ELY—On the football field or the basketball court, North Woods has proven to be Ely’s nemesis this year. But baseball remains king at the end of the road, and the Timberwolves showed it in their …
ELY—On the football field or the basketball court, North Woods has proven to be Ely’s nemesis this year. But baseball remains king at the end of the road, and the Timberwolves showed it in their season opener, as they pounded the Grizzlies 20-5.
It was a late start to the season for both teams as winter refused to give way for most of April, but the Wolves showed they were ready to hit the diamond. They took control early, scoring their first run in the opening frame before erupting for seven runs in the second. The Grizzlies had put runners on first and second to open the game and with two outs had the stage set to put runs on the board. But the Wolves’ defense ended the threat as they cut down a North Woods runner seeking to advance to third on a bobbled pitch.
A combination of walks and timely hits provided the big second inning for Ely, and it sent Grizzlies starting pitcher Tate Olson to the showers. Isaiah Squires came on in relief, which seemed to stem the damage. The Grizzlies finally tossed out an Ely baserunner at home and quickly followed up with a third out to end the pain.
Ely starting pitcher junior Trevor Mattson continued to throw strikes in the second, recording three quick outs to hold the Grizzlies scoreless. But the Grizzlies jumped on Mattson on their second look and put together a four-run third inning to get back in the game. A couple Ely errors kept the North Woods rally alive.
But Ely put an end to the Grizzlies hopes in the bottom of the frame as they batted around to put 11 runs on the board and put the game out of reach. Senior Cody Davis came in to pitch in relief of Mattson in the fifth. North Woods scored a run early in the inning but a couple good defensive plays by the Wolves ended the inning and the game, which was called on the ten-run rule, with Ely up by 15 runs.
“Too many errors and too many walks,” said North Woods Head Coach Jeff Smerud. “Ely’s a good team. They’re well-coached and you can’t give up that many errors and walks to a team like that.”
The Grizzlies will have some work to do, noted Smerud, including on fielding and “situational awareness.” Smerud noted that his squad is a young one, with two starting ninth graders and a tenth-grader who never played the game before this year. “We’re not where we want to be, but it’s a learning curve. We’ll get there, but it will take time.”
The Wolves had a good day behind the plate, with 13 hits, including four by junior Tyler Housey and three from sophomore Luke Olson. Senior Thomas Montana led the team with three RBIs.
Mattson pitched four solid innings to open the season with the win. Ely committed two errors on defense.
The Grizzlies looked better on offense than in the field. Squires went 2-3, with a double and an RBI, while Jake Hyppa and Matt Schultz both had two hits. Andrew Zika added two RBIs.
The Grizzlies were set to host South Ridge on Friday, with a 4:30 p.m. start. Ely was set to host Deer River on Thursday. They’ll travel to South Ridge on Monday. Additional makeup games may be added to the schedule as time and weather allows.