Update: A college pitcher has been suspended four games for acting more like a football player than a baseball player during a game. Owen Woodward of Weatherford College in Texas tackled an opposing player on the base path after the player hit a home run off him, reports Yahoo Sports. The North Texas Junior College Athletic Conference also suspended batter Josh Phillips two games for taunting. Umps say he yelled an expletive at the pitcher while rounding the bases, leading to the incident, video of which has gone viral. Our story from Thursday follows:
It was exactly what the pitcher for Texas' Weatherford College had dreaded. With his team up 2-1 over North Central Texas College in the top of the second-to-last inning of Wednesday's game, NCTC first baseman Josh Phillips connected with Owen Woodward's pitch, sending the ball over the left center field fence for a two-run homer, putting NCTC in the lead, per KDFW and WFAA. What happened next was what Weatherford's coach saw as even more dreadful, USA Today reports. As Phillips rounded third base, Woodward threw down his glove, ran from the pitcher's mound and tackled the freshman, sending his helmet flying before he'd even hit the ground.
Footage of the incident soon went viral on social media. "Oh no! That was out of nowhere," said a stunned announcer in a clip viewed more than 4 million times on Twitter. As KDFW reports, "Phillips didn't appear to be slow trotting or showboating." His teammates rushed onto the field, piling on top of Woodward, who was soon after escorted to his team's dugout. Phillips stood up and walked to touch home plate. The game was suspended and Woodward, a sophomore, now faces potential disciplinary action "up to and possibly including expulsion," according to a statement from Weatherford, which is investigating the incident alongside its police department.
"We are shocked and disappointed" and "completely embarrassed by this incident," says Weatherford's coach and associate athletic director Jeff Lightfoot. "We apologize to North Central Texas College and the fans of WC baseball" as "this type of behavior cannot be tolerated." NCTC Chancellor Dr. Brent Wallace says the Gainesville college will conduct its own investigation. Meanwhile, "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." The teams will face off again on Saturday. (Read more college sports stories.)