ELY – Youth baseball returned last weekend with 10 teams from around the state participating in the Senior Babe Ruth level Sir G’s/ Ely Legion Midsummer Classic tournament at Veterans …
ELY – Youth baseball returned last weekend with 10 teams from around the state participating in the Senior Babe Ruth level Sir G’s/ Ely Legion Midsummer Classic tournament at Veterans Memorial Field here and at Soudan’s Legion Field.
With plenty of room for fans to socially distance, due to public health concerns over the coronavirus, and picture-perfect baseball weather, 20 games were played over three days.
Wadena won the tournament with a perfect 4-0 record, shutting out Grand Rapids by a 4-0 score on Sunday in what turned out to be the title game of the tournament.
The home team went 2-2 in the tournament, beating Virginia 3-2 on Friday night and defeating Minnetonka 9-8 on Saturday, before losing 8-6 to Esko in the Saturday nightcap and 20-5 to Proctor on Sunday.
“We just ran out of gas on Sunday,” said Ely coach and tournament organizer Tom Coombe.
Ely’s Cam McRoberts was the winning pitcher against Virginia, allowing just three hits with 11 strikeouts. Virginia pitcher Ryan Hujanen, of Tower, struck out 10 in the loss.
“We scored two in the fifth to break a 1-1 tie, with Bralyn Lislegard stealing home and Nils DeRemee following with a run-scoring hit,” Coombe said.
Against Minnetonka, Tjae Banks had two doubles and Lislegard drove in the winning run with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the sixth. Dalton Schreffler struck out the side in the seventh inning to earn the save for Trevor Mattson. Mattson also had two hits.
In the next game Esko scored four times in the top of the seventh to rally for the win over Ely. Tyler Housey, Zach Cheney, Nils DeRemee and Bryce Longwell all had two hits. Danny Crockett was tagged with the loss in relief of Schreffler, who gave up six hits and struck out four in five and two thirds innings of work.
Ely was tied 2-2 with Proctor after three innings, but then the floodgates opened. Proctor scored 18 runs in the last four innings against several Ely pitchers. Housey went four-for-four at the plate.
“It was a good weekend for us but I think we ran out of gas a bit at the end,” Coombe said. “Our pitchers got a bit tired, I think, and we gave up some runs late in games and had some defensive hiccups, too. All in all, getting two wins in this tournament is a positive and I thought there was great atmosphere for baseball in both of the night games, against Virginia and Esko. The Virginia game was a true pitchers’ duel.”
Some teams were turned away because the tournament was capped at 10 teams. The Sir G’s Classic is typically an American Legion baseball event, but this year changes were made to all youth sports due to public health concerns over COVID-19.
Besides top-ranked Wadena and Grand Rapids and the host Ely squad, the tournament included Minnetonka, Roseau, Proctor, Esko, Hermantown, International Falls and West Duluth.
“We’re happy and I think the visiting teams were happy with how the tournament played out,” said Coombe. “Teams like coming to our ballpark and there’s a lot of room for people to spread out.”
Ely, now 8-2 on the season, was set to travel to Virginia Friday night. They are scheduled to host Aurora on Tuesday, July 21 and Cook County on Thursday, July 23.