struck out eight and was helped by battery mate Molly Matthes, who threw out two runners at second and by right fielder Bri Ulrich, who threw out a runner at the plate in the third inning.
“That throw from Bri was huge,” said Adams. “And that’s why Molly’s behind the plate for us. I told her they would test her. She’s got such a strong arm, but it’s deceptive.”
Matthes also threw out a runner in the second game.
Senior Maddie Egil gave the Dodgers a 1-0 lead in the second with a lead-off home run. The Dodgers manufactured another run in the third as Lani Van Zyl walked, stole second, reached third on a wild pitch and scored on a sac bunt from Madi Bennett.
The Bobcats kept t things closer thanks to three double plays in the opener.
Marshalltown’s best chance to score was in the third when Maggie Carnahan was thrown out at the plate. The Bobcats also left runners at second in two different innings. Fort Dodge broke open a 1-1 tie in the nightcap with three runs in the third inning. Ulirch walked and scored on a double from Lexi Astor, who was actually thrown out at third trying for a triple.
After Van Zyl walked, Kilian launched a 2-run home run into left for a 4-1 lead.
The Dodgers got four more in the fifth, thanks to four Marshalltown errors. Kilian and Egli each drove in runs. Two others scored on errors.
Tjebben scattered four hits and finished with seven strikeouts. Carnahan drove in Marshalltown’s only run with a double in the second. Tjebben was really never threatened after that. Matthes threw out a runner in the third and the Dodgers turned a double play in the sixth.
Astor had two hits for the Dodgers in the second game. Fort Dodge finished with seven hits in the game.
Fort Dodge will get a big test tonight, taking on No. 1 (4A) Dallas Center-Grimes in a recently-scheduled game tonight in Dallas Center. The freshmen will play at 4:30, followed by JV at 6 and the varsity at 7:30.