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New pitch count rule adopted for high school baseball

By David Knox, Sports Editor

MONTGOMERY – The National Federation of State High School Associations is following Alabama’s lead in trying to keep young pitchers’s arms healthy.

The NFHS baseball rules committee approved a “pitch count” limitation based on number of pitches thrown in a game this summer.

The Alabama High School Athletic Association had already adopted such a policy last fall. Its old rule was based on innings pitched per week without regard to the number of pitches thrown.

The pitch count is based on pitches thrown to the batters during their time at bat.  Warm-up pitches allowed before each inning or those warm-ups allowed by the umpire in case of injury or game delay do not count.

The number of pitches is based on the grade level of pitching. Specific rest periods are in place when a pitcher reaches a high threshold of pitches delivered in a day.

The rule limits a pitcher to a maximum 120 pitches per day, with the exception that he may finish the at-bat in which he reaches that mark. As for the days of rest, it breaks down this way:

  • If a pitcher throws 76 or more pitches in a day, three days of rest is mandated
  • If a pitcher throws 51-to-75 pitches in a day, two days of rest is mandated
  • If a pitcher throws 26-to-50 pitches in a day, one day of rest is mandated
  • If a pitcher throws 1-to-25 pitches in a day, the pitcher may throw again the following day
  • If a pitcher reaches his 120 pitches during an inning, he can finish that batter before exiting

 

Ninth- and 10th-graders are limited to 100 total pitches and seventh- and eighth-graders may top out at 85.

The pitch count will be monitored by a paid impartial official at every high school baseball game. This observer will use a computer application created by C2C, the company that runs the AHSAA website. The app runs on smartphones and tablets.

Coaches may also use the app to track pitches.

By the way, if there is a disagreement among the coaches and official about the pitch count, the number two of the three have recorder is used. If they all disagree, the observer’s app, just like the ump, is always right.

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