Ely takes fourth in 14-U tourney

by Tom Coombe
After an opening-round victory, Ely wasn’t able to sustain its momentum in the Iron Range Baseball playoffs.
The age 14-and-under team blasted Greenway in the opening round, but lost consecutive decisions to two Hibbing teams and wound up fourth in the nine-team event.
Hibbing II pushed across two runs in the top of the seventh and held on to beat Ely 9-7 in Sunday’s third-place game at Cherry.
The Hibbing team broke a seven-all deadlock with two runs in the top of the seventh, then set down Ely in order in the bottom half of the frame to close things out.
That spoiled an earlier rally, as Ely erased a 7-3 deficit and tied things up with four runs in the bottom of the sixth.
Back-to-back walks drawn by Stig Majerus and Sean Merriman started the frame, and Drew Johnson’s run-scoring double closed the gap.
Jack Davies also singled in a run during the inning, but Ely stranded runners at second and third with a chance to pull ahead.
Davies took the pitching loss in relief of Hunter Halbakken, who started and gave up 10 hits while striking out eight.
At the plate, Davies had two hits while Majerus singled and scored twice.
In the semifinals, Hibbing I broke open a tight game in the bottom of the fourth, scoring five times en route to an 8-2 victory.
Johnson kept Ely close through three innings but the winners erupted in the fourth.
Ely struggled at the plate, fanning 12 times, although Johnson doubled as part of a two-run third. Evan Leeson walked and scored and Merriman singled and scored during the inning. Davies had Ely’s only other hit.
Seeded third in the tournament, Ely opened play by downing number-six Greenway 18-0 in five innings.
Ely scored in every inning and blew things open by sending 17 batters to the plate in a 12-run third.
Johnson singled, tripled and scored three runs, while Davies was two-for-three with three runs scored
Majerus also scored three times and Jayden Zemke ripped a two-run triple.
Ely took advantage of numerous walks to cruise to the victory.
On the mound, Davies pitched four innings and allowed one hit, and Owen Marolt tossed a scoreless fifth with two strikeouts.
Rock Ridge II completed a perfect season by beating Hibbing I in Sunday’s championship game. Next year’s IRB Tournament will be held in Ely at Veterans Memorial Field.