Multiple players suspended after JUCO pitcher levels batter
WEATHERFORD, Texas (AP) — A Texas junior college baseball conference has suspended a pitcher for four games after he tackled an opposing batter after a home run, and the batter also was suspended for two games because he was ejected for taunting.
The North Texas Junior College Athletic Conference announced Thursday it suspended both players and many more from both teams due to the resulting brawl.
Online video of the play showed North Central Texas College’s Josh Phillips rounding third after his sixth-inning home run, only to have Weatherford College pitcher Owen Woodward charge off the mound and level him with a violent blow to the midsection. Several players then charged on to the field.
Weatherford officials have said Woodward could face expulsion from school as the play caught widespread online attention.
But the league office handed out most of its punishment for the North Central Texas program because of the players who ran onto the field after the hit.
The league suspended for two games “all team members for NCTC that were in the dugout or bullpen” and any assistant coaches who stepped onto the field. It also suspended four additional Weatherford players and assistant coaches for two games.
If that leaves North Central Texas without enough players for its next two games against Weatherford, it will have to forfeit, the league said. Both teams were ordered to forfeit the game that was stopped.
The teams are scheduled to play each other this weekend.
“We are shocked and disappointed at what happened in our game today,” Weatherford coach Jeff Lightfoot said after the game. “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.”
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