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Wolves take to the field

Ely baseball team falls to South Ridge in long-delayed home debut

by Tom Coombe

Ely’s high school baseball team finally got its season underway, starting with two wins in its first three contests.

The lone defeat came Tuesday, in one of the latest home-openers in the history of Veterans Memorial Field.

On a sunny but cool and breezy afternoon, South Ridge got the upper hand in an early-season matchup of Section 7A contenders.

The Panthers, who have won the last four 7A titles, downed Ely 8-5 in a rematch of last year’s title game.

Four unearned runs in the top of the sixth inning proved to be the difference, and South Ridge senior Wyatt Olson slammed the door on an Ely comeback attempt, escaping a second-and-third, no-out jam after the Wolves trimmed the lead to 4-3.

The Panthers capitalized on back-to-back errors and tacked on four in the sixth, and Ely never recovered.

Losing pitcher Drew Marolt gave up three hits and fanned three, but he was hampered by six walks. Sophomore Caid Chittum fanned four in two innings of relief and Hunter Halbakken, a freshman, finished up.

At the plate, Ely junior Deegan Richards lined a bases-loaded double off the glove of the South Ridge third baseman to plate two runs in the fifth.

Seniors Erron Anderson and Joey Bianco had two hits each for the Wolves while classmate Logan Loe had a two-run single.

Chittum also had two hits for the Wolves.

Ely opened the season April 27 with two very different wins.

On the artificial turf at Proctor, the Wolves rallied to beat Deer River 6-5 while later in the day they went over to Chub Lake and smashed Carlton-Wrenshall 28-0 in five innings.

In the opener, Halbakken’s two-run single in the sixth plated the tying and winning runs.

He also got the win on the mound, working the last two frames, giving up two hits and striking out three.

Loe went the first four innings and gave up three hits and reliever Elliot Levens was touched up for two runs in the fifth.

Marolt had two hits including a run-scoring double and Anderson reached base four times - once on a bases-loaded walk.

Richards connected for his first career high school home run against Carlton-Wrenshall, a blast that cleared the centerfield fence. He finished with three runs scored and three runs batted in.

The hits piled up for the Wolves, with Marolt scoring five runs as part of a four-hit day.

Anderson scored five times and drove in two en route to three hits.

Bianco chipped in with three hits including a double, three runs scored and four RBI, with Chittum contributing three hits, three runs and three RBI.

Loe knocked in four runs for the Wolves and Zander Lislegard ripped a bases-clearing double.

On the mound, Marolt recorded nine strikeouts in three innings and Chittum picked up five more strikeouts while finishing up.

• Ely met Littlefork-Big Falls and Greenway/Nashwauk-Keewatin in a split doubleheader Friday, and Monday begins a seven-game week that starts with a 1 p.m. home twinbill with Cook County and concludes with the May 13 Blackduck Tournament.

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