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slice60

Pitch Count rules/enforcement

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I know we're still in the early part of the season but has any school broken the Pitch Count rules during the 2019 season?

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The pitch count needs to be re-evaluated

IHSAA had an opportunity to do the right thing in the Scecina/South Vermillion situation last year.

- Scecina Ace throws over his daily allotted pitches and Scecina advances

- Indiana bylaws state that this would result in a forfeiture of that game. When the infraction is discovered, they do not make Scecina forfeit and instead force the kid to be suspended for 1 game (semi-state) instead. The blame should have fallen on the coaching staff but instead it was taken out on the kid. Not fair for anyone involved.

Pitch count also forced a kid out of the game early in which he was completely dominating and they end up losing. Can't remember which 4A matchup that was.

One other general issue I've seen is when faced with an Umpire who is inconsistent or has a "tight" zone. Unnecessarily jacking up pitch counts as well as putting strain on weekly pitching rotations.

The rule isn't completely off base, but needs some discussion.

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There's no doubt that the Pitch Count rules have changed the game. Top teams need a solid staff instead of just 1 or 2 studs on the mound. And when you're facing an ace, it makes sense to have your weaker hitters work the count just to get his Pitch Count high.

Did the IHSAA make any rules in the offseason regarding an infraction in a tournament game (to avoid another Scecina) or to mandate real-time Pitch Count tracking by the tournament host site?

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The pitch count rule does not make sense.  It adversely affect small schools, whose student enrollment is much smaller and probably doesn't have as much depth at the pitching position. 

The IHSAA has acknowledged that it cannot control travel baseball or Legion Ball, so instead it is tightening it's grip on it's member schools.  This is not how the game should be played.  Furthermore, the playoff system is a bit of a joke. First, you have sectionals fall over a holiday weekend. This takes family time away and many schools graduate at that time so you might not be able to go to your friend or family member's graduation or graduation party.  Second regionals should not be a double header.  Play Friday and Saturday, forcing coaches to be more strategic with their coaching decisions (or Wednesday/Thursday and Saturday).  If you want to see the best pitchers and best players, you need to adjust your playoff system as you change your rules.

Just one man's opinion.

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While I am not much of a fan of the Pitch Count Rule, it's clearly here to stay. Not sure if the IHSAA even has a say in this or if this is being mandated by the National Federation.

As for your comment about the tournament & specifically about playing 2 Regional games in 1 day, teams used to play 2 games on a Saturday to win Sectional, 2 Regional games the following Saturday, 2 Semi-State games the following Saturday & 2 games at the State Finals back in the old single-class days. Even if you had an unhittable Ace with a bionic arm who could throw 10 innings for you each week, you needed a good #2 to fill up the rest of those innings every week. These days, you may not even need a #2 beyond the Regional. And depending on your draw & when you play, some lucky teams can get through the Sectional using their Ace almost exclusively. 

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18 hours ago, slice60 said:

While I am not much of a fan of the Pitch Count Rule, it's clearly here to stay. Not sure if the IHSAA even has a say in this or if this is being mandated by the National Federation.

The IHSAA does have a say in this.  That is why the ADs and principals have the meetings, to vote on different items.  However to your larger point, you are correct I do not think the IHSAA will go back on this.

For reference, the IHSAA does not have a say on the concussion knowledge class as that is an Indiana state law.  However because the pitch count item is a guideline from the National Federation of High Schools, the IHSAA gets an opportunity to discuss with its members and determine if it wants to adopt the policy and put it in the bylaws. 

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There may be guidelines from the NF, but if it is a mandate, then the IHSAA has no say. Maybe there is some flexibility in what the count would actually be. I cannot answer that for sure. 

Edit:

I found this, and my guess was right...THAT does not happen often. 😂 the NF mandated that States develop a pitch count, so the IHSAA committee that including the Commish and 10 coaches from around the State came up with the limit for Indiana. 

This is from a 2016 Exec committee meeting.

http://www.ihsaa.org/Portals/0/ihsaa/documents/news media/2016-17/100616.pdf

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I remember when this came out... Ah the good ole days of the IHSAA saying...

"Additional recommendations in the rule include:

Every school should use a mobile app to count pitches.

 The school of a pitcher who has reached a maximum pitch count should carefully consider an appropriate fielding position for that pitcher after considering the fielding position’s throwing requirements.

 To allow for growth and arm strength, every school should develop a pitching philosophy that includes the instruction of proper throwing mechanics, broadening the number of players who become pitchers on the team, and develop a "work up" plan so that a pitcher is not throwing the maximum allowable pitches from the first day of competition.

Every school should provide an additional day of rest for those pitchers that throw more than 70 pitches.  

 Every school’s coaching staff should learn the behaviors of their pitchers and recognize each pitcher’s "fatigue threshold"."

1. What mobile app was available to count pitches?  My coaches used a clicker!

2. Really?  If you have an all state 1st baseman are you going to say, "Sorry but Billy reached his maximum pitches and has to play first now."

3. If your team has injuries or is a small team or is in sectional time, give that kid an extra day?  You may not have a choice.

4. I don't know what rules have changed if any so i might just be blowing smoke out of my butt! Haha

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The unintended consequences of laws, right? I can see the issues there. I can also understand the reasoning. With insane numbers of young people getting Tommy John surgery, something was happening. I also remember the year before the rule came out. There was a tournament weekend, where one player had thrown an insane amount of pitches over a couple of games. I cannot recall the exact number, but it was well over 100.

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6 hours ago, Irishman said:

The unintended consequences of laws, right? I can see the issues there. I can also understand the reasoning. With insane numbers of young people getting Tommy John surgery, something was happening. I also remember the year before the rule came out. There was a tournament weekend, where one player had thrown an insane amount of pitches over a couple of games. I cannot recall the exact number, but it was well over 100.

No doubt that the numbers of teenagers getting TJS these days dwarfs the number 2 decades ago. And no doubt a lot of that is due to overuse of undeveloped arms. But that’s not the only reason.

Techniques for TJS have improved significantly since Dr. Frank Jobe invented the procedure for Tommy John in 1974. This is a procedure now taught in hand/shoulder fellowships. There is much less risk associated with the procedure these days. On the other side of the equation, the greater level of skill and refinement of techniques have combined to make the results of the procedure consistently better. So the risk/reward ratio has been reversed, and there are many more surgeons trained in the procedure. The combination of these developments results in a much greater number of surgeries.

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I think the issue with the pitch count is all players are assumed to be the exact same.  No two athletes are the same, therefore one athlete could throw 70 pitches and be fine, whereas another might throw 50 and be gassed.  

We also have to take into account the different travel teams that these kids are on.  Softball use to have a rule where you could not play travel ball while in season! (This might still be a rule the softball coach at my former school who was a travel coach told me.) Imagine that a sport being proactive and putting the athletes health in front of money for travel sports!

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Pretty certain the IHSAA has a rule too that you cannot play on a travel or club team while a given sport is in season.

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Ironic that several folks mentioned Travel ball. I went to Westfield Grand Park last Saturday to watch my friend's kid play in a 13U travel tourney sponsored by Bullpen Tournaments. 140 teams spread out from 8U-14U. Minimum 3 games guaranteed. NO PITCHING RESTRICTIONS.

You read that right. It's totally up to the coaches (& parents?) to limit the innings & pitches for these young kids in weekend tournaments with 3-6 games over 2 days. 

https://bullpentournaments.com/2019-may-slugfest/

Due to some quirky scheduling, the team I was watching played 3 games on Saturday & got eliminated so they were done for the weekend. 2 kids threw in games 1 & 3-- starter went 3 innings & 2 innings, reliever went 1 inning & 5 innings. 

The team that knocked them out Saturday evening played 3 games on Saturday & then 3 more games to win the title on Sunday. I just looked up all of their games on the GameChanger app. In those 6 games, they used 7 different pitchers totaling 33 innings. (Most games are shortened due to time limits or run rule.) Only 1 kid threw both days-- 1.1 on Sat, 4.2 on Sunday. The kid with the most innings got a couple outs in game 1 Sat & then threw a complete game 7-inning shutout in game 3. I was at that game & he didn't throw many pitches. Teeny, tiny lefty who threw strikes & his D made all the plays. 

I expected to see several kids listed with 8-10 innings of work. So I gotta give credit to the coaches of that team for not overloading their best pitchers to get through those 6 games.

 

 

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If the pitch count rule is here to stay, the IHSAA needs to consider opening up the season a week earlier. I understand that mid-March weather can be a little... "brisk" but every now and then there are a couple of decent days. It also allows you to get your practices in earlier.

There are several rainouts over the course of the season and if you're not one of the lucky ones to dodge most of the weather, you lose games and have to find short windows to fit them in... and that's if you even have the pitching available.

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https://www.thenewsdispatch.com/sports/article_332c67f4-55d2-5c53-9204-eef742a841c8.html

Another Pitch Count infraction...another total cluster**** without a reasonable resolution.

I hope that the IHSAA has instructed all State Tournament hosts to have an official scorekeeper track & report pitches for every game (as Faulkens refers to below).  As we all know, Scecina self-reported their infraction last year, albeit after being caught red-handed. But there needs to be a neutral official scorekeeper on site to report any infraction immediately. 

"During the season, the coaches keep their own pitch counts, so there's no way to judicate if there's a difference," IHSAA assistant commissioner Robert Faulkens said Thursday. "It's different for the (state) tournament (when there's an assigned official scorer), but during the season, whatever the coach has, that's what they have to go with on both sides."

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https://www.apnews.com/81326e4d4199467998c7d8091abb92c7

 Found the game article written by the same sportswriter. The pitcher (Hunter Swivel) hit 121 pitches in the 7th with 1 out, bases loaded, leading 4-3. Even though the LaCrosse Coach (Chris McGowan) apparently stopped the game to inform the umpires (who have no pitch count responsibilities), I assume that the Morgan Twp Coach (John Smith) either claimed that the pitch count number was lower or just refused to engage at all. The kid stayed in the game & retired the next 2 hitters to hold onto the 4-3 lead.

On a potentially even more interesting note, Swivel also threw a complete game 4-hitter with 13 K's & 0 walks against LaCrosse 3 days earlier on Friday May 10. This Porter Co Tourney game was on Monday May 13. So that means Swivel had 2 days rest-- under the IHSAA Pitch Count rule, a pitcher can only pitch on 2 days rest if he threw 80 pitches or fewer. I have no proof but it seems pretty unlikely that he threw only 80 pitches over 7 innings with 13 K's. If he went over 80 pitches on Friday, then Coach Smith broke the IHSAA Pitch Count Rules TWICE & had his star pitcher potentially throw well over 200 pitches over a 4 day span. Frankly, that's even worse than breaking the rules. 

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I found a way to view the stats kept by LaCrosse on the GameChanger website (Morgan Twp does not use that site)-- in that Friday game, Swivel threw 80 pitches. So he was only required to have 2 days rest (61-80 pitches), which means he was eligible to pitch again on Monday.

208 pitches over a 4-day span is still alot -- all in order to beat a 2-17 LaCrosse team 2-1 & 4-3. 

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What a mess. Our program had to forfeit a JV game last year because of the pitch count. The crazy part? The opponents reported it.

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13 minutes ago, Irishman said:

What a mess. Our program had to forfeit a JV game last year because of the pitch count. The crazy part? The opponents reported it.

Wow, really?  Do you know if your program had a lower pitch count than the opponent?

Which schools were involved?

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39 minutes ago, slice60 said:

Wow, really?  Do you know if your program had a lower pitch count than the opponent?

Which schools were involved?

I cannot remember who the other team was, or what the pitch count was from our scorebook. sorry

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