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Bailey's Take on Pirate Sports

From the Anchor Desk
Wednesday, April 7, 2004
By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9

Spring ended with positive vibes at QB


I thought the offense did a nice job of coming from behind in winning East Carolina's final spring football scrimmage this past Thursday night.

Obviously, there is still plenty of work to do before the Sept. 4 opener at West Virginia, but the fact that James Pinkney led a comeback, even in a scrimmage, is a great sign.

Pinkney apparently has the quarterback job, at least to start practice in August. Desmond Robinson played well in the final scrimmage, while Patrick Dosh really didn’t get that many chances.

“I was pleased with how things went,” said Pirate coach John Thompson. “I especially liked the way the guys competed.”


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The team will continue with off-season conditioning until exams. The squad will get a break through exams, and then hit the ground running with summer conditioning after that.

As we said last week, it’s a long summer for a football fan. Hopefully, though, we’ll have something to look forward to come September!

Familiar face behind plate for Kinston Indians

Former East Carolina catcher Clayton McCullough will open this baseball season in Kinston in the Carolina League.

Clayton has always been a free spirit, but when I saw him at Kinston’s media day I was pleasantly surprised. Clayton had a nice, neat haircut and was clean-shaven. He looked great, and I can’t wait to see him play this spring at Historic Grainger Stadium.

“I’m looking forward to playing close to home,” said McCullough. Clayton played his high school baseball for Ronald Vincent at JH Rose, and then played originally went to Vanderbilt for a season before coming back to Greenville and starring for the Pirates.

Clayton was drafted by the Cleveland Indians organization and then played his first year at Burlington. This year, he hopes to continue his journey to the big leagues with a solid year in Kinston.

“It’s really an exciting time,” said McCullough. “My parents get a chance to see me play, and I’ll have some friends come in and see me as well. It should be a lot of fun.”

His manager with the K-Tribe, Torey Lovullo, says he really likes what he sees in the former Pirate.

“I like the way he handles his pitchers,” said Lovullo. “Good catchers do that. He really does a nice job in that aspect.”

For those that saw Clayton play at both Rose and at ECU, you’ll remember his spirit on the field. McCullough loves the game, and his eyes lit up when I first asked him about playing so close to home.

Somber news about local diamond icon

Monday was a sad day for the baseball community in and around Greenville with the passing of George Williams.

His obituary in the Daily Reflector listed his many accomplishments, among them the fact that he was the head baseball coach at East Carolina from 1974 to 1976.

More then those accomplishments, George Williams was a sincere gentleman who dripped with class. He loved all aspects of the game of baseball and was so enthusiastic that he was the president of the Pitt-Greenville Hot Stove League.

Five years ago, George presented me with a special “President’s Award” as a part of the awards package with the Hot Stove League. I was emceeing the event for the 10th straight year, and George made it a point to make a big deal out of the accomplishment.

I remember joking to the crowd that night that my Dad had once wondered if I would ever keep any job for ten minutes, much less ten years. I remember the smile on George Williams' face when I made the statement. That smile spoke volumes about a truly outstanding individual.

If I had one dollar for every nice thing that George Williams has said about me at that Hot Stove Banquet through the years, I’d be a rich man. In fact, there just isn’t enough money on the planet to pass out a dollar for every nice thing George Williams has said about everybody else.

George’s son, Roger, is a former ECU assistant coach who is now the pitching coach at North Carolina. Roger is following nicely in his father’s footsteps. The Williams family has much to be proud of.

There is no doubt that there is baseball in heaven. The league added one more angel to the dugout this week.

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02/23/2007 01:29:14 AM

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