Pirates hold first official practice|Team starts off with a scrimmage

Published 9:45 pm Saturday, January 29, 2011

By By BRIAN HAINES, Brian@wdnweb.com, Sports Writer
GREENVILLE — A near 60 degree day provided a beautiful backdrop for the East Carolina baseball team as it held its first official practice of the 2011 season.
Pirates’ sixth-year coach Billy Godwin didn’t waste any time putting his unit to work as the team scrimmaged right away.
“It was exciting just to get out here and have all the guys together,” Godwin said. “I thought it was real spirited. I thought the guys were locked in and engaged. We jumped right into a scrimmage. The last half some things went on that we have to address but overall I thought it was a really good day.”
Godwin said the early scrimmage should help the team get back into a more normal baseball schedule.
“What we have been doing the last three weeks with our skill work has been preparing them to come out and immediately we want to fall into a Friday, Saturday, Sunday (schedule),” Godwin said. “We’re three weeks from opening day (Feb. 18 at home against Youngstown State). Three weeks from now we are going to be1-0, and I’m not being brash I’m just being honest. So it’s important to get our guys in a rhythm of playing Friday, Saturday and Sunday.”
Overall, Godwin said he liked what he saw from his group.
“I know we are going to make some physical mistakes but I thought the mental mistakes were at a low,” Godwin said. “I thought they were engaged. We made some physical mistakes that we have to correct but that will come with repetition. The more we are out here as a team and the more repetitions we get then the better physically we will be.”
East Carolina threw six pitchers, with the starters working on a 50-pitch count and relievers throwing on a 20-pitch count.
“(Seth) Maness and (Zach) Woods stood out, they are certainly guys that we think can be weekend guys,” Godwin said. “The other guys, (Austin) Chrismon, a freshman we are high on, threw well and near the end Jake Harris came in and threw pretty well. The last four guys were probably guys who will end up being relievers.”
Maness, who was named to the All-Conference USA Preseason team Wednesday along with Trent Whitehead and Corey Thompson, he felt good about his outing but said there is room for improvement.
“I think it went all right I still got a few things that I need to work on but overall it was a positive outing,” Maness said.
The Pirates ace said his biggest challenge leading up to the opener is getting his condition up to where it needs to be.
“Conditioning is one of the biggest things,” Maness said. “Just making sure that your arm is able to throw 100 pitches and that you have the stamina to compete.”
The pitching seemed to be a bit ahead of the hitting, but former Washington High School standout Trent Whitehead managed to rip and RBI triple during the scrimmage and afterwards said he was happy to be back out on the field.
“It feels good. We had a long individual period and a nice break, but it’s nice this time of season knowing that opening day it getting close,” Whitehead said. “We are just excited to get back out here and have the opportunity to compete against each other and prepare for the season.”
Whitehead said the toughest adjustment this time of year is the transition from batting cage to real pitcher.
“Right now its been a while since I have seen live pitching so right now I’m just trying to get back to recognizing live pitching and getting my timing down,” Whitehead said.