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Bailey's Take on Pirate Sports

From the Anchor Desk
Friday, February 21, 2003
By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9

Is a defensive conspiracy in the works?


Is it me, or has defense become a big, unpredictable mystery at East Carolina?

The football team set a new standard for defensive problems last season. It was one of the worst defensive years in the program's history.

The basketball team, on the other hand, has played some defense this year. In fact, some had hoped John Thompson might recruit Bill Herrion as his defensive coordinator last month.

Now, baseball season has arrived and the trend is really getting confusing.

Sure, ECU had a near perfect weekend defensively in their opening series with Western Carolina. But just when the N.C. State Wolfpack came to town, the Pirate defense went south in a hurry.

Four errors in the first three innings handed this rivalry game to the opponents in red and white. Add in a couple of mental errors, and this one left a bad taste in new coach Randy Mazey’s mouth. At one point, the Pirates had a runner picked off, but there was no one covering second base to get the out.

“Leave it to me to talk about our strengths on defense and then have this happen,” said Mazey after the game on Wednesday night. “We obviously have some work to do, but we’ll get it done.”

Offensively, the Pirates struggled in that first series with the Catamounts. It would seem logical, though, that this squad should score plenty of runs with the long ball, led by All-American candidate Darryl Lawhorn.

“It’s a little harder to hit earlier in the year because of the weather,” Lawhorn said. “But both teams have to hit in the same stuff. You just have to adjust to the weather and play.”

I think the weather and the field conditions may also have had something to do with the defensive problems in the State game for East Carolina. It looked at times like some of the Pirates were tentative in charging the ball. Greenville has seen lots of rain over the last several days, and the grass is still coming in. Still, both teams did play on the same field.

Mazey's law

I like Randy Mazey’s style as the Pirate coach. In some aspects, it’s his way or the highway.

Case in point, Mazey has moved all of the photographers down the third base line, “for their own safety.”

We’ve pleaded with the coach to let the photographers shoot from their former spot, which is closer to home plate and near the on-deck circle. It’s a better angle and actually safer, in my opinion.

We’ve shot baseball from this spot for the past 18 years, and have never had a photographer injured, or even become involved with the play.

On the other hand, the photographers had several close calls in the first series with Western Carolina. It’s not just the balls coming in; it’s the balls that ricochet off the brick dugout behind them.

It may be a conspiracy to get the media. Nah, it’s just a different way of thinking.

Did I talk about defense to start this column? Now we’re the one’s getting defensive.

Let's bond

Next up is Central Florida, the first road trip for Randy Mazey as the head coach at East Carolina.

"It's going to be a 12-13 hour trip, but it's good," said Mazey.

"We need time to bond a little bit. This team needs to get together a little bit, they need to get to know me and I need to get to know them. I'm looking forward to it. It's going to be a good time away from home."

If you haven’t seen this team in person, you need to check them out. We’re in for an exciting spring at Harrington Field!

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Click here to dig into Brian Bailey's Bonesville archives.

02/23/2007 01:25:37 AM

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