Accident Stains Cape League Opening
One pitcher seriously injured, one charged in late-night mishap
BREWSTER, Mass.—The start of the 2008 Cape Cod League season was marred late Sunday night when a pitcher with the Brewster Whitecaps sustained serious injuries after he was pinned beneath a truck that police say was driven by a teammate.
Both pitchers involved in the incident are affiliated with teams in the College World Series. B.J. Dail, who was injured, was suspended from the North Carolina squad in February for a violation of team rules. Ryan Woolley, who has been charged in the incident, pitches for Georgia but did not make the 25-man roster for the CWS. Both players are 20 years old.
Dail was admitted to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston in critical condition late Sunday with injuries to his legs and head, though his condition has since been upgraded to serious, according to a hospital spokesman. He was first taken to Cape Cod Hospital, then was flown by medical helicopter to Boston following the 11:30 p.m. incident on Beach Plum Lane.
In Orleans District Court yesterday morning, his shaken Whitecaps teammate, Woolley, pleaded not guilty to operating under the influence of alcohol resulting in serious bodily injury, negligent operation of a motor vehicle and minor in possession of alcohol.
Police say Woolley failed field sobriety tests, and that alcohol breath tests he took at the scene and again at the Brewster Police Station registered twice the legal limit. An 18-pack of beer was found in his black 2000 Ford Ranger pickup truck, the police said.
"I'm done with college . . . I'm done with the Cape Cod League . . . My baseball career is over," Woolley said over and over at the Brewster station following his arrest, Officer Patrick Varley wrote in his report.
Woolley, of Montclair, Va., was released from the Barnstable County Correctional Facility yesterday after posting $500 bail.
"Ryan is playing summer ball and made some poor decisions," Georgia coach David Perno said in a statement from Omaha. "It was an unfortunate incident, and he will have a tough road ahead of him now. I hope that (Dail) is going to be OK. I told the team after the game and reminded them about making good decisions and taking care of each other."
Woolley is a sophomore righthander who appeared in three games
for Georgia this season, giving up five runs and five hits in 1 2/3
Cape Cod League president Judy Scarafile said league representatives were shocked to hear about the accident and are waiting until they get more information before commenting at length. The Cape season began on Friday.
"This is a very, very sad situation and we are very, very, concerned about the player and his family," she said. "Our focus right now is to make sure this young man is OK."
Police say Dail and Woolley spent Sunday evening drinking beer at the home of another player's host family, where they were watching the College World Series on television.
Woolley told police he decided to stay overnight at the residence, and went outside to move his truck from the driveway to the street. As soon as he reached the street and was moving forward, Dail ran out in front of his truck and jumped on the hood, he told officers.
When Woolley hit the brakes, Dail fell off and somehow became pinned under the left front tire, according to police reports.
Police found Dail bleeding profusely from a wound in the back of his head, and from a large cut on his left leg. His right foot appeared to be pushed back by the tire, and he had "road rash" scrapes on both legs and his back, Officer Matthew Marshall wrote in his report.
Dail was "combative and confused" as Marshall was tending to him, the report said. As Marshall was holding Dail's head, he smelled alcohol on his breath, the officer said in his report.
Dail is a sophomore righthander from Raleigh, N.C., and was drafted in the 32nd round in 2006 by the Orioles. He was suspended from
the North Carolina team in February for violating team rules, according to school spokesman John
Martin. He would not
specify the reason and did not know if Dail was scheduled to be
reinstated this fall.
"B.J. Dail and his family are in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time," North Carolina coach Mike Fox said in a statement from Omaha. "We wish him the best and pray for a quick recovery."
To have a permanent place on a Cape League roster, a player must be eligible for college play, Scarafile said. Dail was on the Cape as a temporary player, who fills in on a roster while teams are waiting for players competing in the college postseason, she said.
Scarafile declined to comment on possible disciplinary action by the league, or if any other players were at the Beach Plum Lane residence Sunday night. Players, coaches and all others involved with Cape League teams are required to adhere to a code of conduct outlined in the league manual, she said.
"We take it very, very seriously, in the event any aspect of the manual is violated or compromised," she said.
Robin Lord is a reporter for the Cape Cod Times, where this story originally appeared.
Contributing: John Manuel.