GLADBROOK - They changed up the lineup and changed their fortunes along the way.
A new-look Gladbrook-Reinbeck softball team took the title at its own tournament Saturday, finishing the day's three-game sweep with an improbable 6-5 win over Lisbon.
The Rebels (6-5) scratched across two runs in the final inning against the Lions, getting the game-winning run when Lisbon's center fielder dropped a routine flyball that allowed Lauren Bengen to score from second base.
"A pop-up like that, you're hoping, but when it dropped," said G-R head coach Brian Thompson, "I couldn't believe it."
The luck of the last inning may have had some karmic backing with the Rebels shuffling their lineup and gaining intangible benefits.
"Today they really got chemistry going. We'd been struggling up to now getting chemistry going," noted Thompson, whose team carried a three-game losing streak into the tournament. "We had a ton of kids gone from the other sports. We had kids move into spots and it just wasn't working.
"Today we had a big change and everything just seemed to click, everybody was nice and comfortable. I hope that carries forward."
"We learned a lot of things," he added, "especially about ourselves."
Steph Dilly moved from third base to center with Tessa Dinsdale sliding over from short. Paige Thompson split her time between the pitching circle and short. She picked up the win, entering the game in the third inning in relief of sophomore Taylor Street.
The three games over a span of just a few hours allowed the Rebels to get accustomed to their new surroundings quickly.
"After they play together awhile, they kind of know what they're going to do, and we didn't have that (before making the change)," Thompson said.
Against the Lions, G-R got out to a 2-0 lead by the second inning thanks to a run-scoring double by Emily Stoakes and a RBI knock from Sonya Beichley.
But the Lions plated four runs in the third before Coach Thompson made the call to the bullpen to bring in his daughter, Paige, who allowed one run on two hits. She was also the pitcher of record in Gladbrook-Reinbeck's 4-1 win over North Tama earlier in the day.
Street, who made her season debut at pitcher earlier in the day in a 4-3 win over GMG, surrendered six hits and four runs in her stint in the circle.
"Against GMG she did a fantastic job hitting her spots," Coach Thompson said of Street.
G-R rallied back to within a run in fourth inning when a sacrifice bunt by Kristen Tessau turned into three bases for Emily Snider as a throw to second sailed into the outfield.
Errors by both teams led to a run apiece in the fifth, keeping the Rebels' deficit at one heading into the sixth inning - which would be the final inning due to the tournament time limit.
Thompson smacked a single and moved up to third on a wild pitch, eventually scoring on Kayla Holbach's two-out single after a Bengen walk.
That brought Stoakes to the plate, where her seemingly harmless fly ball turned out to be the difference.
Stoakes was one of a quartet of Rebels to be named to the all-tournament team. Teammates joining her were Thompson, Bengen and Snider.
Also making the team was Brittney Weitzell (GMG), Sydney Fehr (North Tama), Whitney Schirm (North Tama), McKenna Kilburg (Lisbon), Ali Givens (Lisbon) and Cassidy Moore (Lisbon).
Gladbrook-Reinbeck's victory at its own tournament was its second straight. The Rebels won two games at the event last year to be crowned champions.