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Post 30 drops opener of state

Photo by John Millikan

Photo by John Millikan

ALBANY -- Albany American Legion Post 30 head coach Earl Walker said there wasn't much to say. He was right.

A solid start to the American Legion state tournament Friday for Post 30 turned into a run-rule disaster after area storms awoke Rockdale Post 77, which erupted for 18 runs in the final three innings en route to a 19-2 win in seven innings.

Rockdale moves into the winner's bracket of the state tournament to play Post 182 of Leesburg today at 1 p.m. at Darton College. Post 30 will face an opponent yet to be determined at 4 p.m.

Post 30 starting pitcher Cole Goodwin, a Lee County Trojan, cruised through the first four innings Friday against a powerful Rockdale lineup and held a 2-1 lead going into the fifth. When storms started to blow into Albany, though, the ball began to fly off Rockdale's bats.

Goodwin, who had retired 12 of 13 batters after allowing a run in the first, gave up two straight hits to start the fifth and then walked the bases loaded. He nearly escaped the jam, getting outs on a sac bunt and a popout prior to loading the bases, but a wild pitch tied the game and then another walk loaded the bases again for Rockdale's Justin Guy.

"I just kept walking people and couldn't throw strikes," Goodwin said.

Goodwin just missed on an inside curve for strike two against Guy and slammed his fist into his glove, agitated by the called ball. His next pitch, a fastball that stayed up in the zone, was deposited over the left field fence by Guy for a grand slam, putting Rockdale ahead, 6-2.

"The pitch before (the grand slam) I threw it inside and I thought it was a strike," Goodwin said. "It was inside, though."

After the fifth, a lightning delay of 50 minutes did nothing to cool off Rockdale. Andrew Crumbley and Brad Blount each had two-run doubles in the sixth to increase the lead to 11-2. Rockdale Post 77 added eight runs in the seventh.

Luke Cathcart picked up the win, throwing four innings and allowing two runs on five hits. Goodwin, who allowed just two hits through the first four innings, gave up six hits and six runs in the fifth to take the loss.

Dylan Gay and Tanner Stone had RBI hits in the first inning for Post 30.

Loganville Post 233 beat Conyers Post 77 in the first game Friday, 8-0. Cameron Fields led Loganville with three hits and two RBI. Jonathan Harrison went nine innings to pick up the win. Games begin today at Darton at 10 a.m.