Proctor KOs Ely Legion

Late rally comes up short and hosts eliminated from substate

Tanner Olson wasn’t wearing a fireman’s hat, but he could have just as well traded his Proctor cap for one.
The hard-throwing senior put out a fire started by Ely’s Legion baseball team in the top of the sixth inning and stranded the tying run at third.
Olson went on to retire Post 248 in the seventh and helped his team squeeze out a 7-5 win in Wednesday’s elimination round matchup at Veterans Memorial Field.
The Northeast Substate Division II defeat ended Ely’s season, and a postseason run that included weekend victories over both Two Harbors and Cook County.
In between, Ely fell 6-0 to Aurora, and Post 248 went into Wednesday’s game with its season on the line.
Ely, which finished 10-9, tied the game at two on Joey Bianco’s third-inning single, but Proctor got to losing pitcher Logan Loe in the bottom half of the frame and jumped out to a 6-2 edge.
Loe escaped further damage, and Ely mounted a sixth-inning comeback.
Deegan Richards’ double to the gap closed the deficit to three, and another run scored when Ben Kruse reached based on an error.
With runners at second and third and one out, Olson was called on to relieve starter Grant Walker, and Bianco greeted the new pitcher with a fly ball to center that resulted in a sacrifice fly.
But Olson got Caid Chittum to fly out to end the rally and he set down the hosts in order in the seventh.
Loe gave up 14 hits in the loss, with five earned runs.
Kruse had two of Ely’s seven hits.
On Sunday, Ely stayed alive in the tournament with a 9-5 home win over Cook County.
A five-run barrage in the bottom of the third did much of the damage, and college freshman Zach Cheney finished with three hits and two runs batted in.
Senior Eddie Prijatel also went three-for-four at the plate, while Richards added two hits with two RBI and Anderson collected two hits.
Kruse worked five-and-two-thirds innings on the mound, yielding six hits, for his first career Legion pitching win.
Brecken Sandberg came on in relief and finished up.
Ely was sent into the elimination round Saturday night, dropping what started as a pitching duel between Cheney and Aurora’s Hayden Soular.
The pitchers took turns putting zeroes on the board through four innings, and Ely threatened in the top of the fifth, loading the bases with one out.
Kruse ripped what looked to be a grand slam, but it curved foul at the last moment.
Soular then escaped, stranding three runners and turning momentum in favor of the top-seeded Giants.
It was Dakota Kruse who delivered in the bottom of the frame, launching his own grand slam over the right field fence and sparking a six-run inning.
Soular gave up one hit in the win, notching five strikeouts.
• In Saturday’s playoff opener, Ely belted 16 hits in a 14-4, six-inning rout of Two Harbors.
Chase Sandberg went three-for-three with three runs scored and four RBI, while cleanup man Drew Marolt ripped three hits and scored three times.
Kruse also had three hits, with Prijatel contributing two hits and two RBI and Cheney finishing with three runs batted in.
On the mound, scattered seven hits and struck out five.
• Heading into substate action on Friday night, Wadena and Esko were the two unbeaten teams while Aurora was set to meet International Falls and Proctor played Taconite in elimination round games.
The substate title game is slated for 3:30 p.m. Saturday in Ely with the winner advancing to the State Division II Tournament at Luverne.