Sports

Mon
12
Jul

VFW hoping to plug holes on defense

With just two weeks left in the regular season and tournament play fast approaching, Ely’s VFW baseball team is looking to shore up its defense.<BR><BR>Ely is over the .500 mark at 11-10 heading into today’s Border Area doubleheader with Virginia (11 a.m., Veterans Memorial Field), but defensive woes have cost the team several other games and may be the only thing that’s holding it back from becoming a force in the Eighth District.<BR><BR>Defensive improvement is the focus for Post 2717 as it gears up for the stretch run.<BR><BR>“It seems like one bad inning in each game is killing us,” said Ely Head Coach Jim Wittrup. “Our pitchers have low ERAs but we seem to make five errors a game with four run inning.

Mon
12
Jul

Lassi takes first Home Run Derby

Cory Lassi showed off his power on the Fourth of July and won Ely’s first Home Run Derby.<BR><BR>Lassi, a 2004 graduate of Ely Memorial High School and a member of Ely’s American Legion baseball team, topped a field of more than 30 participants - including Legion teammate and Minnesota high school baseball home run king Josh Mathson.<BR><BR>In the final round, Lassi had 12 points to Mathson’s 11.<BR><BR>Lassi, Mathson, Tim Scott, Josh Weckman and Ely high school baseball coach Frank Ivancich advanced to the finals.<BR><BR>The competition was scored on a points system, with points awarded for balls that reach a marked off area in the outfield, and for balls that clear the fence.<BR><BR>Mathson actually had the most home runs in the event, including three in the first round and one in the finals, but Lassi had four three-point hits in the finals while Mathson had a homer (five points) and two three-pointers.<BR><BR&

Sun
11
Jul

Ely golfer fires ace at Fortune Bay course

An avid golfer, Ely business owner Steve Piragis has played countless rounds since taking up the game more than 30 years ago.<BR><BR>But there was something special about Piragis’ June 20 trip to the brand-new Wilderness Course at Fortune Bay.<BR><BR>That’s when the 52-year-old recorded his first hole-in-one.<BR><BR>It came on the par-3, seventh hole at the course next to Lake Vermilion near Tower.<BR><BR>“All I could do is stand there and laugh,” Piragis recalled last week. “I’ve played a thousand par-3s, and finally one goes in.”<BR><BR>Piragis, who golfs about twice a week, used a nine-iron on the 156-yard hole and fired from the back tees at the course.<BR><BR>“The wind was about 20 miles an hour and steady right to left,” said Piragis.

Sun
11
Jul

14 up, 14 down for Ely Legion

Ely’s American Legion baseball team maintained its perfect record last week, and inched closer to making Ely baseball history in the process.<BR><BR>Thursday’s 5-1 win over Marble gave Post 248 a perfect 14-0 mark for the summer, and a 15-game streak that extends back to last year’s state tournament third-place game.<BR><BR>And while the 2004 club already is off to the best start in Ely Legion history, it needs one more win to tie and two to break the program record for consecutive wins.

Sun
04
Jul

Legion Classic goes to the home team

Another weekend, another tournament championship for Ely’s American Legion baseball team.<BR><BR>One week after winning Virginia’s Land of the Loon Tournament, Post 248 dominated its own tournament at Veterans Memorial Field.<BR><BR>Ely won four straight games, outscoring its competition by a combined margin of 37-13 to claim the first-place trophy at the 17th annual Ely Legion Classic.<BR><BR>Lefty Tim Scott fanned 11 batters as Ely drilled St. Charles 11-1 in the June 25 tournament opener. The next day, Post 248 picked up its most impressive win of the tournament, a 10-4 decision over defending Classic champion Sartell.<BR><BR>Victories over Proctor (10-4) and St. Charles (6-4) followed and Ely won the event for the third time in four years.<BR><BR>“To win this tournament any year is a heck of an accomplishment,” said Ely Head Coach Tom Coombe.

Sun
04
Jul

Junior League districts, Legion tourney make for busy weekend

The large sign attached to the grandstand at Veterans Memorial Field, the one dubbing Ely as “Baseball Tourney Town USA,” certainly seems appropriate this summer.<BR><BR>The Ely baseball complex hosted American Legion and VFW tournaments the last two weekends, and the facility will be a hub of activity again this weekend, as two separate tournaments take place.<BR><BR>Friday and Saturday, Ely will host 13-and-14-year-olds from around the region as the Minnesota Fourth District Junior League Playoffs begin.<BR><BR>And once the junior teams clear the field, American Legion teams will step right in.<BR><BR>Ely’s Midsummer Legion Classic also is set for this weekend, with the tournament moving over to Ely on Sunday after three games Saturday at Soudan.<BR><BR>This weekend’s contests are part of one of the busiest summers yet at Veterans Memorial Field.<BR><BR>From June 29 through Aug.

Sun
04
Jul

Legion runs win streak to 11

The victories just keep piling up for Ely’s American Legion baseball team.<BR><BR>Post 248 maintained its perfect record last week with a pair of lopsided Eighth District Division II routs, running its season-opening win streak to 11 games.<BR><BR>Josh Mathson was a one-man wrecking crew Monday at Chisholm, smashing three home runs, finishing with eight runs batted in and picking up the pitching win as Ely rolled 18-5 in six innings.<BR><BR>Wednesday, both Mathson and Thom hit home runs and Tim Scott fanned 10 batters in a 15-5 triumph over district rival Nashwauk-Keewatin.<BR><BR>Ely, which is at Hibbing today for a doubleheader, needs two more wins to tie the record-setting 2001 Legion squad, which won 13 straight games to start the season.<BR><BR>Last week’s victories put Ely in first place in the district standings and may have cemented the local team’s standing as the favorite for a second straight district title and s

Sat
26
Jun

Home Run Derby set for Fourth of July

The Ely Baseball Association along with Young Life is sponsoring a Home Run Derby on the fourth of July.<BR><BR>The public is invited to watch present and past Ely and Iron Range players compete for the title of “Home Run Champion.”<BR><BR>Among those already signed up to compete is Josh Mathson, the Ely Legion and Babbitt-Embarrass-Soudan-Tower high school player who set the all-time Minnesota record for home runs (32) in high school baseball.<BR><BR>The competition is open to anyone and there is a $5 fee to participate.<BR><BR>The competition will be scored on a points system, with points awarded for balls that reach a marked off area in the outfield, and for balls that clear the fence.<BR><BR>The champion will receive a trophy and other prizes.<BR><BR>Gates open at 5 p.m.

Sat
26
Jun

Furnstahl, VFW top Virginia

Ely’s VFW baseball team is off to a strong start in conference play.<BR><BR>After wins over Eveleth and Babbitt-Embarrass-Soudan-Tower the week before, Post 2717 maintained its perfect record in the Border Area Wednesday with a 9-4 win at Virginia.<BR><BR>Nick Furnstahl led the way, tossing a six-hitter with six strikeouts and contributing two hits and four runs batted in at the plate.<BR><BR>It was the only win of the week for the Ely team (5-3), which lost the second game of the twinbill with Virginia and was swept Monday by unbeaten Hibbing.<BR><BR>But the victory at Virginia kept Ely atop the Border Area standings (only the first games of doubleheaders count in league play) and Post 2717 bounced back after a rough afternoon and evening against Hibbing.<BR><BR>Ely struck right away, with Jake Ojala smacking a two-run single to help his team to a 3-0 lead after one inning.

Sat
26
Jun

Six teams here for weekend VFW tourney

Ely’s VFW baseball team should get a chance to see how it matches up with some of the best teams in the area during this weekend’s six-team Ely VFW Classic.<BR><BR>The two-day event kicks off Friday and includes 12 games - eight at Ely’s Veterans Memorial Field and four more in Soudan at Legion Field.<BR><BR>Host Ely meets Nashwauk-Keewatin at 12:30 p.m. Friday and goes under the lights for an 8 p.m. game with Hermantown that evening. On Saturday, Ely squares off against Silver Bay (noon) and Duluth East (7:30 p.m.)<BR><BR>Babbitt-Embarrass-Soudan-Tower is also in the tournament.<BR><BR>A champion will be determined by best overall record, with head-to-head competition and runs allowed being used to break ties.<BR><BR>Admission for tournament games is $4 per day.<BR><BR>VFW baseball is for players age 16 and under.<BR><BR>• A complete tournament schedule can be found in the scoreboard section.

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