Kurt Potter scored the tying run on a wild pitch before Austin Alexander’s bases-loaded single pushed home two more runs in the sixth inning, lifting Molalla to an 8-6 victory over Bend in Sunday’s consolation final of the Oregon Junior State Baseball Associations championships at Crescent Valley High School in Corvallis.

Keaton Franco retired Bend in order in the seventh on three consecutive ground outs as Molalla bounced back from Thursday’s 11-9 loss to Dallas in the tournament opener to win three consecutive games.

“There were a lot of situations where there was a lot of pressure on our kids,” Molalla coach Todd Potter said. “We’ve been extremely scrappy the last couple of weeks, and again today I saw our kids pull through.

“It was almost like we knew we were going to win. Down 6-5 in the sixth, the kids were very relaxed, they were loose, and they came out and hit the ball and made some plays.”

Molalla, the No. 3 seed out of the East Metro division, also was presented with the 16-team tournament’s sportsmanship following consecutive wins over Philomath, McNary, and Bend.

After Bend scored two runs on a hit and two Molalla errors in the first inning Sunday, the Indians came back in the bottom half of the inning and scored four runs on two hits, two walks, and two Bend errors.

In the fifth, Bend scored two runs to pull even, but the Indians regained the lead when Reed Aylett led off with a double and scored on Franco’s bases-loaded, double-play grounder to shortstop to make it 5-4.

Bend took the lead in the sixth after Molalla starter Kurt Potter surrendered a single and a one-out walk and was replaced by Franco.

Justin Parsons greeted Franco with an RBI-single that tied the score and then Franco walked Kota Carter with the bases loaded to force in a run and hand the Lava Bears a 6-5 lead.

Still in the sixth, Molalla loaded the bases with one out and tied it when Bend starter Ryan Stanley unleashed a wild pitch that allowed Kurt Potter to score.

After Aylett was walked intentionally to again load the bases, Alexander connected on an 0-1 pitch from Stanley for a single that scored Aaron Alexander and Lucas Ellis and put the Indians in front 8-6.

“We played with a lot of grit,” Todd Potter said. “That’s what we want to be known for. I tell the players, ‘Every day, if you leave it all on the field and give it everything you’ve got, at the end of the day, good things will happen.’ That’s what happened this weekend.

“Even with our pitchers, we weren’t planning on trying to save anybody for Sunday. We were hoping it would work out, but the kids just battled and we had some kids step up that were tired and got the job done.”

In four tournament games, Molalla batted .384 (48 for 125) and scored 41 runs. Austin Alexander batted .529 (9 for 17) and led the team in hit, while Ellis finished with a team-high seven RBIs, and Aylett, Ellis and Kurt Potter scored six runs apiece.

-- Jim Beseda/

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