Take on Pirate Sports
From the Anchor Desk
Wednesday, March 3, 2004
By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9
Weekend to remember stirs
Replay this week's Brian Bailey Show with guests
Bob Daley, Kathy Frazier & Dan Eberhard:
Pirate Coach Randy Mazey admitted late Sunday that two wins
during the Keith LeClair Invitational would have been great. Three wins
would have been better.
Not that Mazey or anyone in this East Carolina baseball
program wasnít thinking positive. Still, a four game sweep with two wins
over 11th ranked Clemson actually looked to good to be true.
The Pirates came through with the play of a champion.
Saturday nightís game will go down as one of the most
exciting in the schoolís dynamic baseball history.
East Carolina and Clemson were tied 2-2 in the bottom of the
11th inning when pinch hitter Drew Costanzo came to the plate. Costanzo
wasnít off to the best of starts, so you had to know that he was long
Costanzoís home run ended the thriller. Harrington Field was
absolutely jumping as Costanzo rounded the bases. The jungle was four or
five deep in places, and the celebration was exhilarating.
As Iíve said many times, itís a privilege to cover sports at
East Carolina. I arrived at the game in the 8th inning, after covering a
sectional playoff game at J.H. Rose High School.
Ironically, it was a former Rampant star that proved to be
one of the heroes in Saturday nightís win.
Freshman Michael Flye led Rose to a state championship in
his senior season. This year, heís off to an amazing start for the Pirates.
Against the 11th ranked team in the nation, Flye pitched 5 and 2/3 scoreless
innings. He struck out nine Tigers, while keeping the Pirates even until the
dramatic home run.
Back to the eleventh inning, where I was standing right next
to the Clemson dugout for the thrilling end.
The Tigers had a certain swagger about them during the game.
It wasnít necessarily a cocky strut, rather a look of invincibility against
This was a very emotional game. By the time I got to the
park in the 8th, you could tell that the Tigers were emotionally into the
game, more so then most teams in the visitorís dugout.
It became a chess match of sorts. The Pirates botched a
suicide squeeze play. Clemson left a runner or two stranded. In the end, it
came down to one powerful punch to the opposite field by Drew Costanzo.
I was working the camera because my assistant, Dan Eberhard,
had to get back to prepare for the nightís sportscast.
Right when Costanzo hit it, I knew it had a chance. From the
reaction of the jungle, though, I knew it was going to be close.
The Clemson outfielder leaped, but came up empty. The jungle
erupted. Costanzo circled the bases, and I had a front row seat with my
camera for the celebration.
The Pirate players celebrated for a minute or so, and then
decided to head out to thank the jungle for their part in the victory. With
camera in hand, I sprinted to the centerfield wall to get a shot of the
I know that Iím getting too old for this. My son joked that
I was still out of breath two hours later!
If ever a team was primed for a letdown, it was East
Carolina for Sundayís game against Clemson.
Again, East Carolina kept the pressure on. Darryl Lawhorn,
who had struggled out of the gate, hit one of the longest home runs that
Iíve ever seen at Harrington Field. The ball literally hit the light. Again,
it didnít hit the light post, it hit the light. I think that ball would have
gone through the goal posts at the practice field, if it hadnít connected
with the light.
The Pirates won that game 6-4 and the beat Georgia Southern
for a second time to run the table in the event.
East Carolina played the Keith LeClair Invitational just
like the former coach would have wanted. The Pirates hustled, scrapped, and
battled against a team perceived to be a little bit better.
The Pirates play was a fitting tribute to the former coach.
It was truly a weekend to remember!
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02/23/2007 01:29:02 AM