Getting Ready For The WeekendWeekend Preview
What The Preview Includes:
• ECU’s new culture provides hope
• Fab Freshman Spotlight: Texas A&M’s Zach Deloach
• Five Things We’re Watching
Cliff Godwin and East Carolina needed a dose of reality last season.
The Pirates went 38-23 overall in 2016 and were a hit away from making the program’s first trip to the College World Series. Given that accomplishment, Godwin’s club entered the 2017 campaign with high hopes. Getting to Omaha was the expectation.
Instead, it was the season from hell that turned into a blessing in disguise … or so Godwin thinks.
As the Pirates fought through last season, injuries were an issue. Dwanya Williams-Sutton and Evan Kruczynski battled injuries at times, and there were plenty of others. ECU struggled mightily during the conference portion of its schedule, but Godwin, in the middle of the season, insisted his team would be a force to be reckoned with at some point. ECU compiled a rough 7-17 American record, but as the head coach predicted, got healthy just in time for the conference tournament and were ready to make a valiant run. There, the Pirates won the first three games before facing conference stalwart Houston in the championship game.
This team, after everything it had been through, had come this far. However, the run, which mimicked what Rice did at the Conference USA tournament, didn’t end with the Pirates making the postseason like the Owls. Instead, the Cougars made easy work of the Pirates, leaving Godwin to think of what could’ve been.
It also allowed him to reflect on how he handled the team and program from a personal standpoint. In his eyes, the program needed to be better, and most importantly, he needed to be better.
“To be honest with you, I think what happened to us last season, just missing the tournament, was the best thing to happen to this program” Godwin said. “We needed to adjust things, we needed better things in our team culture. This team and program thought we’d made winning look easy after being inches away from getting to the CWS in 2016. I really think some guys got complacent.