From The Dugout
By Keith LeClair
Pirates aim for top seed,
Guess what? Regional time is almost
This time of year is the hardest on the
coaching staff, but the most fun for the players and fans. I can
remember these final days of the season and being a nervous wreck on the
inside. I may have looked like the Right Guard guy on the outside, but
believe me it can be a nerve-racking stretch drive.
I feel for Coach Mazey and his staff
and commend them for a tremendous job thus far this season. When you
begin the season, you are looking to put your team in position to secure
an at-large bid, so your backs are not up against the wall having to win
a conference tournament. Once you have put yourself in that position,
like the Pirates have this year, your focus turns to seeding and hosting
The stretch run and how you finish are
critical in the committee’s eyes in awarding Regional sites. This is why
the last 15 or so games can drive a coach up the wall, or in my case
turn my hair gray.
Three scenarios play themselves out
during this time:
1. You stumble a bit and find
yourself on the road during regional play. Or, sometimes you can
just get a bad break from the committee in deciding regional sites —
or your bid was just not competitive enough. Those can all take
For example, in '99 we traveled to
LSU as their No. 1 seed, to which I may add the local folks didn't
take to kindly, and we ended up losing in the finals in front of
about 8,000 crazy Cajuns. To this day, I believe that had an effect
on the strike zone late in the game that cost us a huge out. Hey, I
just realized I can say that and not get reprimanded. Boy, that felt
good to get off my chest after all those years.
I think you're starting to get the
picture why hosting a Regional and Super Regional is darn important.
Does purple and gold mean anything to you? Thought so!
2. You host a Regional, but are not
one of the top eight national seeds. That means, if you win your
Regional and one of the top eight seeds doesn't lose, you end up
going on the road for the Super Regional.
3. The best possible scenario is
being a top eight national seed and playing at home until somebody
beats you, like back in 2001. I won't go there because it brings up
too many bad memories, so lets skip that one.
If you take a look at past history,
concerning the teams that played their way into Omaha, you will notice
about 80% or more hosted a Regional. If I am not mistaken, last year
only one team came through its Super Regional to Omaha on the road, and
that was Southwest Missouri State, which knocked off Ohio State. That is
why the construction of this new East Carolina baseball facility is so
important to our program and the Pirates fans. Not that we do not
appreciate the folks in Kinston and Wilson, but just look at our record
over the years at Harrington Field.
But for this year, we will just keep
plugging along and supporting the Pirates regardless of where they play.
Hopefully it will be a Regional in Kinston, Super Regional in Wilson and
on to to Omaha.
My hat's off to Coach Mazey, Coach
Eason, Coach Osborne, Coach Schnabel and the team for a great season
thus far. But remember, we have a lot of games to play.
The coach will come out of me if I
don't stop writing. Oh well, I have to say it anyway: Guys, take it one
pitch, one out, one inning and one game at a time. I can say that having
coached with Coach Mazey, he preaches the same thing.
NC State Game: Pirates 6 Bad Guys 3
I just want to say that as I listened
to the voice, Jeff Charles, and Coach Overton on the radio Wednesday
night, I could not help but hear our fans. I thought, is this a home or
We have the greatest fans in the
country and lets keep the jungle rocking this weekend for Louisville. If
we want to host a Regional, the best advice I can give is to pack the
house and keep the beer off the opposing left fielder.
Kudos to Tracy
Congrats Chad Tracy for being called up
to the Diamondbacks this week. I believe Chad is the first Pirate to be
called up to the big leagues since former Pirates great Pat Watkins.
And I can honestly say that nobody
deserves it anymore than Mr. Chad Tracy. Go get 'em and let everyone
know what ECU baseball is all about.
have a question or comment about the Pirates in particular or baseball
in general, fire your best pitch at Ol' Condo:
Sound off to Coach LeClair...
02.23.07 10:27 AM