Anthony Molina

Anthony Molina (Moline Police Department)

Contributed photo

He was one of the most promising baseball prospects out of Moline High School but had his career cut short by a pitch intentionally aimed at him that struck his face and altered his eyesight forever.

But Anthony E. Molina, 34, now faces charges in Rock Island County.

Moline police on Thursday charged Molina with five counts of predatory sexual assault of a child and two counts of sexual abuse of a child.

He was arrested shortly after 3 p.m. Thursday. His bond is set at $200,000.

Details of acts that led to the charges were not released by authorities Thursday afternoon.

In 1999, Molina was hoping to capture his lifelong dream of playing major league baseball and perhaps coach the sport at a high level.

But on April 23, 1999, Molina was the leadoff man and star third baseman for the University of Evansville in a game against Wichita State University.

Warming up on the mound for the home team that day was Wichita State’s Ben Christensen, widely regarded as the best pitcher in college baseball. Christensen was 21-1 in his college career and seemed destined to be one of the first players selected in the June amateur draft.

Christensen thought Molina was trying to time his pitches, so he directed a 92-mph warm-up throw at Molina, who was standing 24 feet from home plate. Molina looked up just as the ball arrived, crushing his left eye, destroying his vision, breaking three bones and opening a cut that required 23 stitches.