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View from the 'ville
Thursday, June 10, 2010

By Al Myatt

Godwin surveys Major League draft

By Al Myatt
All rights reserved.

East Carolina baseball coach Billy Godwin was parked in front of a computer screen on Wednesday afternoon on the Major League Baseball website,, trying to determine how the draft would impact his incoming signees.

It appears the potential for personnel losses is minimal. Infielder Jack Reinheimer, who hit .337 for the 2009 state 4-A champions from Charlotte (NC) Ardrey Kell High School, was selected in the 31st round by the Atlanta Braves.

Right-handed pitcher Austin Chrismon, who helped Menchville High School in Newport News, VA, to a state championship and a No. 1 national ranking in the USA Today, Collegiate Baseball and Baseball America polls, was taken in the 32nd round by the Houston Astros.

Godwin said the draft position of Reinheimer and Chrismon may not be an accurate indication of their skills.

"Sometimes those kids going into the draft are high profile guys but because they put a high number on what it's going to take to buy them out of East Carolina, they tend to drop as a safety valve," Godwin said. "Let's just say the Atlanta Braves, who took Jack Reinheimer, don't sign their second, fourth and sixth-round picks, he could be a safety valve.

"They know what his price tag is but they know it's high. Sometimes those kids drop because they put a high amount on what it's going to take to sign a professional contract. Sometimes the rounds can be deceiving."

According to the Newport News (VA) Daily Press, the Astros called Chrismon to notify him of his selection but he had already been advised of his draft status from a friend via a text message.

The Daily Press stated that Chrismon had a 6-3 record as a senior.

"I knew it wasn't the greatest year for me, but I had seen a lot of interest from the Astros," Chrismon told the newspaper. "I was hoping they liked me enough to draft me so, you know, you can just say you were drafted.

"They had probably come to five or six of my games this year and called every two weeks or so. Going into (Wednesday), I knew it was all or nothing. And I didn't really know what to expect. There's still a lot of things going through my mind."

Chrismon said the Pirate coaches called him Wednesday and are still encouraging him to enroll for summer school later this month.

While Godwin apparently felt relatively secure on the incoming players, ECU ace Seth Maness has a decision to make after going in the 41st round to the Florida Marlins. Maness was 10-3 with a 4.17 earned run average as a junior. He had 90 strikeouts and just 16 walks. Godwin said he was confident Maness would be back for the 2011 season.

Kyle Roller, who returned for his senior season in 2010, was taken in the eighth round by the New York Yankees. Roller improved his stock after being taken in the 47th round by the Oakland A's in 2009. Roller hit .324 with 12 homers and 48 RBIs in 2010.

Rising senior Devin Harris was taken in the eighth round last year by the Baltimore Orioles. He was a 48th round pick by the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday after hitting .314 with 13 homers and 53 RBIs in 2010. Of concern to the major league baseball evaluators perhaps were Harris' team high 57 strikeouts as well as his six errors and .908 fielding percentage. The MLB interests also may have figured that Harris would play his senior season for ECU in 2011 after electing to remain a Pirate last year.

Thoughts on 2010 season

ECU missed the NCAA Tournament this season, which Godwin acknowledges is not up to the program's standards.

"I'm at East Carolina and East Carolina is about competing for championships," Godwin said. "Certainly this year is disappointing because we didn't have the opportunity to do that. It wasn't all negative. We had some things that happened that were out of my control but at the same time it was still my responsibility."

The loss of shortstop Dustin Harrington for violation of team rules during the season was a big blow. It took a potent bat out of the lineup and forced the Pirates to juggle personnel defensively. Harrington was hitting a team high .443 when he was expelled from the program. Godwin also dismissed reliever Stihl Sowers.

"We had high expectations in our program," Godwin said. "We didn't meet 'em. We're going to work as hard as we possibly can to correct that and get back and be competing for championships next year."

Godwin said his focus quickly shifted to recruiting when the Pirates were knocked out of the C-USA Tournament in Houston.

"I know it sounds crazy but I didn't even look at an NCAA Tournament bracket until last Thursday," Godwin said.

The Pirates have six commitments for the next recruiting class and are likely to hit the junior college ranks for several players who can provide immediate help.

"It's going to be a pitching heavy class," Godwin said of the signees that will be announced in the fall.

Different year for C-USA

As the Super Regionals are set to commence, Conference USA teams are not part of the action. Only two C-USA clubs made the NCAA Tournament, Rice and Southern Miss. Both were eliminated last weekend on the regional level.

"I don't think it was a down year," Godwin said when asked about the league's overall performance. "I think it was a different year. Our (league) RPI was still fifth or sixth in the country, which has been about where it stood the last several years.

"But what you find is teams who were 50 to 90 in the RPI. There was probably a lot more parity. There were no four- or five-win teams in the league. In past years, there were two or three teams that just had no shot."

In 2010 only six of the league's nine baseball playing members made the C-USA Tournament. The Pirates made it in on the last day of the regular season.

"Just about every team on any given weekend could beat anybody," Godwin said. "The pack was closer together when it came to competiveness. It was just a different year. Certainly, some teams got better. Some went backwards."

Thoughts on realignment

Speculation has been plentiful about how conference expansion in the Big Ten and Pac-10 might affect the Pirates. ECU interests have seen the potential shifts as a possible opportunity for ECU to move to the BIg East and join in the advantages of BCS conference membership.

That could be an adjustment for the Pirate baseball program as weather conditions for many Big East programs are not as favorable as those to be found in C-USA.

"First of all, that's speculation," Godwin said. "I'll let Coach (Terry) Holland (athletic director) decide what's best for East Carolina. The only thing I can say in that regard is that I want what's best for our university.

"Baseball, as everybody knows, is not part of that equation. It's all football driven and that's great. I do think that because our baseball program has been successful over the years, that's nothing but a bonus to any conference that looks at East Carolina from top to bottom.

"I'll let the powers that be make those decisions. My stance is that I want to be in whatever league is best for East Carolina University."

2011 schedule in the works

Godwin said although the schedule for next season is not complete, it's shaping up with some challenging and attractive opponents.

"I know we're going to go to Virginia," said the ECU skipper. "Pepperdine is going to be here. We've got a three-game series with Rutgers at home. We'll be home and home with North Carolina. We go to N.C. State.

"That's a pretty good start, I'd say."

Pitching coach search

With Bill Jarman stepping down as pitching coach, Godwin will do his due diligence in finding a replacement.

"I'm looking for someone with a proven track record," he said. "I'm not going to say it'll stop there but we're early in the process. I'm looking for someone who has a proven track record of developing pitchers, is a great communicator, a good recruiter.

"In baseball, we only get three guys who can go off campus (and recruit). It's not like some other sports where you can have more than three. I would say someone who has a track record of developing and recruiting high level arms. We need someone who can communicate within our staff and with potential recruits. Experience is going to be a big part of what I'm looking for."

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08/06/2010 01:56 AM


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