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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
By Brian Bailey

Pirates settle for watching postseason

By Brian Bailey
All rights reserved.

I don’t really know what would have happened if East Carolina had closed out North Carolina last weekend.

The Pirates would have needed only one more win to advance. Sure, there wasn’t any guarantee, but you have to like ECU’s chances, had the Pirates held on.

East Carolina didn’t hang on and the better team advanced to the Super Regionals. The Tar Heels then took care of business again, beating South Carolina to advance to the College Baseball World Series.

UNC-Chapel Hill coach Mike Fox opened his baseball season by speaking very highly about East Carolina coach Billy Godwin and his staff at the annual Pitt-Greenville Hot Stove League Banquet. It was my first chance to meet Coach Fox and I came away most impressed.

The thing I remember most about my interview with Coach Fox was the look in his eyes when he talked about the CWS. His Tar Heels should have won the World Series in 2006, and he had the look of a man who knew that he might never get that close again.

The Tar Heels will get another chance. It certainly wasn’t easy, as ECU, Western Carolina and South Carolina all had their chances to block the path to Omaha.

A friend of mine asked me to go to Omaha to visit one season. I told him I’d take a pass, that I wanted to make the trip when East Carolina gets to Omaha. I just think it would mean more to me, personally.

I did the same thing back in 1998. I had a chance to go to Williamsport earlier in my career but decided to wait. I really had no idea that a Greenville team would make it there, but I decided to wait anyway.

That trip to Williamsport ranks as one of my all time highs as a sportscaster at WNCT-TV. It was absolutely breathtaking, much like I believe Rosenblatt Stadium will be for the College Baseball World Series.

I hate that the baseball season is over for East Carolina. I thought this team overachieved in several areas. They were certainly fun to watch and put on a great show.

I enjoyed Harrison Eldridge’s hustle; Dale Mollenhauer’s grace at shortstop; Stephen Batts' hitting streak; Kyle Roller’s sheer power; Shane Mathews' bulldog attitude; and the list could easily go on and on.

The Pirates will watch this CWS knowing that they can compete on this same level. ECU swept Cal State Fullerton, but failed to beat UNC-Chapel Hill or Rice, though some of the games were close. Michigan is also still alive, and the Pirates swept the Wolverines.

The Pirates coined the phrase “We’re going!” a while back.

It won’t be this year, but I sincerely believe Coach Keith LeClair’s dream will come true down the road!


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06/12/2007 03:03:39 AM


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