Julian Blackburn struck out nine in a complete-game shutout and Wilmington Post 10 used timely hitting to grab a 4-0 win over Hampstead Post 167 at Buck Hardee Field on Monday night.
Post 10 has a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five American Legion playoff series as Ward Coleman and J.P. Graham reached base four times in the victory.
Blackburn scattered six hits on the mound, while Sam Luchansky was saddled with the loss, tossing eight strong innings for Hampstead. The right-handed sidewinder fanned four and allowed seven hits.
Wilmington took a 2-0 advantage on a pair of RBIs by William Noxon and Lambert Long in the bottom of the second. Coleman and Donovan Francis smacked base hits to the right side to put runners on base with one out. Noxon drove in a run with a sacrifice fly to left and Long hit a two-out single up the middle to give Post 10 the early edge.
Blackburn worked out of trouble in the fourth after Mason Berne and Trader Flora hit back-to-back singles to start the frame. The southpaw induced a pair of pop outs and picked up a strikeout to wiggle out of the jam before Noxon singled home a run in the bottom of the inning to give Wilmington a three-run cushion.
Hampstead nearly broke threw in the seventh after a pair of bunts singles by Aaron Beach and Chase Riker, but a caught stealing and 6-4-3 double play ended the threat.
Graham added a bloop single in the eighth to drive in one run as the Hoggard left-fielder went 2-for-2 at the plate, with one walk, hit by pitch, one run and a run batted in. Coleman finished with two runs scored and Noxon had two RBIs.
Wilmington and Hamsptead meet in game four of the series inside the Legion Sports Complex on Tuesday.