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Brunswick edges Hagerstown

July 28, 1998|By JACK HILL III

BRUNSWICK, Md. - The Brunswick Orioles played long ball Monday night, digging a hole for the Hagerstown Braves.

The Orioles scored all eight of their runs on three home runs as they edged Hagerstown 8-7 in the third game of the best-of-five semifinal series in the Blue Ridge Adult League baseball playoffs.

Brunswick leads Hagerstown two games to one. The fourth game of the series will be tonight at 7 at Brunswick. If necessary, the fifth game will be Wednesday night at 6 at Hagerstown Community College.

"We got the long ball going," Brunswick manager Chris Hoffman said. "The wind was blowing out towards the outfield fences. We have always been a good hitting team this year. It was a big victory. We needed it. Hagerstown has got a good ballclub, and we can't take them for granted."

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Brunswick got on the scoreboard first by getting four runs in the bottom of the first inning. Brad Lowe was hit by a pitch to start the rally. After that, Doug Stottlemyer and Willie Sowers walked to load the bases. Jason Mobley then crushed a grand slam over the center field fence.

However, Hagerstown responded by scoring two runs in the top of the second to narrow the gap to 4-2. With one out, Ronnie Palmer singled to center. One out later, player-manager Danny Cunningham clubbed a two-run homer to left.

The Braves then scored three runs in the top of the third to take a 5-4 lead. Kevin Crawford led off with a ground-rule double to center and moved to third on Mike Martin's groundout to second. After Mike Kipe walked, Mickey Kerns reached on a throwing error that scored Crawford and sent Kipe to second. Pat Sweeney then singled to center to score Kipe. Kerns also scored on the play on a throwing error.

But the Orioles took the lead for good at 6-5 with two runs in the bottom of the third. Mobley led off with a walk, and winning pitcher Scott Frye followed with a two-run homer.

Brunswick added two more runs in the fourth. Lowe started the inning with a walk. One out later, Sowers stroked a two-run homer to center.

Hagerstown got a run in the fifth when Sweeney rapped a solo homer to right.

The Braves added another run in the seventh to reduce the deficit to 8-7. With two outs, Sweeney doubled to right and scored on Palmer's single to center. But that was as close as Hagerstown got.

"We just have to come back and win the next two games," Cunningham said. "This team will be all right, if everybody keeps their composure."

Frye struck out seven batters in seven innings to get the win for Brunswick. Three of those strikeouts were in the seventh inning.

"Scott Frye pitched an excellent ball game," Hoffman said. "Even when he got in trouble, he worked his way out of it."

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