Ely wins softball opener

by Tom Coombe
A surprisingly potent offense and some timely defense proved to be a winning combination for the Ely Timberwolves.
Ely scored six runs in the first inning and four times in the sixth en route to a 13-11 high school softball victory over Mt. Iron-Buhl.
Tuesday’s season-opening contest was played on artificial turf and marked the first time outside for the Wolves, who have been confined to their gymnasium for indoor workouts for several weeks.
Ely also gained some revenge against the Rangers, who beat the Wolves twice in three tries last year including in the Section 7A playoffs.
“It was kind of crazy,” said Ely Head Coach Cory Lassi. “I think we had 14 hits,and it was our first time seeing live pitching, hitting outside, and we jumped on them early. It was a great start to the season.”
Junior left fielder Kate Coughlin had three hits for the winners, while teammates Katrina Seliskar, Clare Thomas and Zoe Mackenzie added two hits each.
Eight of nine Ely starters scored at least one run, and the offense overcame the absence of three starters.
Seliskar went the distance to get the pitching victory and she was aided by two double plays.
“We had some big double plays,” said Lassi. “We had one at third where Zoe stepped on the bag and threw it across and another where Charly Flom made an incredible catch going out to the outfield and she was able to turn around and double their runner off of third. Those were huge plays.”
Catcher Cedar Ohlhauser also came up with a key play in the seventh, gunning down a runner at second to quell an MIB rally.
The Rangers trimmed a 13-8 gap to two runs in the final frame, but the out at second helped put out the fire and Seliskar coaxed a groundout to end the game.
Ely’s returning pitcher from a year ago, Seliskar went the distance and scattered 11 hits while notching a pair of strikeouts.
Coughlin, Mackenzie and Lexi Halberg all knocked in two runs for the Wolves.
It’s a waiting game now for Ely, as the Wolves hope snow melts and their field dries for a series of upcoming contests.
The Wolves are slated to host Northeast Range Monday, Deer River Tuesday and Two Harbors Friday, all at the high school softball field if field conditions permit.
“We need to get outside and start playing and once we do I think we’ll get better and better,” said Lassi.