By Gary L. Smith
Last week, Peabody High School officially retired standout pitcher William Woods’ uniform No. 10 baseball jersey during a ceremony held between Trenton vs. Gibson County basketball games.
Peabody Baseball Head Coach Todd Lumley and Assistants Franky Hodges and Taylor Paterson presented Woods’ famed jersey during the retirement ceremony.
During the presentation, Coach Lumley explained, “William is one of a long line of really good pitchers that have gone through here at Peabody. He was the ace of our staff and he pitched all of the big games we needed him to during his last two years. He helped continue our baseball program to improve. He pitched in two state tournament games, regional and sectional games and won some huge ballgames. Besides being a very consistent pitcher, William is a fine young man in the classroom. He is just not an athlete, but a student-athlete. He was an important part of this program for the four years that he was here.”
During Woods’ senior season (2017) at Peabody, the right-handed pitcher led the Tide to the TSSAA State Tournament and registered a 12-2 record in 80 innings of mound duty. He recorded 119 strikeouts with a 1.450 ERA. He led Peabody to an outstanding 34-6 season, including a berth in the semifinal round of the TSSAA State Tournament.
As a junior, Woods posted a 6-2 record, with a 2.000 ERA and 70 strikeouts, to help lead PHS to a 27-7 season, including a district championship, region runner-up and sectional berth.
In recognition of his performance, he was named District 14-A Regular Season Pitcher of the Year and District Tournament Most Valuable Player.
In response to earning the recognition, Woods acknowledged, “Having Peabody retire my uniform jersey means the world to me and my family and I think it means a lot to the community, too.”
Out of high school, Woods signed to play at The University of Tennessee at Martin, but after a semester, decided to transfer to Dyersburg State Community College and play for the Eagles. The 6’4” pitcher was a sophomore at DSCC.
In early June, Woods earned the opportunity to showcase his pitching talent on the professional level as he was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 23rd round of the Major League Baseball Draft.
He was scouted by several major league teams (Atlanta Braves, St. Louis Cardinals, San Diego Padres and Texas Rangers), when he pitched for Dyersburg State Community College. Atlanta took him as the 682nd overall pick in the draft.
Woods reported to Orlando, Florida, where he signed a contract to play Rookie Ball in the Gulf Coast Baseball League.
“Being drafted last year, was the biggest accomplishment of my life, so far. It was what I had worked for since I was seven years old or maybe earlier, since I started pitching. Last season, I played in the Gulf Coast League and pitched about 23 innings and had 23 strikeouts,” explained Woods.
During the next several months, Woods reports to Spring Training and Extended Spring Training in Florida and then expects to be in Danville, Virginia.
Baseball fans are always interested in knowing a pitcher’s velocity. Woods reports that his fastball has been clocked as fast as 95 MPH in college, but he consistently throws in the 90-93 MPH range. In addition to the fastball, Woods also has command of sliders and change-ups.
Asked his goals for the upcoming season, Woods reveals, “I would like the top speed on my fastball to touch 97 MPH and I want to get to Class A-Advanced Baseball and that would be with the Florida Fire Frogs.
The Florida Fire Frogs are a minor league baseball team that plays as a member of the Florida State League in Kissimmee, Florida, part of the Greater Orlando metropolitan area. Founded in 2017, the team is the Class A-Advanced affiliate of the Atlanta Braves. They play their home games at Osceola County Stadium.
William is the grandson of Jay and Janice Dunagan.