It was a heavy-weight battle Saturday, June 27 as Class 5A’s top team in Fort Dodge came into Dallas Center to battle Class 4A’s fifth-ranked team in Dallas Center-Grimes.
Both teams flexed their offensive muscles and ended up splitting the doubleheader with the first game falling to the visiting Dodgers 10-0 which was followed by a 10-7 game two victory by the Mustangs.
It was a tale of two vastly different outings for the Mustangs. Game one saw DCG strike their lowest hit total of the season (three hits) as they suffered their second scoreless outing of the 2020 campaign. The first three innings of the contest went by quietly and even housed one of the three hits for the Mustangs (single by Maria Hendricks). Then the flood gates opened up for the visiting Dodgers who used five hits, a walk, and a pair of DCG errors to post a six-run fourth inning, giving the Mustangs their largest deficit of the season so far. Fort Dodge tacked on three runs in the fifth inning and one run in the sixth for their eleven hit, ten run outing. Meanwhile, the Mustangs just couldn’t scrape across a run as just two more hits (courtesy of Kylie Merical and Aubrey Johansen) made up the offense across the rest of the game.
Inside the circle, Riley Hall gave up a season-high eleven hits and eight earned runs but did strike out two batters through six innings of play.
Game two for DCG was a far cry from what took place in game one. The Mustangs posted ten runs on 12 hits in the 10-7 victory over Fort Dodge as DCG officially evened up the series against the Dodgers (4-4) dating back to 2011. Action began right away for DCG as they quickly shot out to a 1-0 lead and began what was a game to remember for Elle Nelsen. The first inning alone began with the sophomore striking her fourth double of the season. That would be one of four hits on the game for Nelsen in five trips to the plate. Nelsen crossed the plate in that first inning as Riley Hall was hit by pitch.
The second inning held even more scoring action beginning with Fort Dodge’s one run top half of the second. The Mustangs answered right back with a three run inning of their own, courtesy of a Kamryn O’Brien sacrifice fly and a Dodger error.
The rest of the scoring action for both teams was contained in the third and fourth innings. Seven runs dominated the third inning all together as the Dodgers posted three runs in their half of the inning while once again, the Mustangs answered with more, posting four runs of their own. Following a sacrifice bunt, a hit by pitch batter, and a Nicole Merical single, Hendricks stepped up to the plate and doubled off the left field wall, scoring two runs in the process. Hendricks later scored on a pickoff attempt. Molly Cooney wrapped up the scoring for DCG in the third with an RBI fielders choice that gave the host Mustangs an 8-4 advantage.
Fort Dodge sure made things interesting as they posted up another three run set in the top half of the fourth to cut the DCG lead down to one entering the bottom of the fourth. Once again, the Mustangs weren’t afraid to answer back and thanks to their two runs in the fourth and solid pitching the rest of the way, DCG ended up cruising to their tenth overall win of the season. Nelsen struck for one of her three singles in the inning to plate one run while the first run of the inning came on an error that scored Merical, who captured the first of two hits for the inning.
Inside the circle, it wasn’t easy for senior pitcher Lani Gannon, but it was enough to help capture the win. Against a Fort Dodge squad averaging eleven hits per game, Gannon stayed strong allowing eleven hits while allowing just three earned runs. Gannon also allowed just one walk and dished out a pair of strikeouts for the contest.
The split for DCG now pushes their record to a 10-3 mark, the second-best record (behind Indianola) within the Little Hawkeye Conference. Up next for the Fillies will be an in-conference battle with Pella as they take on their first road contest since June 17. DCG will be seeking to continue their recent trend against Pella, having won five out of the last six battles. The 2020 edition will kick off Monday, June 29 beginning at 7:15 p.m.