Opening day always a glorious day

Published 5:19 am Saturday, February 21, 2009

By Staff
Commentary by KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
A cold breeze greeted fans as they entered the friendly confines of Clark-LeClair Stadium.
The aroma of hot dogs and hot chocolate wafted through the air.
Goose bumps hit me as I made my way into the cozy press box. The breeze didn’t cause the goose bumps.
It’s opening day, and I’m pumped.
It’s 54 minutes before the first scheduled pitch of the season.
The East Carolina Pirates are taking fielding practice on the perfectly-manicured infield dirt. The grass is green and pristine.
A ping, and its echo, rings throughout the stadium.
Fans find their seats early. Most are bundled up in coats, hats and mittens.
Opening day is filled with promise.
How many wins will these Pirates earn? How far can this team go?
Several veterans await to take the field. Brandon Henderson, who will wear No. 23 in honor of the former, late coaching great Keith LeClair, will man first base.
The long, lanky Ryan Wood will hold down second base. Young, but talented shortstop Dustin Harrington will flash his range at shortstop, and Drew Schieber, healthy back and all, will take third.
Stephen Batts, expected to put up big numbers this year, starts in left.
Trent Ashcraft, a speedster, takes over for Harrison Eldridge in center. Devin Harris gets the nod in right ahead of former Washington Pam Pack standout Trent Whitehead, who coach Billy Godwin is counting on for things this year.
Jared Avchen, a junior college transfer, crouches behind the plate.
Seth Maness makes the first pitch of the season, coming at 2:59 p.m. It’s a strike for the All-American pitcher.
A good start to a season filled with possibility and promise.
The day ends with a 13-4 ECU victory.
A cold breeze continues to blow.
A breeze that may blow all the way into Omaha.
Kevin Travis is the Sports Editor of the Washington Daily News. You may reach him at 940-4217, or by e-mail at