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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, August 18, 2008

By Brian Bailey

Roller, Harris spurn pros for a year

By Brian Bailey
All rights reserved.


Replay Monday night's Brian Bailey Show with guests Devin Harris, Kyle Roller and Mike Steele. Eastern North Carolina's longest running sports radio call-in show airs each Monday night at 7 p.m. on Pirate Radio 1250-AM and 930-AM.
Replay Show
Pirate Radio Home Page


Batten: Swift defensive end 'Falls' Pirates' way
Bailey: Roller, Harris spurn pros for a year
O'Brien: Offense returning to full strength
Batten: Radar blip becomes solid catch for ECU
Myatt: Holtz Loves/Hates 2009 Schedule
Cherubini: One-on-One with Sean Allen
Bradsher: Jarrett:: Roller college baseball's best

Skip Holtz on the heat after first day in pads

There is good news from Pirate baseball. Both Kyle Roller and Devin Harris will return to the diamond for East Carolina next season.

Roller and Harris have been leaning toward returning for a while. Coach Billy Godwin wasn’t totally relieved until the signing deadline passed at 12 midnight this morning.

Roller was selected by the Oakland A’s in the 47th round of the amateur draft.

Since the draft, Roller’s stock has skyrocketed. The Pirate slugger became just the second player in Cape Cod League history to win the MVP award for both the regular season and the playoffs.

Roller played first base and led the Bourne Braves to the Cape Cod League championship. During the regular season, he led the CCBL in home runs (10), RBI's (33), doubles (13), slugging percentage (.644), extra-base hits (24) and runs scored (33), and ranked second in batting (.342), hits (51) and on-base percentage (.449).

In the playoffs, Roller continued his torrid pace, hitting .500 (7-for-14) with eight RBI's and scoring six runs in the Braves' perfect 4-0 playoff run to the title.

Though his stock rose, the money for a 47th round pick just wasn’t worth it for Roller. The Cape Cod MVP awards and a great year next season should pay big dividends.

“It’s a win-win for me,” said Roller last night. “I get a chance to come back and play another season and continue my education.”

Harris is also staying. The Baltimore Orioles picked him in the 8th round of the draft in June.

Harris became a folk hero at East Carolina with his home run to tie the Greenville regional championship game against South Carolina, and then his RBI single to win it.

“I haven’t talked to the Orioles in about three weeks,” said Harris last night. "They didn’t reach the number I was looking for. They said they were going to use some of the money I turned down to sign some of their other players.”

“We’re thrilled to have both of those young men returning to our program,” said Godwin just after the midnight signing deadline.

Godwin joked that he was usually in bed asleep by about 9:30 most nights, but that he was going to stay up late to make sure everything played out like he thought it would.

It did. Two sluggers like Roller and Harris can make any coach sleep a little better at night.

Youth served in first scrimmage

Scrimmage number one is in the books, and it went down without any major injuries.

That was goal number one, for sure.

Goal number two was to formulate the depth chart. Several nice battles are going on, especially with some of the younger players. Playing time, with this veteran squad, will be at a premium.

One of the most intriguing battles is for the spot just behind Patrick Pinkney. If the Rob Kass experiment continues at tight end, then either redshirt freshman Josh Jordan or true freshman Rio Johnson has to step up.

“I was really impressed with Rio,” said Pirate coach Skip Holtz after Saturday’s scrimmage. “The way he moves his feet, the way he moves around, the decision he makes with the ball under his arm. Quarterbacks know what everybody’s doing but its about making good decisions. I thought he did a good job of protecting the ball.”

Holtz also likes Jordan, who has to be the favorite to back up Pinkney because he already has a year of Pirate football under his belt.

“Josh Jordan is a physical player,” said Holtz. “He knows the offense better. They’re both doing a good job and merit some time.”


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08/18/2009 04:13:38 AM


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