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Little League 9-10 year-olds advance in District play-offs

The Ely 9-and-10 year old All Star baseball team lost one but won two last weekend, good enough to move on in MN District 4 Little League play. All games were played at Garrett Park in Hibbing.Ely won its first game 6-2 against a favored Deer River team. Deer River’s pitching was good, walking only one and allowing only seven hits through six innings.Ely squeezed out six runs, with key RBIs coming from Billy Foy with three hits and Michael Freeman who had two hits. Sean Fisher cut Deer River a new road home with an inside the park home-run in the top of the sixth.Nick Mathews pitched for Ely and had an awesome performance. He scattered just three hits and tallied 14 strike-outs for the win.The hometown favorite, Hibbing, topped the Elyites Saturday morning 3-1 in a really tight contest. Pitching for Ely, Wes Snyder had nine strikeouts and allowed only three hits. Snyder kept Ely in the game but Ely’s bats failed to produce. Hibbing’s pitcher also allowed only three hits, singles by Greg Helget, Snyder and Fisher.International Falls was the foe in the third and final game. Ely tallied seven runs on nine hits and took the game 7-6 in an exciting finish.I-Falls had tied the score in its half of the sixth at six apiece. Snyder then opened up Ely’s bottom half of the inning with a shot to the fence, a triple. Carter Manning drove him in for the win with a sharply hit sacrifice.The win was sweet because Ely had remained scoreless and had only one hit (from Mathews) through three. But a change in pitcher by I-Falls brought out the Ely bats in the fourth, fifth and sixth. Pacing the winning offense were singles by Helget (2), Foy (1), Freeman (1), Manning (1) and Mathews (2).Snyder preceded his triple in the sixth with a double in the fourth that drove in a run and tied it up at three apiece. Pitcher Christian Kittleson scattered nine hits, struck out six, and walked one, and proved Ely may have the best pitching depth of any team in the District.Pitching is definitely an Ely strength. The All Stars have seven 10-year olds who pitched in regular season games this year and did well against older 11 and 12-year old players. It has been a long time since Ely could claim seven up-and-coming All Star pitchers - the same age! Ely met East Itasca at Garret Park this past weekend in District play. Ely needed to win four in a row to go to state.

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