College Pitcher Faces Expulsion for Home Run Attack

Weatherford hurler Owen Woodward looked more like a football player when he tackled batter Josh Phillips of North Central Texas College

A bucket of NCAA tournament baseballs
A bucket of NCAA tournament baseballs.
Andy Mead/YCJ/Icon Sportswire via Getty

Following an attack on an opposing hitter for unexplained reasons as he rounded the bases after giving up a home run on Wednesday, a young pitcher may be out at his junior college in Texas.  

In the top of the sixth inning of a game between Weatherford College and North Central Texas College, NCTC’s Josh Phillips hit a go-ahead home run and began celebrating with his third-base coach as he rounded the bases. After chucking his glove in frustration, Weatherford pitcher Owen Woodward sprinted at Phillips and tackled him to the ground with force.

Following a brief fracas that appeared to result in no serious injuries, umpires suspended the game until further notice.

Kel Bordwine, a former college baseball pitcher who runs the Twitter account Texas College Baseball, posted the video of the attack on his page and it went viral. “I’ve never seen a pitcher attack a defenseless runner,” Bordwine told ABC 8. “When I saw this, I was like, there’s no way these guys are sacrificing their season. But futures and the sport as well. This is not going to bode well with whoever sees it.”

Bordwine is right about that as it sounds as if the severity of Woodward’s attack is not sitting well with officials at Weatherford and the young hurler could be facing expulsion from school. In addition to the college investigating the incident and the motivations behind it, the Weatherford College Police Department is also investigating what happened on the diamond.

“We are shocked and disappointed at what happened in our game today,” said Weatherford baseball coach and assistant athletic director Jeff Lightfoot. “We do not condone this type of behavior. We have worked hard to build a program with the highest of standards. We are completely embarrassed by this incident, and we apologize to North Central Texas College and the fans of WC baseball. This type of behavior cannot be tolerated.” 

NCTC also released a statement. “NCTC expects our student-athletes to exhibit the highest levels of sportsmanship both on and off the field,” per the school. “The unfortunate events at Weatherford College will be used as a teaching moment for our student-athletes to help ensure these incidents do not occur in the future. We appreciate the integrity of the Weatherford Administration in communicating with NCTC and will be working in conjunction with them to determine the full extent of this event.”

Per Weatherford’s website, Woodward is a sophomore who entered Wednesday with a 3.10 ERA, 30 strikeouts and four saves in 20.1 innings pitched across 12 appearances. It appears he was a first-team All-District football player in high school who played quarterback on offense and outside linebacker on defense. That tracks.

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