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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, May 25, 2010

By Brian Bailey

Barely in, but with new life

By Brian Bailey
All rights reserved.

Billy Godwin
(Photo ECU SID)


Replay Monday night's Brian Bailey Show with guests TOMMY EASON and RONALD VINCENT. 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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Bailey: Barely in, but with new life
BVL: Weekly college baseball polls
O'Brien: Opportunity missed by schools' CEO's
BVL Box Score: East Carolina 8, Houston 6
Gold: Epic shakeup could spawn new league
BVL Box Score: Houston 7, East Carolina 6
BVL Box Score: Houston 8, East Carolina 6
Myatt: Coleman goes from pigskin to sheepskin
Myatt: Huge series with Houston
Myatt: Holland welcomes another Sampson
BVL Box Score: James Madison 11, ECU 5
Bailey: Kee & Co. primed for Austin Regional

East Carolina’s baseball season will continue. Like the rest of the year, it certainly wasn’t easy.

The Pirates had to come from behind to salvage the third game of the series with Houston. Now they will head to that same city for the Conference USA baseball tournament starting on Wednesday.

Things looked bleak all during the final regular season series.

The Pirates dropped the Thursday and Friday games to the Cougars, who played their way into the tournament that they are hosting. ECU needed a Saturday win and some help just to make the tournament as the league’s sixth seed in the six-team field.

A season of frustrations continued into Saturday for Coach Billy Godwin.

“That’s all we could do,” said Godwin when asked about the victory. “We didn’t control our own destiny, which you never like. All we could do was to come out and win and do a little scoreboard watching."

Saturday morning brought with it about a dozen different scenarios about which six teams would make the Conference USA tournament. Godwin, though, decided just to control what he could control.

“I didn’t go over scenarios with our guys, there were so many of them,” he explained. “I just talked about coming out and winning. I saw the score flash up there that UCF was up 6-0 and I was like, we’re down right here but if we come back and that score sticks, we’re in.”

Outfielder Trent Whitehead said that score really got the Pirates going.

“Coach Godwin told us that if that didn’t get us going, nothing would,” said Whitehead. “I think it got the guys fired up and we took care of business.”

Godwin is the first to say the year didn’t go as planned. Still, the season does continue and that provides a new beginning of sorts for this East Carolina baseball team.

“If you get the opportunity to get into the postseason, anything can happen,” said Godwin. “We are just looking to play another day. Coming off of a win like this, I think the guys will be excited to get another chance. It will be like a new season.”

The new six-team format is a bit of a head scratcher. The six teams are divided into two pods. Each team will play two “pod” games and one other game for a three-team round-robin.

The critical games for teams are the pod games. For example, the Pirates could lose to Rice in the opener, but if ECU beats Memphis and Southern Miss, then the Pirates will play for the Conference USA title.

The “other” game would be used in a tiebreaker. However, according to the league’s Website, a three-way tie would be broken by the higher seed.

It’s like the “non-pod” game is important, but it isn’t. Why not invite eight teams to the party? Have two pods of four teams each, play the three pod games and have the pod winners play for the title.

In a league that spends hundreds of thousands of dollars to fly Olympic sports teams all around the country, can it be that much more expensive to send two more teams to the league’s baseball tournament?

One Pirate World Series-bound

Former East Carolina star and assistant coach Tommy Eason and his Pitt Community College Bulldogs are headed to the National Junior College World Series.

Grand Junction, Colorado, is to Junior College baseball what Omaha, Nebraska, is to Division I baseball. Eason’s squad swept Potomac State in a best of three series to advance this past weekend.

Eason is thrilled to be heading to Colorado, but he says the work’s not done yet.

“We’re happy to be the Eastern District representative but we’re looking forward to going out there and trying to take care of some business,” said Eason. “We’ve got one more stone to step on. This team has the capability and the right mindset right now.”

Tommy Eason was as tough of a Pirate as I’ve ever had the chance to watch. He was a leader, and that characteristic is paying big dividends for Pitt.

Eason was very emotional after the victory. I swear there was a tear underneath those sunglasses Saturday afternoon.

Pitt opens the JUCO World Series this Saturday against the College of Southern Nevada.


E-mail Brian Bailey.

Brian Bailey Archives

05/25/2010 03:14 AM


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