Esko ace deals Wolves out of playoffs

by Tom Coombe

Esko pitcher John Geving’s fastball was clocked at an impressive 83 miles per hour when he took part in a Seattle Mariners tryout camp held May 29 at Ely’s Veterans Memorial Field.<BR><BR>Last Thursday, members of Ely’s high school baseball team got a firsthand look at an arm that impressed professional scouts.<BR><BR>The Esko ace fired a three-hitter and outdueled the Timberwolves’ Josh Weckman in a dandy Section 7AA playoff matchup at Hinckley.<BR><BR>Geving and the Eskomos won 2-1 when Esko (20-3) pushed across a run in the bottom of the seventh.<BR><BR>Alan Schmidt’s two-out single brought home Ryan Hall with the winning run and ended Ely’s season.<BR><BR>“It was a great high school baseball game between two very good pitchers,” said Ely Head Coach Frank Ivancich. “It was tough to lose, but we played our hearts out and have nothing to be ashamed of. I think they have some respect for us after that game.”<BR><BR>Geving, a senior, didn’t allow a hit after the fourth inning and struck out seven Timberwolves batters.<BR><BR>Ely’s only run came in the second inning, when Tim Scott singled and scored on a wild pitch.<BR><BR>Down the stretch, the Wolves couldn’t muster much of an attack against the Esko righthander.<BR><BR>“We knew coming in that he was a very good pitcher and that we wouldn’t have many chances to score,” said Ivancich. “We got on in the second but couldn’t string anything together after that.”<BR><BR>Weckman, who lost for the first time in 10 decisions, was equally brilliant in defeat.<BR><BR>The Ely senior righthander gave up a run in the second and yielded just four hits in the game.<BR><BR>Weckman, who struck out four, was helped by a double play in the third and stranded a runner at second in the sixth.<BR><BR>With the score knotted at one going into the seventh, Esko pounced on a defensive miscue to win the game.<BR><BR>Weckman got the first batter to pop out, but an Ely error allowed Hall to reach base. Joe Plinski was then hit by a pitch, but Weckman then fanned designated hitter Buddy Carlson for the second out.<BR><BR>Schmidt was the hero for the Eskomos, lining a single into the outfield for the game-winning run.<BR><BR>Brian Lewis doubled and scored Esko’s other run in the second.<BR><BR>For Ely, Scott, Cory Lassi and Kevin Pope had the Wolves’ only hits.<BR><BR>Ely, playing Class AA baseball after spending several years in Class A, finished with a record of 15-5.<BR><BR>“Like I had said before, I was proud of this group no matter what we did in the playoffs,” said Ivancich. “These seniors made themselves into good baseball players and their work ethic is something hopefully our younger kids can follow. To win 15 games and an Arrowhead Conference championship is something to be proud of.”<BR><BR>The win sent Esko into the double-elimination round of the tournament, where it beat Hermantown 6-0 later Thursday.<BR><BR>In games at Ely, Virginia and Mora advanced into the double-elimination round and Virginia then beat Mora 5-3 to set up a 7AA showdown with Esko, set for Tuesday at Duluth’s Wade Stadium.<BR><BR>The tournament concludes Thursday with the finals at Hinckley.<BR><BR>Ely 8, Duluth Marshall 6<BR><BR>After batting around in the second inning and taking a 6-1 lead, the Wolves got a bit of a scare from the Hilltoppers in Tuesday’s first-round game at Grand Rapids.<BR><BR>Tony Carlson, Lassi and Scott had run-scoring hits in the second, and Ely sent 10 batters to the plate to seemingly take command of the contest.<BR><BR>But Marshall had some fight left. The seventh-seeded Hilltoppers scored twice in the third to make it 6-3, and they chased Ely starter Tim Scott in the fourth, cutting the gap to two before Weckman escaped the jam with two runners aboard.<BR><BR>Weckman and Lassi drove in runs in the fourth to make it 8-4, but Marshall took advantage of an error and got two hits in the seventh to trim the lead back to two.<BR><BR>Weckman, who gave up two hits in three and two-thirds innings, evaded further trouble in the final frame.<BR><BR>Ely had 11 hits, with Weckman, Lassi and Scott netting two apiece.<BR><BR>Pope scored twice and Lassi wound up with two runs batted in.