Ely’s baseball, softball teams finally debut

by Tom Coombe
Neither the Ely Timberwolves’ softball nor baseball teams had played yet this season as of Wednesday, but there’s little doubt both high school squads had already done battle with their two most difficult opponents of the spring.
First COVID-19 and then Mother Nature have proven to be more than formidable foes for the Wolves.
It was a COVID outbreak at the high school that sent students into distance learning from mid-March until Apr. 12 and sidelined Ely teams.
And since practice has begun, the Wolves have had to dodge rain drops, bundle up against biting winds and even waited for snow to melt.
The cold weather prompted some postponements early this week, but both Ely teams were slated to play their season openers as of deadline.
The softball team, under first-year head coach Cory Lassi, was slated to host Chisholm with a Friday visit to Babbitt following to take on Northeast Range.
Ely’s baseball team was slated to start the 2021 season with back-to-back home dates.
The Wolves, led by longtime head coach Frank Ivancich, hosted Deer River Thursday to begin the season while North Woods was set to come to Veterans Memorial Field on Friday.
The tilt with North Woods was originally set for Apr. 20 but was moved because of weather.
Ivancich, who was named Minnesota’s Class A Coach of the Year last season, leads an Ely team that has traditionally contended in Section 7A, but has a new look this spring with little varsity experience.
Lassi took over a softball team that is also young and will look to improve as the spring moves forward.
Both Ely teams travel to South Ridge Monday.
The start of the seasons mark Ely’s first return to spring sports since 2019. All teams in Minnesota missed the 2020 campaign because of the pandemic.