Sports

Mon
26
Jul

Legion playoffs start here Friday

With 23 wins in 24 games, it’s been nothing short of a dream season for Ely’s American Legion baseball team.<BR><BR>But four Eighth District rivals are itching to turn that dream into a nightmare.<BR><BR>This weekend, they’ll get their chance when Ely hosts the Eighth District Division II Tournament at Veterans Memorial Field.<BR><BR>Ely has the top seed and is heavily favored to defend its district championship and return to the state tournament for the sixth time in eight years.<BR><BR>And with the best record in northeastern Minnesota, a daunting lineup headed by home run king Josh Mathson, steady defense and an imposing pitching staff, the stars all seem to be aligned in Ely’s favor.<BR><BR>Post 248, which opens tournament play at 7:30 p.m. Friday, is nevertheless taking a cautious approach into the postseason.<BR><BR>“There are no guarantees,” said Ely Head Coach Tom Coombe.

Fri
23
Jul

Ely's 9-10 team takes second in districts

Ely’s nine and 10 year old Little League All-Stars proved themselves again on the mound and at the plate in back-to-back games on day three of the District tourney in Hibbing. Christian Kittleson bagged two in-the-park home runs in the first game and batted .675 for the day. Billy Foy, Cody Bialik and Michael Freeman batted .500 in the two games. <BR><BR>Ely defeated East Itasca in the first match-up, 10-8. Ely pitcher Greg Helget struck out four and allowed only three hits through four and two-thirds innings. Then, with the bases loaded in the top of the fifth, Ely reliever Wes Snyder came in with a key strikeout to close the inning. <BR><BR>The sixth inning was a real nail-biter. With Ely ahead 10-8, East Itasca had the tying runs on second and third with two out. In a perfectly executed 6-3 put out, short-stop Kittleson put an exclamation point on East Itasca’s elimination from the tourney.

Mon
19
Jul

Ely to host Border Area VFW playoffs

All but two teams will advance to the district playoffs, but that doesn’t mean that this weekend’s Border Area VFW playoffs are without significance.<BR><BR>The five-team, double-elimination playdown starts Friday at Ely’s Veterans Memorial Field.

Mon
19
Jul

Little League 9-10 year-olds advance in District play-offs

The Ely 9-and-10 year old All Star baseball team lost one but won two last weekend, good enough to move on in MN District 4 Little League play. <BR><BR>All games were played at Garrett Park in Hibbing.<BR><BR>Ely won its first game 6-2 against a favored Deer River team. Deer River’s pitching was good, walking only one and allowing only seven hits through six innings.<BR><BR>Ely squeezed out six runs, with key RBIs coming from Billy Foy with three hits and Michael Freeman who had two hits. Sean Fisher cut Deer River a new road home with an inside the park home-run in the top of the sixth.<BR><BR>Nick Mathews pitched for Ely and had an awesome performance. He scattered just three hits and tallied 14 strike-outs for the win.<BR><BR>The hometown favorite, Hibbing, topped the Elyites Saturday morning 3-1 in a really tight contest. Pitching for Ely, Wes Snyder had nine strikeouts and allowed only three hits.

Mon
19
Jul

Legion streak reaches record

The 2004 Ely American Legion baseball team now has its own place in local baseball history.<BR><BR>Ely is unbeaten in 18 games, easily the best start in program history, and the squad now has won more consecutive games - 19 - than any other Ely Legion squad.<BR><BR>Ely’s 13-3 win over Virginia in the Midsummer Classic (see related story) gave the club its program-best 17th consecutive win.<BR><BR>Wednesday night at Brookston, Ely pounded its hosts 18-3 in five innings to raise its season record to 18-0 and extend the team win streak to 19 games, dating back to the third-place game in last year’s state tournament.<BR><BR>Post 248 goes to Cloquet today in the midst of a busy swing to end the regular season.

Mon
19
Jul

Ely reaches final four in Junior districts

Two wins in three games allowed Ely to stay alive going into the second weekend of the Junior League Baseball District Tournament.<BR><BR>After an opening round victory over Deer River at Veterans Memorial Field, Hibbing sent Ely’s 13-and-14-year-olds into the losers’ bracket with a 6-4 extra inning decision<BR><BR>Ely then pounced on International Falls, winning the July 10 contest 10-6 and assuring itself of no worse than a fourth-place finish in the eight-team tournament.<BR><BR>Play resumed over the weekend in Ely, with Grand Rapids and Hibbing the two remaining unbeaten teams in the tournament and Ely and Greenway tagged with one loss.<BR><BR>Ely, coached by Clarence Jordan and Bill Henning, was set to take on Greenway at 2:30 Saturday, and needed four consecutive wins to take the tournament title.

Mon
12
Jul

VFW hoping to plug holes on defense

With just two weeks left in the regular season and tournament play fast approaching, Ely’s VFW baseball team is looking to shore up its defense.<BR><BR>Ely is over the .500 mark at 11-10 heading into today’s Border Area doubleheader with Virginia (11 a.m., Veterans Memorial Field), but defensive woes have cost the team several other games and may be the only thing that’s holding it back from becoming a force in the Eighth District.<BR><BR>Defensive improvement is the focus for Post 2717 as it gears up for the stretch run.<BR><BR>“It seems like one bad inning in each game is killing us,” said Ely Head Coach Jim Wittrup. “Our pitchers have low ERAs but we seem to make five errors a game with four run inning.

Mon
12
Jul

Lassi takes first Home Run Derby

Cory Lassi showed off his power on the Fourth of July and won Ely’s first Home Run Derby.<BR><BR>Lassi, a 2004 graduate of Ely Memorial High School and a member of Ely’s American Legion baseball team, topped a field of more than 30 participants - including Legion teammate and Minnesota high school baseball home run king Josh Mathson.<BR><BR>In the final round, Lassi had 12 points to Mathson’s 11.<BR><BR>Lassi, Mathson, Tim Scott, Josh Weckman and Ely high school baseball coach Frank Ivancich advanced to the finals.<BR><BR>The competition was scored on a points system, with points awarded for balls that reach a marked off area in the outfield, and for balls that clear the fence.<BR><BR>Mathson actually had the most home runs in the event, including three in the first round and one in the finals, but Lassi had four three-point hits in the finals while Mathson had a homer (five points) and two three-pointers.<BR><BR&

Sun
11
Jul

Ely golfer fires ace at Fortune Bay course

An avid golfer, Ely business owner Steve Piragis has played countless rounds since taking up the game more than 30 years ago.<BR><BR>But there was something special about Piragis’ June 20 trip to the brand-new Wilderness Course at Fortune Bay.<BR><BR>That’s when the 52-year-old recorded his first hole-in-one.<BR><BR>It came on the par-3, seventh hole at the course next to Lake Vermilion near Tower.<BR><BR>“All I could do is stand there and laugh,” Piragis recalled last week. “I’ve played a thousand par-3s, and finally one goes in.”<BR><BR>Piragis, who golfs about twice a week, used a nine-iron on the 156-yard hole and fired from the back tees at the course.<BR><BR>“The wind was about 20 miles an hour and steady right to left,” said Piragis.

Sun
11
Jul

14 up, 14 down for Ely Legion

Ely’s American Legion baseball team maintained its perfect record last week, and inched closer to making Ely baseball history in the process.<BR><BR>Thursday’s 5-1 win over Marble gave Post 248 a perfect 14-0 mark for the summer, and a 15-game streak that extends back to last year’s state tournament third-place game.<BR><BR>And while the 2004 club already is off to the best start in Ely Legion history, it needs one more win to tie and two to break the program record for consecutive wins.

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