Thursday, August 6, 2020
US flag

Pitch limits to replace inning limits in PA

The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association, which governs high school athletics in the state and is a member of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), will implement a new rule from the national organization to limit pitch count for high school pitchers, rather than limiting the number of innings a pitcher can pitch, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

Baseball pitch in high school
A national high school athletic association has written new rules to restrict pitchers.

The PIAA was using pitching restrictions in its bylaws that went into effect from the NFHS around 1990: A pitcher who worked 4 or 5 innings had to get two days of rest before he pitched again. A pitcher who worked 6 or more innings needed three days of rest. A pitcher could pitch for a maximum of 14 innings in any given week, assuming that an inning counted as any inning of the game during which he threw at least one pitch.

“I’m a strong advocate of this new rule and I think a lot of coaches are,” the paper quoted North Hills High School baseball coach Randy Miller as saying. “It makes no sense to base pitching rules on how many innings a kid pitches. You could have a three-pitch inning and a 40-pitch inning, so why put an arbitrary inning-number on it? … I couldn’t believe it when that kid we faced threw 100 pitches one day and a complete game three days later. That’s just wrong and maybe this rule will put a stop to that.”

The NFHS, in developing the new rule, says it will allow each state high school association to come up with its own guidelines in terms of pitch count, but it was clear that the federation intends for pitching restrictions to be based on the number of pitches thrown, not on the number of “innings” pitched. As a result of leaving the question open like this, each state can decide for itself how many pitches to allow over how many days and how much rest is required. We therefore can’t say exactly what the new rules will be in any given state.

The Illinois High School Association baseball restrictions:

VIII. Tournament Rules … B. Rules of Play …

The current National Federation Rules Book is adopted as the official rules of play for the series of tournaments. …

C. Playing Regulations

2) A player may not pitch more than nine innings in any one day, except, if a pitcher is pitching in the game when the score is tied at the end of the regulation period of play, the pitcher shall be permitted to continue pitching until he is relieved or the conclusion of the game, whichever occurs first. Penalty for violation shall be forfeiture of the game.

a) If a pitcher pitches to one or more batters in an inning, he shall be charged with having pitched a full inning.

Restricting pitchers based on the number of innings pitched, though, is likely to disappear from the Illinois rule book, as Illinois schools follow suit. To be honest, it surprises me that high school coaches in the state might not have already been restricting pitching this way, but there’s no time like the present if they haven’t been.

The single most important factor in protecting teenagers’ arms from overuse injury is pitch count. Wisdom used to be that the kind of pitches that were thrown led to elbow injuries, so athletic trainers and physicians advised young players not to throw curve balls when they were under about 12 and not to throw a slider until they were 16 or 17. But now it’s clear from research that pitch count, not pitch type, is the driving force behind elbow injuries in young pitchers.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

Recent posts

Voxitatis congratulates the COVID Class of 2020

2020 is unique and, for high school graduates, different from anything they've seen. Proms, spring sports, & many graduation ceremonies are cancelled. Time for something new.

Vertical addition (m3.nbt.2) math practice

3rd grade, numbers and operations in base 10, 2, 3-digit vertical addition practice problem

Rubber ducks (m3.oa.1) math practice

3rd grade, operational and algebraic thinking, 1, rubber ducky modeling practice problem

Distance learning begins as Covid-19 thrives

What we learn during & from coronavirus, a challenging & imminent crisis, will provide insights into so many aspects of our lives.

Calif. h.s. choir sings with social distancing

Performances with the assistance of technology can spread inspiration across the globe even as the coronavirus spreads illness and disease.

Families plan to stay healthy during closures

Although schools are doing what they can to keep students learning and healthy during the coronavirus outbreak, that duty now shifts to parents.

Illinois temporarily closes all schools

IL schools will be closed on Tuesday, March 17, through at least March 30. Schools in 18 states are now closed due to coronavirus.

Coronavirus closures & cancellations

Many schools are closed and sports tournaments cancelled across America during what the president called a national emergency: coronavirus.

Coronavirus closes schools in Seattle

The coronavirus pandemic has caused colleges to cancel classes, and now Seattle Public Schools became the nation's first large district to cancel classes due to the virus.

Most detailed images ever of the sun

A new telescope at the National Solar Observatory snapped the most detailed pictures of the sun's surface we have ever seen.

Feds boost Bay funding

Restoration efforts in the Chesapeake Bay watershed received a boost in federal funding in the budget Congress passed last month.