With Harlan running away with the Hawkeye 10- Conference softball crown with a near perfect 17-1 record, Glenwood softball coach Tim Stanton knew his team was out of the title hunt heading into its final weekend of conference play.
But second place, Stanton knew, was there for the taking if the Rams could get past Kuemper Catholic in a rain postponed double-header in Carroll on Saturday.
Glenwood responded with a sweep of the Knights to finish the conference season 14-4 and lock up second place in the league over rival Council Bluffs Lewis Central (13-5). The Rams are the only conference team to beat Harlan this season.
“We went into this game with the mentality we’re playing Lewis Central for second place,” Stanton said. “It was Kuemper we were playing but we were motivated to beat out Lewis Central for second place in the conference. We feel good about it.”
Glenwood won game one 12-6 and the night cap 5-2.
“We knew when this game got rained out early they (Kuemper) would be a much better team at the end of the season than they were at the beginning and they were,” Stanton said. “We were pretty happy to get out of there with two.”
With temperatures hovering in the mid 90s and the wind blowing in at nearly 30 miles an hour on Saturday, the Rams wasted little time getting to Knight starter Moriah Bohlmann in game one. Glenwood plated three runs in the first and another in the fourth before the Knights slipped three runs across in the bottom of the second to trim the lead to 4-3. The score would remain that way until the sixth when Glenwood seemed to solve Bohlmann.
The Rams plated eight runs in the final two innings, finishing with 13 hits. Five of Glenwood’s hits came via bunts and they stole 7-of-8 bases they attempted. That “small ball” philosophy has proved the difference for Glenwood this season in winning 11 of their last 12 games.
“We were aggressive at the plate and on the bases,” Stanton said. “This was a good combination of us getting hits, running the bases well and moving runners over. We’ve done it well lately. This short game, with the injuries we’ve had to some of our bigger hitters has changed our dynamic. We’re a put-in-play and run team as opposed to a power team.”
In the capper, the Knights threw Megan Wallace, hoping to disrupt the Ram offense. The athletic freshman effectively eliminated the Rams’ small-ball game but, once again, Stanton’s Rams adjusted to the defensive adjustment.
“She fielded her position really well but once we were able to get girls on base and put some pressure on their defense we were able to get a big inning and that’s all we needed,” Stanton said.
After trailing 2-0 after two innings, Glenwood plated all five of their runs in the fifth inning with Sara Ingoldsby, Lisa Nebel, Hanna Ringsdorf and Myranda Starner each driving in runs in the inning.
“We had runners on in every inning and we weren’t getting them in until that inning,” Stanton said. “With the way the wind was blowing in, we were very patient at the plate. They didn’t throw real hard and we did a good job waiting on pitches. This was one of the longest double-headers I’ve ever been a part of and that was because of how patient we were. Every at-bat we saw seven, eight pitches.”
Glenwood finished with nine hits in game two. Ringsdorf and Ingoldsby finished the twinbill with four hits each.
Lisa Nebel earned both wins in the circle. The junior combined to fan 12, scattered 11 hits and walked none to improve to 25-9 on the season.
“It’s tough pitching with a win at your back,” Stanton said. “You throw a little harder but your junk doesn’t break like it usually does and you’re a little more hittable. But she did a good job of throwing to spots and she battled and pitched two really good games.”
Glenwood heads to Council Bluffs on Thursday to face Lewis Central in the Class 4A, Region 8 opening round. The winner will take on Harlan in the second round.
“Lewis Central is an excellent team,” Stanton said. “They clocked us 12-0 in the last half of our double-header. We had three starters out but they still put 12 on us and we didn’t score. I’m sure we’ll both give each other their best shots.”
The first pitch at regionals is set for 7 p.m.
Sergeant Bluff-Luton 1,
Sergeant Bluff-Luton took advantage of a Glenwood fielding error to hand the Rams a 1-0 loss in a non-conference tilt last Wednesday.
“I thought it was going to be tough for us to win on their field up there and it was,” said Glenwood coach Tim Stanton. “We don’t feel bad about this one. They’re a good team and this was a great game.”
The game’s lone run came in the second inning via a Ram error when Ashtin Hazel scored from second base.
Lisa Nebel allowed just three hits, struck out four but the junior walked a season-high seven in the loss.
“That was like 19 percent of the total number of walks she’s had all year. There was no reason for her to have had those many walks. She pitched a great game. The zone just got really small in some critical situations and large in some others,” Stanton said.
Sara Ingoldsby and Grace Newman recorded the Rams’ two hits – both singles.
Jaelin Stanton had two hits and Sara Ingoldsby three for Glenwood in an 8-5, come-from-behind win over Creston last Monday.
“This is one of the best games I’ve ever been involved in,” Glenwood coach Tim Stanton said. “We got down, came back and tied it, got down 5-2 and came back again and then put some together at the end to pull it out playing a team game.”
The Rams recorded five bunts among their nine hits and drew five walks.
“We put a ton of pressure on them bunting and making them throw our fast kids out,” Stanton said.
The Rams went up for good 6-5 after five innings and pushed two more runs across in the sixth to complete the scoring. Lisa Nebel pitched four scoreless inning to close out the game to record the win.
Nebel finished with seven strikeouts and allowed five hits.
“I kept telling her between innings we’re going to get the runs back and we did,” Stanton said. “Each run we got the more excited we got and she got stronger in the circle. She pitched a good all around game.”