High school baseball pitchers will have to cut back on how many innings they pitch this spring for regular and post-season games. This comes after the Virginia High School League announced several changes by the executive committee to its baseball pitching regulations.
The most notable change to the regulation is permitting a pitcher to pitch a maximum of nine innings in one day, but no more than 14 innings in any seven-day consecutive period. The original policy permitted a pitcher to not exceed 10 innings un that same time frame.
“The former pitching regulations presented the opportunity for short and long term health and safety issues for student/athletes. These new pitching regulations provide a more defined rest period for high school pitchers as well as an educational component which speaks to the many variables involved with this issue.”
After reviewing the new changes, Essex baseball manager Tim Bamer said VHSL is doing their job and not having the kids overworked. But said this will definitly be a challenge.
“I think its good, we just have to stay on top of it,” said Beamer. “But how will we know what previous pitchers have done? That’s what I’d like to know.”
Northumberland baseball manager Johnny Mothershead said he is in favor of player health liek Beamer and shared the same curiosity.
“It’s not going to be as big of scare for me as for the small schools. I feel like I have more arms this year with guys I pulled from the JV and worked with this fall,” said Mothershead. “But, it’s going to be tough for some teams and even with us in some games.”
Mothershead said he’s also curious on how the innings will be monitored.
This action also raises the awareness of pitchers taking care of their arms.
“It boils down to coaches making a smart decision for these young guys especially for ninth and tenth graders throwing a lot of pitches and innings, they will have strain on their arm,” Mothershead said. “I think it’s the strain on the ninth and tenth graders in single A to put that workload on.”
Lancaster coach Welby Saunders said he too is in favor of the changes.
“I think the new pitching rules are positive,” said Saunders. “After the changes to the playoff system the past few years, it’s good to see a change that actually is in the best interest of the kids.”
Mothershead recommended using a pitch count, but said he knows that too could be a challenge in monitoring.
“It’s a tight situation to keep track of it, but if they feel there are a lot of injuries…and if it’s a benefit for the kids, I’m all for it,” Mothershead said.
Failing to meet the new regulations could carry up to a fine of $100 for the offending school and forfeiting the game. (Policy 56-1-2)