Video appears to show Texas high school softball catcher knock runners to ground

By Samantha Ptashkin - Reporter

HOUSTON - A player on the Needville High School softball team is receiving a lot of criticism for a move she made on the field.

It happened Saturday at the 4A championship game between Needville and Huffman Hargrave High School. A ball was hit to the outfield and Hargrave player Demi Janak was running to home plate, when the Needville catcher appeared to elbow her to the ground. 

"I was just on the ground and my helmet flew off," Janak said.

The entire incident was caught on video by sports website VYPE SE Texas.

A short time after Janak was pushed down, the video shows the Needville catcher elbowing another Hargrave player to the ground.

In both cases, it doesn't appear that there is a play at the plate.

You can see the frustration on the faces of Hargrave players immediately after the second incident, but school officials said they handled it like pros. 

"I think it fired them up to score some more runs, win the game and come out as champions," said Huffman ISD Athletic Director Mike McEachern. 

The Needville catcher did not wish to speak to KPRC 2 about the incident, but Janak said she doesn't hold a grudge. 

"She did what she wanted to do in order to try and keep us from scoring, but it doesn't matter to me because we won overall," Janak said.

Needville ISD Superintendent Curt Rhodes released a statement saying:

"This action, which is two isolated incidents, is truly out of her character. We do not support the action, but she is a great young lady," said Rhodes. "We strongly support our students and coaches; they are very talented, dedicated people.

Rhodes continues to say that the catcher has received hate-filled communications and even threats.

"The local police have been called due to unidentified individuals lurking around her family's home," said Rhodes. "Our student-athlete and school district will be fine, but it is sad that we live in a world where adults work at harming our youth. Again, we support our student, not this action."

Hargrave ended up winning the game 6-4.

What do you think of play -- within the rules or cause for ejection? Watch the video then comment on the KPRC 2 Facebook page.

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