(Glenwood) -- A six-run fourth inning helped push Glenwood to a 10-3 Class 4A regional opening win over Lewis Central on Thursday evening.
The Rams (21-13) finished a three-game season sweep of the Titans with the victory, but it wasn’t nearly as smooth as the final score indicated.
“We knew they were coming in with nothing to lose,” Glenwood coach Kylee Stanton said. “We just knew we had to control what we can control and do our job.”
Glenwood trailed 2-1 entering the fourth, but exploded for six runs on four hits, an error and a walk. Kelly Embray opened the frame with a double and then moved to third on a bunt single from Taryn Bertini.
Braden Liddick drove in Embray on a groundout to tie the game, and Coryl Matheny followed by driving in another run and reached on a fielding error. After a Brooklyn Taylor walk, Matheny scored on a Cameron Rounds groundout before Taylor came across on a wild pitch.
With the bases empty and two outs, Brielle Smith restarted the rally with a double, and Sydney Biermann followed with a two-run blast - her third on the season.
“I saw the perfect pitch, right where I wanted it,” Biermann said. “I just took it for a ride.”
The big inning came at just the right moment for the Rams, which fell behind when the Titans manufactured a run in the top half to take their first lead.
“We’ve had the tendency to get down early,” Stanton said, “but our girls stay calm and stay disciplined. I have confidence in everything they’re going to do.”
Glenwood added another three runs in the fifth, including two on a two-run double by Smith, and that was more than Biermann would need. The senior right-hander worked all seven innings, struck out five and allowed just six hits.
“It could have been better than what it was, but I think I did pretty good for tonight,” Biermann said.
While Biermann was handling business, the entire lineup found a way to contribute. Smith had two doubles, two RBI and two runs scored, Biermann drove in two on her home run and Embray and Bertini had two hits apiece. Rounds drove in two runs, Taylor scored twice, Liddick and Matheny had an RBI apiece and Briann Gerhardt also hit safely.
“It’s huge,” Stanton said of her balanced lineup. “One thing I stressed is that the girls trust each other. They knew if one person was laying down the bunt, we knew the person was going to do the job behind it. That’s all we can ask is to put trust in each other.
The win sends Glenwood into a regional semifinal against No. 7 Dallas Center-Grimes. The game will be in Dallas Center on Saturday night and can be heard on KMA-FM 99.1 with first pitch at 7:00.
“We feel ready,” Biermann said. “If Brianna pitches, I know she’ll do great. If I pitch, I know I’ll do the same thing. We’re just going to have a great game that day.”
Lewis Central’s season comes to a finish at 9-28. Jerika Koopenmeiners led the offense with an RBI hit while Presley Rodenburg had two hits and Megan Elam and Maddie Howard also hit safely. Coach Don Wittstruck’s team did not have a senior in the lineup on Thursday.
View complete video interviews with Coach Stanton and Biermann below.