The new-look Lowcountry Heat always knew this would be a difficult season.
With just three teams in American Legion League 1, the Heat, representing Post 185, were tasked with contending despite featuring the youngest squad.
Coach Adrien Shaw said he wanted his team to play hard and make opponents uncomfortable, but the tough matchups proved that all the moxie in the world won't help when you're overpowered.
With Wednesday night's makeup game with the Beaufort Ospreys forfeited due to a lack of available players, the Heat closed out their brief Legion campaign with an 0-7 record. The results weren't what Shaw hoped, but he said he was encouraged by a lot of aspects of his team's play.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Island Packet
"As you know, we had a young team," Shaw said. "We had no problem with them offensively. Young guys were putting the balls in play. I've seen a lot of improvement."
Shaw said he marveled at the squad's impressive plate discipline, something he admitted is often the toughest thing to teach. What ended up burning the Heat was not a lack of power or presence at the plate, but problems with pitching depth.
Shaw and assistant coach Mitchell Johnson, who took charge of the squad when Shaw was not available, rotated between a series of arms on the mound, including starters Joe Ludewig and Caleb Workman. Ludewig, who was pitching for the first time in several years, put in a few solid performances and Workman also impressed Shaw, but the team did not have enough depth to hang with Beaufort and Goose Creek's aces.
Shaw said Workman was outstanding in throwing a seven-inning complete game at an 18-year-olds baseball tournament last weekend in Georgia.
Shaw also singled out the play of shortstop Nick Lucchesi and second baseman Shane Clark.
With the season now over, Shaw said he hoped to be coaching again next year, and said he started to see sings of his style of aggressive, no-holds-barred baseball sinking in.
"At first we couldn't bunt a ball," Shaw said. "We had a problem cashing in runners from third. I've seen them learn it, accept it."
Shaw hopes that the next Legion season will include more than three teams, which he felt did not provide enough of a challenge for the more experienced squads from Beaufort and Goose Creek.
"It didn't make the other teams have to work," Shaw said of the truncated schedule. "We was facing everybody's top pitcher. Offensively, the boys met the challenge."
Even though the record may not have turned out like he'd hoped, Shaw is convinced his players improved, and he is already looking forward to the challenge next time around.