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Braves move into championship series

July 30, 1998|By JACK HILL III

A good leader knows when to take charge.

Mickey Kerns took over Wednesday night for the Hagerstown Braves.

The Braves' shortstop homered twice, including a three-run shot in the fifth to put the game away, as Hagerstown defeated the Brunswick Orioles 8-2, winning its Blue Ridge Adult League semifinal series, 3-2.

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Kerns, who also had a solo homer in the third, finished with a series-high .529 batting average and eight RBIs, exactly what player-manager Danny Cunningham expected.

"When Mickey Kerns is in the dugout, he passes on some valuable leadership to this team," Cunningham said. "Mickey has been the leader that this team has been looking for during the past couple of years."

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Kerns attributed his sharp bat to a set of sharp eyes, and a little bit of luck.

"I was fortunate to get ahead in the count every time that I was up tonight," Kerns said. "I was able to get enough of the pitches so that they would get out of here."

Hagerstown pitchers Deron Crawford and Mark Shives combined on a six-hitter.

"I have got to take my hat off to Deron Crawford and Mark Shives," Cunningham said. "They did a great job pitching on two days rest."

The Braves took the lead for good with five runs in the fifth. A sacrifice fly by Kevin Crawford, an RBI single by Nate Reeser and Kerns' three-run homer made the score 6-2.

The Braves added two more runs in the sixth on Mike Martin's two-run single.

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