Diamond (Lady) Pirates
Are Feel Good Story of the Spring

by Dan Eberhard

Let’s face it.  Pirate fans haven’t had a whole lot to feel good about this year.  The success stories on the playing field have been few and far between.  Turmoil and turnover has been the story line, but a group of Pirate ladies hope to end things on a positive note for all ECU fans.

I’m the first to admit I am not always eager when Brian Bailey gives me an assignment to go cover the ECU Softball team.  It takes a while for the small ball strategy to grow on you in the era of the home run highlight, but it’s time to give credit where credit is due.  Congratulations to the Lady Pirates on a successful year.

The team’s 55 wins are the second most in the nation this year and the Pirates achieved their highest ever finish (third) in the Conference USA standings. 

“I know there is nobody in this conference that expected them to do what they’ve done this year,” said ECU head coach Tracey Kee. “It’s just been a great year and a great ride.”

ECU needs a solid outing at the Conference USA Tournament in Tampa, Florida this week to boost its resume as an NCAA Tournament team.  As long as a Cinderella team doesn’t make a run in Tampa and the Pirates win at least a game, they should be a good candidate to get an at-large bid. 

“It’s something we’re trying not to think about.  Our main focus and only focus is the next few days in Tampa,” said Kee.

The best way to assure a postseason berth is to win the Conference USA Tournament.  After all, the Pirates did sweep top-seeded Louisville and they’ve beaten the other five teams in the tournament at least once this season. 

“It definitely helps us knowing we can beat them,” said Pirate senior Kate Manuse.  “We have to keep that in the back of our mind even though we’re still kind of the underdog.”

East Carolina dropped 2 of 3 at Southern Miss to close out the regular season.  The team will get a chance at redemption at 10:00 a.m. today when they take on the Golden Eagles in the first round of the double-elimination tournament.

“We have a lot of revenge to take on them,” said ECU senior Mandi Nichols. "We had a rough weekend, but I think we’re going to bounce back and really put it to them.”

Regardless of what happens the rest of the season the ladies have represented the university in manner that should make all Pirate fans proud.  Congratulations ECU Softball team and good luck in the tournament.

Dan Eberhard