GLENWOOD, Iowa — Sydney Biermann waited until she got into her car Wednesday morning before she pulled out the letter.

Glenwood coach Kylee Stanton had typed up short letters to each of her 16 varsity players and handed them out after their final practice before the postseason. It’s the first year Stanton has done so and it was her idea.

“I told Syd that between her and Taryn (Bertini), we have the best 1-2 pitching combo, I think, in the state,’’ Stanton said. “I believe in that and she should believe in that.’’

Biermann took those words to heart. She was a Morgan Schaben fourth-inning single from a perfect game, firing a one-hit shutout and blasting a two-run homer Thursday for the only runs in a 2-0 Class 4-A, Region 2-opening victory over Harlan Community.

Biermann (14-9) had won only one of her final seven decisions in the regular season. In her last nine outings, she had allowed 10, nine, 11, seven, five, four, 11, seven and 10 hits. After sitting in her car and digesting Stanton’s words, she felt like a different player the next night.

“I was like, ‘This is a nice thing to do,’’’ she said. “I just feel like I had more confidence in myself.’’

Glenwood (19-12) advances to Saturday’s 7 p.m. semifinal at Lewis Central against the ninth-rated Titans (27-9). Harlan closed at 15-17.

Harlan junior Morgan Schaben turned in an outstanding pitching performance as well. She struck out 12 and walked four, and made only one big mistake, leaving a 1-2 pitch up to Biermann in the fourth. She drilled an opposite-field shot over the fence in right-center for her sixth round-tripper, scoring Brooklyn Taylor, who had walked.

“She pitched a wonderful game,’’ said Harlan coach Brooke Schaben, who is Morgan’s older sister. “If you’d have told me this morning they were only going to score two runs off of us, I would have thought, ‘Oh, we’re going to win, no problem.’’’

Harlan had split the June 14 Hawkeye Ten Conference doubleheader, winning 10-1 and losing 5-4. Biermann pitched the distance in the loss, allowing 11 hits, although only two of the 10 runs were earned.

Stanton said she knew Biermann might have a big night after talking to catcher Maddie Liddell before the game.

“When I walked out and I checked on her warming up, I said, ‘How’d it go?’’’ Stanton said. “And Maddie looked at me and goes, ‘Coach, she’s hitting her spots. She’s on. Everything is working.’’’

Biermann didn’t overpower the Cyclones, striking out three. She said her curveball and screwball were working particularly well. And the Rams played errorless defense behind her, led by freshman left-handed second baseman Kelly Embray, who handled seven chances cleanly.

“The faith in them was good, because I trust them with my whole heart,’’ Biermann said.

Stanton said Embray had been doing some catching before moving back to second base recently and handling the position well.

While Glenwood started no freshmen or eighth-graders, Harlan started five freshmen and two eighth-graders. Brooke Schaben said her team’s youth might have showed with too many defensive swings.

“I threw BP to them, harder than she pitched, before the game, and they were hitting the crap out of the ball,’’ she said. “And then you come here and it’s just a different pressure.’’

Glenwood lost its first meeting with Lewis Central, 10-0. In the second game last Friday, Glenwood trailed 2-1 entering the seventh before the Titans broke it open for an 8-1 win.

Biermann said she plays club ball with several of the Lewis Central players.

“When it comes to competition time, like Saturday, we’re going to be ready to play each other,’’ she said.

Harlan (15-17)............000 000 0—0 1 1

Glenwood (19-12).......002 000 0—2 3 0

W: Sydney Biermann (14-9). L: Morgan Schaben (10-11). 2B: G, Erin Stanley. HR: G, Biermann (6).

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