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Bailey's Take on Pirate Sports


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


LeClair to Pirates: Play with 'Attitude'


Visit could pay dividends

East Carolina’s struggling baseball team got a surprise visitor after Monday's practice.

Pirate Coach Keith LeClair made it out to Harrington Field, and the ailing coach was able to communicate some strategic thoughts during the brief visit.

His appearance had an impact.

“It was awesome to see him,” said Pirate catcher Clayton McCullough. “It had been a while since I had seen him. It was just great to get a chance to see his face again. He’s still the same guy. We love him dearly and he feels the same way about us. It was just a great, emotional lift to see him at practice.”

This team is in need of a lift. The Pirates dropped two out of three to Louisville last weekend. Sometimes, when things go badly, teams tend to press. This Pirate team has been playing “not to lose”.

LeClair's visit struck a positive nerve with the team. With the league tournament on the line in Kinston this week, it couldn't have come at a better time

“Coach LeClair’s visit will really helps us,” said Pirate assistant coach Kevin McMullan. “He talked to our guys about having a positive attitude and about playing with ‘attitude’. He told them not to worry about losing, to play to win, without worrying about failure. I think it was a great message to our guys and it was very nice to see him.”

Of course, it would be much nicer to see Coach LeClair back in the Pirate dugout. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with him and his family.

Narron returns when it counts

Second-team All-Conference USA pitcher Sam Narron will start ECU's tournament opener tonight (7:30 PM) against Texas Christian.

Narron has been out of action over the last couple of weeks, struggling with a bout of tendonitis.

Observing from the sidelines isn't the Goldsboro junior's cup of tea, but it may have been just what the doctor ordered.

“The two weeks have been great for my arm, but I really hated just sitting and watching,” said Narron. “I think I’m much better now and I’m looking forward to making a difference for our team this week in the tournament.”

With Narron's return, the Pirates are that much deeper on the mound — and the coaching staff is already plotting ways to take advantage of having the left-hander back in the rotation.

“This is the type of tournament that you have to win five games in,” said McMullan. “We hope that Sam can give us some good innings on Wednesday night, and then give us something more later in the week. That’s why we’ve been so careful with his situation.”

C-USA implements CWS scheme

Conference USA is using the College World Series format for this week’s event at historic Grainger Stadium.

Basically, the tournament is two, separate, four-team, double elimination tournaments.

The two winners in those separate tournaments then play one game for the league championship on Sunday at 2:00 PM.

“I think it’s a great format,” said McMullan. “I think it gets you ready for Omaha, and as I have said, that is our goal every season.

The reason for the format change is for television, to have one game for the championship, which will be televised by by a diverse network of outlets put together by the league office.

CBS first convinced officials at the CWS that this format was the only way to get a true national championship game.

The downside of the formula for the event is that the tournament champion could have one loss, and the team that finishes second could also have just one loss.

It took a while for many to get used to the CWS format, but now I think it is the only way to go, especially if you’re looking to televise the championship game.

Here’s hoping the Pirates are a part of that title tilt. We’ll see you at historic Grainger Stadium this week!

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02/23/2007 01:22:46 AM

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