ECU Baseball Shows Commitment to Helping Agnos Family Through Loss
GREENVILLE, NC (WITN) — ECU baseball made the NCAA Super Regionals last year. National expectations continue with ECU ranked in the top 15 in 4 major polls.
This year’s Pirates have already overcome so much together. The pre-season hype is nothing to them.
ECU baseball season is just weeks away. They have worked hard all fall and are back this spring to prepare for the next campaign. ECU says this off-court offseason has been one of the toughest they’ve had to deal with.
“Before every game I would try to find my parents and I knew my mom was always right over the 3rd base dugout with the families in the stands. I always knew my dad was in the right field,” says ECU infielder Zach Agnos, “I remember looking at my mom, and she was wearing her sunglasses, and I could tell that she was upset just by the body language. I looked in right field and didn’t see him. I came back to the locker room and lost it.
All-American ECU Freshman infielder Zach Agnos lost his father Niko this fall to COVID-19. The Pirate Nation and others raised over $50,000 to help his family. But it’s how ECU responded in person that makes this program so special.
“There is no manual. There is no manual. You don’t know what to do and throughout this situation,” says ECU head coach Cliff Godwin, “After he hung up on the phone with his mother, we obviously kissed and cried in my office. I said hey, go get your cell phone and everything. I put you in my car. That’s all I knew how to do was drive to northern Virginia… Sometimes you just have to be there for people. You don’t need to talk, you don’t need to say anything.
Each level of the Pirates program got stronger for their teammate when downed.
“He’s my roommate, so we’re still pretty close, but I think the team came together when that happened,” says ECU pitcher CJ Mayhue, “We helped him going through a difficult time.”
From the fall game that Zach talked about on the loose…
“Phil, our concierge, gave Turner a big hug and he gave me one of the biggest hugs I’ve ever received. He said he was looking. Just smiling and it was one coolest times of my life,” Agnos says, “Then you go to the bathroom, and I’m crying, and Kuchmanor is sitting there waiting for me, and he’s giving me a big hug.
“Bounding moment for us because it puts everything in perspective that it’s not the only thing that matters,” says ECU pitcher Jake Kuchmaner, “Family matters more outside of baseball and it helps you get there. to recover.”
..to go to the celebration of life.
“We took the team back up there that Monday for the celebration of life. Of course we were crammed into a bus because it’s harder to get multiple buses because of COVID,” says Godwin, “One of our freshmen got COVID, a day later I had COVID, then Colby Bortles had COVID. COVID was tough for me after, plus Niko’s situation, but our guys did a really good job of getting there.
The Pirate family, ready for baseball opponents and whatever life throws at them.
“Everyone talks about the quality of the fans, the quality of everyone and the family atmosphere,” says Agnos. “It’s really been 100% accurate the whole offseason.”
ECU opens its baseball season on Friday, February 18 at home against Bryant University.
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