With the Lowcountry Heat and Orangeburg Post 4 unable to play since Monday because of field conditions at Orangeburg's Mirmow Field, it was no surprise at least one team came out a little rusty Friday night at Hilton Head Island High School.
Unfortunately for Post 185, it was the only team that did, committing seven errors and allowing three unearned runs as Orangeburg beat the Heat, 3-1, and evened their first-round American Legion playoff series at one game apiece.
The teams will play two seven-inning games starting at 5 p.m. today at Orangeburg. Should a fifth game be necessary, it would be Sunday at Hilton Head Island High.
"It's tough in the mental aspect for the kids," Heat coach Chris Seelbach said about the long layoff between games. "The kids are ready, ready, ready, and they keep being told no, no, no."
The Heat (12-7) didn't look ready, though. On top of seven errors, the Heat had a wild pitch, a passed ball and went 2 for 15 with runners on base. The Heat actually out-hit Orangeburg, 7-5.
"We gave them 34 outs," Seelbach said. "When you do that, you're putting yourself in a bad spot. You're looking at what should be a 1-0 game."
The Heat got on the board first with a run in the second inning. Ryan Ward drew a one-out walk, stole second and went to third when the throw got through into center field. Grant Youmans singled to bring Ward home.
Orangeburg (7-11) tied it up without the benefit of a hit in the third. Catcher Dakota Way reached on an error by Heat first baseman Caleb Martin, advanced to third on another error by Martin and scored on an error three batters later by shortstop Kevin Hickey.
In the sixth, Post 4 turned a single by Evan Graves, a single by Cameron Huddleston, another Martin error -- one of four on the night -- and a Brandon Johnson passed ball into the go-ahead run for a 2-1 lead.
And in the top of the eighth, Austin Rowell reached on an error by Hickey, went to third on a throwing error by Johnson and scored on a ground out to close out the scoring.
While Post 185's play was sloppy, credit is due Post 4 starting pitcher Chris Sweatman. He went the distance, allowing a run on seven hits while striking out four and walking two.
"If you don't catch and you don't throw," Seelbach said, "you're climbing uphill."
Admitting Post 185 was in a tough spot, Seelbach said the Heat were focused on doing whatever it takes to win each game instead of worrying about who will pitch the next day. With all hands available except Nic Levy and Friday's losing pitcher, Mat Clark, Post 185 will start Andrew Dill and Lincoln Fuller in today's doubleheader.
The winner of the series will open the second round at Sumter.
Orangeburg 001 001 010 -- 3 5 1
Lowcountry 010 000 000 -- 1 7 7
WP: Chris Sweatman 9 IP, 1 R, 1 ER, 7 H, 2 BB, 4 K
LP: Mat Clark 4 IP, 2 R, 0 ER, 3 H, 0 BB, 2 K
Top hitters: Orangeburg -- James Sheppard 1 for 3, RBI. Lowcountry -- Jake Martin 1 for 3; Ryan Ward 0 for 3, SB, R; Grant Youmans 1 for 3, RBI.