Maness Takes Baseball Skills to ECU
The baseball journey for East Carolina signee Seth Maness began as a member of the Pinehurst Kiwanis Mets T-ball team as a 4-year-old.
The Pinecrest senior and his parents, Mike Maness and Jan Benton, signed the national letter of intent and scholarship papers at the school library last Thursday.
In committing to ECU, the pitcher-infielder for the Patriots will be joining a program that has appeared in seven straight NCAA regionals and two super regionals in the last five seasons. It is also the school where Pinecrest coach Jeff Hewitt played baseball.
"It's been a lifelong dream to play college baseball," Maness says. "Coach Hewitt helped me a lot getting in there.
"When we played Greenville Rose in the state playoffs, we got to go to ECU and look around. They have an awesome facility, and I just knew I wanted to go there. I'm just excited to be a part of the program now."
Maness was the pitcher in his team's 3-2 victory over Rose, improving his record to 11-1. In 88 innings for the Patriots last season, he allowed 60 hits while striking out 127 and walking just six with an ERA of 1.44. He also played second base and batted .420.
He was voted the Mid-Southeastern Conference Player of the Year and also made the all-state team.
He hopes to pitch and play the infield for the Pirates, and Hewitt thinks he will be up to the task.
"Seth is a player you'd love to see play for your alma mater," Hewitt says. "He has the tools to play at that level. It was a great fit for Coach Godwin (Billy) and Seth.
"It was a cool night when he called me and told me he was going there."
The NCAA's early signing period runs from Nov. 8 to Nov. 15 this year. ECU was one of the West End product's top choices throughout the recruiting process.
"It's a good thing," Maness says of all of the attention he got from college coaches, "but it gets old after a certain point. It feels good to get something in stone."
He calls it icing on the cake after a spring season that included a conference co-championship for Pinecrest.
"Our junior legion team also had a great summer," he says. "It should be another fun year this year."
Also supporting Maness at the signing were his brothers Tanner and Bailey Benton, and grandparents Elmer and Doris Andrews.
Way back when, with the T-ball Mets, he recalls that his coaches were his dad and Tony Kirk, the father of former Patriot teammate Derek Kirk.
"I give all the credit to my dad," he says. "He's taught me everything I know. I wouldn't be here without him."
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