Lowcountry Heat coach Chris Wells shared a simple message with his team as it took the field for the final time Tuesday: Shut the door.
The Heat had closed out American Legion League 1 rival Beaufort twice already this season. And Tuesday they were called on to finish another close contest.
Heat pitcher Nic Levy answered his coach's call, pitching his third scoreless inning to help the Heat earn a 10-6 victory in 11 innings at Beaufort High School.
Designated hitter Patrick Andrews drove in three runs and launched a go-ahead home run in the eighth to lead the Heat.
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"Once we started rolling and got some life back into us, we started playing like we knew we could," Andrews said.
The Heat defeated the Ospreys for the third time this season, with the previous two victories each coming by a run. The victory Tuesday vaulted the Heat (10-7, 7-6 League 1) above .500 in league play and provided a boost after the team had dropped three of its past four games. Beaufort squandered a five-run advantage and fell to 2-8 on the season, all league games.
The top of the Heat order delivered the winning runs in the 11th. The first three in the Heat lineup all reached safely and scored to help blow open the game.
"We were a little sloppy early, but it's a testament to the heart of this group," Wells said.
Beaufort played with a thin roster. Pitcher Junior Delatorre and brothers Luke and Macaulay Smith were on a trip to the College World Series in Nebraska, Mark Jones was not in the lineup after having his wisdom teeth removed and Kyle Dawson missed the first seven innings due to college orientation.
Ospreys coach Bryan Thompson, though, blamed the Ospreys' defense -- not a short bench -- for allowing the Heat back in the game.
Beaufort starter Joel Fickes gave up only one hit and no runs through six innings. But the Heat slipped back in the game by scoring off two throwing errors and a base hit in the seventh.
"It's just frustrating," Thompson said. "That game is over."
Andrews' home run came after Ospreys catcher Zach Brown argued that a pitch had struck Andrews' foot and was not a wild pitch. The play scored a run from third, and Andrews' subsequent blast gave the Heat its first lead.
The turnaround helped salvage what Wells said was a strong performance from starter Matt Brown. Brown had not allowed a hit through four, but the Heat still trailed by two runs. Brown went five innings, Ryan Ward pitched the next three, and Levy (3-1) came on to start the ninth and went the rest of the way.
The Ospreys stranded the go-ahead run at third with one out in the eighth, just a snapshot of what went wrong for the Ospreys during the game, Thompson said.
Lowcountry Heat 10, Beaufort Ospreys 6 (11 innings)
Heat 000 000 330 04-- 10 10 3
Ospreys 020 030 010 00 -- 6 8 6
WP: Nic Levy (3-1) 3 IP, 5 K, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, BB
LP: Mitchell Stewart 2+ IP, K, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB
Hitters: Heat-- Patrick Andrews 4 for 6, HR, 3 RBI; DeAnte Scott 2 for 2, 2 BB, RBI.