Pitch count will monitor high school hurlers

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 19 March 2017 at 9:18 am

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Barker’s Eddie Wasnock and his fellow high school pitchers will be playing with pitch count limits this season.

When the snow melts and the games begin in a couple of weeks area high school baseball teams, and their counterparts around the state, will find a new bit of strategy has been added to the sport as the state Public High School Athletic Association has approved pitch count regulations.

A part of Little League Baseball rules for some time, the new regulations set limitations on how soon a pitcher can return to the mound depending on how many pitches he throws in a game.

“The new pitch count action “is a giant step forward in doing our part to protect and support our student athlete baseball players,” said State Baseball Coordinator Ed Dopp when the regulations were passed by the State Executive Council in January.

The new regulations state that during the regular season a pitcher who throws from 1-30 pitches needs one night’s rest before returning to the mound. If he throws 31-65 pitches two nights rest are required, 66-95 pitches three nights and 96-105 four nights.

The limits are expanded a bit for post season competition which then has 1-40 pitch count requires one nights’ rest, 41-71 two nights, 72-102 three night and 103-125 for nights.

“It will be interesting. It will add a lot of strategy in how you use your pitchers,” sad Barker Coach Rob Mucha in summing up the feelings of area coaches.

That pitch count strategy certainly will come into play, not only for teams with limited pitching, but for all teams if weather postponements result in teams having to play three, four or more games in a week during what is already a condensed regular season which ends by mid May.

During games each team will be required to record pitches on an official state pitch count form. At the conclusion of the game the two teams will compare forms to make sure they are in agreement on the number of pitches each pitcher has thrown and the forms will then be signed by the coaches.  It will be the school’s responsibility to maintain all pitching records so that a pitchers availability can be checked by opponents at upcoming games.

The state regulations also impose strict penalties if they are not followed. The regulations state that violations will be treated the same as if a team used an ineligible player and the game will be forfeited.

Weather permitting local teams will begin trying out the new pitch count regulations when Medina hosts Pembroke on March 27 and Albion entertains Holley and Lyndonville visits Barker on March 31.