Sports

Beaufort Ospreys settle for 3 seed in American Legion baseball playoffs

Beaufort Ospreys' Alex Silon, right, moves to dodge Goose Creek's Chris Zurcher as he grabs for a dropped ball Saturday morning during their American Legion game in Beaufort.
Beaufort Ospreys' Alex Silon, right, moves to dodge Goose Creek's Chris Zurcher as he grabs for a dropped ball Saturday morning during their American Legion game in Beaufort. Sarah Welliver

The Beaufort Ospreys woke up early Saturday to play for an American Legion league championship.

Their bats slept in.

Goose Creek used a big third inning to help win the tie-breaking game, 7-0, and then claimed the league championship when the Lowcountry Heat forfeited the afternoon game, which decided the top two seeds.

Beaufort managed just three hits while slipping to the No. 3 seed and will travel next week to start its first-round playoff series.

"A little low, early in the morning; We really couldn't get anything started," Ospreys second baseman Alex Silon said. "Once they hopped up on us, they were just going to stay on top."

The Ospreys and Goose Creek entered the Saturday morning game with 11-4 records. The Heat were 12-4 before being forced to take another loss due to lack of players.

Goose Creek, scheduled as the host team but with a field too wet to play, learned after arriving at Beaufort High School of the Heat's intention to forfeit.

Post 166 threw Tyler Rio, whom the Ospreys had not seen in previous meetings. Rio threw five innings and allowed just two hits, including a bunt single. Relievers Cody Smith and Austin Timm allowed only one more hit through the final four innings.

Potential rally-starters for Beaufort -- a leadoff walk in the third inning and a double to start the sixth -- fizzled with no threat. The Ospreys went down in order five times.

"We didn't hit the ball like we need to," Beaufort coach Mike Smith said. "The end result is Goose Creek earned it."

Ospreys starter Shane Dixon settled in after a rough third inning, getting the next 11 Goose Creek batters, but ran out of steam. Whether it was the early start or having thrown some Friday, Dixon said he wasn't feeling it but expects to be ready for a playoff start.

"I was just exhausted," Dixon said. "I didn't have much on it today."

Goose Creek's Taylor Morrison ripped a two-run home run over the left-field fence in the eighth to close out Beaufort.

Smith expects the Ospreys to face Camden in the opening round.

Saturday's game marked the end of a regular season clouded by rainouts, forfeits and balancing players' schedules. The Ospreys were without slugger Stephen Baggett for the finale. The Heat, with the league's best record much of the season, stumbled to the finish with a series of forfeits.

That's the nature of the summer game, players and coaches say. The Ospreys hope to be at full strength next week to try to better last season's opening-round sweep.

"It's been tough the last two weeks," Smith said. "We haven't gotten a lot of baseball in."

Beaufort Ospreys 000 000 000 -- 0 3 2

Goose Creek 103 000 12x -- 7 8 0

W: Tyler Rio 5 IP 0 R, 2 H, 4 K, 2 BB

L: Shane Dixon 7 IP, 7 H

Top hitters: GOOSE CREEK -- Cody Smith 3 for 4, 3B; Taylor Morrison 1 for 3, HR, 2 RBIs.

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