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Rangers end losing skid with win over Molalla


by: PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: BILLY GATES - Madras catcher Bear Spino tags out Estacadas Casey Jones during Mondays 12-10 loss at Madras.The Estacada baseball team snapped its six-game losing streak by defeating an error-riddled Molalla team, 6-2, on Thursday.

When the Rangers hosted Molalla last month, every bounce and call seemed to go the Indians’ way. Estacada got the breaks this time, and they all came in the bizarre fourth inning.

Molalla opened the frame trailing 1-0, but was poised to rally when Ryan Potter and Zane Schultz led off with two straight singles. Estacada pitcher Dakotah Runyon was then called for a balk by the field umpire, giving the Indians two runners in scoring position with no outs. Estacada coach Ryan Carpenter ran to the defense of his pitcher and adamantly protested the call. After several minutes, the field umpire consulted the home plate umpire and the call was reversed, sending the runners back.

Runyon got the next Indian to pop out to shortstop for the first out. The following batter flew out to left field and had the balk stood, the runner on third would have tagged up and scored easily. Instead, both runners were left on base when Runyon forced Luke Ellis to ground out to second base.

In the bottom half of the inning, Molalla’s defense unraveled.

Estacada’s Jordan Rohling led off by clubbing a routine roller towards third baseman Reed Aylett, but the ball took a terrible hop and Aylett had no play. Rohling moved to second on a soft groundout to the pitcher by Ryan Vauthier. Chris Smith then bounced to Aylett who looked Rohling back to second and threw to first for the out. Rohling made a late break for third and first baseman Schultz hurled back to Aylett. The throw beat Rohling by five or six feet, but he was safe when Aylett dropped the ball. What should have ended the inning gave the Rangers new life.

“We’ve tried to be aggressive on the bases all year,” Carpenter said. “Sometimes we have been burned, but we want to be putting pressure on the defense.”

Following the drop by Aylett, Molalla committed four more errors and allowed seven additional hitters to bat. Despite not hitting one ball out of the infield, Estacada scored five runs in the inning. The Rangers’ only base hit in the inning was Rohling’s infield single.

Molalla came back with a run in the fifth inning and one more in the sixth, but the fourth inning debacle could not be undone.

“We didn’t play any different than we did last time against them,” Carpenter said. “We just continued to put the ball in play and they were the ones to make mistakes today.”

Brandon Beck and Kyle Beguelin each had one hit, one run and two RBIs to lead Estacada offensively. Runyon gave gritty effort on the mound, throwing all seven innings and 109 pitches to earn the complete game victory.

“Dakotah has been a great story of improvement throughout the year,” Carpenter said. “At the beginning of the year, I don’t think he would have been capable of doing what he did today.”

? Estacada dropped a 12-10 decision at Madras on Monday, in a slugfest that went into the bottom of the fourth inning before either side hung a zero on the scoreboard.

The White Buffalos took the early lead with a five-run spurt in the second inning and maintained a slim edge until Estacada tied the game 9-9 in the fourth. Ryan Vauthier led the Estacada bats going 2 for 4 with two runs scored, while Jordan Rohling was 2 for 4 with and double and two RBIs. Brandon Beck scored twice and had two RBIs, while Casey Jones had a team-high three RBIs.

The Rangers close out the regular season at LaSalle on Friday.