Play ball!

Slow-pitch softball league resumes in Ely with six teams

by Tom Coombe
Opening day was a little bit later than usual, but slow-pitch softball has returned to Ely.
The local slow-pitch softball league, which has been in existence for several decades, resumed play Monday with six teams.
Defending champion Anderson/Nickerson Construction opened with two decisive victories but wins and losses were just a small part of the story at the three-field complex on Ely’s eastern edge.
“Everyone was just happy to be down there,” said Jerome Debeltz, a member of Ely’s city council and longtime organizer of the softball league.
After a spring full of uncertainty because of the coronavirus, the league remained on the shelf through May but organizers got together in early-June and formulated plans for a 2020 season.
They’ve taken several steps to enhance safety.
“We’re checking everybody’s temperature, and making sure they’re not over 100 degrees,” said Debeltz. “If they are sick they’re not supposed to be playing.”
A brand-new water heater was purchased by the softball association to ensure hot water is available for washing hands, and the league purchased sanitizer for hands and equipment.
“We did a whole bunch of things to make sure people are safe,” said Debeltz.
Participation is down from 2019, with six teams participating this year instead of eight, but Debeltz said there is plenty of enthusiasm for the season among those who are participating.
Plans call for 10 weeks of games, all on Mondays, with each team playing a total of 20 contests.
Spectators are also invited to watch, with the complex allowing for much space to social distance.
Anderson/Nickerson beat Hardware Hank 16-3 and Low Impact Excavators 18-7 in opening night action.
Lakeshore Liquor defeated Low Impact by an identical 18-7 score but lost 21-6 to Buzz/Heavy Metal Sports.
Hardware Hank picked up a victory by defeating Northeast Title 13-1.
Play begins Monday at 6 p.m. with games at all three fields.