Lowcountry Heat boast homefield advantage for first round of American Legion baseball playoffs vs. Conway

ccox@islandpacket.comJuly 8, 2013 

The Lowcountry Heat's Mat Clark pitches in the first inning of a game earlier this season against Goose Creek.

JAY KARR — File/Staff photo Buy Photo

Chris Seelbach remembers all of the frustrations that plagued his Lowcountry Heat squad in last summer's American Legion baseball playoffs.

A number of postponed games due to weather prolonged what was already a lengthy series that went to five games. And when the two teams did play, it was Orangeburg's Post 4 club that seemed to catch the breaks, as ill-timed errors ultimately led to the Heat's undoing.

Seelbach is hoping for better fortune this week, as his Post 185 team opens the playoffs Monday with a best-of-five series against Conway at Hilton Head Island High School.

Bluffton right-hander Chance Murphy will draw the Game 1 start, which is slated for a 7 p.m. first pitch.

Seahawks lefty Mat Clark will follow in Game 2 on Tuesday night, and the rising sophomore is expected to go without a pitch count for the first time this summer.

"He had been playing on a showcase team, and they played on the weekends," Seelbach said of Clark, who averaged between 30 and 50 pitches in his starts for Post 185. "That's why we had to monitor him when he'd play for us. It was almost like a Tuesday bullpen session with us."

Fellow southpaw Colin Grunder of Limestone College will draw the start in Game 3, which will be the first of two road games scheduled in Conway. The Daufuskie Island restaurant cook will likely spend time between innings rehashing cooking tips with assistant coach Sam Martin like he did during the regular season, Seelbach said.

"He's funny," Seelbach said. "He's just your typical, goofy left-hander."

Seelbach is unsure which pitchers would follow in the if-necessary games, but mentioned Hilton Head Preparatory School standout Randy Young as an option.

Post 185 earned homefield advantage thanks to a hot start that led to a second-place finish in League 1. The Heat opened with a 10-2 record, but enters the postseason with a 12-6 mark thanks in part to a number of forfeited games.

Seelbach expects his low participation numbers of late to rise now that the postseason has started, which may continue next week against the winner of the Sumter and Lake City series.

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