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Ely's 9-10 team takes second in districts

Ely’s nine and 10 year old Little League All-Stars proved themselves again on the mound and at the plate in back-to-back games on day three of the District tourney in Hibbing. Christian Kittleson bagged two in-the-park home runs in the first game and batted .675 for the day. Billy Foy, Cody Bialik and Michael Freeman batted .500 in the two games. Ely defeated East Itasca in the first match-up, 10-8. Ely pitcher Greg Helget struck out four and allowed only three hits through four and two-thirds innings. Then, with the bases loaded in the top of the fifth, Ely reliever Wes Snyder came in with a key strikeout to close the inning. The sixth inning was a real nail-biter. With Ely ahead 10-8, East Itasca had the tying runs on second and third with two out. In a perfectly executed 6-3 put out, short-stop Kittleson put an exclamation point on East Itasca’s elimination from the tourney. The second game was a re-match against the host team Hibbing, who had handed Ely its only loss the weekend before, 3-1. But on this day Ely was victorious. Ely pitcher Nick Mathews had nine strikeouts and pitched all six innings. He helped his cause with a double and an RBI in the second inning. He had a lot of help, too. Eight Ely batters had 13 hits and Ely won the contest with welcome ease, 11-6. Wes Snyder led the Ely bats with two key triples that each sparked multi-run rallies. Doubles by Freeman, Foy and Mathews, and singles by Kittleson, Bialik, Helget, and Carter Manning won the day. Winning this game put Ely in the MN District 4 finals. Only two teams remained and Ely was one of them. Ely played undefeated Itasca (Grand Rapids) in the District 4 finals on Sunday, July 18. Ely would have traveled to the State Little League tournament in Roseville had they won, and they came oh-so-close. Ely scored 16 runs this game. They battled back from deficits of 11-0 after the first inning and 15-5 after the third inning. They tied it up at 15-15 in the bottom of the fifth in an inspiring comeback. The Ely parents and fans were oh-so-proud. But this day belonged to the Itasca bats. Itasca scored six more runs in the final inning and won 21-16. Members of this year’s nine and 10 year-old All Star team are: Michael Pengal, Sean Fisher, Cody Bialik, Carter Manning, Blake Brenny, Christian Kittleson, Michael Freeman, Billy Foy, Greg Helget, Wes Snyder and Nick Mathews.

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