FORT DODGE, Ia. – Rogers Sports Complex’s main softball diamond can now hold 1,800 fans in the newly-expanded bleacher seating.
Good timing. The venue may need it.
Fort Dodge and St. Edmond, the city’s two high schools, both qualified for this week’s state tournament.
The city pumped nearly $600,000 in city-funded improvements into the venue — the biggest capital expenditure in more than a decade.
Softball fans in Fort Dodge will be eager to test out the gleaming bleachers that shine behind home plate.
“We have the whole town with us,” Fort Dodge pitcher Mallory Kilian said.
The tournament starts at 11 a.m. Monday with a Class 4-A opener.
To make matters even more celebratory, RAGBRAI will be sweeping through town that same day.
The centerpiece of the construction project is a 1,042-seat grandstand behind and above home plate. It’s capped with a 24-seat press box for media and officials.
“When you fill those stands, it’s really like a college atmosphere,” St. Edmond coach Paul Hunt said.
The championships in all five classes are scheduled for Friday. Three state title teams return: Johnston in Class 5-A, Dallas Center-Grimes in 4-A and Clarke of Osceola in 3-A.
City leaders in Fort Dodge took advantage of an improving economy to invest money in the softball fields. The state tournament provides a financial boost to the area every summer.
Jim Winter, the Rogers Sports Complex superintendent, said curious onlookers drove past the diamonds during the spring to see the progress.
“It was definitely a ‘wow’ factor,” said Winter, who has worked 32 state tournaments.
People in Fort Dodge will have a great chance to enjoy the additions this week.
The town’s two schools qualified at the same time only once before, in 2006. No. 6 Fort Dodge opens tournament play at 5 p.m. Monday in a 4-A quarterfinal. No. 1-ranked St. Edmond starts at 1 p.m. Tuesday in a 2-A game.
“It’s fun that we both have the opportunity to experience this together,” St. Edmond’s Jaci Stumpf said.
The teams scrimmaged at Rogers Sports Complex Friday. They’ll both enjoy the benefits of the fan-friendly diamonds this week.
“We’ve always had a super nice complex,” Kilian said. “It’s great to see all the advancements.”
What if the schools can have a chance to play for a state title Friday? The expanded bleachers could get crowded.
“Both of us would be there for each other,” Stumpf said.
Monday, July 20
Class 4-A Quarterfinals
11 a.m. – Winterset vs. Mount Pleasant; 1 p.m. – Waverly-Shell Rock vs. Creston; 3 p.m. – Dallas Center-Grimes vs. Fairfield; 5 p.m. – Fort Dodge vs. Pella.
Class 5-A Quarterfinals
11:30 a.m. – W.D.M. Valley vs. Ankeny; 1:30 p.m. – Waukee vs. Urbandale; 3:30 p.m. – Cedar Rapids Jefferson vs. Linn-Mar (Marion); 5:30 p.m. – Johnston vs. Bettendorf.
Class 1-A Quarterfinals
7 p.m. – New London vs. Newell-Fonda; 7:30 p.m. – Don Bosco (Gilbertville) vs. Logan-Magnolia.
Tuesday, July 21
Class 1-A Quarterfinals
11 a.m. – AGWSR (Ackley) vs. Bellevue Marquette; 11:30 a.m. – Lynnville-Sully vs. River Valley (Correctionville).
Class 2-A Quarterfinals
1 p.m. – Fort Dodge St. Edmond vs. Interstate 35 (Truro); 3 p.m. – Durant vs. Iowa City Regina; 5 p.m. – Central Springs (Manly) vs. IKM-Manning; 7 p.m. – North Union vs. Cascade.
Class 3-A Quarterfinals
1:30 p.m. – Solon vs. Clarke (Osceola); 3:30 p.m. – Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley vs. Center Point-Urbana; 5:30 p.m. – Greene County vs. Crestwood (Cresco); 7:30 p.m. – Benton (Van Horne) vs. Mount Vernon.
Wednesday, July 22
(Note: Class 4-A consolation semifinals will be played Tuesday.)
Thursday, July 23
Friday, July 24
Championships, third-place games
CLASS BY CLASS PREVIEWS
Returning champion: Johnston
The CIML qualified six of the eight state tournament teams. The league has won every big-school title since 2002. West Des Moines Valley (35-6) is ranked No. 1… Defending champion Johnston (33-4) is No. 2. Haylee Towers has a 21-1 pitching record.
Returning champion: Dallas Center-Grimes
Dallas Center-Grimes has won back-to-back titles and 11 of its last 12 games. The Fillies are ranked No. 9… Winterest (30-11) is the highest-rated team at No. 3… Waverly-Shell Rock’s Cassie Rottink has an 18-1 pitching mark with a 1.11 earned-run average.
Returning champion: Clarke (Osceola)
Clarke of Osceola had significant graduation losses from a year ago and enters state with a 20-17 record. The team faces No. 1 Solon (39-3), which has scored 377 runs this season… Benton of Van Horne (40-3) has hammered 33 home runs this season.
Returning champion: None
Fort Dodge St. Edmond (28-7) enters with a No. 1 ranking. The Gaels have won their last seven games… No. 5 North Union of Armstrong features Autumn Boland, who has blasted 15 home runs and driven in 68 runs… Greene County of Jefferson is No. 4.
Returning champion: None
New London (30-2) is the top-ranked team in the field at No. 2. Morgan Christner (29-2) has a 0.87 ERA with 373 strikeouts… Fourth-rated Lynnville-Sully (35-3) has qualified for state in five of the last six years… AGWSR of Ackley (26-8) is back at state for the third straight year.
Valley and Johnston both placed three athletes on the coaches’ all-Central Iowa Conference softball team.
Indianola captured four spots on the Metro Conference squad.
Defending state champion Johnston’s Haylee Towers, Brooke Wilmes and Mercedes Worsfold received first-team honors in the CIC.
So did No. 1-ranked Valley’s Anna Gernant, Lexi Merritt and Mandi Roemmich.
Indianola has four first-teamers: Libby Yenger, Kirsten Burris, Cassie Burris and Cheyenne Andersen.
Ankeny Centennial’s Kendyl Lindaman, who became the state’s career home-run leader, also earned first-team CIC honors. Lindaman, a junior, finished the season with 56 career homers.
First team—P: Haylee Towers, jr., Johnston; Anna Gernant, sr., Valley; C: Kendyl Lindaman, jr., Ankeny Centennial; IF: Lexi Merritt, jr., Valley; Brooke Wilmes, so., Johnston; Mandi Roemmich, jr., Valley; Skyler Shellmyer, fr., Urbandale; OF: Olivia Brooks, jr., Ankeny; Serena Moss, sr., Ankeny Centennial; Mercedes Worsfold, jr., Johnston; Sarah Schaefer, so., Waukee; UT: Mallory Kilian, sr., Fort Dodge; Claire Dudek, sr., Waukee.
Second team—P: Mackenzie Ward, so., Valley; Bella Crow, so., Urbandale; C: Addy Pender, sr., Johnston; IF: Sierra Walton, sr., Dowling Catholic; Peyton Daugherty, fr., Ankeny; Bailee Ballard, sr., Ankeny Centennial; Julia Bastian, so., Dowling Catholic; OF: Allison Doocy, jr., Ankeny; Kendall Cornick, sr., Mason City; Mary Kate Gray, so., Waukee; UT: Maddie Lynch, jr., Ames; Brooke Sandstoe, jr., Johnston; Mack Jones, jr., Valley.
First team—P: Mallory Kilian, sr., Fort Dodge; Meagan Hartman, so., Fort Dodge; C: Hannah Bloch, sr., Ames; IF: Bre Tjebben, fr., Fort Dodge; Maddie Lynch, jr., Ames; Madi Bennett, jr., Fort Dodge; Kayla Till, so., Mason City; OF: Cassidy Blackford, sr., Marshalltown; Kendall Cornick, sr., Mason City; UT: Savannah Perry, eighth, Ames.
Second team—P: Brooke Huegli, sr., Mason City; Kaley Mead, sr., Marshalltown; C: Ryanna Bales, sr., Mason City; IF: Hannah Lindsey, sr., Ames; Madie Knutson, fr., Fort Dodge; Anna Myers, jr., Ames; Jenni King, jr., Mason City; OF: Becca Sunken, sr., Fort Dodge; Hannah Faktor, fr., Mason City; Izzy Collins, so., Ames; UT: Molly Matthes, sr., Fort Dodge.
Honorable mention—Ames: Macee Buss, fr.; Fort Dodge: Riley Hartman, sr.; Brielle Ulrich, sr.; Marshalltown: Maggie Carnahan, sr.; Ciara Feldman, fr.; Haley Vajgrt, jr.; Mason City: Morgan Amundson, sr.; Jordan Theobald, sr.
First team—P: Sarah Schaefer, so., Waukee; Allison Doocy, jr., Ankeny; C: Kendyl Lindaman, jr., Ankeny Centennial; IF: Claire Dudek, sr., Waukee; Peyton Daugherty, fr., Ankeny; Kenzie Hilzer, jr., Southeast Polk; Bailee Ballard, sr., Ankeny Centennial; OF: Serena Moss, sr., Ankeny Centennial; Olivia Brooks, jr., Ankeny; Mary Kate Gray, so., Waukee; UT: Taylor Luther, sr., Waukee.
Second team—P: Kaitlyn Menz, sr., Waukee; Claire Nelson, sr., Ankeny Centennial; C: McKenzie Larson, sr., Ankeny Centennial; IF: Madison Kerkove, so., Ankeny; Markee Brown, jr., Southeast Polk; Kelli Fogt, so., Waukee; Sydney Christman, fr., Ankeny; OF: Tori McLean, sr., Southeast Polk; Shaye Witte, jr., Waukee; Taylor Hulsing, sr., Waukee; UT: Morgan Nealey, so., Waukee.
Honorable mention—Ankeny: Emily Bosch, so.; Katelyn Walljasper, jr.; Kennedy Thomas, fr.; Ankeny Centennial: Courtney Clayberg, sr.; Amanda Pair, sr.; Maggie Syversen, jr.; Southeast Polk: Lexie Blonigan, sr.; Julia Blanchard, sr.; Grace Metts, sr.; Abby Sutten, fr.; Jordan Duren, sr.; Sidney Davis, jr.; Kailee O’Brien; sr.; Waukee: Kelsey Rincon, fr.
First team—P: Anna Gernant, sr., Valley; Haylee Towers, jr., Johnston; C: Addy Pender, sr., Johnston; IF: Lexi Merritt, jr., Valley; Brooke Wilmes, so., Johnston; Mandi Roemmich, jr., Valley; Skyler Shellmyer, fr., Urbandale; OF: Mack Jones, sr., Valley; Hallie Ketcham, fr., Dowling Catholic; Mercedes Worsfold, jr., Johnston; UT: Julia Bastian, so., Dowling Catholic.
Second team—P: Mackenzie Ward, so., Valley; Bella Crow, so., Urbandale; C: Allison Yoder, fr., Urbandale; IF: Sierra Walton, sr., Dowling Catholic: Madison Thilges, jr., Johnston; Brooke Sandstoe, jr., Johnston; Megan Rushing, sr., Valley; OF: Jill Belieusr, sr., Valley; Kaitlyn Moses, fr., Dowling Catholic; Hannah Espeland, so., Johnston; UT: Jackie Feldt, so., Valley.
Honorable mention—Johnston: Olivia Goodale, jr.; Haley Pemble, jr.; Dowling Catholic: Mia Cataldo, fr.; Anna Albaugh, sr.; Lauren Watters, so.; Olivia Walton, so.; Amber Gierstorf, sr.; Andi Miller, fr.; Urbandale: Mickey Cole, jr.; Ashlan Burton, jr.; Lexie Bagley, sr.; Jessi Carver, sr.; Chelsey Sims, sr.; Valley: Haley Heinen, sr.
First team—P: Libby Yenger, sr., Indianola; Shelby Davis, sr., Lincoln; C: Madisen Blackford, so., Hoover; Kirsten Burris, sr., Indianola; IF: Cassie Harrington, sr., North; Lauren Poortinga, sr., Lincoln; Courtney Fudge, sr., East; Cassie Burris, sr., Indianola; Kassidi Henderson, sr., Ottumwa; OF: Nani Hill, so., Roosevelt; Cheyenne Andersen, so., Indianola; Madi Wiley, so., Ottumwa; Kerigan Torres, sr., Hoover.
Second team—P: Sydney Sickels, fr., Indianola; Jessa May, jr., East; C: Kate Claypool, fr., Roosevelt; IF: Ellie Hammack, jr., Ottumwa; Parker Mathews, fr., Indianola; Hannah Blackford, fr., Hoover; DJ Schmidt, so., East; Summer Waychoff, sr., Indianola; Ashlyn Thompson, sr., Ottumwa; OF: Kelsey Peyton, jr., Ottumwa; Abby Gehringer, jr., Indianola; Carly Reynolds, fr., East; Faith Bos, jr., East.
Honorable mention—East: Laurie Custard, so.; Jordyn Anderson, jr.; Toni McPhee, fr.; Josie Lucas, eighth; Mia Elliott, eighth; Hoover: Olivia Evans, jr.; Sidney Larsen, so.; Ava Torres, fr.; Lincoln: Shelby Reeves, sr.; Alyssa Hunerdosse, sr.; Shane Hartgrave, fr.; Ashley Weddell, fr.; North: Reagan Clay, sr.; Justina Negrete, jr.; Mikayla Neal, jr.; Roosevelt: Toni Rife, sr.; Emily Swanda, sr.; Anitra Bundy, jr.; Hanna Biegger, fr.; Morgan Ochoa, fr.; Indianola: Emily Sones, jr.; Maddie Parker, jr.; Ottumwa: Kaleigh Schreiner, jr.; Mallary Simmer, sr.; Chloe Davis, sr.