ON PIRATE SPORTS
From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, February 6, 2007
By Brian Bailey
A week marked by big days
By Brian Bailey
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This is shaping up to be some
kind of week for our area in sports.
It all started last night at
the annual Pitt-Greenville Hot Stove League Banquet. The 18th annual affair
honored the area’s top amateur player, volunteer coach, contributor and
Ironically, North Carolina
baseball coach Mike Fox was the guest speaker. Times have certainly changed
in the East Carolina-North Carolina baseball rivalry!
Fox is one of only six men to
play in and then coach his alma mater in the College World Series.
Fox is a class act, and he
broke the ice by saying that the Greenville crowd and the Carolina coach had
some common ground.
“How many of you really like
to beat N.C. State,” asked Fox. The crowd laughed and seemed to then warm up
to the Tar Heel coach.
Fox won a national
championship at Division III North Carolina Wesleyan in Rocky Mount. He
almost won a Division I title this past year.
During his speech, Fox gave
credit to several in the crowd that helped him become the head coach at
North Carolina. One of the people he mentioned was East Carolina’s Billy
Fox told that crowd that he
has nothing but the greatest of respect for Godwin and his entire staff. I
think we are all looking forward to some great baseball between the Pirates
and the Tar Heels this season. The two teams play in Chapel Hill on April
24th, and in Greenville on May 9th.
Wednesday should be one of
those “great day to be a Pirate” days.
It’s the National Signing Day
for future college football players around the nation, and East Carolina’s
recruiting class is top notch.
Pirate Coach Skip Holtz and
his staff will bring in by far their best recruiting class. It’s a class
that ranks among the best ever at ECU. Of course, time will tell, but on
paper this is an outstanding group.
Our good friend “Pirate Al” is
hosting a good ole fashioned pig picking to celebrate the National Signing
Day on Wednesday. He’s invited all Pirate fans to take part and celebrate a
great recruiting class.
Coach Holtz will host a
reception later in the afternoon at the Murphy Center. The coach will have
video of the signees to get everyone excited about Pirate football in the
dead of winter.
We also can’t overlook the
Pirate hoopsters. East Carolina goes in search of Conference USA win number
one on Wednesday night, playing host to the Golden Knights of Central
Friday is truly a special day
in Greenville. It’s opening day for Pirate baseball. My son has already
asked if he can get out of school early so he won’t miss the opening pitch.
I’ve had a chance to sit in on
several of the team’s scrimmages. I’ve said this before, but Coach Billy
Godwin and his staff are constantly teaching. There is a reason for every
move on the field, and Godwin and company have worked hard to talk about
every baseball situation imaginable. The beauty of the game, though, is that
something always comes up.
Godwin announced recently that
fired his pitching coach. In reality,
Godwin was the pitching coach, and he took the off-season to reel in veteran
assistant Bill Jarman to take over those duties.
The most notable change is
that Godwin will use right-hander Shane Mathews in the closer role.
“I feel good going out and
looking down and being able to see someone like Shane warming up,” said
The weekend starters to open
the year are T.J. Hose, Jeff Ostrander and Dustin Sasser. I had a chance to
see Hose in a scrimmage and he threw well. Ostrander has missed the last two
years with arm problems, but excelled on the mound last fall for the
Liberty comes to town for a
three-game series. The Pirates then hit the road for three games at UCLA. As
stated before, the Pirate schedule is probably the toughest in school
history and certainly among the toughest in the nation this season.
Here’s looking forward to that
first pitch on Friday!
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