With a season-ending partial distal tear in the UCL, Ouachita Christian standout pitcher Kade Woods' senior season ended in devastating fashion.
Nita Woods, the mother of the Alabama signee, broke the news on Facebook Wednesday morning and said Woods would undergo surgery at the Andrews Institute next week. For head coach John Parker, his thoughts are first and foremost with Woods and his family.
“Obviously, we’re all saddened by the news of Kade’s injury, and No. 1 Kade’s such a great kid,” Parker said. “He’s obviously a great baseball player. He has a great future in front of him. That’s the biggest thing. We want to do whatever we can to make sure he continues on his career path. We’re just praying for a full recovery after his surgery.”
Parker said Woods had some discomfort pitching against Ouachita on March 29. Woods and the coaches believed it was a muscle strain injury, but Parker could tell Woods wasn’t as sharp as he was against West Monroe, one outing prior.
“He was touching 88 to 90, and he hit 92 a couple of times, but something was different,” Parker said. “We got him out after four innings. With high velocity guys, it’s definitely more common for those guys because of the stress they put on their arm.”
Coincidentally, local orthopedic surgery specialist Dr. Sol Graves joined The Morning Drive with Aaron and Jake to discuss LSU pitcher Jaden Hill’s season-ending UCL tear Wednesday morning. In that interview Graves detailed the road to recovery for pitchers who suffer the injury to the main ligament of the elbow.
“Typically for a pitcher, it’s usually around a year before you’re able to go back to pitching in a game,” Graves said. “Usually around the four-month mark, you start throwing and around the six-month mark a position player can get back to playing. But for a pitcher that relies on high velocity, it’s usually around a year before they’re able to pitch.”
Woods struck out nine of the 12 batters he faced against West Monroe on March 19, and West Monroe pitching coach said the following after OCS' 5-0 win, "Kade Woods is the best high school guy I’ve seen maybe ever. He’s SEC ready now.”
Parker said the message to his team now is to support Woods and continue to put in the work.
"No. 1 we're going to lift Kade up and continue to pray for him and his recovery," Parker said. "And Kade's going to be a huge part of this team as far as being a senior leader. But I think the message also to the team is, 'Hey, Kade couldn't go win a state championship by himself. It's going to take 18 to 20 guys to come out here every day and put in the work.' We're not going to win all of these games with one pitcher. We have a talented pitching staff, and we'll have to piece some things together. I have full confidence in this team."