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Bailey's Take on Pirate Sports

From the Anchor Desk
Friday, February 22, 2002
By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9


LeClair Wants Spotlight to Shift to His Team


Inspiration from the Dugout

You think you had a bad day at work. The boss got on your case and it wasn’t your fault. Does it make you feel a little sorry for yourself?

The next time that happens, take a step back and think about the East Carolina baseball coach.

Keith LeClair is fighting for his life. There’s no easy way to say it.

Coach LeClair missed the first weekend series for the baseball team after undergoing a medical procedure to help him cope better with his illness.

Word is that the Coach still managed to stop by the field during the weekend, just to check on the score.

LeClair returned to the dugout on Wednesday for the VCU game. His coordination skills have deteriorated rapidly. His smile is still there, though.

LeClair is in search of a miracle.

“He’s a great inspiration for our team,” said Pirate assistant coach Kevin McMullan. “He’s such a great baseball person. He helped out a couple of guys in the VCU game. I was really proud that the team came through for LeClair.”

LeClair hasn’t said publicly, but he really wants the focus to be more on the team, and not his health problems.

It’s a very rare type of story. On the one hand, fans are interested in the health and welfare of their beloved baseball coach. On the other hand, the coach’s privacy is a very big concern.

I say you error on the side of the coach. If he doesn’t want his health issue to be a story, then it won’t be.

LeClair missing the first weekend of the season was a story. LeClair’s first game back was worthy of a mention. Now, though, the focus will center on the team.

Everyone is just glad to see Coach LeClair back in the Pirate dugout, where he should be. He is an inspiration to us all!

Pirates Still Have Late-inning Magic

If you haven’t made it out to Harrington Field this year, you are missing a real treat.

This 2002 baseball squad is very exciting to watch. After four games, the Pirates are undefeated, winning two of the four games with late rallies.

Wednesday night’s win was typical of Pirate baseball and the “never say die” attitude. East Carolina trailed into the eighth inning, when Luke Cherry became an instant hero with a three-run double.

Because of the weekday afternoon start time; the crowd grew larger as folks began to get off of work for the day.

They were not disappointed. East Carolina not only won the game; they beat an old CAA rival in the process.

It was well worth the price of admission, especially for the later arrivals, many of whom came through the gate without a ticket.

Ladies Start Swinging the Bats This Weekend

I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t always been a softball fan. I didn’t understand that game of slapping and bunting, and so I didn’t really follow East Carolina’s ladies on the diamond.

Many of you already know that I have a 14-year old daughter who I have coached in fast-pitch for the last five seasons. It is a great sport, and more like baseball than I ever thought it was.

As a coach I try to learn something about the sport every single day. In fact, I’ve picked Tracey Kee’s brain a number of times about hitting, strategy, you name it.

Coach Kee is one of the top young coaches in the nation. She will take this ECU team as far as they can go, despite the budget restraints on the program.

Kee and the Lady Pirates open this weekend with a tournament in Greenville. If you get the chance, and you’re going to the baseball game anyway, why not take in a few innings of softball.

ECU opens the Pirate Classic with a pair of games on Friday, against Delaware at 1:00 p.m. and versus UMBC at 3:00 p.m. Both games will be played at the ECU Softball Field. The rest of the schedule will be announced after Friday’s play.

Check out the softball team. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!

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02/23/2007 01:22:11 AM

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