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Rebels stand alone in sections

Moose Lake/Willow River is the only local team left as the Section 7 girls softball tournaments are winding down to state tournament time. After beating Cherry in a semifinal Tuesday, the Rebels advanced to the Section 7A championship for the third consecutive season.

ML/WR opened the section tournament May 23 in Grand Rapids with an 8-0 victory over North Woods following a bye in the opening round of the playoffs. After the win over the Grizzlies, the Rebels topped Ely, 5-1.

ML/WR had defeated Cherry, 19-7, earlier in May. After falling behind early Tuesday at Braun Park, the Rebels used an eight-run fifth inning and four-run sixth inning to 10-run Cherry and move to the championship game Thursday. The Rebels have an opportunity to threepeat in Section 7A.

Carlton/Wrenshall and South Ridge lost Tuesday in the elimination round of the 7A tournament. South Ridge fell twice to Ely in the section playoffs. They lost the first game, 12-9, May 23 in Grand Rapids, then rebounded the same day with an 8-6 over North Woods to set up a rematch with Ely in Cloquet on Tuesday.

"We had issues the first time we met," Panthers head coach Merle Kelley said. "We had nine errors the first time we played, and walks and mental mistakes killed us as well."

Those words came back to haunt South Ridge on Tuesday as the Panthers allowed six errors in the first three innings. Ely built up a 10-2 lead and went on to a 10-7 victory.

After opening the section tournament with a win over Chisholm, Carlton/Wrenshall fell to Cherry, 4-3, on a late comeback May 23, which moved the Raptors into the elimination bracket. The Raptors stayed alive with a comeback victory of their own, winning 3-2 over Cromwell-Wright.

The Cardinals won their opening section round game over Mountain Iron-Buhl, then dropped their next game to Silver Bay, 5-3, on May 23, followed by a heartbreaking loss to the Raptors to end the Cardinals season.

"I am very optimistic,'" Raptors head coach Anna George said Tuesday before their section matchup with Silver Bay. "We have solid pitching. If we can do the small things, we can win this one."

The Mariners and the Raptors battled in a close contest. With the game tied at 2-2 through five innings of play, it was Silver Bay that erupted to take a 10-run lead going into the seventh inning. The Raptors scored four runs in the top of the inning, but it wasn't enough.

ML/WR was set to play Cherry at 4 p.m. Thursday in the 7A championship game at Braun Park.

Section 7AA

In section 7AA action in Grand Rapids on Tuesday, both Esko and Barnum lost out in the elimination portion of the tournament. Barnum met International Falls and the Broncos defeated the Bombers with a 4-2 win in a close contest.

The Bombers lost to Rush City Thursday but came back with a win against Hinckley-Finlayson to stay alive into Tuesday.

"We had good pitching, but just could not get the key hit when we needed it," said Barnum head coach Dustin Collelo.

Esko fared better than the Bombers, picking up two victories Tuesday before falling to Rush City, 4-1, to close out the season, finishing third in the 7AA section tournament.

Esko opened play Tuesday with a 6-2 win over Greenway-Nashwauk/Keewatin as they knocked off the Titans, avenging a second-round defeat last week. Esko then defeated International Falls, 2-1, in a pitcher's duel. Esko then moved on to face Rush City with a chance to climb out of the elimination bracket, but the Tigers picked up the win in another close contest.

Proctor was set to play Rush City at 4 p.m. Thursday in the 7AA championship game at Braun Park.