ELY –Minnesota’s top small-school American Legion baseball teams will flock to Ely next weekend, bringing loads of family, friends and fans to the area. A total of 126 teams started …
ELY –Minnesota’s top small-school American Legion baseball teams will flock to Ely next weekend, bringing loads of family, friends and fans to the area. A total of 126 teams started playoff action this week, and the road to the state title will end in Ely with the final eight teams competing here in the championship round.
The Division II State tournament, hosted by the Ely Baseball Association, is set for Friday-Sunday, Aug. 2-4, at Veterans Memorial Field on the ISD 696 campus. It will be the ninth time that the state Legion tournament has been held in Ely and the first time in six years, according to Ely coach and organizing committee member Tom Coombe.
American Legion baseball is the highest level of youth baseball. Participants are ages 19 and under.
Festivities begin next Thursday afternoon with team check-in and photos, followed by a banquet later that evening. Ely will play the first game of the tournament on Friday, Aug. 2 at 7 p.m., following an opening ceremony scheduled for 6 p.m. The state title game is slated to begin at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 4.
As many as 150 players and coaches, along with families and fans, will fill motels and restaurants in the Ely area, providing a substantial economic impact. At last week’s Ely City Council meeting, Mayor Chuck Novak highlighted the impact that such tournaments have on the city. “It is not quite like the Blueberry Art/ Festival, in terms of dollars spent here, but it could equate to the Harvest Moon Festival. This is big for Ely,” he said.
The Ely Baseball Association has been gearing up for the event, organizing and completing a renovation project costing close to $45,000 that includes new lighting and a scoreboard, along with the installation of new netting for the first and third base areas the spring. The creation of a new paved pavilion area on the third base side with the removal of old wooden bleachers, includes new tables and chairs donated by the local Dairy Queen franchise.
Other major sponsors for the event include,Twin Metals Minnesota, Steger Mukluks, Zup’s Food Market, Department of Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation, Mesabi Bituminous/Nemanich Trucking, Fortune Bay Resort Casino and the North American Bear Center.
According to a Facebook post, prices for an adult at the gate will be $7 per game, $10 per day, or $20 for a weekend pass. Contact any Ely Legion player or coach for a ticket. Tickets will also be available at the ballpark this weekend as Ely hosts the District 8 playoffs.
Ely team members are selling $10 passes that get spectators in to all of the games of the state tournament as well as entered into a raffle for a chance to win $1,000 cash, Steger mukluks, a Wintergreen Designs gift card, or a $100 gift certificate for dinner at JD Hoyt’s. These tickets are pre-sale only and will not be available at the gate. Call Tom Coombe at 218 235-1025, for more information.