Beaufort Ospreys set to travel to Cheraw to start American Legion baseball playoff series

sfastenau@beaufortgazette.comJuly 8, 2013 

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Beaufort Osprey's Thomas Smith reaches for a grounder during a game earlier this season against the Heat.

SARAH WELLIVER — File/Staff photo Buy Photo

The Beaufort Ospreys rested Sunday

Between the end of the American Legion baseball season Saturday and consecutive days of doubleheaders to open the playoffs, coach Mike Smith wanted Post 9/207 relaxed. But that means only pregame batting practice to try and shake the Ospreys' recent hitting struggles.

Beaufort, the No. 3 seed from League 1, travels Monday to face Cheraw, the second seed from League 3. The teams will play a doubleheader starting at 5 p.m. to open the best-of-five series.

The Ospreys (11-5) managed three hits while being shut out by Goose Creek on Saturday and slipped to third place. Smith is confident in his pitching depth.

"I think our bats need to take over," he said.

Austin Willis-Greene is expected to start Monday's Game 1. After that, Smith is undecided. But he has options.

Thomas Smith, Mattison Pike, David Tilton and Matt Thorpe can all throw. Shane Dixon, who threw seven innings Saturday, probably wouldn't earn a start until Thursday's fifth game, if necessary.

The group will try and hold down a Cheraw lineup that Smith said hit the ball well in defeating Camden on Saturday to earn the league's No. 2 seed.

Smith wasn't sure about his pitching to start the summer but has been pleased. And lulls in the schedule give him some well-rested arms as the Ospreys try to advance in the state tournament.

"I like that, because usually when they're well-rested, they come out ready to pitch and can put it down low, bang the knees, keep the ball away from hitters," Smith said. "I think they needed a little break."

Coaches agreed Sunday on a doubleheader format to try and limit travel and allow for poor weather. After two games Monday in Cheraw, the teams would play a doubleheader Tuesday in Beaufort, if Game 4 is necessary. A fifth and deciding game would be played Thursday in Cheraw.

Smith thinks he will be without center fielder and cleanup hitter Stephen Baggett, who has been out of town. But he otherwise expects a full lineup.

"I'm counting on everybody to be there," he said.

AMERICAN LEGION PLAYOFFS

First round, best of five

Monday: No. 3 Beaufort Ospreys at No. 2 Cheraw, 5 p.m. (doubleheader)

Tuesday: Cheraw at Beaufort, 5 p.m. (doubleheader, if Game 4 is necessary)

Thursday: Beaufort at Cheraw, time TBD (if necessary)

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