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Post 182 nips rival Post 30, 4-3, in first meeting of season

Leesburg Post 182's William Sullivan runs down and tags out Albany Post 30's Caleb Morrell during Thursday night's game at Paul Eames Park.  Sullivan, who went 10-1 for the Baconton Charter Blazers this past season, looked solid again Thursday on the hill, this time for 182. He tossed a complete game, allowing just six hits in a 4-3 win. (joe.bellacomo@albanyherald.com)

Leesburg Post 182's William Sullivan runs down and tags out Albany Post 30's Caleb Morrell during Thursday night's game at Paul Eames Park. Sullivan, who went 10-1 for the Baconton Charter Blazers this past season, looked solid again Thursday on the hill, this time for 182. He tossed a complete game, allowing just six hits in a 4-3 win. (joe.bellacomo@albanyherald.com)

ALBANY — Leesburg’s American Legion Post 182 scored four runs in the first two innings, which was enough to hold off rival Post 30 out of Albany behind the arm of William Sullivan.

Baconton Charter’s Sullivan worked around one rough inning and finished off a complete-game win, 4-3, to give Post 182 the victory in the first of four region meetings between the two teams.

“It was probably the best game I’ve pitched in two years,” said Sullivan, who went 10-1 for the Blazers last season.

Post 182 racked up 10 hits and four runs in the first four innings off Post 30 starter Kyle Stratton and led, 4-0, before Post 30 answered. Lee County’s Pedro Cruz had an RBI single in the first to score Deerfield’s Davis Hines, and Terrell Academy’s Logan Duckworth, Miller County’s Jake Warren and Hines added RBI hits in the second inning for a 4-0 Post 182 lead before Post 30’s Jay Howell put out the fire in relief.

“Jay came in fresh and was ready to go,” Post 30 head coach Benny Waters said.

Waters than added: “If you take away the spotting of the couple of runs in the first inning, it’s a different situation. We didn’t give up the fight, and we’re not going to.”

Post 30 got to Sullivan in the third after three walks and a wild pitch scored one run, and Lee County’s Austin Joiner added a run-scoring single to plate Westwood’s Caleb Morrell to cut the lead to 4-2.

Terrell Academy’s Josh Wardrip later scored Joiner on a fielder’s choice before Howell was cut down at home plate trying to score the tying run.

Sullivan cruised from there, allowing three runs on six hits in seven innings of work with seven strikeouts.

“He got a little spotty (in the third inning), but he pulled it back together,” Post 182 head coach Larry Cook said of Sullivan. “That curveball started working. That was a game-changer.”

Sullivan allowed just two hits after Post 30’s three-run third inning to get the win, while Howell allowed just one hit in 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief for Post 30.

Hines, Brock Pinson and Hunter Brettel each had two hits to lead Post 182. Post 30 was led by Joiner’s 2-for-4 day at the plate and had five players play in a separate doubleheader in Valdosta before coming back to Albany for Thursday’s late game.

The two teams meet again Tuesday at Paul Eames Field, and Waters expects different results.

In fact, he went so far as to predict next time will be different.

“We gave them a little spot (in the first region meeting Thursday), and now we’re going to take the other three,” Waters said.

Pinson will likely throw Tuesday for Post 182, while Post 30 may go with Coleman Butler, Morrell or Tanner Stone, who was held out Thursday due to a heel spur.