BAILEY'S TAKE ON PIRATE SPORTS
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From the Anchor Desk
Monday, May 20, 2013

By Brian Bailey

Brian Bailey

Turn-around Pirates aim for NCAA bid

By Brian Bailey
©2013 Bonesville.net
All rights reserved.

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East Carolina opened the Conference USA season by winning just one of its first six games in league play.

Since then, the Pirates have won six straight C-USA series and 13 of their last 17 games.

With momentum on its side, ECU heads to Houston as one of the favorites to win this week's conference tournament and head to the postseason.

It’s an odd year for the league. Only Rice can make the NCAA Tournament without winning the tournament. Every other team will be fighting for its postseason life.

“We are excited," said ECU closer Drew Reynolds. “We have worked all year to get better and we are playing our best baseball. We hope to get out there and win it and head to the postseason.”

Pirate coach Billy Godwin says it all goes back to that stumbling start.

“I think we’ve been playing well,” Godwin said after his team lifted weights on Sunday. “Guys are confident right now. Ever since we were 1-5, I have told the guys as each week got more important nothing has changed. We just have to play with confidence and we have been.”

I believe the Pirates will go with Jeff Hoffman in the opener on Thursday against Houston. Godwin wouldn’t tip his hand on Sunday. His ace, though, is ready to answer the call of the staff as needed.

“I will do whatever the coaches want me to do,” said Hoffman. "If they want to save me, that’s fine. If they want to blow me out in that first game, that’s fine too. I just want to go out there and throw strikes and help this team win.”

Houston swept the Pirates in that opening series this season in Conference USA.

“That was the first conference series of the year,” said Reynolds. “The way we have been playing of late is a lot different than the way we were playing at the beginning of the year.”

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Pirates and friends have 'Exceptional' day

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Billy Godwin often calls it the ‘best game of the year.’

East Carolina’s baseball program hosted the Exceptional Community Baseball League on Sunday for their annual exhibition.

Simply put, it just doesn’t get any better.

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Photo #1: Sunday was a special day for the ECU Pirates and their invited guests of the ECBL.

It’s been my privilege to coach in the league for the past several years. The game with ECU is the highlight of our season.

“It’s awesome,” said ECU ace Jeff Hoffman. “It really takes your breath away. They love the game of baseball just like we do. It’s a great opportunity for us.”

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Photo #2: Sunday was a special day for the ECU Pirates and their invited guests of the ECBL.

Everyone should get the chance to play the great game of baseball.

That was the original goal of the ECBL, which started in Greenville as the Challenger program as a part of Little League Baseball.

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Photo #3: Sunday was a special day for the ECU Pirates and their invited guests of the ECBL.

The ECBL moved away from Little League to give the league’s senior youth and adult players a chance to play.

“It’s one of those days that are so important to our program,” said Coach Godwin. “We enjoy working with all kinds of groups. Our guys get excited about this game every year. They really look forward to it."

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Photo #4: Sunday was a special day for the ECU Pirates and their invited guests of the ECBL.

"We say it’s the best game that we play all year," added Godwin. "It’s an off day for us and I know our guys were excited to host the ECBL again. It’s always a great day!”

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Photo #5: Sunday was a special day for the ECU Pirates and their invited guests of the ECBL.

This year’s game was also a great day, though a thunderstorm ended the game a little early.

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Photo #6: Sunday was a special day for the ECU Pirates and their invited guests of the ECBL.

Thanks to Coach Godwin and the Pirates for hosting the ECBL again this season. It was a day that the players in the ECBL will never forget!

BB

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05/20/2013 01:40 AM
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