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Ely top seed for 14U tournament

Ely’s age 14 and under baseball team may have a target  on its collective back this weekend.

Among 13 teams, Ely is seeded first in the Iron Range Baseball league playoffs, the bulk of which will be held here at Veterans Memorial Field through the weekend.

Ely (10-1) was set to take on Vermilion Range Friday night in the last of four quarterfinal games at the historic ballpark.

Five more contests, including both semifinals, are slated for Saturday, while Sunday’s lineup has three contests culminating with the 10th Annual IRB Championship Game - slated for 3:30 p.m.

Ely secured the top seed with a wild, July 27, 15-13 victory over host Hibbing I, which wound up with the second seed.

After taking a 7-0 lead, Ely fell behind as Hibbing erupted with eight runs in the bottom of the second.

The teams traded momentum and Ely eventually led 15-10  going into the bottom of the seventh, when Drew Johnson came on in relief.

He was nicked for three runs but settled in and closed things out with two strikeouts and a grounder back to the mound.

Leadoff hitter Tyde Brecke had two singles and scored three times for the winners, and run-scoring hits by Sean Merriman and Max Brandriet were part of a six-run first frame.

Johnson, winning pitcher Owen Marolt, Aksel Skustad, Merriman and Evan Leeson all scored two runs in the victory.

Marolt finished with two hits including a double.

The top-four seeds in the tournament went to Ely, Hibbing I, Rock Ridge I and Rock Ridge II.

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