Ely Juniors open with win

by Tom Coombe
Solid pitching, impressive defense and just enough work at the plate proved to be a winning combination Wednesday night for Ely’s Junior League baseball team.
As baseball returned to Veterans Memorial Field for the first time in nearly a year, a good-sized home crowd had plenty to cheer about as Ely edged Eveleth-Gilbert 4-1 in Iron Range Baseball action.
The 14-and-under team rode the pitching of Ty Walker and Brecken Sandberg to the win.
Walker pitched four shutout innings, striking out seven and giving up one hit while Sandberg escaped a bases-loaded jam in the fifth with back-to-back strikeouts.
E-G nicked the reliever for a run in the sixth but that was it, as the two Ely pitchers combined on a three-hitter with 11 strikeouts.
Ely also did not make an error, with Sandberg providing the play of the night in the fourth. He dove to his right to stop a hard-hit grounder at third, and fired across to first baseman Sammy Prijatel, who scooped up the throw.
Ely scored twice in the bottom of the first, with Deegan Richards doubling in a run and scoring later in the frame on an errant throw.
Kadein Zupancich drove in a run on a fielder’s choice in the third, and Tory Hugley scored when Sam Leeson reached base in the sixth.
Ely had four hits, with Walker, Richards, Hugley and Caid Chittum coming up with one each.
The two teams also played a five-inning exhibition game after the opening game, which counted in the league standings.
In the exhibition affair, Eveleth-Gilbert rallied for a 16-11 triumph.
Ely was set to travel to Hibbing I Thursday, after deadline, and resumes league play at 5 p.m. Monday with a home date against Hibbing II.