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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July 1: Air Force's Nic Ready hit a total of 55 home runs, including 21 in the final round, to edge Clemson's Logan Davidson in the College Home Run Derby.
June 28: Oregon State celebrates beating Arkansas 5-0 in Game 3 of the CWS championship series. The Beavers were down to their last out in Game 2 before a fielding blunder by the Razorbacks gave Oregon State a second life, which it took advantage of en route to the program's third CWS title.
June 18: John Olson, and Mary Olson, of Joslyn, Missouri, take cover under ponchos during a rain delay at the College World Series. Weather provided a huge problem in the 2018 CWS.
June 15: Cam'ron Jones checks out Omaha.com, or perhaps Snapchat, during the Huskers' Friday Night Lights camp.
June 9: Terence "Bud" Crawford celebrates his knockout victory over Jeff Horn to win the WBO welterweight title.
May 19: Fremont's Lucas Arps celebrates after winning the Class A 400-meter dash.
May 19: Lincoln Lutheran's Josie Puelz celebrates after clearing 12-2 in the Class C girls pole vault final.
May 17: Omaha Roncalli's Thomas Alitz cheers after scoring the winning run in the Class B state championship on a hit by Logan McGill with two outs in the seventh inning.
May 17: Omaha Creighton Prep's Eric Allbery, right, jumps on the dogpile as the Junior Jays celebrate their Class A state baseball title.
May 16: South Sioux City celebrates after defeating Elkhorn South in the Class B state soccer championship.
May 16: Kearney's Christian Dakan hoists the Class A state soccer trophy alongside his teammates.
May 14: Millard North celebrates its Class A state championship win against Omaha Marian by kissing the trophy.
May 14: Elkhorn celebrates its Class B championship win against Omaha Skutt.
May 9: Creighton's Will Robertson celebrates with Jack Strunc, left, after homering the fifth inning. The Jays beat UNO 10-6.
May 6: The Omaha Storm Chasers play below the newly dedicated Steve Pivovar Press Box at Werner Park.
April 21: Nebraska coach Scott Frost leads the Huskers during the Tunnel Walk on Saturday.
April 19: Awardee Dante Pettis and former Nebraska football player Johnny Rodgers, right, pictured during the Jet Award dinner.
April 19: Former Nebraska football coach Tom Osborne attends the Jet Award dinner.
April 18: UNO's Malik Moore pitches against Nebraska. The Mavericks knocked off the Huskers for the first time since 1997.
April 11: Creighton's Will Robertson, left, and Thomas Luevano celebrate scoring on a triple by Jack Strunc.
April 11: Elkhorn South's Mo Gohr gains control of the ball in the Metro Conference tournament.
April 3: Scott Frost directs Husker football practice.
March 31: The boy campers pose for a photo at the Athletes' Training Center Futures Camp at Iowa West Field House.
March 27: Creighton defeats Nebraska 3-1 in the first matchup of the year.
March 25: Kansas' Malik Newman drives to the basket, drawing a blocking foul on Duke's Wendell Carter. The Jayhawks went on to defeat the Blue Devils in Omaha and advance to the Final Four.
March 17: Arizona State defeats Nebraska in the NCAA women's basketball tournament.
March 17: Nebraska Wesleyan celebrates winning the NCAA Division III men's basketball championship.
March 17: Creighton defeats Iowa in the NCAA women's basketball tournament.
March 17: Creighton's bench cheers as Michael Emodi hits a walk-off homer off Wichita State pitcher Chandler Sanburn in the Jays' home opener.
March 12: The Creighton women's basketball team celebrates making the NCAA tournament.
March 10: Wahoo celebrates winning the Class C-1 boys basketball title.
March 10: Nebraska City Lourdes' Quinten Vasa, center, holds up the trophy with his team.
March 9: Glenwood celebrates after winning its first boys basktball state title in school history.
March 3: Scotus' Maggie Feehan celebrates after winning the Class C-1 title.
March 3: Superior celebrates a Class C-2 championship win over Ravenna.
Feb. 25: Nebraska's Duby Okeke enters Pinnacle Bank Arena with his family at his side on senior night. The Huskers went on to defeat Penn State.
Nebraska's Duby Okeke enters Pinnacle Bank Arena with his family at his side on senior night.
Feb. 24: Creighton's Marcus Foster, left, and Davion Mintz celebrate Creighton's 89-83 overtime victory over Villanova.
Feb. 24: Omaha Creighton Prep's Colin LaFave competes in the 100 fly at the state swimming meet.
Feb. 24: Lincoln Southwest's Anna Heinrich, left, and Josie Ford celebrate their first and second-place finishes in the 50 free at the state swimming meet.
Feb. 17: Kearney’s Phillip Moomey is in the top 20 of his weight class in two national polls. Only a handful of underclassmen are ranked ahead of him.
Feb. 17: Omaha Burke's Jakason Burks does a backflip after defeating Millard South's Caleb Coyle during the 106-pound Class A final at the state wrestling championships.
Jan. 28: Omaha Lancers coach and General Manager David Wilkie talks with players during first-period action.
Jan. 26: UNO's Luke Nogard skates past the referee.
Jan. 16: Nebraska's Nicea Eliely gets excited during pregame introductions as the Huskers went on to beat Iowa.
Nebraska's James Palmer celebrates a home victory over Illinois with Isaiah Roby.
Jan. 9: Former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden, left, talks with former Nebraska coach Tom Osborne during the Outland Trophy banquet.
Jan. 4: Omaha Burke's Shereef Mitchell brings the ball up court in the Metro holiday tournament.
Jan. 1: In his final game with Central Florida, now-Nebraska coach Scott Frost raises the Peach Bowl title after defeating Auburn.