Legion runs win streak to 11
The victories just keep piling up for Ely’s American Legion baseball team.Post 248 maintained its perfect record last week with a pair of lopsided Eighth District Division II routs, running its season-opening win streak to 11 games.Josh Mathson was a one-man wrecking crew Monday at Chisholm, smashing three home runs, finishing with eight runs batted in and picking up the pitching win as Ely rolled 18-5 in six innings.Wednesday, both Mathson and Thom hit home runs and Tim Scott fanned 10 batters in a 15-5 triumph over district rival Nashwauk-Keewatin.Ely, which is at Hibbing today for a doubleheader, needs two more wins to tie the record-setting 2001 Legion squad, which won 13 straight games to start the season.Last week’s victories put Ely in first place in the district standings and may have cemented the local team’s standing as the favorite for a second straight district title and state tournament berth.“If we’re going to win the district tournament and get to state, we’re going to have to beat Chisholm and Nashwauk,” said Ely Head Coach Tom Coombe. “Both of those teams are very capable and have good talent. It’s a good sign that we played so well against them.”Chisholm has one of the smaller parks in the area, and Mathson took full advantage, smashing three over the fence.His first-inning blast gave Ely a 2-0 lead, and Post 248 built an early 5-1 advantage.But Chisholm rallied, scoring four times in the third with the help of two infield errors.The deadlock didn’t last. Mathson’s fifth-inning, two-run shot put Ely back in front 7-5 and sparked an outburst that didn’t end until Post 248 built a double-digit advantage.Scott’s two-run single in the fifth made it 9-5, and a nine-run sixth inning included Mathson’s third round-tripper of the night - a three-run bomb - and a two-run double by Aaron Thom.Ely finished with 16 hits, four each by Thom and Mathson. Kevin Pope went three-for-four with five runs scored, and catcher David Urbas scored three runs.Mathson picked up his third win of the summer, allowing six hits and striking out nine.Wednesday’s game followed a similar pattern. Ely led 4-1 early on, only to see N-K come back and tie the game after three innings.After that, it was all Ely. Scott tripled and scored on a Joel Dostert single in the fourth, and Thom’s two-run homer capped a five-run fifth inning rally.Mathson had two hits, including a three-run first-inning homer. Thom added three hits and three RBI, but the hottest bat belonged to Dostert.The Soudan native and Vermilion Community College freshman had four hits, including a pair of doubles.Scott went the distance, improving his record to 4-0 and firing a four-hitter. He reached double digits in strikeouts for the second consecutive start.