Sunday, July 27, 2014

Ely eliminated in semifinals

Ely misfired on an opportunity to score in the top half of the seventh inning while Two Harbors cashed in on its own chance in the bottom half of the frame, and that was the difference in a 5-4 Two Harbors victory Sunday at Veterans Memorial Field.

Tim Bott's two-out single to center just evade the glove of Ely's Jeff Wilis and brought Luke Small in with the game-winning run in the Eighth District Division II playoff semifinal.

The loss ended Ely's season while Two Harbors advanced into the championship game later in the night, when it lost 9-3 to International Falls.

Ely (20-12) trailed 3-0 and 4-2 in the contest, but rallied to tie the game with two runs in the sixth and had a chance in the seventh.

Louie Gerzin's third hit of the game started the rally, and he moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and third on a wild pitch.  But Gerzin was stranded 90 meet from home, as reliever Kyler Kinn coaxed a pop-up and a lineout to end the threat.

That set the stage for the bottom of the inning, and Small singled to center with one out to start the rally.  Small stole second and after Ely's Will Gustafson recorded a strikeout, Bott delivered his second hit of the game to end it in walk-off fashion.

Two Harbors broke a scoreless deadlock by scoring three times in the bottom of the fourth, all with two out, against Ely starter Pat Huisman. The key blow was Easton Best's two-run double, while Nate Bauck surprised the crowd and the Ely defense with a two-out steal of home.

Gerzin got Post 248 on the board in the top of the fifth with his second home run of the season, a two-run blast to left.

Two Harbors answered with an unearned run in the bottom of the fifth but Ely countered with two runs in the sixth, with Gustafson lining a run-scoring double and Jeff Willis tying it with a single to right.




Saturday, July 26, 2014

Gerzin no hits Esko, Ely among final three

Ely's American Legion baseball team staked Louie Gerzin to an early lead and the senior righthander took things from there.

Gerzin overcame some early control issues and dominated over the last four frames, finishing with his first career Legion no-hitter and 12 strikeouts in a 4-2 Ely win over Esko Saturday at Veterans Memorial Field.

The victory put Ely into the final three in the Eighth District Division II Playoffs, but a severe thunderstorm washed out Saturday night's scheduled clash with Two Harbors. The two  teams will instead meet at 4 p.m. Sunday, with the winner advancing to meet International Falls at 6:30 p.m. in the district championship tilt.

Gerzin struggled in two previous starts against Esko, but was firmly in command for much of Saturday's game.

Ely took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the second, then yielded a pair of unearned runs in the third as Esko scored without benefit of a hit.

But Gerzin recorded a key strikeout to escape further damage, then rattled off five more strikeouts in a row before Esko put two runners aboard by way of walk in the fifth. Again Gerzin dug deep and notched a strikeout, and didn't allow a baserunner the rest of the game.

For the year, Gerzin improved to 5-3 and now has 96 strikeouts in 50 innings on the mound.

Cole Kellogg singled and scored Ely's first run on a wild pitch, and the hosts plated two more runs in the second when Pat Huisman's hot shot down the third base line caromed off an Esko fielder's glove and into the outfield.

Esko got its two runs in the third and that's how it stayed until the sixth, when Elliot Omerza's sacrifice fly brought in Jeff Willis with an insurance run.

Ely (20-11) finished with 10 hits, with Huisman going three-for-three and both Gerzin and Kellogg adding two hits apiece.

Ely also played host to VFW baseball action Saturday, with the Eighth District Tournament getting underway with games at Ely, Soudan and Virginia.

Grand Rapids and Hibbing both went 2-0 for the day and will meet in the last winners' bracket game at 5 p.m. Monday. Four other teams, including host Ely, are 1-1.

Ely bounced back from a 9-1 opening round loss to Proctor by beating Duluth East B 4-2. Andy Krunkkala was the winning pitcher while Kellogg notched a two-run single.

Ely meets West Duluth at 1:30 p.m. Sunday.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Ely remains alive in districts

One bad inning sent Ely into the elimination bracket in the Eighth District Division II playoffs, but a come-from-behind effort Friday night kept the hosts alive in the tournament and sent them into the final four.

Three straight two-out hits capped a four-run rally in the bottom of the fourth, and senior Max Gantt held off Moose Lake in a 4-3 victory at Veterans Memorial Field.

The win helped Post 248 bounce back from a 4-1 loss to Two Harbors earlier in the day, in a contest decided by a disastrous fourth inning in which three Ely errors led to four Two Harbors runs.

Ely (19-11) will play Esko at 4:45 p.m. Saturday in another elimination round contest, with the winner advancing to meet Two Harbors at 7 p.m. Whoever survives will move into the finals to meet International Falls, which remained unbeaten in the tournament with a 5-1 victory over Milaca and a 9-4 triumph against Two Harbors.

After retiring the first nine batters, senior Will Gustafson ran into trouble in the fourth against Two Harbors, which took advantage of two errors and a walk to break a scoreless deadlock. Following a third Ely error, Two Harbors bunched its only three hits of the game to take a 4-0 lead.

The cushion was enough for lefty Kyle Omtvedt, who held Post 248 to three hits and worked out of a bases loaded jam in the second. Ely's only tally came in the fifth, when Jeff Willis doubled and scored on a Louie Gerzin groundout.

Gustafson fanned five, allowed only the three hits and did not give up an earned run.

Moose Lake nicked Gantt for two runs in the third inning, but Ely batted around in the fourth, with Cole Kellogg's run-scoring double driving in Gustafson and putting the hosts on the board.  Gerzin's infield single tied the game with two outs, while Gantt and Pat Huisman followed with back-to-back run-scoring hits that made it 4-2.

Moose Lake got one run back in the sixth, but Gantt retired the side in the seventh for his team-high fifth win of the year.

Ely finished with seven hits against two Moose Lake pitchers, including two each by Gantt and Gerzin.


The complete lineup of tournament games Friday included:
• Esko 16, Deer River 11, Deer River eliminated;
• Moose Lake 6, Taconite 4 (8), Taconite eliminated;
• International Falls 5, Milaca 1;
• Two Harbors 4, Ely 1;
• Esko 7, Milaca 6 , Milaca eliminated;
• Ely 4, Moose Lake 3, Moose Lake eliminated;
• International Falls 9, Two Harbors 4

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Ely claws past Esko in playoff opener

Ely overcame a disastrous top of the fifth with a clutch bottom half of the inning, and the result was a wild playoff win Tuesday night at Veterans Memorial Field.

After watching Esko score six runs in the top half of the inning only only two hits, Post 248 stormed back in the bottom half with four runs, then held on for a 7-6 victory in the opening round of the Eighth District Division II Playoffs.

Will Gustafson's two-out single plated Pat Huisman with the winning run and capped a four-run fifth, and it was Gustafson, on in relief of Louie Gerzin, who held off Esko in the final two frames.

Gerzin cruised through the first four innings with a 3-0 lead, but ran out of steam in the fifth and walked five batters.  An error prolonged the frame, Nick Emanuel's two-run double put Esko on top, and the visitors scored twice more to lead 6-3.

But an Esko error ignited Ely in the fifth, and Gerzin's run-scoring hit closed the gap to two. After Max Gantt singled, Pat Huisman delivered a key two-run single to tie the game, setting the stage for Gustafson's game-winner and giving a big Veterans Night crowd plenty to cheer about.

Gustafson allowed only two hits in two and two-thirds innings of work, and picked a runner off second in the sixth inning to thwart an Esko rally, on the way to his fourth win of the year.

Gerzin struck out nine and allowed only one hit, but seven walks led to an early exit for the Ely ace.

Elliot Omerza had a run-scoring single in the first and Cole Kellogg added a two-run dobule later in the frame, and that was the only scoring until the fifth.

Ely was aided by good defense, including the pickoff play in the sixth and a diving catch in center by Jeff Willis to end the game.

Huisman and Gerzin had two hits for Ely which outhit Esko 9-3.

Ely (18-10) advances to meet Two Harbors in a winners' bracket tilt at 2:30 p.m. Friday. Two Harbors advanced with a 9-2 victory over Deer River.

In the opposite bracket, International Falls ace Ben Humbert struck out 15 as the tournament's top-seeded team blanked Moose Lake 5-0.  Milaca scored twice in the bottom of the seventh to beat Taconite 3-2, in the final game of a playoff doubleheader at Marble.

The tournament resumes Friday with seven games, five in Ely and two more at Soudan.

Monday, July 21, 2014

District tournament starts with Veterans Night

The start of the Eighth District Division II playoffs will coincide with a salute to veterans at Ely's historic ballpark.

Tuesday is Veterans Night at Veterans Memorial Field, with a special on-field ceremony to take place just prior to Ely's 7:30 p.m. playoff contest with Esko.

All veterans and military personnel will be admitted free and be treated to a hot dog and a beverage, and they'll be asked to come out on to the field to be recognized just prior to the playing of the national anthem.

The Veterans Night tribute is similar to previous veterans' events at the ballpark, held during state and district tournaments over the last decade. Any veteran, active military member or guard member may sign in at the ticket booth for free admission.  Veterans are asked to line up for the ceremony by 7 p.m.

Veterans Night is part of a playoff doubleheader in Ely that starts with a 5:15 p.m. contest between Two Harbors and Deer River on what promises to be a festive night at the field.

Ely's Little League All-Stars, both the 9-and-10-year-old team and the 11-and-12-year-olds, will be recognized and introduced during Ely's game and concession stand specials are in the works the entire night - including $1 hot dogs and $2 Sloppy Joes.

After Tuesday's twinbill, the tournament resumes Friday with seven more games - five in Ely and two more in Soudan.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Schedule set for districts; Ely seeded third going into Tuesday night's opener with Esko

Eight teams will begin play Tuesday but only one will emerge at the end of the week as the Eighth District champion and its representative in the upcoming Division II State Tournament.

Host Ely is seeded third and will tangle with Esko in the second half of a district tournament doubleheader Tuesday at Veterans Memorial Field.

The 7:30 p.m. contest, part of Ely's Veterans Night celebration, is one of four first-round games and marks Post 248's first step in a quest to win the program's 12th state tournament berth since 1997.

But first the hosts must break a three-game losing streak which included an 8-0 loss to number-five seed Esko last Thursday.

The Ely-Esko rematch follows a 5:15 p.m. game between second-seeded Two Harbors and number-seven Deer River.  Top-seeded International Falls will meet either Moose Lake or Brookston at 5:15 p.m. Tuesday at Marble, with fourth-seeded Taconite, the defending district champion, taking on southern representative Milaca at 7:30.

The tournament resumes Friday with seven games, five in Ely and two more at Soudan's Legion Field, with two more contests Saturday and the finals slated for 4 p.m. Sunday.

The entire tournament schedule is listed below.


Monday July 21
PLAY IN 6:00 p.m. #8 Brookston at #7 Moose Lake Moose Lake

Tuesday July 22
Game 1 5:15 p.m. #6 Deer River vs. #2 Two Harbors           Ely
Game 2 5:15 p.m. Brookston/M. Lake vs. #1 Int. Falls    Marble
Game 3 7:30 p.m. South rep Milaca vs. #4 Taconite         Marble
Game 4 7:30 p.m. #5 Esko vs. #3 Ely          Ely

Friday July 25
Game 5 10:00 a.m. Loser 1 vs. Loser 4**                 Ely
Game 6 12:15 p.m. Winner 2 vs. Winner 3         Ely
Game 7   1:00  p.m. Loser 2 vs. Loser 3**              Soudan
Game 8     2:30 p.m. Winner 1 vs. Winner 4        Ely
Game 9   4:00 p.m. Winner 5 vs. Loser 6**     Soudan###
Game 10   4:45 p.m. Winner 7 vs. Loser 8** Ely ###
Game 11   7:00 p.m. Winner 6 vs.  WInner 8 Ely

Saturday July 26
Game 12   5:00 p.m. Winner 9 vs. WInner 10**        Ely
Game 13   7:15 p.m. Loser 11 vs. Winner 12** Ely

Sunday July 27
Game 14 4:00 p.m. Winner 12 vs. Winner 13    Ely
Game 15 6:30 p.m. Repeat if necessary           Ely

### - Locations for games 9 and 10 could be flip-flopped in order to keep 
Ely at its home field.

** - Elimination Game




Friday, July 18, 2014

Two Harbors slides past Ely

Ely squandered too many opportunities on Tuesday and lost its bid for the number-two seed in the upcoming district playoffs.

Two Harbors pitcher Tom Bott worked his way into and out of trouble, stranding 11 Ely runners in a 3-1 victory at Veterans Memorial Field.

Bott prevailed in a pitching duel with Ely's Will Gustafson, who gave up three unearned runs while firing a five-hitter. Gustafson struck out five.

Bott overcame eight walks and a hit batter to get the win, which came in an Eighth District two-point contest and gave Two Harbors the number-two seed for the Eighth District tournament, which starts Tuesday in Ely.

Ely, which ended the regular season on a three-game losing skid, will take a 17-10 record and the number-three seed into the tournament, with a 7:30 p.m. first-round tilt with Esko up next.

After leaving the bases loaded in both the first and fourth frames, Ely got to Bott in the sixth when Cole Kellogg's double plated Max Gantt. But Bott again escaped, getting Louie Gerzin to ground out with runners in scoring position.

Two Harbors scored with the benefit of Ely's fifth error of the game in the top of the seventh, adding an insurance run.

Earlier Friday, Virginia scored five times in the first and five in the fifth en route to a 12-6 win. Jeremy Katz dorve in four runs and had three hits for the winners, backing the pitching of Devin Mayry.

Elliot Omerza went three-for-three while Zach Smith added two hits for Ely.  Bradley Roy was tagged with the loss.