Juniors win consolation crown

Ely rebounds from opening loss, takes three straight at IRB playoffs

CONSOLATION CHAMPS - Ely’s Junior League baseball team went 3-1 at the Iron Range Baseball League Tournament last weekend at Hibbing and won the consolation title. Pictured are (front, l-r): Nils DeRemee, Will Davies, Mitch Peterson, Tyler Housey, Cameron Kienitz, Tjae Banks, Caleb Janeksala; (back, l-r) Coach Cory Lassi, Liam ross, Brandon Kerntz, Nate Netifee, Bryce Longwell, Dylan Fenske, Lane Anderson, Dalton Schreffler, Luke Olson, Coach Aaron Donais. Not pictured are Eric Omerza and Joey Pierce. Photo by Tom Coombe

by Tom Coombe

Ely’s 13-and-14-year-old baseball players didn’t let one setback ruin their weekend.
After seeing their championship hopes dashed with an upset loss to International Falls in the opening round of the Iron Range Baseball Junior League Playoffs, they bounced back with three straight wins to come home with the consolation title.
Dalton Schreffler helped finish the job Sunday, firing a three-hitter with eight strikeouts as Ely blanked Hibbing II 4-0 at Hibbing’s Al Nyberg field.
Ely, which finished 17-6, also won consolation round games Saturday against Hibbing III and Virginia, with Joey Pierce throwing a no-hitter in the first contest.
The three-game winning streak and consolation banner helped ease some of the sting of a 3-1 loss to International Falls in the quarterfinal round.
That game was marked by missed opportunities, with Ely stranding 12 runners, including seven in the final four frames with the bases loaded in the seventh.
International Falls, which was outhit 11-4, wiggled out of jam after jam and made the most of its chances, scoring twice in the second inning without ever hitting the ball out of the infield.
In the seventh, they added an insurance with the help of a walk, a fielder’s choice, a wild pitch and a passed ball.
Ely, meanwhile, misfired with runners aboard.
Luke Olson singled and scored Ely’s only run on a Nils DeRemee hit in the fifth.
Both Tyler Housey and Joey Pierce had two hits, while DeRemee suffered the pitching loss after working five and two-thirds innings.
The first consolation round game was dominated by Pierce, who fanned seven straight batters at one point and finished with 10 strikeouts in the six inning win.
Pierce also had two hits and scored twice, while Will Davies singled and scored a run. Housey singled in a run for Ely.
Hibbing III got its only run in the first with the aid of an Ely error.
Also Saturday, Ely finished off Virginia II in five innings as Housey tossed a two-hitter.
At the plate, Bryce Longwell powered the offense by going three-for-four with five runs batted in.
Pierce was two-for-three with three runs scored and DeRemee drew three walks, scoring each time. Schreffler had two hits and scored two runs.
In Sunday’s finale, Ely got Schreffler all the runs he would need in the bottom of the first.
Lane Anderson had a run-scoring single, and two walks and three errors helped as Anderson, Schreffler, DeRemee and Longwell all crossed the plate.
Ely finished with only two hits, one by Anderson and another by Netiffee.
The win closed out a busy and successful year for the seventh-and-eighth-graders, who were coached by Cory Lassi and Aaron Donais.
Between junior high baseball in the spring and the summer season, the group combined to finish 38-8 overall.