Keys in big series vs. HillCats

August 05, 1999|By Kent Baker

FREDERICK -- The biggest series of the season arrives tomorrow night at Grove Stadium for the Frederick Keys, but manager Andy Etchebarren is downplaying its importance.

Frederick will battle the Lynchburg HillCats in a four-game series, with the lead in the Carolina League's Northern Division possibly on the line. It will be the final series of the year between the two contenders, who must win the second half to make the playoffs after Wilmington captured the first-half crown.

"I'm more concerned about the last 12 games," said Etchebarren. "I think we'll play well against Lynchburg, but we have to have the lead going into those last 12. The teams in the other division that we play then have been the stronger ones in the league the second half because our division has sent a lot of players up."

The Keys have held their own despite the loss of eight players to promotions, including such key ones as pitcher Matt Riley, center fielder Luis Matos and catcher Jayson Werth.

They have a rather nameless roster now except for outfielder Darnell McDonald, a No. 1 draft choice.

"I think if we'd have kept everybody together, we'd have won the whole thing," said Etchebarren. "But the kids still here have done a fine job. I'm not disappointed in them. And we match up well with Lynchburg now."

Frederick is 11-5 against the Hillcats, including 4-2 at home.

Pub Date: 8/05/99

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