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Bailey's Take on Pirate Sports

From the Anchor Desk
Wednesday, June 16, 2004
By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9

Seeding derailed trip to Omaha


East Carolina should be gearing up for another match up with South Carolina this weekend. This time, however, the Pirates would be matching up with the Gamecocks in the College World Series.

This isn’t a column about crying over spilled milk. South Carolina was the better team and the better program this weekend. The Gamecocks have become an annual participant in the CWS.

Truth is East Carolina should have been a national seed. I think the Pirates earned that right with their success on the field in 2004.

The team’s only real stumbling block was in the Conference USA tournament, when East Carolina dropped two out of three games.

Still, this East Carolina team did more then enough to earn a national seed. And with that national seed, I believe the Pirates would have advanced, and met South Carolina in the CWS.

“If you look at the season that we had and we didn't get a national seed, you would think we have to go undefeated to get that national seed,” Coach Randy Mazey said in Columbia after the loss. “If you think this was a successful season you can ask any guy on this team what they think.”

So East Carolina is still searching for that coveted trip to Omaha. The Pirates are 0-4 in Super Regional games. East Carolina must find a way to get over that hump.

They will.

The way to win a Super Regional is to play that game at home. Sure, the Pirates were the host team in 2001, but fell to Tennessee. From now on, though, ECU will have chances to host in a brand new, sparkling stadium when outstanding seasons of this sort come around.

It’s a shame that this team did so much this season, and all anyone is talking about is Randy Mazey’s decision to throw Trevor Lawhorn in relief.

It’s as if Steve Logan went for two against West Virginia all over again.

I don’t think that sportscasters, sportswriters or fans have any idea what went into the decision to use Trevor Lawhorn against the Gamecocks. I’m sure there is more to the story then the company line.

“As a coach you always second guess yourself,” said Mazey. “I have faith in this guy (Trevor Lawhorn) and it just didn't work out this time around.

“When we were only down two in the middle of that game, we felt good. When the other team puts that many guys on base and you can keep yourself within two runs, you have to feel good about your chances.

"We put Kevin (Rhodes) in because he is better against right-handed batters than he is against left-handed batters. He came in and did a good job. We put Trevor (Lawhorn) in because the scouting report said the batter struggled against changeups. Trevor got him to strike out and then got the next guy to hit a groundball but it just didn't work out for us this time.”

If Trevor is that effective with his change up then I would have liked to have seen it in action during the season. His one inning of work was in a mop up role. He apparently has pitched well in intrasquad games, and both he and his brother Darryl were recruited as pitchers.

On the other side of the equation, the Pirate offense simply didn’t get it done against the Gamecocks. The Pirates averaged only 2 and a half runs per game. We didn’t see a Pirate home run in the two games. We never saw one of those patented, big innings for the Purple.

It is certainly a bitter pill to swallow. The program is so close, but sometimes Omaha seems so far away.

Congratulations to the Pirates on a season to remember in 2004.

They’re still going, it just won’t be this year!

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02/23/2007 01:29:26 AM

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