Friday, July 17, 2015

Ely pummels Brookston in regular season finale

It took a couple of innings for Ely's bats to warm up Friday night, but they sizzled the rest of the way in 10-3 home victory over Brookston.

Jeff Willis and Tayler Banks had four hits each and Will Gustafson added three as Post 248 moved into a three-way tie for second place in the Eighth District Division II standings and won for the ninth time in 12 outings.

The hitting barrage, and a strong outing on the mound from junior Patrick Huisman, gave Ely a solid win in its regular season finale.

Huisman didn't yield an earned run and fired a three-hitter with 10 strikeouts en route to his seventh win of the summer.

Gage Merhar's sacrifice fly and Gustafson's run-scoring hit put Ely on top 2-1 in the bottom of the third, and after Brookston scratched out an unearned run to tie the game, the hosts regained the edge when a Willis single plated Banks.

Ely put the contest away with a five-run fifth, with Gustafson's double starting the rally and Banks, Willis and Huisman all notching run-scoring hits.

Post 248 had 16 hits on the night, with Banks going four-for-four with two runs batted in, and Willis coming up with a four-for-five performance to raise his batting average to a team-high .389.

Gustafson added three hits in his final home game in an Ely uniform, and the six-year member of Ely's Legion team was announced as this year's winner of the Mark Hernesmaa/David Chelesnik Jr. Memorial Award.

Huisman reached double digits in strikeouts for the third time this summer and largely dominated against Brookston, which is made up of players largely from Section 7A high school runner-up South Ridge.

The Ely win sets up a chance drawing for the two, three and four seeds in the upcoming Division II Eighth District Playoffs. Ely is tied with Esko and International Falls for second, trailing number-one Moose Lake.  Final seeding for the tournament will be determined Sunday and Ely's first postseason tilt is slated for Tuesday, either at Deer River or Cohasset.

The victory came on a festive night at Veterans Memorial Field,when local veterans were honored prior to the game and representatives of Minnesota Power - CEO Al Hodnik and strategic accounts manager Mike Perala - threw out ceremonial first pitches.  Minnesota Power was recognized for its $30,000 contribution that led to the purchase and installation of the brand-new scoreboard at the ballpark.

Earlier Friday, Virginia scored nine runs in the last two innings and ran away with a 13-1 win over Ely.  Winning pitcher Levy Paskett was four-for-five and recorded eight strikeouts, and Kyle Maki added four hits as well.

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