CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State pitcher Luke Heimlich said he won't travel with the team to Omaha, Nebraska, for the College World Series, and that he plans to return to Oregon State to play baseball next season.
Heimlich is considered one of the best pitchers in college baseball. He went undrafted in the MLB draft that wrapped up Wednesday following the revelation that as a teenager he sexually assaulted a 6-year-old girl.
In a statement released Thursday, Heimlich announced his plans for the rest of this season and next. Here is the complete text of the statement:
For the past six years, I have done everything in my power to demonstrate that I am someone my family and my community can be proud of, and show the one person who has suffered the most that I am committed to living a life of integrity. This situation has caused great pain to my family members over the years and I am devastated that they have to relive it all again so publicly. Today the Oregon State University baseball team is heading to Omaha for the College World Series – something my teammates, my coaches and I have worked for all year and dreamed about for a lifetime. I'm sad to say I am not joining them, because doing so would only create further distraction for my teammates, more turmoil for my family, and given the high profile of the national championship, direct even more unwanted attention to an innocent young girl. I want to wish my teammates the best. I hope they understand this decision as my family and I continue to work through this together. My hope is to return to OSU next year as a student-athlete and continue to earn the trust of my community.
Oregon State University President Ed Ray said he supports Heimlich rejoining the team next season if Heimlich chooses to do so.
OSU president Ed Ray's statement in full on Luke Heimlich. pic.twitter.com/gojMokHR2C— Danny Moran (@DannyJMoran) June 15, 2017
Last week, The Oregonian reported that Heimlich, 21, pleaded guilty to sexually molesting the female family member when he was 15. The case came to The Oregonian’s attention after they discovered Heimlich failed to re-register as a sex offender.
Background: OSU pitcher molested girl as a teenager
Prior to the report, Heimlich, a junior left-hander, was a lock to be drafted, potentially in the first or second round of the 40-round draft. Heimlich has an 11-1 record this season with a 0.76 earned run average,128 strikeouts and only 22 walks in 118 1/3 innings.
But following The Oregonian’s report, rumors swirled about teams taking Heimlich off their draft boards. And while 1,205 players were drafted this week, Heimlich was not one of them.
On Wednesday, Beavers head coach Pat Casey said he was praying for everyone involved in the situation.
“All I can say about Luke Heimlich is I’m praying for him, his family, anybody involved that was involved in that matter, especially the little girl,” Casey said. “It’s just sad that they’re going through the suffering again as a family.”
Before Oregon State’s Super Regional series against Vanderbilt last weekend, Heimlich released a statement through his attorney that read in part, “I’ve respectfully requested to be excused from playing at this time.” Oregon State swept Vanderbilt to advance to the College World Series.
While Heimlich didn’t play, he did suit up and received an ovation during team introductions.
The top-ranked Beavers, who are having a historic season with a 54-4 record, will face Cal State Fullerton at noon on Saturday in their first game of the College World Series.