New pitch count regulations for varsity, junior varsity and modified baseball were approved by the New York State Public High School Athletic Association at Friday’s Executive Committee meeting. The final vote, which took place at the Hilton Garden Inn in Troy, came on the heels of the National Federation of State High School Association’s announcement in July that it was issuing a nationwide mandate.
The approval of pitch count rules represented the first major policy aimed at preventing the overuse of young arms at New York State public schools.
“Today’s action by the NYSPHSAA Executive Committee is a giant step forward in doing our part to protect and support our student-athlete baseball players,” state baseball chairman Ed Dopp said in a press release. “We will continue to monitor and adjust the pitch count rules in an attempt to always improve opportunities for our student-athletes and address safety as best we can.”
The pitch count regulations limit varsity pitchers to 105 in one day, while capping JV pitchers at 85 and modified at 75. It also outlines periods of rest, depending on how many pitches are thrown. For varsity pitchers who throw between 96 and 105 pitches, four nights of rest are required. Three nights’ rest are required if 66 and 95 pitches are thrown, two for 31 to 65 pitches and one night’s rest for one to 30 pitches.
Dopp told The Journal News/lohud by email that the night of rest on the night of a game would count toward the required amount of rest, meaning that a pitcher who threw 96 or more pitches on Monday would be eligible to pitch again on Friday.
The maximum amount of pitches allowed jumps to 125 for varsity pitchers in the postseason.
“It went as well as it possibly could have considering we didn’t find this out until July of 2016 and we had to implement it for the 2017 season,” Section 1 baseball co-chairman Phil DiRuocco said. “The leadership of Ed Dopp and his assistant Al Roy was very important. From there, the Committee had their input, and considering all of that, I think we did a pretty good job.”
Some other important items addressed in the new pitch count policy included:
- A pitcher at any level who reaches the pitch count limit in the middle of an at-bat will be allowed to finish that hitter.
- Both teams will be required to track pitches on the official NYSPHSAA pitch count form and confirm after each half inning. Any discrepancy will be resolved based on the records of the home team pitch count chart.
- At the game’s conclusion, the pitch count form will be signed by both head coaches or a designated representative. These records will be used to determine which pitchers are available for future games.
- Any violation of this rule will be considered in the same light as a school using an ineligible player and the game will be forfeited.
Along with voting on the new pitch count rules, the Executive Committee also approved the following venues to host state championship events:
- Girls tennis championships: Tri-City Tennis Center, Latham (2017-19)
- East football semifinals: Middletown High School (2017-18)
- West football semifinals: Union-Endicott High School (2017-18)
- Girls soccer championships: Cortland (2017-19)
- Field hockey championships: Williamsville North High School (2018-20)
- Wrestling dual meet championships: SRC Arena, Syracuse (2018-20)
- Baseball championships: Binghamton (2018)