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Braves sweep Blue Sox

July 22, 1999|By JACK HILL III

The Hagerstown Braves swept their Blue Ridge Adult League best-of-three playoff series against the Martinsburg Blue Sox with a pair of shutout victories Thursday at Municipal Stadium.

Deron Crawford and Mickey Kerns combined on an 8-0 shutout in the completion of Wednesday's suspended game, then Kerns fired a complete-game shutout in the second game to finish the sweep, 3-0.

"I just told (player-manager Danny Cunningham) that I would go for as long as I could," Kerns said. "For some reason, I was able to throw the ball well for nine innings. I just tried to get ahead in the count, throw strikes and let the guys make the plays behind me. As the game went on, I got ahead of the hitters better. When you can get ahead of the hitters, you can make them hit your pitches and not their pitches."

In the second game, Kerns fired a two-hitter as he struck out seven batters. Kerns retired 21 of the 26 batters that he faced.

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"It was an excellent job by our pitchers during the series," Cunningham said. "You couldn't ask for anything more from Deron Crawford and Mickey Kerns. We had Martinsburg behind in the count quite often. We did a good job of throwing strikes."

During the series, Mike Martin collected five hits in eight trips for the Braves. Three of Martin's hits came in the second game.

Hagerstown jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning of the second game. Kevin Crawford led off by reaching on a two-base error. One out later, Crawford scored on a single to left by Martin. Cunningham reached on a fielder's choice. Courtesy runner Jeff Mongan took second on a wild pitch, moved to third on a passed ball and came home on a wild pitch.

The Braves got their other run in the fourth. With two outs, Brian Smith doubled to left and scored on a single to left by Matt Bragunier.

Brian Kerns had the big bat for Hagerstown with three hits and two RBIs in the first game. Deron Crawford threw five shutout innings Wednesday before thunderstorms forced the suspension.

Hagerstown now advances to the best-of-five semifinal series against the Brunswick Orioles. The first game will be Sunday at Brunswick at 6 p.m.

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