Baseball season ramps up with home tourney
by Tom Coombe
Ely’s high school baseball team is about to make up for lost time.
In the span of a week, the Timberwolves are set to play seven games - including four in their inaugural home tournament.
The Veterans Memorial Field Showcase begins Friday at Ely’s historic ballpark, with eight games in a two-day span, including four involving the host Timberwolves.
Class AAA Minneapolis South heads an impressive field of visitors that also includes Virginia, Barnum, Braham and Hill City.
The action begins at noon Friday with the host Wolves taking on Barnum and the hosts are back in action under the lights against Braham.
The following day, Ely tangles with both Minneapolis South and Hill City to complete a weekend extravaganza.
“It should be an excellent tournament,” said Ely Head Coach Frank Ivancich. “We were looking for a few more home games and put this together last fall, and our reputation for hosting tournaments in the summer helped because we had a number of teams that jumped at the chance to play here.”
All six teams will play at least two games, with Braham and Minneapolis South playing three games and Ely hosting four.
The tournament should, if weather conditions allow, finally ramp up a long-delayed season for the Wolves.
Several games have already been postponed because of weather, including a date earlier this week with South Ridge.
Ranked 12th in the state in Class A, Ely has just one game under its belt thus far - a 7-2 decision at Deer River April 22.
Since then, the Wolves have largely been relegated indoors given a recent stretch of snowy and then rainy weather.
Ely is set to host Cook County today (10 a.m.) and travels to Chisholm Monday and Northeast Range Tuesday.
• In B-squad action Tuesday, the Wolves walloped Northeast Range 16-0 in a game called after two-and-a-half innings by rain.
• Ely’s junior high team placed third in a tournament at Nashwauk last weekend.
The Wolves fell 8-4 to Esko in the opener but rebounded to beat Nashwauk-Keewatin 18-4 in the third-place game.
Trevor Mattson and Ryan Quick worked on the mound while Gage Merhar was four-for-four with six runs batted in, including an inside-the-park home run, against the host Spartans.
Carter Gaulke scored four runs in the victory.
Blaise Lah had two hits and Tre Schreffler had a two-run double in the loss to Esko, while Merhar and Gaulke both pitched.
DELIVERING a strike was Ely pitcher Andy Krunkkala against Northeast Range. Photo by Eric Sherman.