Hot-hitting Indianola ends Glenwood's season in regional finals

Ram third baseman fires a putout to first base in the regional final.

Glenwood’s softball season came to an end Tuesday night in a relentless barrage of Indianola hits.

The No. 6 rated Indians pummeled the Rams with 19 hits, including two home runs and two triples, in a 12-2 victory in the Class 4A, Region 2 finals in Indianola.

The Rams’ led 1-0 after the top half of the first inning but watched as the Indians (27-12) methodically built a 2-1 lead after an inning and then a 7-1 lead after two on their way to the victory. With the win the Indians advance to next week’s Iowa State Softball Tournament.

Glenwood coach Kylee Stanton spoke through tears to her team for 15 minutes after the game.

“I told them this was frustrating because we’re better than we’ve showed tonight,” she said. “We didn’t put enough trust in ourselves, and we let them dictate the game. And we didn’t help ourselves out in the situations we needed to. But we battled. We scored a run in the top of the fifth and we kept putting runners on and the defense played hard. 

“They’re good hitting ballclub and we needed to cut down on some of those and we just couldn’t do it.”

The Rams got off to the start they wanted. Madison Barrett led the game off with a walk and back-to-back singles by Coryl Matheny and Sara Kolle loaded the bases for McKenna Koehler. Koehler hit a dribbler to second base, but it was bobbled leading to a Ram run. The rally would end there, however, as Indian starter Izzie Benge struck out the final two batters.

Indianola wasted little time answering. Mara Bishop walked to open the game and then reached third on a bunt by Brynn Ortlund. Both were brought home by Hayley Kloeckner’s triple.

“We came in with a lot of confidence,” Stanton said of her team’s first inning. “And then we started chasing in inning two. I knew that might be a problem. If we couldn’t lay off that rise ball, we were going to struggle and we just kind of let their pitcher run the game from there. We didn’t hop on her first strike we needed to hit hard.”

Benge struck out the side in the top of the second and then was handed a 7-1 lead after the Indians’ smacked six hits and plated five runs.

The Rams had runners on in every inning but never really threatened again. Allison Koontz doubled in the fifth and came around to score on Kolle’s single for their final run.

Benge, a freshman, struck out nine and scattered five hits and a single earned run. The freshman didn’t overpower anyone, but she hit her spots and mixed speeds effectively.

“A lot of those strikeouts, we were going deep in counts, fouling off three, four pitches, which is all you can ask of hitters, and she’d get the last one on us,” Stanton said. “You have to give her credit and tip our hats to them.”

The Indians’ 19 hits were the most against Glenwood this season. Koontz, who started in the circle, allowed eight hits and six runs in 1 1/3 innings before giving way to Koehler. Koehler threw the final 3 2/3 innings.

Kiley Kindelspire went 4-for-4 and drove in five runs to lead Indianola. Ortlund, Cassy Anderson and Jordyn Gripp added three hits each.

Stanton called Indianola, who entered with a .356 team batting average, the best hitting team she’s seen all season.

“They squared us up well,” Stanton said. “We worked on staying down in the zone and we put a few up but for the most part they squared us up and did a good job putting the ball in play where we weren’t. We had to do a better job of keeping balls in front of us and stopping extra bases.”

The Rams close their season with a record of 20-14.

“When we go back and look at this season, we’re going to look at that everyone was calling us the underdogs,” Stanton said. “People we’re looking for us to go seventh or eighth in the conference and they figured people would walk all over us. And these girls came out and battled night in and night out. We may not have pulled out every win but I’m proud we never laid down for any team.”

Five seniors suited up for the last time for Glenwood in the regional final: Barrett, Matheny, Riley Wiese, Aza Sechtem and Lillie Albers. Stanton said that group will be a tough one to replace. 

“This whole group that I’ve had this year has been the best to coach because they played together. They’re very much into play for each other and not themselves and it starts with the senior class and their leadership.”

The Opinion-Tribune

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