As a resident of the TRUNA neighborhood I am grateful for all the wonderful work of Councilman Bell for the last two...

Pirates help grant fan's wish

1 of 2

11-year-old James Elpers smiles as he is given a ball by a member of the ECU baseball team Friday afternoon. The team surprised James by informing him that he received at trip to Disney World through the Make-a-Wish Foundation.


By Ronnie Woodward
The Daily Reflector

Saturday, October 22, 2016

It is tradition for the NFL Super Bowl winning quarterback to announce in a commercial that he’s “going to Disney World.”

Eleven-year-old James Elpers isn’t a Super Bowl QB, but he also is going to Disney World next week.

The East Carolina baseball team partnered with Make-A-Wish of eastern North Carolina on Friday to grant baseball fan Elpers, a Pitt County resident who was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis a month into his life, his wish of a vacation to Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla.

“This means a lot,” said James’ mother Melissa Elpers. “He goes through a lot, so he deserves it. We’re just really thankful for everybody that took part in this. ... I just wanted it to be a big surprise to him and something he’ll never forget.”

After the Pirates took batting practice, head coach Cliff Godwin and a few players went into the stands at Clark-LeClair Stadium to talk to James, who thought he was there just to watch practice. They all came back onto the field for the Make-A-Wish reveal in front of the entire team.

Everyone then watched him play catch with ECU infielder Charlie Yorgen.

“This was probably one of the coolest moments I’ve had while being a student-athlete here,” Yorgen said. “He was out there throwing it hard from the start, and probably should play second base in our scrimmage. That was just an awesome experience getting to play catch with him.”

Elpers is a player for Sylvan Learning Center of Greenville Little Leagues. He was joined by teammates, friends and family at the stadium.

“I’m shocked,” he said.

Contact Ronnie Woodward at rwoodward@reflector.com, 252-329-9592 or follow @RonnieW11 on Twitter.


Humans of Greenville


Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.


August 19, 2019

East Carolina first-year football coach Mike Houston described the Pirates' No. 1 center, Branden Pena, as a "tough joker" on Saturday.

The football-centric praise showed how far the relationship has come between Pena and Houston since December.

"Branden Pena is a guy that I didn't know his name…


August 17, 2019

Moments of reflection Saturday brought East Carolina first-year head football coach Mike Houston back to the spring.

The physicality he saw Saturday during the Pirates' final preseason scrimmage was vastly different from the spring Purple-Gold Game.

Darius Pinnix displayed his punishing rushing…


August 17, 2019

East Carolina’s football players were asked about their favorite ice cream flavor Saturday and they got the opportunity to pick on teammates, but there also were serious questions pointed their way about the Aug. 31 opener at N.C. State and the rest of an important season for the Pirates…


August 17, 2019

In an exhibition match defined by defense, Jenna Dages scored the only goal for the East Carolina women’s soccer team to top VCU 1-0 on Friday night inside Johnson Stadium.

Dages’ goal came at the 45:34 mark. From there, goalie Meaghan Haley and ECU's defense helped to maintain the lead.…


August 17, 2019

Here are five East Carolina football players who have stepped up during preseason camp and will be looking to continue their momentum when the Pirates complete camp with a scrimmage Saturday at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium:

1. Xavier Smith, linebacker: Smith has kind of quietly morphed from a tight end…


August 16, 2019

East Carolina’s football practice Friday morning ended with center Branden Pena snapping to quarterback Holton Ahlers in the victory formation, and then the Pirates celebrated. Kicker Jake Verity also made a 57-yard field goal during a late-game sequence.

On the day before an important…


August 16, 2019

Jayda Hylton-Pelaia has played countless soccer matches in Canada and the United States, impressing plenty of observers with her fluid dribbling and defensive skills.

Her effect on American Athletic Conference coaches was felt Tuesday when she was named AAC preseason defensive player of the year,…

Jayda 6.jpg

August 15, 2019

Bruce Bivens is as vocal as ever on the East Carolina football defense, which can both excite and worry first-year Pirate coach Mike Houston.

Bivens' voice is important and it carries now in the middle of ECU's defense as he approaches his junior season and his second year as a starting inside…


August 15, 2019

UCLA transfer receiver Audie Omotosho was in shoulders pads Thursday as he continues to work toward being in full fear and available to compete in Saturday's scrimmage.

Omotosho officially joined the Pirates on Wednesday after not catching a pass for the Bruins from 2016-18. Houston gave insight on…


August 14, 2019

East Carolina first-year football coach Mike Houston does not like to say that one side "won" a practice, but a big rebound day by the Pirates' offensive line left an impression on him that the offense was superb Wednesday.

Quarterback play also was efficient and the running backs, including…

173 stories in ECU. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 18
        Next Page»   Last Page»