The Potomac Nationals were six outs away from seeing their chances of repeating as Carolina League champions end on Sunday. Then came the eighth inning.
Destin Hood's two-run single sparked a six-run eighth as Potomac sent 10 men to the plate and rallied for a 6-1 victory over the Frederick Keys that forced a one-game showdown for a spot in the Mills Cup Finals.
The Nationals had only three hits over the first seven innings and trailed, 1-0, in Game 4 of the North Division finals. But Eury Perez beat out an infield single to start the eighth against reliever Justin Moore (0-1), Francisco Soriano walked and Jeff Kobernus -- squaring to bunt -- was hit on the wrist to load the bases.
Hood, a former second-round pick who's hitting .385 in the playoffs, singled to center field to put Potomac in front and chase Moore. Hitless in his first 11 postseason at-bats, Jose Lozada delivered a two-out two-run single off Ashur Tolliver to make it 4-1 and Zachary Walters broke out of an 0-for-10 slump with a two-run triple.
Hector Nelo pitched around a one-out double in the ninth to seal the win for Cameron Selik (1-0), who tossed 1 1/3 scoreless frames.
Frederick starter Ryohei Tanaka did not factor in the decision after yielding two hits over six scoreless innings. He walked two and struck out five.
Potomac, the second-half North Division champ, and Frederick, the first-half winner, have split 24 meetings this year. That parity will end Monday after the teams make the 90-minute trip north to Frederick for a winner-takes-all showdown to determine who faces Kinston in the Mills Cup Finals.
The Indians, who will relocate to Zebulon, N.C., for the 2012 season, eliminated Myrtle Beach in four games in the South Division finals.