The transfer from Rex Putnam High School in Milwaukie has played every position except first base this summer.

by: JIM BESEDA/MOLALLA PIONEER - Josey Swain tossed five shutout innings in last week's 3-2 summer league victory over Franklin in the opening game of a double-header at Al Geddes Field.When summer league started, Molalla’s Junior State baseball team had the look of a state title contender.

Then Josey Swain joined the mix.

The addition of Swain, the all-purpose transfer from Rex Putnam in Milwaukie, has added some pop to the lineup and given Molalla a versatile soon-to-be-senior who can play virtually any position, including pitcher.

Swain grabbed the spotlight Friday as Molalla swept a double-header against Franklin at Al Geddes Field by scores of 3-2 and 6-5.

The wins helped to solidify a spot in this week’s 16-team Junior State tournament, beginning Thursday at Western Oregon University in Monmouth and Crescent Valley High School in Corvallis.

In Friday’s opener, Swain pitched five shutout innings, allowing three hits and two walks with four strikeouts, while going 2-for-3 with two runs scored.

In the second game, Swain played second base and center field and went 2-for-3 with a two-run triple in a three-run fifth inning that put the Indians ahead to stay.

“Josey brings a lot to our team,” Molalla coach Todd Potter said. “He’s good at the plate and he’s another arm that throws really well. It helps with having one more guy that can throw strikes and give us some innings.”

Swain grew up in Molalla before moving to Milwaukie in the eighth grade and has returned at a time when he has a chance to help send the Indians’ Class of 2015 out with a bang, not only in baseball, but also in football.

He was Putnam’s starting quarterback last year, but played most of the season with a torn labrum in his left shoulder — an injury that was significant enough to keep him from playing baseball last spring after he’d moved back to Molalla.

His game still had some rust when summer started, but he has been in a groove lately, even if he has yet to find a position to call his own.

“I really can’t worry about that too much,” Swain said. “I think I’ve played every position except for first base. And I can play that too, if you need me there.

“I’d like to play at the next level too in college, so I guess I’ll find a spot then. For now, I’ll play wherever someone else isn’t playing when they’re pitching.”

Molalla (9-5) opens state tournament play against Dallas at 9:30 a.m. Thursday at Western Oregon.

“I like where we’re at,” Potter said. “We’ve going to have all our guys there, which is huge for us.

“Defensively, we’re strong at every position. I ?would like to see us hitting the ball better. I’m a little concerned about that, because the last few games we haven’t hit the ball well at all.”

Third baseman Lucas Ellis is batting .388 (19-for-49) and first baseman Reed Aylett is batting .321 (18-for-56), anchoring an offense that has averaged 7.8 runs a game.

Among the pitchers, Aaron Alexander is 3-0 with a 4.05 ERA in five appearances, while Aylett (3-2, 5.57) and Keaton Franco (1-2, 6.13) have also taken regular turns in the starting rotation.

“This is what we wanted to do this summer,” Potter said. “The goal was to qualify for the state tournament, give these kids a taste of playoff baseball, and hopefully carry that into next spring.”

Jim Beseda / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

(503) 829-2301

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