Glenwood upsets Creston 5-3 to reach regional finals


Faith Weber gets a healthy lead at third base before being knocked in for the game-winning run by Elizabeth Thiesen.

Kylee Stanton didn’t have to say a word.

Her Glenwood softball team knew the stakes and they knew the score: get two runs or their season was over.

They got three.

The Rams scored three runs in the top of the seventh inning to rally from 2-0 hole in the and never got down even when Creston forced extra-innings, forcing them to rally once again. Glenwood plated two runs in the top of the eighth to avenge two regular season losses to the Class 4A, No. 9 ranked Panthers with a 5-3 win Saturday and advance to the district finals.

“It was nerve wracking,” Stanton admitted but there were no pep talks or rah-rah speeches needed to get her team motivated.

“I didn’t have to say a whole lot. They were hyped and they knew the hits would come. I was a little teary eyed in that seventh thinking this could be it. And the girls put the confidence in themselves and started playing ball for each other. They bought in and went and got it.”

Glenwood (20-13) meets No. 6 ranked Indianola in tonght's regional final with a slot in the state tournament on the line.

The Rams hit the ball all night against the Panthers – they finished with nine hits – but couldn’t string together the base hits they needed at opportune times. They stranded eight base runners heading into the seventh when things finally took a turn with two outs. Back to back singles by Aza Sechtem and Sara Kolle knotted the score at 2-2. A third straight single by Faith Weber loaded the bases for Madison Barrett who smacked a single of her own to give the Rams their first lead.

The Panthers would tie the game on a fielder’s choice in the seventh to extend the game but the Rams would not gp away. Kolle smacked a leadoff triple to open the eighth and then scored on Liz Thiesen’s single. An error by the Panthers led to another insurance run for Glenwood.

Creston put runners on in the bottom of the frame but Weber snagged a hard line drive and fired to first for a double play for the first two outs and Alli Koontz ended the game on a strikeout. Koontz notched the win with the complete-game victory.

Glenwood 1,
C.B. Lewis Central 0

One run, four hits, no errors.

It’s not how Glenwood softball coach Kylee Stanton expected the box score to look in its Class 4A, Region 2 quarterfinals against Council Bluffs Lewis Central but she and her Rams will certainly take the 1-0 win and advance to Saturday’s semifinals.

“I was very surprised about that,” said Glenwood coach Kylee Stanton. “If someone would have told me we’d only have one run and four hits, the way we played against them last time, I would have told them they were nuts.”

The Rams (19-13) swept the Titans (12-23) in the regular season in lopsided 6-0 and 10-3 victories but in Thursday’s regionals, the defense, and especially the pitching, was there but Glenwood never seemed to click offensively. Of their four hits just one went for extra-bases.

“We wanted to drop our hands too much and that led to pop ups,” Stanton said. “We have to make adjustments and make them make plays on defense.”

After notching just one hit through the first three innings, the Rams pushed across the game’s only run in the fourth inning. Faith Weber’s two-out, infield started the rally. The sophomore promptly stole second base and then moved to third on a passed ball. Two pitches later, Elizabeth Thiesen smacked a liner to rightfield to plate Weber.

The one run was all Alli Koontz needed in the circle for the Rams. The freshman was never overpowering – six strikeouts, five hits – but she was efficient, throwing strikes and allowing her defense to do their job.

“She’s learning to trust and that she knows she doesn’t have to do it all,” Stanton said. “She doesn’t have to throw heat all the time and the defense is there to help and obviously it showed tonight. No errors. We gave up a few this here and there but we came back and held runners when they were in scoring position.”

The Rams were swept the Panthers (25-4) in the regular season. A fact not lost on Stanton who said her team is looking forward to a third crack at the Hawkeye 10 Conference champions and star pitcher Keely Coen.

“We know they’re going to hit the ball,” Stanton said of the Panthers, who hit .370 as a team this season. “We’re adjusting our pitching strategy, we’re living low and hope to get a lot of ground balls. And we know we’re ready to hit her.

This will be her third time seeing us at the plate and we think we can get her.”

 

The Opinion-Tribune

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