Softball graphic

GLENWOOD – Recent graduates Brielle Smith and Brooklyn Taylor have been four-sport standouts at Glenwood High School.

As doubles partners, they finished fourth in the Class 1-A state tennis tournament last spring. But they’ve never reached state in their volleyball, basketball or softball careers.

This is their final hurrah, and on Thursday they kept their hopes alive of reaching state in softball. Glenwood recovered from a 2-1, fourth-inning deficit to beat Lewis Central 10-3 in a Class 4-A regional softball opener on its home field.

“We’ve been very close a lot,’’ Smith said. “It would be cool in the final go-round to get it.’’

Unrated Glenwood (21-13) needs two more wins to reach the state tournament in Fort Dodge. The Rams will play at No. 7 Dallas Center-Grimes (22-14) in a 7 p.m. semifinal game on Saturday.

Glenwood coach Kylee Stanton believes her club has the goods to pull it off.

“That’s been our statement since the get-go, between our seniors and our juniors: This is our year. Just trust that it’s our year,’’ she said. “We’re way too solid at all our positions to not believe that we can make it there.’’

Lewis Central, which closed at 9-28, took a 2-1 lead in the fourth inning when Presley Rodenburg singled, took second on an error, reached third on Stacey Merksick’s sacrifice and scored on Jerika Koopmeiners’ single.

But the Rams broke it open with a six-run bottom of the fourth. Kelly Embray doubled. Taryn Bertini beat out a bunt single. Braden Liddick had an RBI groundout to tie it. An error on a tough chance at third gave Glenwood the 3-2 lead.

Cameron Rounds’ RBI groundout made it 4-2. A wild pitch scored Taylor. Smith then doubled and Biermann followed with her third homer of the year, a two-run shot, to push it to 7-2.

The hosts added three more in the fifth when Rounds walked with the bases loaded and Smith followed with a two-run double.

“I was very proud of how the kids were calm and relaxed and just knew they had the game and were in control of it,’’ Stanton said.

No seniors finished the season for Lewis Central, which started eighth-graders Megan Elam and Merksick along with Megan Gittins, the freshman starting pitcher. She showed a glimpse of the future in the third inning when she fanned Smith, Biermann and Brianna Gerhardt, the Rams’ 3-4-5 hitters, with two on and nobody out.

“This is a good year of experience for her,’’ L.C. coach Don Wittstruck said. “She takes (losses) to heart, which is good to see. We’ll get her toughened up this year, get some weight on these kids and get them in the weight room, and I’ll tell you what, they’ll be a different team next year.’’

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The difference between the size, age and strength of the teams was evident. Stanton pointed out that Taylor had a pair of nine- or 10-pitch at bats that paid dividends.

“Those at-bats make the difference in the whole game, because it wears out that pitcher,’’ she said.

Smith, Embray and Bertini finished with two hits for the winners. Rodenburg ended with two hits for the Titans.

“It will be fun to see them in the next couple years,’’ Wittstruck said of the Titans.

Lewis Central (9-28)........... 010 101 – 3 6 2

Glenwood (21-13)........... 100 630 x – 10 9 3

W: Sydney Biermann. L: Megan Gittins. 2B: LC, Presley Rodenburg, Stacey Merksick; G, Brielle Smith 2, Kelly Embray. HR: G, Biermann.

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