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Braves' pitching slows the Express

July 15, 2009|By JACK HILL III/Staff Correspondent

Spencer Cromer, Cory Livengood and Trevor Cobb combined to hurl a three-hit shutout to help the Hagerstown Braves defeat the Brunswick Express 4-0 on Wednesday night in a Blue Ridge Adult League baseball game at Smithsburg High School.

Cromer pitched the first three innings, Livengood hurled the next three and Cobb threw the last inning. Cromer was the winner.

"Basically, we were using tonight to get Spencer and Cory some innings," Hagerstown manager Mike Kipe said. "The game didn't mean anything with the standings. I just told the guys to relax. Both Spencer and Cory did what I expected. Both of them pitched three innings and both of them ended up in the 40-pitch count."

Hagerstown completed the regular season 16-12 overall and 12-8 in the league. With the exception of 2004, the Braves have finished with a winning record every year since they were formed in 1977.

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The third-seeded Braves will now compete in the league playoffs against the Brunswick Orioles, the six-time defending league tournament champions. The best-of-5 semifinal series will start Saturday at 6 p.m., at Brunswick High School.

The winner of the series will face the top-seeded Boonsboro Pirates in the best-of-7 championship series. The Pirates were the regular-season champions.

Hagerstown broke a scoreless tie with three runs in the bottom of the third inning.

Both Chris Palmer and Joey Minnich drew walks and moved up a base on a sacrifice bunt by Trey Cobb. After Trevor Cobb walked to load the bases, Nathan Minnich singled to right to drive in Palmer. Matt Murray drew a bases-loaded walk to bring home Joey Minnich. Trevor Cobb came home on Fred Kreiger's fielder's choice groundout.

The Braves scored their final run in the fifth. With one out, Murray was hit by a pitch. Murray stole second and scored on the play as the result of two throwing errors.

Pitchers Mike Topper and Ryan Derr combined to toss a two-hitter for Brunswick (7-11, 7-9).

"Their starting pitcher pitched a nice ballgame," Kipe said. "I thought our hitters were a little overanxious at the start of the game. Then our hitters settled down and we were able to draw some walks. We were also running aggressive on the bases. All of these things helped us put some runs on the scoreboard."

Brunswick manager Mike Atherly was impressed with Hagerstown.

"Hagerstown is a good team," Atherly said. "We just haven't found the number against them. I like playing the Braves, because they have good pitching and good hitting. Whenever you play them, you have to come ready to play. They will take advantage of your mistakes."

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