NASHWAUK— Ely’s hopes for a state high school baseball tournament run came to a disappointing end on Tuesday as South Ridge beat the Timberwolves for the second time this season to advance to the …
NASHWAUK— Ely’s hopes for a state high school baseball tournament run came to a disappointing end on Tuesday as South Ridge beat the Timberwolves for the second time this season to advance to the Section 7A championship game against Carlton.
Ely’s season-ending loss came in the nightcap after the top-seeded Wolves had ten-runned Deer River in a 2 p.m. game here.
The Wolves couldn’t overcome the Panthers’ big third inning, when they put five runs on the scoreboard. Pitcher Dylan Kienitz started the game looked solid through the first two innings, but the Panthers were ready on the second run through the order. Gage Merhar came on in relief and held South Ridge scoreless the rest of the way.
The Wolves had pieced together three runs through the first six innings. Down 5-3 as they came to bat in the seventh, the Wolves quickly loaded the bases and looked poised to at least tie the score. South Ridge gave up a walk to trim their lead to 5-4, but a two-out ground ball by the next batter put an end to the Wolves’ rally and their season.
Ely had an easier time in their afternoon contest with Deer River, wasting no time putting points on the board. After scoring two in the first, the Wolves broke out for six more in the second. After the Warriors scored a run in the top of the third, Ely responded with two more, leaving the score at 10-1.
After trading runs, Ely finished the game in the sixth when they put up a couple more runs to claim the ten-run victory, at 13-3.
Trevor Mattson claimed the win, pitching the first five innings before giving way to Cody Davis who pitched the sixth.
It wasn’t as clean a game as the score might suggest. The Wolves committed some costly errors and were able to get out of a couple bases-loaded jams.
The Wolves had shown dominance early on in this year’s tournament, with two straight wins in the early-going. But a match-up last Thursday against sixth-seeded Carlton had sent Ely to the loser’s bracket of the double-elimination tournament. Ely stayed alive with wins against Silver Bay and finally Deer River before the Panthers sent them home for the season.
The Wolves, who had looked exceptionally strong late in the season seemed to falter at times in tournament play. In a nightcapper last Thursday, they had to rely on a late inning rally to edge a lackluster Silver Bay team, 7-6. The Wolves were up 5-2 in the sixth, when the Mariners mounted a four-run rally in the top of the seventh to take a 6-5 lead. In the bottom of the frame, with two outs and Cody Davis and Carter Gaulke on base, Ely’s Tyler Housey smashed a line drive to center that fell for a hit. Davis was easily headed home, but when Silver Bay’s outfielder mishandled the ball, it allowed Gaulke to round the bases from first for the win.
“Give Carter credit for sprinting from first base, that enabled him to score,” said Ely Head Coach Frank Ivancich. “Never out ‘til the out is made and hustle everything out no matter what.”
The Silver Bay game became a must-win after the Wolves fell 10-5 to Carlton in the afternoon game. The Wolves had looked to be cruising early, jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the first with the help of Gage Merhar and Trevor Mattson RBI singles. Two more runs in the bottom of the third had Ely leading 4-0.
But Carlton took over in the top of the fourth, finally hitting Carter Gaulke, who was working a no-hitter up to that point. The Bulldogs strung four hits together to score three runs and cut the lead to 4-3. The Bulldogs erupted for six more runs in their half of the sixth inning to take a 10-4 lead. Ely committed two errors and allowed two passed balls to aid the Bulldogs’ cause.
The Wolves could muster only one in the seventh after loading the bases in an attempted comeback that fell short.
Carlton had nine hits for the game but took advantage of six walks and some miscues by the Wolves.
“Give credit to Carlton,” said Ivancich. “They just swung the bats and really stuck it to us.”