Woodard and Duncan teaming up for pitching clinic
Nick Johnston, Hartselle Enquirer
These two have a history.
Steve Woodard and Courtney Duncan will be teaching at Encore's Pro Pitching Program during the next three months, but it won't be the first time these two guys have gotten together.
Back in 1993, they sat in opposite dugouts in the Class 5A Alabama State Championship game, Woodard with the Hartselle Tigers and Duncan with Daphne.
In that series, Daphne got the better of Hartselle winning two games to one. Duncan won his start, while Woodard wasn't so fortunate.
Yet both said they are excited about returning to Hartselle during the off season to help young pitchers develop the right mechanics and right habits.
There is so much to their story, though. Looking back, all they can do is laugh about the 1993 series.
Their memories were a bit fuzzy, but one coach remembered every detail.
Here is their story.
About the 1993 championship series…
Duncan said he had never seen anything like it.
Thousands of fans formed a victory line as Hartselle players exited the bus. And he, along with other Daphne baseball players, was not treated warmly.
"I remember they had some rowdy fans," Duncan said. "There were 3,000 people there, and people would scream at you 'you are gonna lose.' They were on you from the first pitch to the last pitch. We had never experienced anything like that."
Hartselle won the first game, but in the nightcap, Duncan pitched a masterpiece, forcing a third and deciding game between the two teams.
A game Woodard would pitch and lose. It was an upset, and a lot of Hartselle fans went home disappointed.
"I remember I got beat," Woodard said when asked if he remembered much about the series. "All the talk that year was Freddie Kitchens. He was the guy we had to beat. We weren't real sure of who Courtney Duncan or the lefty they had was."
Coach Booth on the 1993 championship series…
William Booth's memory is uncanny.
The Hartselle head coach remembered several specific plays from the 1993 series. Like how Daphne was able to get on base at least four times in game three against Woodard.
"Every time Steve threw an off-speed pitch they would lean over the plate and let it hit them," Booth said. "I think he (Woodard) hit four batters and that hurt. Stevie pitched well aside from the hit batters, but he really didn't hit them, they just leaned into the plate and were able to get base runners."
Duncan and Woodard, along with Encore's T.J. Orr, were all sitting in the room during the telephone interview. After Booth made these statements, everybody was laughing, including Duncan.
"He (Woodard) had great control," Booth continued, "but they weren't real comfortable hitting him (Woodard) so they just took the pitch."
After several minutes of talking with Booth, the head coach mentioned a play during the second game of that series in which Duncan conveniently left out, but quickly denied.
Booth on Duncan and the alleged controversy…
Neither Woodard nor Duncan could recall specifics of the incident.
"The umpires threw him (Duncan) out of the game when it was nothing-nothing," Booth said. "Their coach started throwing a fit, though, and they put him back in."
The claim appeared to shock Duncan, and he laughingly denied it.
"I wasn't kicked out," he said.
"Coach Booth remembers everything Courtney," Woodard said.
Booth went on to describe what happened early in that game. He said Duncan was attempting to stretch a double into a triple, and went into third cleats up.
The third baseman was Woodard, as he was only going to pitch in the third game if needed.
"Stevie was playing third and he (Duncan) knew he was pitching the next day, and he came into third with his cleats about three feet in the air," Booth said. "The umpire said he was out and out of the game."
Again Duncan denied the charge, laughing and saying "I don't remember."
Both Duncan and Woodard remember a play at third base, but both say they don't remember the ejection.
"I remember there was a play at third," Woodard said. "I know there was some controversy but I don't remember him ever getting kicked out.
"It wasn't like an altercation or anything."
Why do a camp?…
The two appear best of friends, and will team up during the next three months for a Pro Pitching Clinic.
Beginning Nov. 3, Duncan and Woodard will instruct pitchers from 12-years old through high school seniors.
Orr, Encore's Director of Baseball and Softball operations, said "It's a pretty intense program that will be monitored by two major league pitchers."
The camp will be held at the Decatur location through late January. The timing could not be more perfect, either. Both Woodard and Duncan are in the off season, and can concentrate on helping the development of young pitchers.
"I think every kid's different," Woodard said. "You're not going to work the same way with one kid as you are another. I want to watch a kid throw a couple of times and then try to make an adjustment. The main thing we will be working on is mechanics. We want to teach the proper way to throw and prevent an injury."
Duncan said the camp can serve two purposes.
"I want a kid to get better at pitching," he said. "And it helps me to reiterate things, because when I teach a kid it helps me do it the right way."
For more information of the camp, call Encore at 773-5117 or 309-5929.