Ryan Ward won't soon forget the sweet taste of advancing to the American Legion state tournament two seasons ago.
"It was fun," said Ward, the elder statesman of the Lowcountry Heat. "Probably the funnest I've had in my baseball career."
Ward, now in his fourth season with Post 185, naturally wants to get back to that point again. And while the Heat may not possess the talent threat of that 2010 club -- which advanced further than any other Heat team to date -- the right fielder thinks they have the tools for another deep run.
"It's pretty close. The way we play is similar," he said. "We play real loose, have a lot of fun. We're not too serious, but we get the job done when we get out there.
"We have a lot of team chemistry."
The Heat are in position for a potential push. Post 185 entered Friday night with an 8-4 record and was sitting just two games back in the loss column of league-leading Goose Creek, but the Beaufort Ospreys handed the Heat a 17-2 loss in the opener of Friday's doubleheader. No results were available from Friday's late game.
"There are some very, very good Legion teams," third baseman Taylor Place said. "But we have a good team. When everyone is here, and when everyone is hitting the ball, we're a good team."
Post 185, under first-year coach Chris Seelbach, still has two more games to play against Goose Creek, with the first coming Monday night at home. The teams then meet again in a regular-season finale July 5 at Goose Creek.
"We're just trying to win the league and finish out the best we can so we can get some momentum," Ward said.
The Heat reeled off eight wins in 10 games after a sluggish 0-2 start to the season.
"Everyone's so relaxed," first-year pitcher Andrew Dill said. "We're so laid back. It's fun at times, and if it gets into a tight situation in a game, we snap back into it, which is hard to do."
Considering the playoff format, Dill and the rest of the pitching staff would play a critical role in any postseason run for Post 185. The first round of the playoffs are tentatively set to begin July 9, where League 1 -- which the Heat occupies -- will face off against League 4, according to a team official.
A pair of best-of-five series will then follow before the winner advances to the state tournament, which is set up similarly to the College World Series, where eight teams face off in two brackets in a double-elimination format.
The state tourney is set for July 27-Aug. 1 at John Nave Stadium in Greenwood.
Given the team's recent hot streak, count Ward among the believers that the Heat are primed for a possible run.
"We're starting to play a lot better," he said. "After the first two games, it wasn't looking good at all."
Beaufort, meanwhile, faces an uphill battle for a playoff spot. The Ospreys improved to 6-8 in the league after winning Friday's opener against the Heat. Third-place West Ashley came into Friday with a 7-8 record.
If two teams fighting for the final postseason berth finish with the same record, a one-game playoff will be set to determine who advances.