If there wasn't a sense of desperation, there was at least something that resembled it among Lowcountry Heat players Friday night. Perhaps it was urgency.
Or better yet, maybe it was the pride that comes with defending a league championship.
The Heat made sure they stayed in that race with an 8-4 comeback victory against West Ashley at Hilton Head High's baseball field Friday night. With five games remaining in the American Legion League 1 schedule, the Heat used a handful of hustle plays to stay within two games of league-leading Goose Creek, which the Heat face Monday.
The victory halted a two-game losing streak.
"I definitely feel like we're disappointed when we lose, because we still believe we're the best team in this league," said leadoff hitter Charlie Wilkins.
Wilkins' return to the lineup was just the medicine the Heat needed to fend off their cold spell. The Heat's second baseman had missed the previous four games, with the Heat losing three of those four to fall back to third place in the league standings. The top three teams in League 1 qualify for the playoffs next month.
Wilkins was one of five Heat players to collect two hits off starter John Fissel, who suffered the loss. DeAnte Scott, Adam Orischak, Patrick Andrews and Devin McGuinness also had multi-hit nights. McGuinness and Scott each drove in a pair of runs.
"We needed it -- there's no doubt about it," Heat coach Chris Wells said. "We needed it bad."
The Heat bounced back after blowing a 6-0 lead at Summerville on Tuesday and an early two-run lead against Goose Creek the day before.
The Post 185 pitching staff didn't allow for a similar comeback Friday night. Sean Bartlett worked around three errors to pick up his first win of the season. He lasted six innings and allowed four runs, only one of which was earned.
In the top of the third, Bartlett got out of a bases-loaded jam with no outs to keep the Heat within one run. The middle infield turned a nifty double play to end the inning.
"When it comes down to it, when we play defense, that's what wins us games," said Wilkins, who started the double play. "We made two early errors, but we picked it up after that and our bats got going."
Cameron Stoltz was flawless in relief, retiring all nine batters he faced to earn a much-needed save.
"Our pitching was back on track tonight," Wells said. ".. Cameron Stoltz threw well, but that's what he does. He's probably our best arm going right now."
Lowcountry 8, West Ashley 4
WA 200 020 000 -- 4 5 2
Heat 101 212 01X -- 8 11 3
WP: Sean Bartlett (1-0) 6 IP, 4 R, 1 ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 4 K.
LP: John Fissel 5 1-3 IP, 7 ER, 11 H, 2 BB, 2 K.
S: Cameron Stoltz 3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 BB.
Hitters: West Ashley -- George Phillips 2 for 2, run; Heat -- Adam Orischak 2 for 5, 2 runs, RBI, Charlie Wilkins 2 for 4, 3 runs, DeAnte Scott 2 for 4, run, 2 RBIs, Devin McGuinness 2 for 4, 2 RBIs.