NEWS, NOTES &
Friday, April 20, 2007
By Bethany Bradsher
Solidarity with the Orange &
By Bethany Bradsher
All rights reserved.
When a tragedy like Monday’s Virginia Tech
massacre happens, it almost seems that life should stop in its tracks — even
for just a little while. But on most U.S. college campuses tennis matches
and baseball games and track practices go on.
So this column is a nod to that continued
routine, to the good things that we can still enjoy amid the grieving and
the questions. But first comes a reminder from East Carolina athletic
director — and longtime Virginia resident — Terry Holland on
www.ecupirates.com on Thursday.
“Many of you have called or written to express
the pain and grief that the entire East Carolina University community is
feeling from the tragic events that occurred on the Virginia Tech campus on
April 16, 2007,” Holland’s open letter began. “That terrible day and the
resulting sorrow have prompted each of us to reconsider our priorities and
place all of our daily activities in a proper perspective.”
The Pirate Nation is extending its arms to the
Hokies in both practical and symbolic ways, according to Holland. First, the
athletic department and the ECU Educational Foundation have made a
commitment to present a $100,000 check to the Virginia Tech Administration
at the season-opening football game between the two teams on Sept. 1 in
To help meet that goal, Holland and other ECU
leaders are encouraging fans to make contributions through the Pirate Club
or the Educational Foundation. And he is also urging the Pirate community to
wear Virginia Tech colors on Friday in solidarity with the Hokies as part of
the nationwide “Hokie Hope” campaign.
If fans heed Holland’s advice, the stands at
Clark-LeClair Stadium for tonight’s baseball game against Savannah State
should be awash in orange and maroon.
But here’s one friendly tip from Holland: Focus
on the maroon if possible, because Savannah State’s colors are orange and
“It’s a great day to be a Pirate, yet today we
are all Hokies!” Holland concluded.
Crunch time for
Back to the world of Pirate sports, where the
purple runs deep even when fans wear maroon. The athletes most likely to get
jet lag this weekend are the members of the Lady Pirate softball team, who
leave Friday for a road series with the University of Texas at El Paso. It’s
a crucial trip for ECU, which is standing at second in Conference USA with
only nine games remaining.
“We hope to win a series on the road, which is
something we have yet to do,” said head softball coach Tracy Kee.
[Editor's note: The Lady
Pirates' Saturday game with UTEP at 3 p.m. will be shown as a
pay-per-view event on CSTV. The
registration site is cstvppv.com. Cost is $9.95.]
The team looked nearly invincible at the
season’s start, with victories in 19 out of the first 26 games. But at the
end of March they hit an offensive slump that was probably one part injuries
and two parts lost confidence, Kee said.
“I think our kids struggled with their
confidence,” she said. “That’s just so fragile. We worked on it in practice.
They turned the corner some
against Memphis, but they came up
really big in the
The Lady Pirates are still within striking
distance of a C-USA title despite the fact that they start five freshmen and
rarely have more than two upperclassmen on the field at any time.
One of the most solid seniors is pitcher Keli
Harrell, who broke the C-USA strikeout record earlier in the season and is
now splitting pitching time with freshman Toni Paisley.
“She has just been stellar,” Kee said of
Paisley, who was a big recruit but originally expected to step up after
Harrell graduates. “Right now we have a very nice 1-2 punch going.”
Big Jake unmasked
ECU alum Jake Smith may have traded his purple
and gold for a minor league outfit somewhere in Illinois, but the local
paper in his new hometown is helping to keep him in the Pirate
Smith, the former All-American catcher who won
the 2006 Coleman Company-Johnny Bench Award, is starting his first season as
a member of the Class A Kane County Cougars in Geneva, IL. He is also trying
his hand at journalism.
The Kane County Chronicle recently announced
that Smith would write a weekly column throughout the season called “The
Cougars’ Masked Man.” Smith’s thoughts will also be available each week in
the form of
a blog on the newspaper’s website,
so Pirate fans can tune in each Tuesday to keep tabs on one of ECU’s most
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04/20/2007 02:29:47 AM