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Bailey's Take on Pirate Sports


From the Anchor Desk
Friday, April 25, 2003
By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9

Pirates backed into corner as crucial stretch looms


Coaches often say that a loss is a loss, that they all count the same in the standings.

I beg to differ. How a team loses a game can sometimes make or break a team. Losses like the one the Pirates suffered on Wednesday night in Chapel Hill sometimes have a long-term affect.

North Carolina scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to rally for the victory.

Greg Magnum led off the UNC ninth with a bunt single. After a sacrifice moved Mangum to second, the Pirates intentionally walked Jeremy Cleveland to put runners at first and second.

The runners moved up a base on a fly ball to center field and Mangum scored from third base on a wild pitch by ECU's Greg Bunn. Cleveland scored the game-winner on a two-out bunt single by Sean Farrell.

The loss was East Carolina's fifth straight. Texas Christian's sweep of the Pirates was sandwiched between ECU losses to UNC in Greenville and in Chapel Hill.

Midweek games are for bragging rights and a chance to beat some good teams to move up in the national rankings. Weekend conference match-ups are more important, as teams jockey for positions for the postseason tournament and to begin lobbying for NCAA at-large tournament berths.

This past week has been a goose egg for the Pirates on both fronts.

At 24-17-1 the Pirates are looking at a middle of the pack finish in Conference USA and having to win the league tournament to pick up an NCAA regional bid.

There are 13 games to play, with North Carolina State as the only non-conference game remaining.

In Conference USA, the Pirates travel to Louisville this weekend. The Cards are 9-8 in league play, and at least on paper would seem to provide an even match-up.

ECU then plays at N.C. State before returning home for the squad’s most critical home stand of the season, hosting Southern Mississippi (14-4) and then UAB (6-11). Those six conference games are critical for any hopes of getting back into the C-USA race.

The Pirates then head to Tulane to wrap up the regular season against the Green Wave (12-6).

It will be a very difficult couple of weeks for a team struggling with confidence at the plate.

Williams earns C-USA coaching accolade

Congratulations go out to one of the truly great guys at East Carolina, golf coach Kevin Williams.

Williams was named the Conference USA Women’s Golf Coach of the Year after leading the Pirate women to a 132-21-2 record this season, including three wins over Top 25 teams.

The East Carolina women took home top honors in three tournaments this year, including the Lady Pirate Fall Intercollegiate, the Edwin Watts Carolina's Classic and the Bradford Creek Intercollegiate.

Williams led the team to a top-five finish in all but one tournament this season and a top-10 finish in every event in which the women participate.

All of this came in only the program’s third season.

"I was really shocked and honored," said Williams. "I think it just shows the amount of respect for how well we have done this year (and) how far the women's program has come since its inception three years ago."

Ironically, I first met Kevin Williams on my very first night in Greenville back in October of 1984. I had just taken a job at WNCT-TV and had settled into my apartment near the East Carolina campus.

My Mom and my future wife had just finished helping me get moved in and were on their way back to Virginia. All of a sudden, I was in a new town without a friend in the world.

It was a Sunday night and from my apartment I could see that the lights were on at the intramural fields. Lonely, I walked down to watch some of the flag football games.

I introduced myself to the first couple of guys I ran into, just striking up a conversation. One of those guys was Kevin Williams!

Several years later Kevin was hosting a tournament as the club pro at the Kinston Country Club and he shared that story, that he was one of the first people that I had met in Greenville.

Kevin Williams is one class act, and East Carolina is very fortunate to have him as the Pirates' golf coach.

And it’s certainly not bad for your own golf game to have a friend like Kevin Williams.

Kevin e-mailed me recently, not to toot his own horn, but to let me know just how proud he was of the way his teams were performing. He gave the TEAM all the credit.

Congratulations Coach Williams, and let’s get together soon to play a round or two!

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Click here to dig into Brian Bailey's Bonesville archives.

02/23/2007 01:25:11 AM


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