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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, May 1, 2012

By Brian Bailey

Brian Bailey

Victories Come in Multiple Flavors


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Brian BaileyReplay Monday night's BRIAN BAILEY SHOW. East Carolina pitching coach DAN ROSZEL was Brian's guest. Eastern North Carolina's longest running sports radio call-in show airs each Monday night at 7 p.m. on Pirate Radio 1250 and 930.
Pirate Radio Home Page
Special Day at Clark- LeClair Stadium
Exceptional Community Baseball League Images


Victories Come in Multiple Flavors
Photo Gallery: ECBL at Clark-LeClair
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Green Wave sinks Pirates again
Tulane topples miscue-prone Pirates
Casting a wary eye on 2012 opponents
Heels prevail on 10th-inning single
Pirates' long pursuit of Ashley pays off
A salute to those who stay the course
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Pirates fend off 7th-ranked Rice
Recruiting Thumbnail (Malcolm Ashley)
Tenth-inning blast sinks Pirates
Reckling outduels Brandt with one-hit gem
Smithmyer heats up Pirates' stove for Rice
Smithmyer buys time for Bucs to awaken
Statesville star Mumford goes with his heart

By Brian Bailey
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Pirates end frustrating weekend on positive note

It won’t go into the Conference USA standings, but East Carolina actually picked up a pair of wins on Sunday.

In the opener, Jharel Cotton continued his winning ways. Cotton struck out an even dozen as the Pirates finally solved the Tulane puzzle, winning 6-3.

The struggling offense got the jump start it needed early on when Zach Wright staked the Pirates out to a 3-0 lead with a first-inning, three-run homer.

Cotton improved to a C-USA leading 8-0 with the victory. He gave up just two earned runs in seven innings of work. Cotton has excelled when the Pirates have needed him the most, and he was at his best against the Green Wave.

Still, the frustrations of three straight poor performances at the plate — the 1-0 loss to UNC-Chapel Hill and then the first two losses against Tulane this weekend — had head coach Billy Godwin still scratching his head as his squad faced an off week.

“It has been frustrating,” said Godwin. “I know we can hit and I know we can score runs.”

I asked Coach Godwin if he thought the problem was physical, or mental, or possibly a combination of both.

“I think it’s a combination,” he replied. “I know some guys are pressing. I think we swung at some bad pitches, especially on Friday night. Our energy and enthusiasm was much better on Saturday, but we just didn’t get enough hits to win.”

Sunday’s second victory was more of a spiritual win.

The East Carolina baseball program once again hosted the Exceptional Community Baseball League in its annual exhibition game. [View 12-Picture Slide Show]

Fittingly, the sun finally broke through the eastern North Carolina cloud cover as the special needs children and adults took to the diamond at Clark-LeClair Stadium.

As a coach in the ECBL, I know firsthand how excited our players get about the game with the ECU baseball team. The Pirate squad also looks forward to the afternoon.

“I look forward to this every year,” said Pirate outfielder/first baseman John Wooten. “I think we all do. This is certainly one of the highlights of the season for me.”

Some had wheelchairs. Others needed help with the hitting and still others needed guidance around the bases. The Pirate players took on the responsibility of serving as buddies for the event and did a great job.

There could be some debate about which group enjoys the game more. It is certainly a win-win for everyone.

“I know our guys really enjoyed today,” said Godwin. “It kind of puts everything into perspective. What many of these families go through on a daily basis pales in comparison to us trying to win a baseball game.”

One of the highlights of the exhibition was when two of the young female players had a pair of Pirates playing “patty cake” in the infield. It was quite a sight to see!

Each player had his or her name announced by the Pirates' public address announcer, Michael Weller. Each at bat had a professional sound to it that had parents and friends cheering with each announcement.

It was an outstanding afternoon and a day that many of the players and parents will certainly never forget.

East Carolina now breaks this week for exams. After that, the tests will come on the diamond. The Pirates host Marshall in a three-game series starting Friday and then head to Southern Miss to close out the regular season.

East Carolina also has a pair of home games after the Marshall series, taking on Elon and squaring off with North Carolina in a rematch.

The Pirates need to heat up the bats and get the offense cranking. Maybe the week off will get those bats going.

There’s certainly no more “patty cake” the rest of the way…

E-mail Brian Bailey.

Brian Bailey Archives

05/01/2012 03:40 AM


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