Take on Pirate Baseball
From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, February 19, 2002
By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9
for the Fences Still Part of the Mix
Pirates Spring Out of Gates on All Cylinders
The field was in
immaculate shape. The crowd was huge. The Pirates won.
They did it with
power. They did it with pitching. They even mixed in a little luck, which
all equaled out to three big wins.
Baseball was back in
a big way at
The Pirates swept the three-game series over a very good
In the opener, the
Pirates flexed a little muscle they probably didn’t think they had. Last
year the Pirates hit 85 home runs. This year’s team returned just 23 of
But in game one, the
Pirates banged out four home runs. Warren Gaspar, the speedy centerfielder,
hit a grand slam to get things going. Gaspar had two home runs in the
opener, both left-handed. Last season, he hit a grand total of two home
runs, both right handed.
“I was really
lucky,” Gaspar said. “An inch one way or the other, and it’s a pop-up to the
catcher. But I’ll take the two home runs for sure.”
Game two was a
thriller, keeping the fans in their seats until the winning run was scored.
Here’s where the
Pirates benefited from a little luck. With the game tied at two, Luke Cherry
led off the bottom of the 10th with a base hit.
coach Kevin McMullan then called for a sacrifice bunt from his hitter, Jamie
Paige. Cherry, though, missed the sign, and took off for second before the
bunt was laid down. When Paige took the pitch, Cherry should have been a
dead duck at second base.
But Cherry slid in
head first, and barely missed two different tags. The first tag came in
front of the bag, missing Cherry on the back. Cherry then hung on to the
bag, and was safely into scoring position.
The ball beat Cherry
to the bag. But when the Delaware player followed Cherry to the bag with the
tag, I think the umpire took it as a sign that the first tag was missed.
Paige then got the
bunt down, and was safe at first when another tag was missed. The Blue Hens
were unraveling in front of a huge Pirate crowd.
The Hens then walked
Gaspar to load the bases. Darryl Lawhorn lined a shot to right field that
was caught with the outfield in.
That set the stage
for Bryant Ward, who’s bullet was deflected at third, allowing Cherry to
trop home with the game winner.
McMullan knew that a
little luck was involved in the 10th inning.
“You didn’t think I
would straight steal in the 10th,” McMullan joked. “It was a
missed sign, but give Cherry credit for still getting in there at second.”
Pirates win, 3-2 in
Team Gains No. 400 for LeClair
The Saturday loss
took just about everything out of the Delaware ball club and ECU's hurlers
fired a shutout on Sunday, winning 9-0. Davey Penny pitched seven scoreless
innings and Bryant Ward and Ryan Jones combined to drive in six runs in the
Penny held the Blue
Hens to four hits while striking out seven and walking only two. Jason
Tourangeau and Greg Bunn each pitched a hitless inning of relief to finish
off the game. The Pirate trio did not allow an extra base hit.
Pirate Coach Keith
LeClair was not in the dugout all weekend, the only real damper of the three
game series. LeClair was discharged from the hospital on Friday after
undergoing a medical procedure that will hopefully allow him to return to
the ECU dugout soon.
LeClair wasn’t on
hand for his 400th coaching victory, which came on Saturday in
that Pirate win over Delaware.
Next up, East
plays host to Virginia Commonwealth on Wednesday. The crowds this weekend
were nothing short of spectacular, and the Pirates deserve nothing less than
the same when the Rams come to town.
As expected, this
ECU team puts on a great show. They are very well coached and fundamentally
three-game sweep has many already looking forward to the Conference USA
tournament in May. The Pirates should compete for the league championship,
though there are several outstanding programs in the league.
Again, the only
damper on the weekend was Coach LeClair’s absence. Coach, the Pirate
faithful can’t wait to see you back in the dugout!
Send an e-mail message to
Click here to dig into Brian Bailey's Bonesville
02/23/2007 01:22:10 AM