ELY — Today marks the start of the 2019 Sir G’s Ely Legion Midsummer Classic. This year, eight teams will battle it out and seven of them will look to dethrone Superior, the 2018 tournament champions.

Alongside Superior and host Ely, teams from Esko, Proctor, International Falls, Cloquet, Hermantown, St. Paul Arcade-Phalen and Viroqua (Wis.) are set to compete over the three-day weekend event taking place in both Ely and Soudan.

Ely head American Legion coach Tom Coombe expects another great tournament with a great level of competition.

“There’s some very good competition in the field this year,” Coombe said. “Viroqua is 26-5 and one of the best teams in Wisconsin. International Falls is having a good season. Cloquet is a very good division 1 team. Hermantown is strong too. From top to bottom, it’s a very good and deep field.”

The tournament’s schedule starts things off with four games in Ely today beginning at 12:30 p.m. On Saturday, Ely will host fie games beginning at 9:30 a.m. with Soudan hosting three games beginning at 10:30 a.m. To finish things off on Sunday, Ely will host the final four games beginning at 9 a.m.

Just in time for the tournament, $45,000 worth of renovations to Ely’s Veteran’s Field have been completed as the city of Ely gets ready to host the State Legion Tournament in early August.

Among the changes include the removal of the third base bleachers with the area begin converted to a pavilion-type setting that features picnic tables and other forms of seating.

Along with the changes along the third base line, the field saw nearly 6,500 square feet of protective netting added as a replacement for the fencing that once stood there.

Finally, new fencing has been added to the exterior of the ballpark. With Ely hosting so many summer baseball tournaments, Coombe said getting these renovations completed was an important task for the Ely Baseball Association.

“We have the DQ tourney early in June, this tournament, the district playoffs coming up and the state tournament this year in August so it’s a busy summer for us at the ballpark and we wanted to get these renovations done as quickly as we could.

With the stadium reaping the benefits, Coombe thinks the city of Ely and it’s businesses will see an uptick in activity this weekend as well.

“We hope for a nice boost to the economy,” Coombe said. “These tournaments bring a lot of people to Ely. The teams come for two to three nights and shop in our shops, eat in our restaurants and stay in our hotels. Summer baseball is really a boon to the local economy and hopefully it’s something that we can continue to do in the future.”

The 2019 Sir G’s Ely Legion Midsummer Classic will start today with International Falls and Hermantown getting things going at 12:30 p.m. in Ely. A full tournament schedule can be found below.

The full schedule for the 2019 Sir G’s Tournament is as follows:

Friday, July 12 (Ely)

12:30 p.m. International Falls vs. Hermantown

3 p.m. Esko vs. Arcade-Phalen

5:30 p.m. Viroqua vs. Cloquet

8 p.m. Ely vs. Proctor

Saturday, July 13 (Ely)

9:30 a.m. Proctor vs. Cloquet

12 p.m. Hermantown vs. Viroqua

2:30 p.m. Ely vs. Esko

5 p.m. Viroqua vs. Proctor

7:30 p.m. Ely vs. Arcade-Phalen

Saturday, July 13 (Soudan)

10:30 a.m. Esko vs. International Falls

1 p.m. International Falls vs. Cloquet

3:#0 p.m. Hermantown vs. Arcade-Phalen

Sunday, July 14 (Ely)

9 a.m. Viroqua vs. Esko

11:15 a.m. Arcade-Phalen vs. Cloquet

1:30 p.m. Proctor vs. International Falls

3:45 p.m. Ely vs. Hermantown

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