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Baseball Closes Out Fall With Blackbeard Challenge

Go Tigers! Freshman Deshorn Lake took home top individual honors at the Seventh Annual Blackbeard Challenge.
Go Tigers!
Freshman Deshorn Lake took home top individual honors at the Seventh Annual Blackbeard Challenge.
Go Tigers!

Dec. 6, 2011

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GREENVILLE, N.C. - The East Carolina baseball team completed its Annual Fire of Blackbeard Challenge last week as the 2011 fall practice schedule came to an end, with Bryan Bass, Jake Harris, DeShorn Lake, Jack Reinheimer, Dario Santangelo, Andy Smithmyer, Corey Thompson and Timothy Younger guiding team Red to the Seventh Annual Title. For Bass (2010) and Thompson (2009) it is the second time they have been on the winning team.

Head Coach Billy Godwin and his staff broke the squad into five groups and put them through a series of challenges that tested endurance, strength and teamwork.

"This was once again another exciting and fun event," said Godwin. "Every year we continue to get stronger and faster from the previous year and that is a credit to Coach Tanner Kolb (strength and conditioning) and Zac Womack (athletic trainer), who have done a remarkable job putting our players in a position to succeed during this event and on the baseball diamond.

The first day of competition saw the teams compete in the 300-yard shuttle (Stephen Hales), 60-yard shuttle (DeShorn Lake) and pro agility (Kevin Brandt).

After their Thanksgiving Lift, the Pirates headed inside Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium for the stadium run where freshman Jeff Hoffman took home the event. On day three, the teams participated in the box jump (Lake), vertical jump (Lake) and power clean (Jay Cannon).

Day four consisted of a squat contest (Jharel Cotton), while the fifth day featured the dumb bell bench press (D.J. Jauss), close grip bench (Zach Wright), plate hold (Jonathan Holt) and chin-ups (Andy Smithmyer).

Final day of competition, which started at 5 a.m., saw all five teams participate in a three-mile run, in which John Allen edged out Dylan Dickens by one second.

Then each team participated in the crucible competing in a series of challenges which they had to carry weights, push and pull weights on a sled, flip tires, medicine ball throws, cone drills, sprints, barrel rolls and finish with a 20-yard army crawl in the sand pit. The team with the best time received points to be added to the previous four days events, deciding the overall team champion.

At the teams end of the semester banquet, which was held at the City Hotel and Bistro, Kolb announced that Team Red won the annual title and Lake claimed the overall individual crown.

"This group of players is one of the hardest working teams that I have had the pleasure to coach," said Kolb. "We have all heard the old cliché that you are only as strong as your weakest link, and there are no weak links here, whether we are talking about work ethic, mental toughness, or character."

Former Pirate assistant coach George Whitfield and Colonel Walter J. Marm, Jr. served as guest speakers during the banquet. Marm, a Vietnam veteran, received the Medal of Honor on Dec. 19, 1966 for his heroic acts in the la Drang Valley on November 14.

Teams in order of finish:
Team Red: Bryan Bass, Jake Harris, DeShorn Lake, Jack Reinheimer, Dario Santangelo, Andy Smithmyer, Corey Thompson and Timothy Younger.

Team White: Grayson Bailey, Kevin Brandt, Jay Cannon, Ben Fultz, Ryan Gupton, D.J. Jauss, Tyler Joyner and Patrick Roy.

Team Gold: Austin Chrismon, Philip Clark, Dylan Dickens, Joseph Hughes, David Lucroy, Chase McDonald, Nick Thompson and Zach Wright.

Team Grey: Tyler Bolton, Chris Gosik, Jonathan Holt, Lance Honeycutt, Brett Mabry, Tanner Merritt, Drew Reynolds and John Wooten.

Team Purple: John Allen, Jharel Cotton, Stephen Hales, Jeff Hoffman, Sam King, Joshua Lovick, Kevin Sanders and Michael Ussery.

The Pirates will open the 2012 season at home when they play host to UW Milwaukee on Friday, Feb. 17 with a first pitch scheduled for 3 p.m. (EST).