American Legion baseball: A season of change for Lowcountry Heat

ksalter@islandpacket.comMay 29, 2014 

The name hasn't changed, but several other things have for one of the county's American Legion baseball teams.

The Lowcountry Heat, formerly based on Hilton Head Island, have relocated to Hardeeville. The Heat, under the supervision of new coach Adrien Shaw, will play their home games at the Richard Gray Baseball Complex, and welcome a new set of faces for the upcoming season.

On Thursday, the Heat, who will continue to represent Post 185 will clash with the Beaufort Ospreys, representing of Post 9 and 207, at Beaufort High School.

Shaw said his team is a young one, but that he hopes they show improvement during the eight-game season.

"My expectation is that the kids just get better," Shaw said. "I'd rather have them young my first year with them."

His plan is to mold his roster of 15 players into an aggressive, opportunistic team that focuses on pressuring opponents into mistakes, seizing the initiative from the first inning to the last.

"We have a lot of young, good talent," Shaw said. "I'm most looking forward to seeing how many of these kids have the ability to play our brand of baseball. I think we selected a group of smart, instinctive ballplayers. It's like getting a whole new box of tools."

This summer's team is based out of Bluffton, a change from previous years. Last year's Heat coach, Chris Seelbach, said a decision was made to give players from the island and surrounding areas a better opportunity to participate in travel ball, where they are more likely to be scouted.

"The kids that have the opportunity to play in the showcase-type environment have to, because that's where they're going to be seen," Seelbach said. "It's harder to put together a [Legion] team."

As it is, South Carolina League 1 will feature just three teams, down from the usual five or six. Still, Shaw said he chooses to see this as an opportunity. He hopes that in the coming years, more players will want to take advantage of a chance to represent their community. Fewer teams also means each squad will have a good chance to advance to the state playoffs.

For now, though, his focus is on creating a "fast-paced, aggressive team," a process he hopes will get off to a good start at 7 p.m. against Beaufort.

Lowcountry Heat Schedule

Home games in CAPS, all games 7 p.m.

May 29 at Beaufort

June 3 GOOSE CREEK

June 5 BEAUFORT

June 10 at Goose Creek

June 12 at Beaufort

June 19 GOOSE CREEK

June 24 BEAUFORT

June 30 at Goose Creek

Kyle Adkins

Shane Clark

Trenton Dailey

Murphy Deery

Shane Farmer

Matthew Grunder

Michael Grunder

Reese Irwin

Tristan Lowe

Nicholas Lucchesi

Joe Ludewig

Cooper Morgan

Dalton Shaw

Spencer Stewart

Caleb Workman

Tad Zmarzly

Coach: Adrien Shaw

Assistant coaches: Mitchell Johnson, Steven Simpson

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