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Bailey's Take on Pirate Sports


From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, April 15, 2003
By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9

Football + baseball + fans = winning weekend


Damane Duckett led the Purple defense to the shut out victory on Saturday.

Terrance Copper was the offensive star.

And as I said last week, the real winners in the spring football game were the Pirate fans.

Thousands flocked to Greenville for the return of “The Great Pirate Purple Gold Pigskin Pigout Party”. Almost ten thousand fans were in the stands for the game. Hundreds of others enjoyed the carnival and the tailgating.

Maybe it was the weather, as the sun finally came out in Greenville. It was a great sports day. Baseball in the early afternoon (because of the rainout,) football for the day, and then more baseball at night. It was just an outstanding day to be a sports fan in ECU.

As for the game, Copper’s performance was the difference. Desmond Robinson probably outplayed Paul Troth at quarterback, but I’m convinced that if Troth could have thrown to Copper, the outcome would have been different.

That’s not taking anything away from Robinson. I think he brings some exciting options to the Pirate attack. But Troth had very few options to throw to in the spring game.

The best part of the game was just watching the competition. Competition always makes a team better.

The other bright spot in the game was the running of Vonta Leach. Leach moved to offense as an experiment last year. Now, he looks like he is a bona fide offensive option. Vonta flat out brings the game to the defense. He brings a linebacker’s mentality to the offense. He is a real plus for this Pirate team.

The other good news for Pirate fans is that John Thompson is already looking forward to next year’s spring game.

“One of the first questions that I was asked when I got the job was about the spring game,” Thompson said. “I really didn’t think about it, but I said we’d have one. This has turned out to be a really great deal. I couldn’t be happier with the event.”

Thompson went out of his way to thank the fans afterwards.

“The best thing about it was these fans,” Thompson said. “I’m just really grateful for all of the excitement that these fans brought to this. It’s just really exciting to be a part of the Pirate family. I just want to thank everyone and I can’t wait until next year.”

Pirate baseball takes another series

East Carolina has played five series in Conference USA to date. In all five, the Pirates have taken two out of three, and stand in second place in the league.

The Pirates have had all kinds of problems scoring runs. Sunday’s win was a 3-2 gut wrencher, in which Greg Bunn came on and pitched a masterful three and a third innings in relief.

“That’s the kind of pitcher he is, though,” Mazey said. “He doesn’t have great command of it, so he’s going to pitch into jams and then pitch out of them.”

It’s a busy week for Randy Mazey and company. The Pirates will make up their game with Campbell today. East Carolina will host North Carolina on Wednesday night.

Mazey is pleased with some aspects of his team’s play. But he knows that his Pirates will have to step it up a notch in the second half of the season.

“We will have to play better with the teams we’ll see,” Mazey said.  

But give Mazey credit. These Pirates are right in the thick of the Conference USA race in his first season.

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02/23/2007 01:25:10 AM


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