REGIONAL–The Timberwolves had their work cut out for them after edging fourth-seeded Littlefork-Big Falls, 17-15, in the opening round of the Section 7A softball playoffs, held Tuesday. The …
REGIONAL–The Timberwolves had their work cut out for them after edging fourth-seeded Littlefork-Big Falls, 17-15, in the opening round of the Section 7A softball playoffs, held Tuesday. The Wolves were set to take on top-seeded Barnum in Cloquet on Thursday, after the Timberjay’s weekly presstime.
The Wolves looked to be in trouble early in their Tuesday contest, falling behind 6-1 after two innings. Ely got its offense in gear in the third inning, scoring three runs, and opened the floodgates in the fourth as they put up eight more runs to take a 12-6 lead.
From there, the game went back and forth for a couple innings before the Vikings added six runs in the sixth to tie the game at 15-15.
In the seventh inning, Ely was looking at one out with no runners. “Ella Perish drew a walk. Charly Flom had a base hit, followed by a fly-out by Rachel Coughlin,” said Head Coach Cory Lassi. “With runners at first and second and two outs, Sydni Richards punched a hit through the infield to score two, making the score 17-15, which ended up being the deciding runs.”
In the bottom of the seventh inning, a Vikings batter hit a shot to left field. “Kate Coughlin made a nice diving catch,” he noted. With the tying runs on first and second and two outs, we ended the game with a grounder to third.”
Winning pitcher Katrina Seliskar struck out two, scattered 11 hits and gave up just five earned runs. Flom went 3-4 on the day and scored four times. Richards was 2-4, scoring three times, while Rachel Coughlin scored twice.
“It was a fun one,” Lassi said. “I have to give credit to our older girls. They are the ones who carry us. We go where they go. If it wasn’t for them, it would be a different story.”
Regular season wrap-up
The Timberwolves finished their regular season with a 9-9 record last week following a home win and a loss on the road.
Ely lost 13-12 to Two Harbors last Thursday. Seliskar allowed 16 hits, while striking out seven and walking just one batter.
Ely batters notched 10 hits. Flom went two for three including a double. Rachel Coughlin went two for four at the plate, while Seliskar went two for five and added three RBIs.
With a game-time temperature approaching 30 degrees, Ely made several mistakes in the field. “We gave up the 13 runs but only four of them were earned,” Lassi said. “It was a bad combination of Two Harbors slugging the ball (16 hits), and us giving them too many opportunities. Katrina pitched really well, giving up just the one walk, and she did what she needed to do. We just didn’t play the best defense behind her. It was cold, and that made catching and throwing more difficult, but both teams were playing in the same weather. We struggled a bit more with it.”
Ely beat Northeast Range, 25-6, last Wednesday after two Nighthawks pitchers, Thia Lossing and Maizy Sundblad, gave up 25 walks over five innings. “Our pitching is where the improvement needs to be,” said Nighthawks Head Coach Misty Roseth. “We are very inexperienced and continue to work on that. Catching and hitting has come a long way but we have trouble pitching a pitch. We’ll keep working at it.”
Northeast Range (1-9) re-established their girls softball program two years ago after many years without enough players to field a team. “Last year was lost because of COVID,” Roseth said, “so we pretty much started over again this year and it’s been a rebuilding year.
The Timberwolves’ seventh-grade pitcher Zoe Mackenzie gave up four earned runs and two hits in her second outing of the season. She walked four.
Ely batters collected eight hits in the game, including a double by Madeline Kallberg.
“I thought we played quite well, “ Lassi said. “We made the plays in the field. Our pitcher threw strikes. Their pitchers had a hard time finding the strike zone.”
Ely scored 18 runs in the second inning. “I wanted them to be aggressive at the plate and try to drive something through,” Lassi said, “but it was a hard situation to be in for the girls.”
Coming into the 2021 season, the new coach said he didn’t know what to expect. “With the first practice and realizing how young we were, we weren’t going to focus on wins and losses as much as growth as a team,” he said.
“Realistically, we had three games that we lost by a total of five runs. We find a way to pull those out and 9-9 turns into 12-6 and that’s looking really good for such a young team. I see a night-and-day difference from the first day of the season. A big part of it is the confidence the girls gained. They believe they can be in ball games and win,” he said.