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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, April 20, 2010

By Brian Bailey

Exceptional day in more ways than one

By Brian Bailey
All rights reserved.

View photos of the Exceptional Community Baseball League's day with the Pirates.


Replay Monday night's Brian Bailey Show with guest RUFFIN McNEILL. 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.

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Click any of the thumbnails below to view pictures of the Exceptional Community Baseball League's visit to Clark-LeClair Stadium.



Bailey: Exceptional day in more ways than one
BVL: Weekly college baseball polls
BVL Box Score: East Carolina 6, UAB 5 (12)
Peele on Baldwin-Tener: Ladies lose a good one
BVL Box Score: East Carolina 12, UAB 7
BVL Box Score: East Carolina 6, UAB 3
Myatt: Time to check on the other guys, Part II
Audio: Ruffin McNeill Press Conference
Bradsher: Spring survival primer

There were plenty of smiles all over Clark-LeClair Stadium on Sunday. East Carolina had just completed a three-game sweep over UAB, winning a 12-inning marathon on a John Wooten RBI single that drove home Kyle Roller. About the same time, the first of some 100 players from the Exceptional Community Baseball League was making his way into the ball park.

This was the fourth year that East Carolina has hosted the exhibition game with the former Challenger League. The league changed organizations in an effort to allow older players into the program. Young and old alike can now play the game that many of us love so much.

I’ve had the privilege of coaching the Cubs for the past five years.

“I told our players that when this game ends today, they’ll never forget it,” said ECU coach Billy Godwin. “I sincerely feel that our program gets more out of this afternoon then the “exceptional” players do. To see their smiles really means so much to all of us.”

Kyle Roller is a veteran of this exhibition game.

“We’re having a great time,” said Roller. “Sure, it’s been a long day, but we’d stay out here as long as they want us to. Everyone is having a great time.”

The Pirates swept UAB over the weekend but it was hardly a thing of beauty. Errors have forced Godwin to continue to tinker with his defense.

John Wooten was moved to shortstop over the weekend to send Corey Thompson back to his more familiar position of third base. Cam Freeman is a natural outfielder, but he’s spent the year at second base.

I joked with Roller that he might be the best defensive player on the Pirate infield, and he’s known more as a designated hitter.

“The guys are working hard,” Roller said. “I’m sure it’s frustrating for them because many of them are playing out of position. But they never whine or complain. They just want to do what’s best for our team.”

“I’ll play anywhere I’m needed,” said Wooten when asked about his new home at shortstop. “If Coach Godwin wants me to sit and cheer on my teammates, I’ll do that. We’re just working hard to get better.”

I asked Coach Godwin if he was feeling more comfortable on Sunday, with Kevin Brandt rolling along and the Pirates not making an error through five innings.

“Have you seen us play defense?” he joked.
A trio of errors in the 6th opened the door for UAB. East Carolina rallied and took a lead into the ninth. Another miscue or two and ECU found itself in a 12-inning marathon.

Still, the Pirates hung tough and picked up a series sweep over the Blazers. ECU plays at Campbell this evening and hosts North Carolina State on Wednesday before traveling to Rice for a battle for first place in Conference USA.

Maybe the Pirates needed a relaxing hour or two with the “exceptional” players to put everything in perspective. The game with the college players is the highlight of the Exceptional Community Baseball League season.

For more information and pictures from Sunday’s game go to the ECBL Facebook site at!/pages/Exceptional-Community-Baseball-League-ECBL/109724742400155?ref=ts.

Or visit my team’s site at!

Thanks Coach Godwin and the Pirates for a Sunday to remember!


E-mail Brian Bailey.

Brian Bailey Archives

04/20/2010 03:10 AM


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