Softball team pulls off rally

by Tom Coombe
A seventh-inning rally produced the Ely Timberwolves’ most dramatic win of the spring.
Ely scored three times in the bottom of the seventh, with two coming home on Katrina Seliskar’s infield groundout to give the Wolves a 7-6 high school softball win over Mt. Iron-Buhl on Monday afternoon.
The Wolves, who evened their record at 5-5, trailed by a run when Seliskar came to the plate with runners at second and third with one out.
The tying run came home on Seliskar’s grounder to second, but Sydni Richards kept right on coming after the throw to first and she beat a high throw from the first baseman to give the hosts a walkoff victory.
The slide capped off a huge day by the senior, who was three-four-four with two runs scored and a run batted in.
Charly Flom was two-for-four with three runs scored, while Madeline Kallberg had two hits.


Ironmen advance to regionals

The Vermilion Ironmen accomplished two of their goals, fell short of a third and will begin work on another this weekend.
Two wins last weekend assured the community college baseball team of a winning season and the program’s first regional playoff berth since 2010, as well as a second-place finish in the Northern Division.
Masterful pitching performances by Jakob Wiirre and Steven Peterson helped the Ironmen gain a split with rival Itasca, and Vermilion finished the regular season with a 19-13 record.
Wiirre fired a three-hitter with eight strikeouts in Sunday’s 5-2 victory, while Peterson went the distance and tossed a four-hitter the day before, as VCC beat the Vikings 4-2 in Grand Rapids.
The Ironmen opened play in the Region 13 Playoffs Friday at St. Cloud, taking on MN State-Fergus Falls in the double-elimination event. A date with top-seeded and nationally-ranked St. Cloud Tech would come with a first-round win.


Ely boys take first at Chisholm

by Tom Coombe
Ely’s high school boys track team outpaced three other small-school squads at an Apr. 29 meet at Chisholm.
The Timberwolves picked up their first win of the season with the help of five first-place finishes - including a pair by sophomore Jake Cochran.
Cochran won both the 1,600 meter run and the high jump as Ely piled up 62 points and beat runner-up Silver Bay as well as the host Bluestreaks and Bigfork.
Emmett Faltesek cruised to a convincing victory in the 800 run, freshman Leo Stalmber picked up his first varsity win in the 400 dash, while junior Micah Larson won the triple jump.
Ely also had a pair of winning relays - the four-by-200 quartet of Faltesek, Larson, Cochran and Jon Hakala as well as the four-by-800 combination of Stalmer, Silas Solum, Tory Hughley and Ben Cavalier.
The full lineup of Ely point scorers were:
• 100 dash - 5. Larson, 12.6;
• 400 dash - 1. Stalmer, 1:04.38; 5. Hughley, 1:12.22;


Softball team nabs first win

by Tom Coombe
Ely’s high school softball team picked up one win in its first week of action.
New head coach Cory Lassi scored his first victory leading the program Apr. 23 at Babbitt, where the Timberwolves pounded Northeast Range 19-1 in five innings.
The day before, Chisholm defeated the Wolves 14-1, while Ely was on the short end of a 4-2 decision to Mesabi East on Tuesday, on the artificial turf at Aurora.
Junior Katrina Seliskar has been strong in the circle early on for Ely.
She struck out six batters in three-and-a-third innings while gaining the win in relief against the Nighthawks.
Seliskar was also on the short end of a pitching duel with Mesabi East’s Jasmine Heikkila, who limited the Wolves to four hits and fanned 11.
In defeat, Seliskar was equally brilliant and allowed only two earned runs on three hits while recording 10 strikeouts.


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.


Softball team has new coach

by Tom Coombe
Ely’s high school softball team will take the field for the first time in nearly two years on Thursday.
And new faces will abound.
The Timberwolves, who open up at home with Chisholm (see schedule), will bear little resemblance to the team that closed out the 2019 campaign.
Cory Lassi has stepped in as the program’s new head coach, while only a handful of Wolves have varsity experience heading into the 2021 campaign.
Covid-19 robbed Ely of its 2020 season, while the 2019 unit boasted several key players who have since graduated.
“We’re going to be really young,” said Lassi, who took over after longtime coach Tom McDonald stepped aside. “We have 20 girls out, but 11 of those are seventh or eighth-graders so we’re going to rely heavily on our girls who are returning, whether they were starters or got time in JV.”
Two Wolves boast multiple years of starting experience.


HS spring sports to finally begin

After missing out on the entire 2020 campaign and the first two-to-three weeks of 2021, Ely’s high school spring sports teams are finally free to practice and play.
Monday, Apr. 12, marks the start of practice for several Ely Timberwolves teams.
A three-week reset at the school sent students into distance learning and put activities on hold, keeping the Wolves’ teams on the sidelines while their counterparts from around the region and state have been able to participate.
Most spring activities began March 29 while others started workouts the week before, putting Ely’s teams behind in early-season preparation.
COVID-19 also doused last year’s spring seasons for all teams across the state.
The delays in Ely have prompted numerous changes to various spring sports schedules, with games set for the week of Apr. 5 postponed first, followed by contests set for the week of Apr. 12 and later early-week contests the week of Apr. 19.


VCC surges into league play

The Vermilion Ironmen are in an unfamiliar but welcome position as Northern Divison community college baseball play begins this weekend.
With 10 wins in their first 16 contests, the Ironmen are the only team in the North with a winning record and they lead the five-team circuit with the best overall record in non-conference play.
Vermilion hopes to continue its string of recent success during the 16-game divison slate, which starts with doubleheaders Saturday and Sunday against defending champion Hibbing.
“Everyone starts 0-0 now,” said head coach Tom Coombe. “I think we’ve shown so far we can contend for a spot in the postseason and compete in our division, but we’ll have to show that on the field. These games so far don’t really mean anything when it comes to advancing.”


Two VCC players win weekly awards

Not one but two Vermilion Community College baseball players have been recognized with weekly honors by the Minnesota Community Athletic Conference.
Freshman Terren Sugita has been named Northern Division Player of the Week and classmate Ryan Kling is Northern Division Pitcher of the Week.
The recognition comes on the heels of a week in which the Ironmen won five times in six games to improve to 7-3 for the season.
Sugita, who hails from Anchorage, Alaska, launched three home runs and had 13 runs batted in during his hitting spree.
For the week, he went 11-for-22 at the plate to raise his average to a crisp .452, and the third baseman had home runs in both ends of a Saturday afternoon doubleheader sweep at Northland.
Sugita leads the state in both home runs (three) and runs batted in (14).
Kling, a product of New Richmond, Wisc., was dominant on the mound Sunday when VCC blanked Northland 8-0.


Ely HS speech team qualifies four for the Section 7A meet

All four members of Ely’s high school speech team have advanced to the section meet.
They qualified Monday, while competing off-campus and virtually in the subsection competition.
Laura Holmstrom, Harry Dammann, Maggie Dammann and Esther Anderson all qualified for the Apr. 16 Section 7A event.
“The kids did fine,” said head coach Donna Kari. “There were a couple of glitches with the technology but they did win. They all made it to sections, which was no sweat.”
Holmstrom advanced with a fourth-place subsection finish in Extemporaneous Speaking, while both Harry Dammann and Maggie Dammann were fifth in Creative and Extemporaneous Reading, respectively.
Anderson moves on after placing sixth in Extemporaneous Reading.
It has been an atypical year for speech students in Ely and across the state, with all meets held virtually this season with students generally competing from their own campuses.


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