Sir G’s Classic largest yet - Record 12 teams to take part in annual Legion tournament

2017 Sir G’s/Ely Legion Midsummer Classic July 7-9, Veterans Memorial Field

Ely has carved a niche as a destination point for summer baseball tournaments.
But in the storied history of Veterans Memorial Field, no tournament has been larger -at least in number of teams - as the upcoming Sir G’s Midsummer Classic.
An even dozen teams, one larger than last year’s record field of 11, will participate in the American Legion baseball tournament that starts Friday, July 7, both in Ely and Legion Field in neighboring Soudan.
Before the event wraps up with the 3:45 p.m. title game on Sunday, July 9, 25 games will have been held during the 16th annual event.
Not bad for an event that was started in 2002 simply to fill an open weekend on Ely’s American Legion baseball calendar.
In a decade-and-a-half, the Sir G’s Classic has evolved into the largest American Legion baseball tournament in northeastern Minnesota, and one filled with power-packed teams.
“From top to bottom, you’re not going to find a better American Legion tournament than this one in northern Minnesota,“ said Ely Head Coach Tom Coombe. “There’s a great mix of talent from across the state. Whoever wins this thing will beat some very, very good teams.”
Combining teams from outside the area with many of the region’s top Division I and Division II Legion programs, the Sir G’s Classic could prove to be a more rugged test than the upcoming district playoffs, with loaded lineups in all three divisions.
Ely Post 248 is part of a stacked Red Division pool that features Proctor, which was the Eighth District Division II runner-up last year and boasts NCAA Division I talent Jake Malec and former area player of the year Jon Aase. Joining those two clubs are International Falls and first-time entrant Dodge Center of southern Minnesota.
Those are just some of the teams, many from large Class AAA and even Class AAAA schools, making the trek to Ely.
“This tournament is nothing at all like what we’re used to with local high school baseball,” said Coombe. “You look at who we play during the high school season, and few of our opponents even field Legion teams. We’re going to be matched up with bigger schools that have had a lot of success.”
Fridley Gold, which heads the tournament Blue Division, boasts players from Class AAAA Totino-Grace and faces defending Sir G’s champion and fellow AAAA power Duluth Lakeview (East), along with tournament mainstay Kenyon as well as Virginia, which combines players from four Iron Range schools.
The Thunder Bay Wolves come down from Canada to enter the tournament for the second year, and the White Division will also feature returning Stephen-Argyle from northwestern Minnesota, as well as Class AAA Cloquet, last year’s Sir G’s runners-up. Rounding out that division is BOLD, which ventures north from Bird Island and had one of the top-ranked Class A high school baseball teams in the state.
The action starts at 9 a.m. Friday (see schedule in the Ely Echo) and the lineup includes 12 games over the first two days in Ely, with four more including the title game on July 9.