is in his first year as ECU's head baseball coach, and the jury is
still out on whether the 41-year-old will be the man to lead the
Pirates' ship deep into the 21st century. But Godwin has done a pretty
good job in his first year in division one. The Diamond Bucs have a
very good chance to make the postseason party, especially with 11 of
their next 14 games at Clark-LeClair Stadium. And Godwin made some bold
moves over the past few weeks that almost paid big dividends.
The Rocky Mount native decided to take regular Friday starter T.J. Hose
and throw him on five days rest against nationally ranked NC State on
April 12th. The move paid off when Hose threw 8 2/3's innings and ECU
won 2-1 in 13 innings. The victory was big for a Pirate team trying to
make it's 8th straight NCAA Tournament. That was the reward.
The risk came the following weekend when ECU played an Albany team that
came to Greenville with a losing record. The Pirates eventually swept
the Great Danes without using Hose, but trailed in two of the three
games before winning.
Godwin also gambled by holding normal Sunday starter Brody Taylor out
of the weekend rotation against Albany and started him against NC State
this past Tuesday. It almost worked. The Pirates beat the Great Danes
on Sunday, and had the Wolfpack down 3-2 when Taylor left the game.
Godwin rolled the dice again and brought in T.J. Hose who had not
pitched in seven days to try and save another precious victory.
The ball did not bounce ECU's way and they lost in 10 innings on a
couple of wild pitches. Now we have to wait and see if the risky move
will pay off this weekend against Marshall. Hose will be expected to
start Friday night, and Taylor will be expected back in the weekend
rotation Sunday. How they respond after having their schedule's altered
over the last 10 days is yet to be determined, and Pirate fans are
hoping there is not a let down or over use of the players.
But that is why coaches get paid the big bucks. They have to make tough
decisions to try and win as many games as possible. Sometimes they go
by "the book" and it doesn't work out, sometimes they go against
conventional thinking and it works, and vice versa. The perception is,
if the team wins, the coach made the right decision, and if they lose,
he made the wrong decision. It's a bottom line business whether that is
fair or not. Godwin has also assumed third base coaching duties. The
Pirates have had their trouble running the bases this year, and this
team does not hit as well as Pirate teams in the past, so base runners
are a premium. Godwin's presence at third has promoted a more
conservative approach to taking extra bases, but his visibility has
certainly added more to his credibility as a leader. Whether it's
perception more than reality, it certainly has been noticed.
Now we get to see how Godwin leads the Pirates down the stretch run of
the season. His predecessors Gary Overton, Keith LeClair, and Randy
Mazey set the bar high, and much will be expected of ECU's Diamond
Bucs. Will Godwin's gambles pay off? Lots of fans are hoping the odds
are in his favor.