Perfect Timing
by Josh Spence

What a great weekend of baseball at the brand new Clark-LeClair Stadium. Everything from the facilities to the hospitality, right down to the action on the field was awesome at the 2nd Annual Keith LeClair Classic. Fans got to see great baseball games with some of the best teams in the country, and enjoyed one of the nicest baseball facilities in the Southeast. For most, it was their first look at the 2005 baseball Pirates after 8 straight road games.

This couldn't have come at a better time for the ECU athletic department. It's been a pretty chaotic past few months for the department's staff. Having no permanent athletic director for better than a year was hard on everyone. Only 3 wins in the past two years for ECU football, and losing season after losing season in ECU basketball are only a few of the harsh realities that lead to the removal of both head coaches in a span of just over three months. Now with the hiring of a new head basketball coach, ECU will be paying a total of five head coaches from the sports of football and men's basketball alone.

It would have been easy to give up on this program. Instead, we focus on the bright spots as we work to improve the low ones. ECU baseball has emerged as one of the most successful sports in the schools history, and now the athletic department, the fans, and many gracious supporters of the program have shown their appreciation.

With the top notch facilities the Pirates now call home, they have the ability to host major tournaments and bring in the countries best teams. And when the opportunity arises, they can host regionals, and super-regionals right here in Greenville. These facilities could be used as a tremendous recruiting tool, and think of the economic boost of hosting a super regional, or a conference tournament.

The Pirates played over 1,000 games at the old Harrington Field. It was home to over 90 players that have signed pro contracts, and many of the Pirates greatest games.

3,890 fans packed the bleachers and the jungle to watch the Pirates beat North Carolina 2-1 on April 17th 2002, a record for attendance at Harrington. On Friday morning, the Pirates set a new record in their new home as 4,410 Pirate fans watched ECU take out Michigan 2-1.

The 2nd annual Keith LeClair Classic was just a preview of what is to come of the Pirates new baseball home. At a time when ECU athletics has left much to be desired the new Clark-LeClair Stadium has given us all something to be proud of. Hopefully this is just a sign of things to come under a new era in East Carolina athletics.

Josh Spence