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Molalla falls 11-9 to Dallas in Junior State tourney opener


Trailing 4-1, the Dragons roughed up three Molalla relievers for 10 runs on nine hits, four walks and four errors in the final three innings Thursday at Western Oregon University in Monmouth.

by: JIM BESEDA/MOLALLA PIONEER - Molalla's Keaton Franco scores on Daniel Stoddard's two-run triple in the fourth inning Thursday to give the Indians a 3-1 lead against Dallas.Molalla starting pitcher Josey Swain was confident when he turned a 4-1 lead over to the bullpen in the fifth inning Thursday morning.

That’s when things fell apart for the Indians.

Dallas roughed up three Molalla relievers and scored 10 runs on nine hits, four walks and four errors in the final three innings as the Dragons rallied for an 11-9 victory in the opening game of the Oregon Junior State Baseball Association championships at Western Oregon University in Monmouth.

Molalla’s Kurt Potter went 3-for-5 with two doubles and drove in three runs, and Reed Aylett added a pair of doubles and three RBIs for the Indians, who left the potential tying runs stranded on base in the seventh.

The loss relegates Molalla to the consolation bracket and another 9:30 a.m. game Friday at Crescent Valley High School in Corvallis against the loser of Thursday afternoon's Philomath-Churchill game.

by: JIM BESEDA/MOLALLA PIONEER - Molalla assistant coach Mitch Huff (left) chats with catcher Daniel Stoddard and relief pitcher Aaron Alexander during the fifth inning of Thursday's 11-9 loss to Dallas at Western Oregon University in Monmouth.“When we score nine runs, we should win,” Molalla coach Todd Potter said. “Defensively, we didn’t make the plays we needed to make. When you don’t make plays that you really need to make, it puts a lot of pressure on your pitchers.”

Swain said he was told Wednesday that he was likely to start Thursday, although he said he told Potter his availability might become a game-time decision because he arm was sore from having thrown five innings Friday, not to mention the reps he took at quarterback for Molalla’s football team during Monday’s 7-on-7 passing league at Woodburn High School.

“I felt good this morning,” said Swain, the senior transfer from Rex Putnam in Milwaukie. “I didn’t have my command early, but in the second or third inning I felt I got in a groove and started making good pitches.”

Swain surrendered one run on two hits in the first innings, then blanked Dallas over the next three innings, checking the Dragons on one hit with two walks and three strikeouts over that stretch.

Dallas starter Everett Minahan took a shutout into the fourth inning when Molalla turned a walk, a hit batter, two doubles and a fielding error into four runs. Daniel Stoddard's two-run double broke a 1-1 tie and then Stoddard scored on Kurt Potter’s double to left to make it 4-1.

Aaron Alexander the replaced Swain on the mound to start the fifth and surrendered four runs on three hits, including Matt Hofenbredl’s two-run single that put Dallas back in front 5-4.

“Our plan was to go to Aaron and let him finish it out, and if we needed to throw Kurt (Potter) one inning, we’d do that too,” Todd Potter said. “We’ve had success with that all year, but it didn’t work out.

“Aaron struggled with throwing some pitches. With him, we need to utilize his breaking ball and it wasn’t working today. And we didn’t make some plays behind him, either.”

Kurt Potter took over to start the sixth when Dallas sent 10 batters to the plate and added five runs on four hits, a walk and two Molalla errors to extend the lead to 10-4.

Aylett’s three-run triple in the sixth pulled Molalla within 10-7, and Kurt Potter added a two-run double in the seventh against Dallas closer Jarret Stewart, but it was too little, too late.

“We battled,” Todd Potter said. “We worked to the end. That was probably the best, overall approach that we’ve had offensively this summer.

“It was a good game against a good team, so that’s all good for us and is only going to make us better in the long run. That’s the whole goal. And that’s why I wanted to get here and get the kids a taste of this, so next year, that’s not our first experience with something like this.”

-- Jim Beseda/jbeseda@molallapioneer.com

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