ELY – The Timberwolves softball team took the field here last Thursday for the first time in two years and opened a new season with a new coach, Cory Lassi, who is replacing longtime softball …
ELY – The Timberwolves softball team took the field here last Thursday for the first time in two years and opened a new season with a new coach, Cory Lassi, who is replacing longtime softball coach Tom McDonald. Lassi had stepped away as Ely football coach last fall, but he’s eager to be mentoring the young group of girls representing Ely this year.
Nine of the 20 players on the roster are in seventh or eighth grade, with a relative handful of upper classmen filling out the ranks. Sydni Richards, a longtime starter for Ely, is the lone senior on the team. Four juniors, Katrina Seliskar, Charly Flom, Willow Ohlhauser and Raven Sainio, are joined by sophomores Madeline Kallberg, Kate and Rachel Coughlin, and freshmen Lily Dirks, Brielle Lindland and Sylvia Shock. Middle school teammates include Janae Murphy, Rylee Larsen, Madelyn Moen, Maija Mattson, Bella Davis, Clare Thomas, Ella Perish, Makenzi Huntington and Sadie Rechichi.
Early jitters plagued the Wolves in their April 22 home opener against Chisholm. “We gave up five unearned runs in the first inning and I could just tell our youth and inexperience showed,” Lassi said. “We were just nervous. Once we got through a couple of innings they relaxed and played much better.”
Ely players tallied just four hits, one each for Flom, Richards, Kallberg and Thomas. Seliskar allowed 15 hits in five innings pitched, allowing the Bluestreaks to cruise to a 14-1 win. Seliskar only issued one walk and tallied three strikeouts.
Playing at Northeast Range the following day, the Wolves took advantage of inconsistent pitching to tally 19 walks as they easily outpaced the Nighthawks 19-6.
“We were up 5-0 in the bottom of the second inning and they came back and scored six runs to take a 6-5 lead,” said Lassi. “We chipped away at it and were ahead 11-6 going into the fifth inning, and broke the game open with eight more runs.” Seliskar and Perish both rapped two hits, while Richards, Kallberg, and Lindland added one apiece to keep the runners moving.
Kallberg pitched the first inning and two-thirds, allowing three hits and five walks. Seliskar pitched the rest of the way in relief, giving up just one hit while striking out six.
“We are pretty inexperienced at pitching,” Lassi said. “It is tough to have to rely on just one pitcher game after game, but that seems like the trend. I would love to develop a couple more pitchers so when we have three or four games in a row we can give the starter a break. We’ll see how the players develop as the season goes on.”
In Aurora, on Tuesday, Seliskar looked strong, hurling a ten-strikeout three-hitter, but Ely still lost 4-2 to Mesabi East.
The Wolves were up 2-1 in the fifth inning when the Giants scored three to go ahead 4-2. Sydni Richards went 2-3 with a double and run score. Kallberg added an RBI.
Lassi said he is looking to Seliskar to lead the team in pitching this year. Kallberg, who played volleyball and basketball this year, will also see time on the mound, he said. “With such a young team and this my first year, I hope to be able to shape a team starting with the fundamentals. I’m excited to work with them and look forward to watching them grow as players and as a team this season and over the next couple of years.”
In other scheduled action, Ely’s Monday game against South Ridge was postponed until Wednesday due to weather and will take place after the Timberjay’s Wednesday presstime. They were set to return home to host games against North Woods on Thursday, April 29, and Cook County on Saturday, May 1.