For six innings, the Glenwood softball team outplayed, out hustled and out scored Harlan in its Class 3A regional quarterfinal match up on Saturday.
It was the seventh inning that proved the problem as Harlan used two singles, a sacrifice bunt and Glenwood's only error of the game to score two runs in its final at bat to end the Rams' season with a 2-1 victory.
Glenwood coach Tim Stanton was emotional after the game.
“I don't think I can talk right now,” said Stanton, declining interview requests.
It was an understandable emotion considering how his team played - and lost - in the district game.
“We played well enough to win the game for an hour, 29 minutes and 48 seconds,” said Stanton, two days later when reached by telephone. “The other 12 seconds, it was over. It was sickening to lose like that. We played too well to lose like that.”
After a scoreless first inning for both teams, Nicole Charland singled for the Rams' first hit of the game. Charland then advanced to second on a wild pitch with Monica Jones coming to bat. The junior third baseman promptly laid down a picture perfect bunt that the Cyclone first basemen through wide of first allowing Jones to reach safely. The Cyclones then overthrew a cutout off play allowing Charland to score the game's first runs.
The score would remain that way until the bottom of the seventh.
Ram pitcher Molly Bryan pitched her way out of jams in both the third and the sixth with a little help from the Glenwood defense. In the third, the Cyclones knocked back-to-back singles with no outs but could not squeeze a run in. In the sixth, Harlan's Brooke Schaben singled and Malissa Anderson smacked a line drive off Bryan that left runners at first and third with one out. But Bryan induced a pair of pop outs to end the rally.
Swenson opened the seventh with a lead off single and was sacrificed to second base. Another single, by Danielle Stewart, left runners at the corners with Schaben - the Cyclones pitcher and No. 3 hitter - at the plate. The sophomore poked an 0-2 pitch from Bryan right at Glenwood center fielder Sophie Ringsdorf. Ringsdorf grabbed the second out cleanly but Swenson tagged up to tie the game. But that wouldn't end the Cyclones' scoring. The relay toss into Ram catcher Rachelle Martin was off allowing Stewart to slide in under tag at the plate. At least, that's how the home plate umpire saw it, said Stanton.
“I honestly think she (Stewart) never touched the plate,” said Santon, adding he felt Martin successfully blocked the plate for the third out of the inning. “But he (the umpire) saw it differently. He saw her feet under Rachelle and called her safe. I really thought we had her and the game should have been in extra-innings.”
Minus his team's one and only error in the bottom of seventh, Stanton felt his defense was as good as it's been all year.
“They (Harlan) had bases loaded and two one both with no outs and we got out of it both times without a run,” said Stanton. “That's a credit to how well Molly (Bryan) pitched and our defense. Our defense has just gotten better all year.
Bryan allowed just six hits and struck out three. The Cyclone's Schaben was just as good, allowing four hits and striking out three.
The game was the Rams' fifth loss to a Hawkeye 10 opponent by a total of six runs this year. Harlan was 3-0 against Glenwood alone by a total of four runs.
“I really thought going in, we had a chance to win this game,” said Stanton. “I thought we played well enough to win but it just seems we were on the wrong end of just a few plays that cost us all year. When we won the conference title in 2004 we made all those little plays. This year, we didn't get them. I like to think we are six runs from being conference champs. I feel bad for the seniors. We did everything we could to win this game.”
Glenwood finishes its season 23-13 overall and at 10-8, fifth in the conference.
Home runs by Molly Bryan and Sophie Ringsdorf weren't enough for the Glenwood softball team as Creston took advantage of three Ram fielding errors on one play two score two runs in a 3-2 victory last Tuesday.
“It was three weird things on one play and we never really recovered,” said Glenwood coach Tim Stanton of the three error-play that cost the Rams two runs.
The Rams hit it well, said Stanton, but didn't get the breaks his team needed against a pitcher the caliber of the Panther's Madison Frain.
“A couple of mistakes hurt us and we didn't hit when we needed it,” said Stanton.
Glenwood continued its historical struggles at Glenwood last Monday with a 1-0 loss to the Fillies.
The Rams finished with six hits and had runners on base to lead off every inning but couldn't sneak a run across against Shenandoah starter Kylie Perkins.
“We hit the ball, we just didn't hit together. We'd get somebody on and we could get them around,” said Stanton. “It seems like we never have any luck down there (as Shenandoah). I don't think we've scored four runs in three years there.”
The game's only run came in the second inning on a fielder's choice allowing Kerri Rulon to score from third base.
Emily Robinson had three hits to lead Glenwood.