College Pitcher Who Tackled Opposing Batter Gets Punished

By Jason Hall

April 22, 2022

Close-Up Of Ball On Field
Photo: Getty Images

Weatherford pitcher Owen Woodward, who tackled an opposing batter after he'd hit a home run off of him during a game on Wednesday (April 20), is no longer on the team, according to head baseball coach Jeff Lightfoot.

The Northern Texas Junior College Athletic Conference (NTJCAC) confirmed Lightfoot's decision in a news release confirming its own disciplinary action, which included handing down a four-game suspension to Woodward for the incident.

"For the WC pitcher in question, the conferences has enacted a four-game suspension for tackling an NCTC baserunner. WC Head Baseball Coach Jeff Lightfoot said the pitcher is no longer with the team," NTJCAC wrote in the statement shared by Weatherford Athletics' Twitter account. "The Weatherford College Student Services Office has handed down additional discipline to the student, but because of college policy and federal regulations protecting student privacy, WC will not be releasing the details of any other discipline."

Additionally, North Central Texas' Josh Phillips, the baserunner tackled by Woodward, received a two-game suspension for taunting.

The conference also handed down two-game suspensions for "all NCTC team members that were in the bullpen or dugout, except for two, and any NCTC assistant coaches that stepped onto the field," as well as "four additional WC players" who left "their positions or leaving the dugout as well as any assistant coach that stepped onto the field during the incident" in adherence with conference rules "prohibiting players and coaches from leaving their positions or their dugouts during a fight."

A brawl ensued after Woodward tackled Phillips during his home run trot after putting his team ahead 3-2 in the sixth inning of a seven-inning game.

Video footage of the incident shows Woodward, a 6'3", 195-pound sophomore, throw his glove down and sprint toward Phillips before blasting him just after the hitter rounded third base.

"We are shocked and disappointed at what happened in our game today," Lightfoot said after the game via ESPN. "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."

Weatherford College confirmed it had launched an ongoing investigation into the incident.

"The WC student in question will face potential disciplinary action from the Office of Student Services up to and possibly including expulsion," the school said in a statement obtained by ESPN. "The Weatherford College Police Department is also investigating the incident and has taken statements."

Lightfoot confirmed that Woodward hadn't previously been involved with any incidents.

Umpires suspended the game after the sixth inning brawl took place. The incident took place during what was the first of a scheduled four-game series between the two teams.

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