Wolves stay hot, slide past BEST
Take two premier pitchers with quality defense behind them.Add some timely hitting.Throw in some heads-up baserunning for a little spice.For the Ely Timberwolves, that’s been the recipe for success thus far in the high school baseball season.Ely ran its record to 7-1 last week with a pair of impressive victories.Lefty Tim Scott tossed a six-hitter with nine strikeouts Monday as the Wolves blanked visiting Greenway 3-0.And in the only regular season showdown between two of northern Minnesota’s top small-school squads, Josh Weckman shut down the high-powered offense of Babbitt-Embarrass-Soudan-Tower and pitched Ely to a 6-4 win before 250 fans at Veterans Memorial Field.Scott and Weckman have given the Wolves a one-two pitching combination that few area teams can match, and they’ve been aided by an experienced supporting cast.The Wolves made just one error against BEST and came up with four, two-out, run-scoring hits.Ely also stole two bases, took advantage of three passed balls, executed three sacrifice bunts and took an extra base on two occasions.“We did all the little things that help you win games,” said Ely Head Coach Frank Ivancich. “Those don’t always show up in the box score, but they very often make the difference between winning and losing. I think our experience is showing. Last year, we didn’t do all of these things.”BEST, 7-2, came to town with Minnesota’s all-time leading home run hitter, senior slugger Josh Mathson.The Babbitt-Embarrass senior has 27 career round-trippers, but Weckman kept him and the rest of the Beavers’ offense in check.Mathson doubled to left field to spark a three-run rally in the fourth, but he flew out and walked in his other two at bats.Weckman mixed a hard fastball with his curve ball and change up to keep BEST off the bases. The Ely senior retired the side in four of seven frames and set down nine hitters in a row at one point.“Josh pitched a smart, smart game,” said Ivancich. “He doesn’t walk many guys (just two against BEST) and he makes you earn your way on. He also did a good job against their good hitters.”Mathson was on the mound for BEST and he helped keep the two-time defending Section 7A champions in the game.Kai Bowen’s two-out single gave Ely a 1-0 lead in the second inning, while Kevin Pope doubled and scored on a groundout by Aaron Thom to make it 2-0 after three.BEST had its only true success against Weckman in the fourth.After Josh Flug reached on an error, Mathson doubled down the line to put runners at second and third.Flug scored on a single by Ben Barnes, while Mathson came home when Donny Poderzay grounded out. Senior Jeremiah Johnson then lined a single into center for a 3-2 BEST lead.The advantage was short lived.Ely tied the game in the bottom of the fourth when Tony Carlson, who reached base on an error, scored on a Pope single.In the fifth, Thom was hit by a pitch and brought home on a double by Weckman. Colin Moberly’s single to right gave Ely a 5-3 lead.The teams traded runs in the sixth. Mathson walked and scored on a double by Barnes, while Ely came right back as Pope walked, stole second and scored on an infield hit by Thom.Weckman, who had eight strikeouts, set down the BEST lineup in order in the seventh to pick up his fourth win of the year.Mathson went the distance for the Beavers, falling to 3-1 for the spring. He gave up nine hits and struck out six.Pope and Thom finished with two hits each for Ely, while Barnes was the only BEST player with more than one hit.Ely 3, Greenway 0The Wolves scored two runs in the first and held on to beat the Raiders.Greenway’s only threat against Scott came in the seventh, but the Wolves picked a runner off base to help stop the rally.Scott scattered six hits, walked just two batters and recorded nine strikeouts.Weckman had a run-scoring double for Ely, which met Silver Bay and Hermantown over the weekend.• This week, Ely goes to Chisholm (Monday) and has a pivotal Section 7AA seeding game at Virginia Friday.