Baseball coaches agree to new field limits – The Vicksburg Post
The days of Ironman’s pitching performance are over in Mississippi.
At its October meeting earlier this month, the Mississippi High School Activities Association executive committee approved a proposal that limits the number of shots a pitcher can throw in a game, requires coaches to report publicly of the number of throws and to provide mandatory rest for their throwers.
The new rule comes into effect for the 2017 high school baseball season. It was introduced over the summer after the National Federation of High Schools asked all of its member associations to implement pitch limits.
âThat’s fine with me. In the eight years I’ve been here I don’t think we would have broken any of their rules, but maybe once and it would be the days off,â said the Warren Central coach, Conner Douglas. “I don’t think we’ve ever seen a kid go over 125 (pitches) that I can remember. I don’t think it affects us. We’ve always taken care of our guys.
The MHSAA rule:
â¢ Establishes a maximum pitching limit of 120 per game for each pitcher, although a pitcher can exceed that number if he hits the limit in the middle of a at-bat.
â¢ Requires compulsory rest days following an outing. A sliding scale will be used depending on the number of shots thrown in a match. A pitcher who throws 25 pitches or less can throw again the next day. The player must have at least one day of rest following an outing of 26 to 50 throws; two days off after throwing 51-75 pitches; three days off after throwing 76-105 pitches; and four days off after throwing more than 106 pitches.
Rest days only apply to time spent on the mound. Players can still hit and play in other positions on the court between mound exits.
â¢ Requires coaches to record each player’s pitch count on MaxPreps.com – a statistics website used by MHSAA schools in a number of sports – within 24 hours of a game.
â¢ Sets severe penalties for violation of the rule. Schools that use a player who has exceeded the maximum field limit or who has not had enough days off are subject to loss of the game and a fine of $ 250.
Like Douglas, Vicksburg coach Derrick DeWald had not anticipated that the new rules would be a major problem for his schedule. He said his pitchers rarely cross the 100-pitch mark, which is the rule of thumb for when to shoot a pitcher.
DeWald, however, expressed some concern about record keeping. Most teams these days have iPads and score tracking apps that track the number of throws, but a scoring error or wrong entry can easily lead to an unintentional violation.
âYou’re going to have to have someone who knows how to use Gamechanger. If you’re not careful you could be wrong, âDeWald said, referring to a commonly used score tracker app that allows users to immediately upload stats to MaxPreps.com. âWe’re basically testing this program, so I can’t wait to see how it works. If you are not careful, you will burn yourself.
Douglas also expressed concern over who will be responsible for keeping an official throwing count. Even in his own canoe, he said, several people following him often have different numbers.
In a statement, the MHSAA said it will monitor the rule during the 2017 season and adjust it if necessary.
âThe only different thing I think they could do is find a better way to watch him. Who will report it? Once you get into rivalry games it could turn out to be a disaster, frankly, in terms of who’s going to agree on the number of shots, âsaid Douglas. âEven in our canoe, we will have three numbers of throws and all three are different. It’s easy to lose track of one or two throws, and even one or two per set can add up to eight or 12 per game.
Another area of ââconcern is how to monitor pitchers when they are away from their high school teams. Many top players participate in showcases or play in tournament teams even during the high school season. These locations do not count towards the MHSAA limit, but are just as exhausting on an arm.
DeWald said this is a huge issue that requires cooperation between coaches and parents.
âIt comes down to the coaches who know their pitchers, the parents who know their sons and the parents who make sure they aren’t abused,â DeWald said. “If you don’t take care of your child, shame on you.”
Aside from these thorny issues, the two Warren County coaches have agreed that the limits will change the way teams approach their schedules.
Double tournaments and multi-day tournaments are common at the start of the season. The meat of the calendar typically includes two divisional games and a third divisionless game over a five-day period. The best-of-three playoffs are usually played on consecutive days or over a period of four days.
Without the ability to bring an ace pitcher back on a short rest, Douglas and DeWald both said teams will have to work harder to develop deep pitching teams. It could also lead to some interesting playing strategy, like shooting a pitcher before he throws 76 pitches and requires an extra day of rest.
âThe playoffs are what’s going to be the biggest kicker,â said Douglas. âDivision games and everything, you can stretch it. Once the playoffs begin, you may have to play your three-game streak three days in a row because of the rain. If this kind of situation occurs, it is better to have more than two arms.