College Sports in the Carolinas
from the East
Thursday, June 13, 2002
By Al Myatt
ECU Beat Writer for The News & Observer
Tracy credits ECU experience for pro success
|VIEW FROM THE EAST
Former Pirate surprises even himself...
Advice from a guy who's been there...
Blue Devils take a painful hit early...
Herring earns scholarship, faces battle...
Maginnes formulates U.S. Open plan...
College World Series
Brackets, Schedule, TV Line-Up...
CWS: Wooden bats still pack
CWS: Palmetto State raids
CWS: Notes & quotes from
CWS: Team capsule breakdowns...
CWS: Brackets, schedule, TV
Pirate ace follows genes to
Tracy credits ECU for pro
Rookie Pirate slugger piles up
Baseball Writers All-America teams...
CWS: Brackets, schedule, TV
Luck stays with Irish in
Palmetto state sends two to
Pirates seeking answers for
MLB drafts 19 from Conference
Pirates' eyes fixed on 2003
Freshmen duo reaps national
Pirate battery scooped up in
Narron nabs Verizon Academic
Omaha scripted in Pirates'
Bonesville's teams trimmed to
NCAA Regionals Wrap &
Omaha scratched from ECU
Houston, 'Cocks, Tigers
Pirates shake off heat to
Clemson rides error, HR to
Day two: C-USA, Carolinas
LeClair's boys quash big Elon
Emotions run deep for Leggett...
Day one: C-USA, Carolinas
WCU ties: Leggett & Hennon Q &
Exuberant Elon will face Narron...
Inspiration pays ECU another
Four leagues dominate NCAA
Pirates going to 'Reunion'
A first: Louisville gets NCAA
Pairings impacted by travel,
Pirates fought for title and
C-USA Tourney Wrap &
Magic batting mark in
The question many have posed is whether Chad
Tracy can hit .400 or better.
After all, he was hitting .393 with four
home runs and 42 RBIs as the Double-A El Paso Diablos began a series at
Wichita in the Texas League on Wednesday night.
Tracy, MVP of East Carolina’s regional
victory in Wilson in 2001, hit .355 as a junior at ECU with 13 home runs and
61 RBIs. He was drafted in the seventh round by the Arizona Diamondbacks in
June of last year.
“I’ll go ahead and say it,” Tracy said
Wednesday. “I’ve probably exceeded all my expectations. As the season has
gone farther and farther, .400 seems more realistic. I never would have set
a goal of .400 before the season, especially in my first pro season at
The transition from college to pro can be
complicated by the adjustment from aluminum to wood bats. Extensive travel
and longer seasons are factors to deal with, but Tracy has fit right in.
“I played two years in wooden bat summer
leagues, the Shenandoah Valley and Cape Cod leagues,” he said. “You have to
stay on the ball a lot longer with wood and try to drive the ball because
wood doesn’t have the same pop as aluminum. Also, wooden bats don’t have as
large a sweet spot.”
Pitching is generally tougher, too.
“Most of these guys can throw strikes with
two or three different pitches,” Tracy said. “In college you could sit on
fastball. Here, you need to make sure you keep your weight back because you
can’t hit off your front foot.
"Pitchers here may be around the zone more,
which may make it easier. There were some good pitchers in college but in
Double-A the pitching is more consistent. There’s better talent.”
Tracy has adjusted as opponents have changed
their approaches to pitching to him.
“Most teams have a way they think they can
get me out,” Tracy said. “It’s definitely gotten tougher as the year has
gone on. I don’t get as many pitches down the middle. They work me in and
out. They throw a lot of change-ups and try to keep me off-balance.”
Tracy responded by going 3-for-6 in a 6-5
loss at Tulsa on Tuesday night. One factor in Tracy’s favor is that he bats
third and the opposition can’t afford to pitch around him to get to clean-up
hitter Rob Hammock, who is hitting .308.
Tracy followed ECU during the 2002 season.
He said his parents went to about 20 ECU games and would keep him updated on
the Pirates when he would call them at night after his own games with the El
Tracy to Narron: Follow your
<< Top of Page >>
Being selected last June in the seventh
round made Tracy’s decision to leave ECU easier, a decision faced by Pirates
left-hander Sam Narron this year. It was announced on Wednesday that Narron,
a 15th round draft choice by the Texas Rangers, managed by his uncle, Jerry,
had decided to leave the Pirates for the pros.
“I felt this was the right time and right
situation for me,” said Narron, a two-time academic All-America. “It was a
very difficult decision. The past three years here at East Carolina have
been the best three years of my life. I couldn't have asked for a better
Narron, whose 26 career wins rank sixth on
the ECU list, will report to the Pulaski (VA) Rangers of the Appalachian
“If Sam asked me for advice I would just
tell him to follow his heart,” Tracy said. “My goal was to play pro ball and
I felt I was physically and mentally ready because of my experience at East
Carolina. Coach (Keith) LeClair, coach (Kevin) McMullan and all the coaches
(at ECU) ran their practices like the pros and taught the same things. No
question I was prepared for the pros.”
ECU fans will remember Tracy for a home run
in the first game of the super regional in Kinston against Tennessee that
put the Pirates ahead 10-9 in a game ECU had trailed 9-2. It was a mammoth
shot that landed on a warehouse well beyond the right field fence of
It was a special moment even though the
Volunteers rallied in the ninth inning for a 13-10 win.
“I’l never forget that, even if I go on to a
big professional career,” Tracy said. “People had tears in their eyes in the
dugout and I did, too. We had fought back. It was an awesome feeling.”
Tracy feels he will have a chance to make
the major league club, the Diamondbacks.
“Anybody who goes in the top 10 rounds, you
would think the major league club envisions them making it to the higher
levels,” Tracy said. “But it’s all up to the player. A guy taken in the
lower rounds can come in and work and learn and work his way up.
“I know what I’ve got to do. I’ve got to
work on my footwork at third base and be more consistent defensively. I
don’t know if they’re looking for home runs but I want to improve my power
Tough break for Duke
<< Top of Page >>
With a 23-game losing streak going into its
Aug. 31 home season opener with East Carolina, it wouldn’t seem that things
could get much worse for Duke.
But they have.
Duke senior quarterback D. Bryant has been
ruled academically ineligible and will not play his senior season with the
Blue Devils football team. In 22 career games with the Blue Devils, Bryant
completed 316-of-642 passes for 3,902 yards with 16 touchdowns. On Duke's
career lists, he ranks sixth in pass attempts, seventh in pass completions,
seventh in passing yards, eighth in total offense (3,821 yards) and ninth in
Bryant, who started 18 games at quarterback,
holds the school record for consecutive pass completions with 16 set at N.C.
State on November 11, 2000.
Duke coach Carl Franks is understandably
“We are disappointed that D. will not have
the opportunity to finish his playing career here at Duke,” Franks said in a
statement from the university. “He has played an important role in our
football program these last two seasons. We will do everything possible to
assist him in completing his football eligibility at another institution,
possibly at an NAIA school. We wish him the best in his future endeavors and
hope he can still complete his degree requirements to graduate from Duke.”
Bryant, a Charlotte product who also played
on the basketball team during his career at Duke, echoed Franks’ comments.
“This is an unfortunate situation under
difficult circumstances,” Bryant said. “I have enjoyed my time here at Duke
and have made great relationships with many people. I will certainly miss my
teammates and wish them the best of luck. I hope to play college football at
another school this fall and return to Duke in the future to earn my
Long rehab ahead
<< Top of Page >>
ECU men’s basketball forward Jason Herring
faces 10 to 18 months of rehabilitation following extensive knee surgery, a
span that means he will likely miss the 2002-03 season.
After a car accident on May 26, Herring had
to have the anterior cruciate and lateral collateral ligaments repaired in
his right knee.
“Right now we’re just working on range of
motion, getting him to bend and straighten the knee and keep the swelling
out,” said Jeff Boyer, assistant athletics trainer for the Pirates. “The
next phase will be to start strengthening the muscles. Once he’s through
with that, we start the sports specific phase to regain balance and jumping
“The last part is planting, cutting and
basketball-related drills. It looks like he’ll be out a minimum of 10
months, but stranger things have happened.”
Herring was an academic non-qualifier after
averaging 18 points and 10 rebounds at Philadelphia Lutheran Prep for the
The Brooklyn native had just been placed on
scholarship shortly before the car accident in New Hanover County. Football
offensive lineman Brandon Pope was apparently driving en route to Myrtle
Beach and fell asleep at the wheel.
Both Pope and Herring were airlifted to Pitt
Memorial Hospital in Greenville. Pope received stitches for a cut on his
Because of Herring’s size and athleticism,
Pirates coach Bill Herrion had hoped Herring would contribute next season.
The ECU coach had doubts because of the time Herring had been away from
organized competition. Now that time will be considerably longer — providing
Herring can handle the aspect of physically recovering from the structural
damage to his knee.
<< Top of Page >>
Former ECU golfer John Maginnes gave an
entertaining interview on the Golf Channel on the eve of today’s start of
the U.S. Open at the Black Course of Bethpage State Park in Farmingdale, NY.
Maginnes thought he had qualified in a
playoff only as an alternate for the 102nd annual event but U.S. Golf
Association officials later contacted him and told him that they had made a
mistake. There were supposed to be 23 qualifiers from his regional, rather
That meant Maginnes was in the Open for the
third time in his career. He tied for 71st in 1995 and missed the cut last
“I hadn’t played for four weeks before the
Open last year because of the birth of my daughter,” said Maginnes, who won
the Carolina Classic on the Buy.com Tour at Wakefield Plantation in 2001
just two weeks before Sophie was born. “The Open is not an event that you
want to go into rusty.”
Despite the length (7,214 yards) of the par
70 layout, Maginnes said the relatively-flat greens might give someone who
can get their putter hot — such as himself — the hope of a darkhorse.
“Does 12-over have a chance?,” he asked his
hosts on the Golf Channel. “Because that’s what I’ve been averaging in the
“I can see somebody shooting a 63 or 64 out
here one round and holding on,” said Maginnes, who was born in Atlanta, went
to high school at Northern Durham and now resides in Greensboro. His older
child, Jack Bristol, will be four on Nov. 14. His wife, Dena, used to caddy
“I want to play five more years and then
become the best Little League coach in Guilford County,” Maginnes said
before this year’s Buy.com stop in Raleigh.
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