Too many variables keep Chris Seelbach from feeling his Lowcountry Heat team is in control, but it certainly took a correct step Thursday.
The Heat, which slipped into a tie with Beaufort in American Legion League 1 with a loss earlier in the week, won for a second time on the Ospreys' home field, this time a 9-6 victory. The Heat improved to 6-2 to retake the league lead.
"We just wanted to come back in and play good solid baseball and be able to compete for another win," Heat pitcher Randy Young said. "We know we could have won that game."
Seelbach was hesitant to assign too much meaning to the standings. Travel schedules and other summer comings and goings leave him in the dark predicting how his pitching will hold up the rest of the summer.
"A lot of times on any given night, we don't know who is going to pitch, who is going to show up," Seelbach said. "When you're in that situation, it's tough. You never feel like you're in the driver's seat."
And the Ospreys still have two trips to Hilton Head Island, with the first next week.
"This thing's a long way from over," Ospreys coach Mike Smith said.
The Ospreys (5-3) started flat, allowed the Heat four runs in the first and fell short with a late rally. Heat starter Young, back in the lineup after returning from a trip, pitched six innings and allowed only a pair of earned runs. He also helped secure the middle of the lineup, and went 2 for 3 with a double and a walk.
"We were on fumes pitching, so him coming back in town and being able to throw six strong for us was key," Seelbach said.
Young coasted through four innings, only once facing more than the minimum batters. Logan Phillips pitched the final four innings after Young tired.
Those of the sort of contributions Seelbach isn't sure he can count on through the end of the season. But so far, so good.
The Heat lost to Goose Creek earlier in the week after a long layoff -- scheduling and weather keeping the team off the field for almost 10 days. They were focused Thursday and led 8-0 after the top of the fifth.
"I thought we were going to be ready to play," Smith said. "We got off on bad footing from the get-go."
Smith's team showed fight. Stephen Baggett's two-run home run cleared the left-field wall to bring the Ospreys within three in the seventh. But they had wasted a bases-loaded situation the previous inning and stranded runners at first and third in the eighth.
Heat 412 011 000 -- 9 7 2
Ospreys 000 030 300 -- 6 7 4
W: Randy Young (2-0) 5 IP, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 K, 3 H, 2 BB
L: Austin Willis-Greene 5 IP,8 R, 6 ER, 4 K, 7 H
Top hitters: HEAT-- Young 2 for 3, 2 BB, 2B, RBI. OSPREYS -- Mattison Pike 2 for 2, 2B; Stephen Baggett 2 for 5, HR, 2 RBIs.