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Rule change designed to protect pitchers

By Staff | Nov 2, 2016

While baseball fans today are celebrating or mourning the outcome of last night’s World Series Game 7, closer to home baseball action off the field will affect how the high school game is played in the Hawkeye state next summer.

The Iowa High School Athletic Association made its new policy on pitchers official during a board of control meeting last week.

In the past, pitchers faced a limit of nine innings in one day or 16 innings in a week, which ran Sunday-Saturday.

The new rule is based on pitch counts and it isn’t easy to follow.

The limits are different for athletes in grads 10-12 than they are for eighth- and ninth-graders.

Those in grades 10-12 may throw up to 180 pitches per week while Eighth and ninth graders may throw up to 150 pitches per week.

However, if you pitched the day before, even if you are under the innings limit, you may throw no more than 25 pitches. If you have one day of rest, you may throw up to 50 pitches. If you have up two days of rest, the number hits 65 and on three days rest the number is 90.

For grades 10-12 pitching on four days of rest, you may throw up to 110 pitches.

However if the pitcher reaches 110 pitches and is in the middle of an at-bat, he may finish pitching to the current batter, no matter how many pitches that takes.

Eighth and ninth graders cannot throw more than 90 pitches on any one day.

If an individual were to pitch on consecutive days, the two day total would determine how many days of rest would be required before the individual could return to pitch.

The consecutive day total cannot exceed 110 pitches.

If a hurler were to throw 25 or fewer pitches in the first game of a doubleheader, he may return to pitch in the second game, up to 110 pitches for the day. If the individual threw more than 25 pitches in the first game of a doubleheader, he would be ineligible to pitch in the second game.

An adult designee from both teams approved by the school will confirm the pitch count of each pitcher at the completion of each inning. If there is a discrepancy that cannot be worked out, the home scorebook will be considered the official count.

At the varsity level, pitch counts are required to be entered into QuikStats within 24 hours of the completion of the game.

All levels of the sport are required to complete a pitch count chart and both schools’ coaches are required to verify and sign the chart at the conclusion of the contest.

ELC?coach Lee Evans said the change is good.

“I think it’s a great thing to take care of the kids and the coaches doing their part,” he said. “Ninety-nine percent of coaches in Iowa do a great job. This makes them accountable.

“It will probably affect the smaller schools more than the biggers schools, who may not have as many pitchers,” he continued. “I don’t think it will be a big change for us. We as a program take pride in our ability and have the kids throw in the offseason.

“It will be something new, keeping track of pitches with other coaches between innings. “it will be interesting.”