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Keyes powers P-Nats in clincher
Potomac completes sweep of Carolina League North Division
08/29/2013 1:08 AM ET
Kevin Keyes ranks fifth in the Carolina League with 73 RBIs in 112 games.
Kevin Keyes ranks fifth in the Carolina League with 73 RBIs in 112 games. (Joy R. Absalon/MiLB.com)

Potomac already clinched a spot in the Carolina League playoffs by breezing to the Northeern Division first-half title. On Wednesday, the Nationals made it 2-for-2.

Kevin Keyes hit his second homer of the game in the top of the 11th inning as the P-Nats outlasted Winston-Salem, 8-7, in the opener of a doubleheader to clinch the second-half crown.

"The [home runs] were real cool. We just wanted to win another half and felt good about going to the playoffs," Keyes said. "We just had to stay within ourselves to win that game and it felt great. I'm glad we won."

Potomac lost the nightcap, 5-0, but ended the night with a 40-25 second-half record that was good enough to eliminate second-place Lynchburg (32-32).

The Nats' have been led offensively by Billy Burns, who's hitting .312 with a .422 OBP, and Keyes, who leads the squad with 13 homers. Michael Taylor, Washington's fourth-ranked prospect has nine homers and a team-best 82 RBIs.

Blake Schwartz has anchored the league's best pitching staff, going 11-4 with a 2.56 ERA in 22 starts. Before earning promotions to Double-A Harrisburg, Taylor Hill notched a 2.99 ERA in 15 appearances and Robbie Ray had a 3.11 ERA in 16 starts.

"We just compete on a nightly basis," P-Nats manager Brian Daubach said. "We've had a lot of guys get promoted and somebody's just stepped up and taken that role on and done very well. We played a lot of close games all year and we won our fair share, but these guys come out and play hard every night, and that's all you can ask for."

In Wednesday's clincher, Taylor and Adrian Nieto combined for four doubles and three RBIs, while Schwartz allowed four runs -- one earned -- on six hits and a walk with three punchouts in 3 2/3 innings.

Despite eliminating Lynchburg from second-half contention, Potomac likely will play the Hillcats in the Mills Cup semifinals.

Other clinchings:

Augusta 13, Lexington 4

Mitchell Delfino went 3-for-5 with a homer and Ben Turner had three hits and three RBIs as the GreenJackets wrapped up the South Atlantic League Southern Division second-half title. Kendry Flores gave up three runs on four hits with three strikeouts over six innings to grab his 10th win.

Augusta improved to 41-23 and eliminated second-place Lexington.

Jonathan Raymond is a contributor to MiLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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