Wolves work around school construction

by Tom Coombe
The lights unexpectedly went out around 3 p.m. Wednesday at Ely High School.
So the Ely Timberwolves decided to improvise.
With the gymnasium too dark to practice as a result of an unannounced power outage - as work continued on the school’s $20 million-plus renovation project - members of the high school volleyball team headed across town to Semers Park.
Beach volleyball it was, at least for a day, for head coach Megan Wognum and her Timberwolves.
That was just one notable happening this week as fall sports teams began their preparations for their upcoming season
Volleyball, football, boys and girls cross country and girls swimming all got underway Monday, with season-opening events in all activities on the horizon.


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.


Ely sixth in state tourney

by Tom Coombe
This host team was no pushover.
Ely didn’t earn its way into this year’s Junior Legion Division II State Baseball Tournament, but one wouldn’t have known that based on the results.
Post 248 picked up one win in the tournament and nearly knocked off the eventual state champion while finishing sixth in the eight-team field.
In the opening round, Ely gave unbeaten Montevideo a scare before falling 4-3 before a huge opening night crowd at Veterans Memorial Field.
The consolation round game on Aug. 5 was even more exciting for Post 248, which got a shutout from pitcher Drew Marolt and the defensive play of the weekend from outfielder Sam Leeson in a 1-0 win against Hayfield.
Sleepy Eye pulled away in the seventh inning for a 6-2 win over the hosts in Saturday’s consolation final but by then, a young Ely team had turned more than a few heads.


Ely’s Williams voted in to American Ski Jumping Hall of Fame

Tim Williams formerly of Ely and now of Lino Lakes MN, has been unanimously voted in to the American Ski Jumping Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony is scheduled for August 20 in Red Wing, MN.
His accomplishments include the following in which he received a unanimous vote:
• Junior World Cup, 1979, Quebec City – one of two U.S. skiers chosen to compete USSA National Championship,
• January 1980, Eau Claire, WI 1st place – Junior Class 1980 Olympic Tryout 1, Lake Placid, NY 2nd place – Junior Class 1980 Olympic Tryout 2, Lake Placid, NY 1st place – Junior Class World Cup, St. Nizier, France,
• February 1981 – 11th place USSA 1981 Jumping Points – Total points of best 5 competitions – 8th out of 74 skiers U.S. Ski Jumping Hall of Fame – Ishpeming, MI – 1st place trophy from Sons of Norway, 1981. Trophy awarded annually to only one skier for outstanding skill in the sport.


Ely seeded third for 14-U playoffs

by Tom Coombe
Ely’s age 14-and-under team took both momentum and a high seed into the league playoffs.
A 10-0, five-inning rout of Rock Ridge I on July 28 helped Ely clinch the third seed, among nine teams, in the Iron Range Baseball League Playoffs, which started Friday at Cherry.
Ely (8-4) was slated to take on number-six Greenway in a tournament quarterfinal.
Both the consolation round and the championship semifinals follow on Saturday, with the consolation, third-place and championship clashes scheduled for Sunday, all at Cherry.
Ely beat its first-round foe twice during the regular season, including a 15-4, July 25 matchup at Veterans Memoria Field.
The home ballpark also was the site of Ely’s regular season finale, and the hosts had no trouble with Rock Ridge I.
Pitchers Hunter Halbakken and Owen Marolt combined on the shutout, with Halbakken working the first three innings and notching seven strikeouts.


It’s time to play ball

by Nick Wognum
Months of preparation, not just for teams but local organizers, all lead up to this week.
Baseball fever is set to take hold in Ely with the start of the Junior Legion Division II State Tournament.
Teams from all corners of the state will arrive Wednesday for check-in and photos at Veterans Memorial Field, and the action begins Thursday morning at the community’s historic ballpark.
About 150 players and coaches, as well as hundreds of parents, relatives and fans will be in town for the three-day event.
A state champion will be crowned by Saturday, Aug. 6, completing another chapter in Ely’s lengthy and rich history of holding major American Legion baseball tournaments.
This marks the 10th time in five decades that a state Legion tournament has been held in Ely, and the first time since 2019.


Veterans Night Thursday at ballpark

The Ely Baseball Association will salute local veterans on Thursday, in conjunction with the start of the Minnesota Junior Legion Baseball Division II State Tournament.
All veterans and military personnel will be admitted free for the evening session on the opening day of the eight-team state tournament, and they’re also invited to take part in the tournament opening ceremonies.
Set to start at approximately 6 p.m., in between games of the evening session, the opening ceremonies will include all eight teams invited to line up around the infield, with an Honor Guard presentation at the pitchers’ mound.
The veterans and military personnel will be introduced at that time and invited to line up on the field during the playing of the national anthem. Veterans should report to the ballpark by 5:45 p.m.
All veterans will also receive a free meal at the concession stand, courtesy of the Ely American Legion Auxiliary.


Proctor KOs Ely Legion

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.


Playoffs loom for Legion

A stop-and-start regular season is ending and the playoffs are next for Ely’s American Legion baseball team.
Post 248 hosted Cook County Thursday, after deadline, to close out a disjointed sprint of a campaign that has included a slew of postponements.
Ely (7-8) will finish with the fewest amount of regular season games played in decades and playoff action starts Saturday at Veterans Memorial Field.
A 1:30 p.m. game, against either Two Harbors or Cook County, kicks off postseason action for Ely in the Division II Northeast Substate Tournament.
Top-seeded Aurora joins Ely, Two Harbors and Cook County in the four-team northern pod in the 17-team substate.
Win or lose, Ely plays twice today and could have one more game on Sunday. Two wins this weekend are needed in order for the hosts to move on to the next round, set for Wednesday at the local ballpark.
The tournament then resumes July 23 with the title game slated for July 24, all in Ely.


Junior Legion works extra to defeat Aurora

It took a bit longer than they wanted, but Ely avenged an early-season loss to Aurora.
The Junior Legion team turned the tables on their East Range rivals, and did so in dramatic fashion - scoring three times in the bottom of the 10th inning to pull off a 7-6 victory July 7 at Veterans Memorial Field.
Ely (13-3) was down to its last out in the seventh when Erron Anderson forced extra innings with his single to center.
In the 10th, it appeared that Aurora had won it with a pair of unearned runs, but Post 248 wasn’t done.
A bases-loaded walk trimmed the gap to 6-5 and Brecken Sandberg followed with a line-drive single that scored both the tying and winning runs, and gave the hosts a walkoff victory.
Sandberg finished with two hits including a double and Anderson wound up with three hits.
Deegan Richards scored the wininng run and had two hits for the day, while Sam Leeson hits including a triple and three runs scored.


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