Loading...
Does anyone realize that North Carolina and other states take children away from parents who are charged with doing...

Blake's story scans the state

041918PCCBaseball-3.jpg
1 of 3

Pitt Community College sophomore Andrew Blake, left, throws in the bullpen as head coach Tommy Eason watches during practice on April 18, 2018. (Molly Mathis/The Daily Reflector)

041918PCCBaseball-1.jpg
041918PCCBaseball-4.jpg
Loading…

By RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector

Sunday, April 22, 2018

There has been a lot of attention on college baseball in North Carolina this year, highlighted by East Carolina, N.C. State, North Carolina and Duke all projected at this point in the season to host NCAA regionals.

Pitt Community College lead pitcher Andrew Blake, who signed with N.C. State in November, is plenty busy and focused on getting the Bulldogs back to the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II World Series for the second straight year.

Blake, a 6-foot-6 right-hander, also has the luxury of knowing his next baseball destination. That is often not available to JUCO athletes and it is providing Blake with a neat opportunity as he routinely follows the Wolfpack, which is ranked as high as No. 2 in the country and is playing at Duke this weekend as PCC is at rival Lenoir CC and came into the series riding an eight-game win streak.

“I definitely keep up with them and try to watch as many of their games as I can online and on TV,” Blake said of NCSU. “Obviously I am playing for this team first and with these guys and trying to do my best here so that once I get to State I can make the most of that opportunity with them.”

Opportunity is a key part of Blake’s story.

His first collegiate chance out of Ronald Reagan High School near Winston-Salem came from UNC Wilmington as a preferred walk-on, but Blake was not admitted to UNCW as a student.

That led him to PCC, which went 42-9 a year ago and 1-2 in the World Series tournament in Enid, Okla. Blake’s season included pitching in Pitt’s final game, and he described his entire freshman campaign as “OK,” before making a big leap last fall that led to N.C. State and others schools expressing interest.

Blake, who said he consistently is throwing 90-92 miles per hour as a sophomore with a high of 94, is set to graduate from PCC in May.

Coach Tommy Eason has been at Pitt since 2005 and has seen through the years how junior college rosters can mesh at different rates. He stressed again this week that it often takes some players like Blake who are a Division I bound mixing with others who have not yet figured out their future plans for things to work at the rate that the Bulldogs desire and expect.

Blake came into the weekend as the team leader with 43 innings pitched and 57 strikeouts -— compared to 12 walks — on a sophomore-heavy pitching staff.

“He has matured from a physical standpoint and a mental standpoint, and some kids don't get those kind of God’s gifts that he has been given,” Eason said. “I think he’s grown like two inches this year, so it’s crazy that he is still growing.

“With physicality and in the weight room, he’s done a lot of good things and worked hard to get where he’s at. Hats off to him for the work that he’s put into it.”

PCC will soon hit a big end to the regular season with six home games from April 28 to May 6. 

N.C. State is in the midst of a North Carolina-heavy and intriguing schedule with this weekend’s series against Duke followed by hosting No. 11 ECU on Tuesday and No. 15 UNC next weekend.

“I think it is awesome that North Carolina is being represented like this on the national stage with baseball,” Blake said. “Being that I’m going to State and seeing them beat teams like Carolina and playing ECU coming up this next week and other top teams, it is really cool just seeing North Carolina getting that kind of attention.”

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

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

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

Sports

June 19, 2018

A pair of East Carolina women’s basketball recruits, who will join the team this week along with two others, were recently named to All-Star teams in their respective states.

Tiara Chambers earned a spot on the West squad for the second annual Virginian-Pilot Joy Fund All-Star Classic, while…

123117ECUbasketball-4.jpg

June 19, 2018

The time just after former East Carolina pole vaulter Brie Berkowitz completed her master’s degree at ECU was defined by a series of internships.

She did broadcasting for football camps, coordinated travel for various teams with the Miami Hurricanes and worked in sales and marketing for the…

061318ECUTrack-3.jpg

June 18, 2018

The consistency shown by East Carolina football coaches was key during the recruitment of Farmville Central rising senior defensive lineman Keziah Everett and that led to Everett verbally committing to the Pirates on Monday.

He chose ECU over North Carolina and Virginia. The Pirates were the first…

052317FCfootball-3

June 17, 2018

WINTERVILLE — It took until the final hour on June 17 for the Pitt County Post 39 American Legion baseball team to be handed its first loss of the season.

It happened late Sunday night when visiting Wallace Post 156 scored an 8-5 win against Pitt County in the final game of the Area 1 versus…

061818legion-1.jpg

June 17, 2018

The United States team completed a dominant run at the FIBA Americas U18 basketball tournament in Ontario, Canada, on Saturday night with a 113-74 victory against the host Canadian squad to take the gold medal.

East Carolina first-year coach Joe Dooley helped pick the team, which was led…

dooley (1).JPG.JPG

June 17, 2018

The D.H. Conley football team is known for its spectacular athletes. Fast, physical and athletic are all adjectives often used to describe the Vikings players.

The Vikes finished with an 11-2 record in 2017, led by a perfect 6-0 mark in Eastern Carolina 3-A/4-A play. With star quarterback…

conley1.jpg

June 17, 2018

Ayden-Grifton sophomore Jackson Upchurch knows what it means to work hard and grind to improve at the plate.

Upchurch batted for a .418 batting average, 24 runs, 23 hits and 11 RBIs, which earned him hitter of the year honors for The Daily Reflector’s All-County Baseball Team.…

061018-All County Baseball

June 17, 2018

J.H. Rose senior Hunter Christopher knows how to retire batters.

Christopher had an ERA of just 0.72 in his final season with the Rampants, helping to earn him the 3-A/4-A Eastern Carolina Conference player of the year honor and The Daily Reflector’s All-County pitcher of the year accolade.…

061018-All County Baseball

June 17, 2018

FIRST TEAM:

Zach Byrum, D.H. Conley: Byrum knew how to punish pitchers from the plate in his senior season. He tallied a team-best .378 batting average, and also led the Vikings in runs (35) and hits (31). He also earned 11 RBIs.

Drew Nichols, South Central: The senior once again improved…

061018-All county baseball

June 17, 2018

D.H. Conley baseball coach Jason Mills has shown that he knows how to get the best out of his players, both on and off the field.

The Vikings posted a 21-6 record, along with a 9-3 record in the 3-A/4-A Eastern Carolina Conference. They spent the season consistently ranked in high regard by…

061018-All County Baseball
385 stories in Sports. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 39
        Next Page»   Last Page»