Year in review: On the diamond
By RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector
Friday, December 29, 2017
There was a lot of intrigue in eastern North Carolina for this year’s college baseball season, which for East Carolina featured unprecedented hype followed by an unpredictable and trying time on the diamond.
For Pitt Community College, its season ended at the World Series level.
ECU had similar aspirations in the NCAA’s top division and, according to some national pundits, had a serious shot at a trip to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb. The Pirates were tagged in the preseason with a No. 6 ranking by Baseball America — ECU’s best ranking in school history — but by the time the season hit its midway point, the Pirates were doomed by injuries and losing skids en route to a 32-28 record and they missed the postseason for the first time under coach Cliff Godwin.
This came after the Pirates went 38-23-1 in 2016 and were rolling with momentum after almost winning the NCAA Lubbock Super Regional. Baseball America and D1baseball.com both picked ECU during the preseason to make the College World Series, but the team never really got close to its ultimate goal.
Still, East Carolina’s nine-man senior class ended as maybe the most accomplished class in program history thanks to previous victories and championships.
“They are responsible for the culture of this baseball program changing, not just on the field but also off the field,” said Godwin, whose team did shake off the disappointing regular season to make a run to the American Athletic Conference tournament championship game and lost to favored Houston. “No matter what happens to them on the baseball field, they are going to be winners in life.”
At PCC, veteran coach Tommy Eason guided his talented squad to Enid, Okla., for the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II World Series. Pitt went 1-2 in its second-ever World Series competition, finishing with a 42-9 record.
The Bulldogs’ softball team also made the NJCAA World Series.
“It shows you that Pitt Community College believes in athletics and what we are doing,” interim athletics director Dawn Manning said in early June.
Contact Ronnie Woodward at email@example.com, 252-329-9592 and follow @RonnieW11 on Twitter.