Home playoff game looms

Ely softball team beats Northeast Range, stays in 7A top-eight

by Tom Coombe
Home-field advantage will likely go to the Ely Timberwolves when the Section 7A high school softball playoffs begin this week.
In a season ransacked by a slow-arriving spring and a slew of weather-related postponements, it appears that the Wolves have won just enough to stay among the top-eight teams in the section and secure a home playoff game on Tuesday, at 4:30 p.m. at the high school softball field.
Final seeding will be determined over the weekend, and games with Silver Bay and Floodwood will likely determine the Wolves’ spot, but it looks as if Ely could be placed anywhere from sixth through eighth in the standings.
After Tuesday’s opening round, play moves on to neutral sites at Grand Rapids and Cloquet as the tournament moves into a double-elimination phase.
Ely split two high-scoring affairs on Monday, moving to 8-4 on the season.
The Wolves spotted visiting Northeast Range an early lead, then came storming back to beat the Nighthawks 12-7.
It was 6-0 Northeast Range before Ely got on the board in the third inning, and the Wolves erupted in the fourth, sending 11 batters to the plate and scoring six times.
Cedar Ohlhauser got the Wolves going with a two-run single and Kate Coughlin’s two-run double was also a key blow.
Coughlin ripped another two-run double in the fifth, and both Charly Flom and Clare Thomas had run-scoring hits in the rally.
Zoe Mackenzie scored three runs for the Wolves, while Flom, Thomas and Coughlin all crossed home twice.
Winning pitcher Katrina Seliskar shook off some rough spots early on. She went the distance on a five-hitter with seven strikeouts.
The second game of the split twinbill in Ely featured a Mt. Iron-Buhl comeback, as the Rangers rallied for a 22-10 win.
MIB was shut out in the first two ininngs, but scored four runs in the third and never looked back.
The big inning was the sixth, when the Rangers erupted for seven runs, putting the contest away and avenging an early-season defeat.
MIB had 22 hits in the game and also capitalized on walks and errors.
Coughlin was four-for-five for the Wolves, while Ohlhauser, Lexy Halberg and Flom all had two hits.
Mackenzie scored twice and was the losing pitcher, while Seliskar also scored two runs.
After losing decisively to North Woods earlier in the month, Ely gave the Grizzlies a tussle in the May 13 home rematch, only to come up short 5-4.
North Woods scored four runs in the third inning to take a 5-2 lead.
Ely closed the gap to one in the fourth as Thomas and Coughlin drove in runs.
That would be it for the Wolves, who threatened but did not score in both the fifth and seventh innings.
Mackenzie took the loss, giving up only three hits while striking out five.