Legion wins DQ Classic Gaulke, Merhar, Mattson toss gems as Ely wins home tourney

2018 ELY LEGION TEAM after the DQ Classic Championship game. Back row, left to right: Frank Ivancich, Dylan Kienitz, Bryce Longwell, Matthew Schultz, Gage Merhar, Carter Gaulke, Trea Stickler, Trevor Mattson, Tom Coombe. Front row, left to right: Mitchell Peterson, Zach Anderson, TJae Banks, Tyler Housey, Thomas Montana, Nils DeRemee. Not pictured: Jacob Towley, Ryan Quick, Luke Olson, Brett Rosendahl.

In baseball, strong pitching is usually a trump card.
That was the case last weekend at Veterans Memorial Field as host Ely rode three strong pitching performances to three straight wins and a first-place finish in the DQ Grill and Chill Classic.
Ely won the home tournament for the first timer since 2012, clinching the title Sunday as Carter Gaulke fired a one-hitter in a 7-2 victory over Roseau.
Gage Merhar and Trevor Mattson also had impressive mound outings as Post 248 was the only unbeaten team among seven squads taking part in the 31st annual event.
Gaulke, a senior out for Legion baseball for the first time, won for the third time in as many starts this summer and overcame some early hiccups to dominate on the hill.
The righthander walked four batters in the first two innings as Roseau jumped to a 2-0 lead, but Gaulke soon settled in and Ely rallied with a run in the second and three in the third to take the lead.
The hosts would add more insurance, but Gaulke wouldn’t need it.
He allowed only a first-inning double and recorded seven strikeouts while lowering his earned run average to a stingy 1.04.
“Carter has been a huge pick-up for us,” said Ely Head Coach Tom Coombe, who picked up his 500th career Legion win in the title game victory (see related story). “Carter is one of those guys who can win any time he is on the mound and can keep you in games against just about anyone. I really like the way he competes.”
Gaulke retired 10 straight batters at one point, and Ely overcame an early two-run gap.
Matt Schultz doubled and scored a run in the second inning, and Merhar tied the game with a single in the third.
Trevor Mattson put Ely ahead with a sacrifice fly and another run scored on an error in the third.
Later, both Mattson and Tyler Housey would add run-scoring hits.
Ely opened the tournament with a 6-4 win over Sacred Heart/MACCRAY of southwestern Minnesota.
Merhar recorded 10 strikeouts and gave up only four hits, while Gaulke recorded the last two outs in the seventh to pick up the save.
Housey had two hits, Gaulke scored twice and both Schultz and Thomas Montana has sacrifice flies.
On Saturday, Mattson scattered eight hits in a 5-1 win over Kenyon.
The junior lefty only walked one batter and kept the guests from southern Minnesota off balance.
Ely made the most of its seven hits with Merhar ripping a two-run triple in the sixth.
Schultz broke a 1-1 tie with a fifth-inning single that plated the go-ahead run.
• Tuesday, Ely traveled to Grand Marais and came up short 6-5.
Host Cook County scored three times in the first against losing pitcher Zach Anderson.
Ely fell behind 4-0 but tied the game with a four-run third.
The key blow was a mammoth, three-run homer by Schultz, his first round-tripper of the summer.
Cook County scored two unearned runs to take a 6-4 lead, but Ely countered in the fifth, with Schultz driving a single to left that plated Housey.
Ely threatened in the seventh but stranded the tying and winning runs on the bases.
Anderson gave up six hits and only two earned runs. He struck out four.
• Ely is in the midst of its annual southern trip. It has three games Friday and Saturday at the first Todd Oakes Memorial Tournament at Jordan.
This week, Ely has games with Taconite (Monday) and a rematch with Cook County (July 6), both on the road.
Looming on the horizon is the 12-team Sir G’s Midsummer Classic, slated for July 13-15.