ALBANY - Cole Goodwin is proving to be a weekend warrior for Albany’s American Legion Post 30 team.
Goodwin hit a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the seventh Saturday to advance Post 30 to the final day of the Paul Eames Memorial Baseball Tournament with a 7-6 win over Vidalia.
Goodwin’s birthday comes just a few weeks after the cutoff to participate in American Legion region games, so he’s just barely too old to play in weekday games when the region contests take place.
“I can play him in these (non-region) games and he has come through big time for us,” Post 30 head coach Bennie Waters said of the former Lee County Trojan.
Goodwin had a perfect 3-for-3 day at the plate with two RBI, including the game-winning single to left that scored Deerfield-Windsor’s Austin Joiner, whose slide at home just beat the throw to the plate.
“I was just looking for a fastball in the right spot,” Goodwin said of his final at-bat.
Post 30, which rallied to win for the second consecutive day of the tournament, went 3-1 over two days and moves on to play Wiregrass’ No. 3 team today at 10 a.m. in the runner-up game. Wiregrass’ No. 1 team will play Tallahassee Baseball Club, which went 4-0 in the tourney, for the championship.
Post 30 was knocked out of contention for the title game earlier Saturday after losing 15-0 to Wiregrass.
“We came out here a little drained in the first game and didn’t look our sharpest, but we battled back,” Waters said. “That’s twice now we’ve battled back and I’m proud of them for that.”
Vidalia took a 6-4 lead in the fifth with three runs and four hits off Post 30 starter Kyle Stratton from Terrell Academy. Post 30 tied the game in the bottom half of the inning with two runs on a Stratton groundout to score Joiner, who doubled. A double to left by Goodwin scored Terrell Academy’s Josh Brunswick.
Stratton, who threw a complete game, hunkered down in the sixth and seventh to hold Vidalia scoreless and got the win despite allowing six runs on 14 hits. He struck out three.
“Kyle went the distance, which I had to have,” Waters said. “He threw 100-plus pitches and that helps me out for (today).”
Post 30 racked up 12 hits of its own, including three apiece from Goodwin and Joiner. Caleb Waters had another big two-run hit for the second day in a row and Stratton went 2-for-4 with two RBI at the plate.
Post 182 eliminated: Leesburg’s American Legion Post 182 team was eliminated from the tournament after going 1-3 over two days, including a heartbreaking 6-5 loss to Wiregrass No. 1 and a 12-7 loss to Post 30’s Junior team on Saturday.
“We just ran out of pitching,” Post 182 head coach Larry Cook said.
Post 182 took a 5-0 lead early against Wiregrass No. 1 in Saturday’s first game and led 5-2 in the sixth before giving up four runs to lose 6-5.
Miller County’s Jake Warren, Lee County’s Pedro Cruz, Baconton’s Brock Pinson and Worth County’s Ryan Hickox had RBI hits in a huge second inning for Post 182.
Post 30’s Jr. team cranked out 18 hits in the win over Post 182, led by three hits from Josh Black and Matthew Fox. Robbie Feagin, Hunter Brettell and Pinson added two hits each for Post 182.