GHSA adopts pitch counts

Posted 8/15/16

The Georgia High School Association unanimously approved a pitch count in baseball at its fall executive committee meeting Monday in Macon.

As part of a mandate by the National Federation of High Schools, the GHSA sided with the national governing body which will limit pitchers to 110 pitches in a game. The pitcher will be allowed to finish the current at-bat before being replaced.

“The National Federation went away from the innings and more to the pitches,” GHSA Executive Committee member Don Corr said. “It forced the GHSA to step out and do something right away.”

Under previous rules, there were no pitch counts and pitchers were limited to 10 innings per calendar day and a maximum of 14 innings in four consecutive calendar days.

The new changes are effective immediately.

Rest for pitchers are a key part of the pitch count rule. If a pitcher throws 86 or more pitches, the pitcher is required to rest for three days. Pitchers throwing 61 to 85 pitches will be required to have two days of rest.

Pitchers who throw 36 to 60 pitches are required to take a day of rest.

No rest would be required for pitchers throwing 35 or less pitches. However, a pitcher would have to take a day off if he throws a combined 60 pitches on consecutive days.

The rule gets more complex in the postseason where pitchers won’t be allowed to throw more than 120 pitches in a series unless weather extends the series. Any pitcher who reaches 40 pitches or more in a single state tournament game will be restricted to the same days of rest as designated during the regular season.

It will be the responsibility of the official scorer (home and visitor) to maintain pitch count records.

Violators will be subject to a $250 fine and a two-game suspension for the head coach. A second offense would net a $500 fine and a minimum suspension of four games. The coach would also have to be re-instated by the GHSA executive director.

“I like it … I don’t know how it’s going to be monitored,” Lee County coach Brandon Brock said. “I think it needs to happen, especially with these kids now playing eight to 12 months out of the year now. It’s going to impact people who aren’t as deep pitching-wise.”

But many other coaches know the ruling is going to effect smaller schools.

"Me personally, I don't have a problem with it," said Vidalia coach Brent Korn, who coached Treutlen to the Class A public school state championship last May.

"We've never overused pitchers to start with. But the thing is going to be come playoff time. You've seen it in pro baseball where relievers will sometimes come back and throw on two days' rest. Come playoff time, this is going to hurt a lot of coaches who are trying to win."

Korn noted that in Game 2 of the Class A public state semifinal series at Schley County last year, his top pitcher Tristan Cone threw around 125 pitches in a 2-1 victory which propelled Treutlen into the state championship series where they eventually swept Trion.

"Had these rules been in place last year, Tristan would have had to come out," Korn said. "A 2-1 ball game with your stud on the mound, that is tough. These rules are going to have an effect on Class A schools where you don't have the arms like you do at the bigger schools."

NOTES: A proposal was submitted to allow baseball teams to conduct tryouts during the fall. The proposal failed to pass out of the baseball committee.

Editor's Note: Some information was used from the Macon Telegraph's Ron Seibel.