Big swings by summer Pirates
By RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector
Friday, July 6, 2018
East Carolina baseball first basemen Spencer Brickhouse and Alec Burleson have been swinging hot bats — in different leagues — since ECU’s season ended June 3 with a 44-18 record.
Those big swings have served as highlights for the Pirates, who have had representatives in four different summer leagues.
A full ECU contingent of Jake Agnos, Trey Benton, Brickhouse, Bryant Packard and Gavin Williams was in Massachusetts playing in the Cape Cod League, but Agnos and Packard were plucked away from there to join the USA Collegiate National Team for another week. That squad features Pirate head coach Cliff Godwin as its hitting coach.
Benton, Brickhouse and Williams all play for the Bourne Braves. Benton has been used as a relief pitcher, and Brickhouse leads the Cape Cod League in RBIs to go with his .311 batting average.
In Baltimore/Washington-based Cal Ripken Collegiate action, it is ECU rising sophomore Burleson having a sizzling summer in leading that league in batting average, home runs and RBIs.
Godwin has been monitoring plenty of these stats while working with USA Baseball for the second straight summer.
“No. 1 is I have a great staff, so they are handling a lot of the stuff back home (in Greenville),” Godwin said recently. “We’re in communication day to day, and I’m in communication with our players. We have our new guys in summer school and they have started workouts and stuff.
“Normally I would like to be around, but this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. ... It’s been fun so far, and I’m looking forward to finishing it out.”
East Carolina has six players in each the Coastal Plain League and Cal Ripken League. Catcher Seth Caddell has 11 at-bats in the Valley League, located in the Shenandoah Valley region of Virginia.
The Coastal Plain League has roots in North Carolina, but Pirate outfielder Chandler Jenkins made the CPL All-Star roster while playing for the Lexington County (S.C.) Blowfish. Closer to eastern North Carolina, Sam Lanier is with the Wilson Tobs and Zach Barnes has been a lead reliever for the Morehead City Marlins.
“I think our guys have a little chip on their shoulder to try and get better and go farther (in the NCAA tournament) than we went this year,” said Godwin, whose team hosted a regional at Clark-LeClair Stadium for only the second time in school history but it was No. 2 seed South Carolina that won the double-elimination regional to advance to a super regional.
In addition to summer league action, the Pirates have been holding their youth camps at Clark-LeClair Stadium thanks to a staff led by recruiting coordinator Jeff Palumbo, pitching coach Dan Roszel, volunteer assistant coach/camp coordinator Hunter Allen and director of operations Pete Buscaino. ECU players who are in Greenville also help with camps.
The team has another session next week and the final youth camp is scheduled for July 23-27. Elite camps are slated for August 25-26.
Contact Ronnie Woodward at email@example.com, 252-329-9592 and follow @RonnieW11 on Twitter.