Sunday, July 28, 2013

Taconite ends Ely's district reign

Ely never got its offense on track Sunday and came up short in its bid to return to the state tournament.

Al Troumbly worked out of several jams and finished with a three-hitter as Taconite downed Post 248 in the Eighth District Division II finals at Deer River.

Troumbly stranded runners in scoring position in four of the first five innings and got two double play balls, while Taconite got three first-inning runs to take control of the contest.

After Ely trimmed the gap to 3-1, Taconite got two unearned runs in the top of the seventh against tough-luck losing pitcher Louie Gerzin, who struck out 11 and gave up six hits while going the distance.

Singles by Troumbly and Pat Shea were part of the first inning rally, which was aided by a dropped fly ball in the outfield.

Ely put runners and second and third base in the second inning, but finally got on the board in the fifth, when two errors and a Cody Bialik single put pressure on second-seeded Taconite.

But Troumbly, who only struck out two batters, escaped the no-out jam with a flyout and a double play and Ely didn't threaten again.

Gerzin had two of Ely's three hits while Shea went two-for-four for the winners.

Taconite won its first district title and moves on to the Division II state tournament at Bird Island, where it meets Third District champion Pine Island at noon Friday.

Ely finished 23-12 and misses the state tournament for the first time since 2009.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Ely reaches district finals

One win off the field and another on has put Ely's American Legion baseball team in the district finals for a seventh straight season.

After a forfeit victory over Chisholm, Ely outlasted host Deer River 9-6 in the wind and cold Saturday afternoon to advance into the Eighth District Division II title tilt.

Ely, which meets Taconite Sunday in a rematch of the 2012 final, scored three times with two outs in the bottom of the sixth to break a six-all deadlock with Deer River.

Pat Huisman's single to left plated Nick Mathews with the go-ahead run, and Louie Gerzin and Greg Helget followed with singles to add valuable insurance.

Gerzin pitched a scoreless seventh to get the save for Riley Bernsdorf, who scattered nine hits en route to his fourth win of the summer.

Ely (24-10) finally prevailed in a back-and-forth contest with a young Deer River team that upset Post 248 on Friday.

After spotting Deer River a 3-0 lead in the top of the first, Ely stormed back with four runs in the bottom of the frame and Nick Mathews added a run-scoring hit in the second to make it 5-3.

Deer River would rally to tie the game at both 5-5 and 6-6 before the decisive sixth inning.

Ely was also aided by stellar defense, with Trevor Bernsdorf's diving stab in the sixth erasing what would have been a run-scoring hit off the bat of Deer River's Jack Carter.

Post 248 finished with 13 hits, with Fisher, Cody Bialik, Gerzin, Riley Bernsdorf and Mathews finishing with two apiece. Huisman and Riley Bernsdorf both had two runs batted in.

To start off the day, Ely was awarded with a forfeit win over Chisholm, which was unable to field a team for Saturday's opening game.  Taconite reached the finals with a 9-2 win over Deer River.

Ely needs a win in Sunday's first game to force a decisive second contest for the championship. Taconite needs only one win to claim its first district title.

Gustafson's gem keeps Ely alive at districts

After an untimely hitting slump, a masterful pitching performance by Will Gustafson helped Ely continue its quest for a fourth consecutive district championship.

Gustafson was perfect through five and two-thirds innings and finished with a two-hit shutout as Post 248 blanked Carlton 6-0 in an elimination round game Friday night at Deer River.

That followed a stunning 2-1 defeat earlier in the day to host Deer River as Ely (22-10) fell victim to the pitching of Warriors ace Lance Latvala, who scattered six hits.

Ely must win four straight games to win the district title, and continues its long road back at 3 p.m. Saturday against Chisholm. A win would put Post 248 in a 5:30 p.m. contest against either Taconite or Deer River, who face off earlier in the day.  The district finals is slated for Sunday.

Deer River pushed across two unearned runs in the top of the first against losing pitcher Trevor Bernsdorf, who tossed a four-hitter, and that would prove to be enough.

Latvala worked of a second-inning jam, despite giving up three hits in the frame and was aided by a double-play ball.  Ely's only run came in the sixth, when Louie Gerzin singled in Riley Bernsdorf.  Pat Huisman finished with two singles for Ely.

The nightcap belonged to Gustafson, who picked up his fifth win of the summer and retired the first 17 batters he faced.

Ely got the only run Gustafson would need in the second, when Riley Bernsdorf scored on a passed ball. Sean Fisher singled and scored on a sacrifice fly, while Nick Mathews roped a two-run double to highlight a four-run barrage in the fifth.

Fisher scored twice for the winners and Trevor Bernsdorf finished with two RBI.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Ely to meet Deer River in first playoff game

Top-seeded Ely drew a first-round bye and will take on Deer River Friday in the Eighth District Division II playoffs.

Ely (21-9) begins its quest for a fifth straight district title with a 12:30 p.m. matchup with the tournament hosts. Seeded fifth in the district, Deer River rallied for three runs in the top of the seventh and stunned Brookston 5-4 on Tuesday.

In the only regular season matchup of the season, Ely beat Deer River (6-12) 13-2.  Second-seeded Taconite (14-12) meets Chisholm (6-9) at 3 p.m. Friday, while Brookston, Carlton and Cook County remain alive in the elimination round.

The tournament runs through Sunday, with the title game slated for 1 p.m. at Deer River.

Friday, July 19, 2013

A grand home finale: Ely blasts Carlton

Five Ely players made the most of their last home game at Veterans Memorial Fied.

They combined for nine of Post 248’s 11 hits in a 12-2 rout of Carlton on Friday night, as Ely completed district play with a perfect 12-0 record.

College freshmen Sean Fisher, Greg Helget and all-time Ely hits leader Nick Mathews had two hits apiece, and graduating senior Trevor Bernsdorf went two-for-three with two runs scored. Cody Bialik, the fifth Ely player in his final year of Legion eligibility, also added a hit as Ely improved to 21-9.

The Eighth District contest was over early, as Ely scored four times in the bottom of the first and sent 11 batters to the plate in the second, when another seven runs crossed the plate.

Riley Bernsdorf's two-run double was the key blow in the opening frame, while Fisher had both of his hits in the second. Helget added a two-run single in the second while both Mathews and Trevor Bernsdorf had run-scoring hits during the barrage.

On the mound, Louie Gerzin picked up his sixth win of the year and struck out six in four frames. Trevor Bernsdorf worked the final frame.

Mathews, who has collected 166 hits in his Legion career, went two-for-three with two runs scored, and Helget  had two hits, two runs and two RBI.

Zach Veno had three of Carlton's five hits.

Ely picked up a win earlier in the day when Chisholm forfeited the opening half of the scheduled split doubleheader at Veterans Memorial Field.

Post 248 recognized Ely's Little League All-Stars and the league champion Cards during Friday's festivities, which also included a pregame salute to the five Legion graduates.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Ely beats Deer River, clinches top seed

Three Ely pitchers combined on a three-hitter and Post 248 capitalized on 12 walks and six errors in a 13-2 win over Deer River Wednesday night.

With the victory, Ely snapped a three-game losing streak and earned the top seed for the upcoming Eighth District Division II playoffs.

Ely broke open a tight game with nine runs in the last two innings, and Max Gantt earned his third win of the year on the mound.

The senior-to-be worked the first four frames, allowing one run on three hits. Louie Gerzin struck out three in two innings of work and Trevor Bernsdorf had a one-two-three seventh as Ely won the matchup at Cohasset.

Riley Bernsdorf paced the Ely offense with three hits, while catcher Greg Helget  had two singles, two walks and two runs batted in.  Pat Huisman added a run-scoring double and Ely took advantage of walks and errors to pile up the runs.

Ely wraps up the regular season Friday night with a home doubleheader. Chisholm is here for a 5:30 p.m. game, and Ely takes on Carlton in the second game.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Walkoff homer beats Ely

Sage Hopke's blast over the rightfield fence Tuesday night completed a five-run rally and gave Hibbing a dramatic 6-4 win over Ely.

Hopke's two-strike, two-out shot capped a big comeback for Hibbing, which trailed 4-1 heading into the seventh inning.

Ely (17-9) and starting pitcher Will Gustafson cruised through six-and-a-half frames, but ran into trouble in the seventh.

The leadoff man reached on an error and a one-out double closed the gap to 4-2. After a single and another groundout, Nick Milani's two-out hit fell in to tie the game and Hopke's homer followed.

Gustafson gave up seven hits and was tagged with the tough-luck loss, while Ely mustered only three hits off winning pitcher Ricky Brant. All three came in the third inning, when Post 248 jumped out to a 3-0 lead thanks to an error and run-scoring singles by Trevor Bernsdorf and Nick Mathews.

Sean Fisher walked and scored a run in the fifth to make it 4-1, and that's how it stayed until the seventh.

Ely can secure the number-one seed for the upcoming district playoffs if it beats Deer River Wednesday. That contest is set for 7:30 p.m. at Cohasset.