PIAA increases baseball pitch count, adds official counter for playoffs

Wednesday, July 18, 2018 | 11:48 PM

UNIVERSITY PARK – Five pitches isn’t much, but they could be just enough.

The PIAA board of directors voted Wednesday to increase the state’s high school pitch count from 100 to 105, a number that could let more pitchers finish off complete games. PIAA executive director Bob Lombardi said statistics showed many pitchers reached that 100 pitch limit just short of the finish.

“Especially in the playoffs, kids were riding right there on that 100 to 105 count,” Lombardi said. “That was the statistics that came in. (The baseball committee) thought, you know what? We’re talking about three or four pitches here, or finishing a batter. Then you hold the game up to bring another kid in.”

The weekly limit was increased from 200 to 210.

“(The committee) just thought it made prudent sense, and it wasn’t a health and safety issue,” Lombardi said. “I think it was a good common sense change.”

The PIAA also voted to require an official pitch counter for all district and state playoff games. The move was made after State College was forced to forfeit a state playoff game this past season when its starting pitcher topped 100 pitches according to Erie McDowell’s count.

The home team’s book was considered the official count the past two seasons and will remain so for regular-season games, but the PIAA doesn’t want a similar discrepancy to cause another playoff forfeit.

“It was disappointing,” Lombardi said, “because I think someone might not have been paying attention. So you have an official person there (to count pitches) and it works out.”

Following a mandate from the National Federation of State High School Associations, the PIAA establish a pitch count in 2017. Each state was allowed to set its own one-day limit and the PIAA chose 100 pitches.

The rest periods between outings remain the same. Three calendars days are needed for 76-105 pitches, two days for 51-75 and one day for 26-50.

No rest is required for fewer than 26 pitches, but a player cannot pitch more than two consecutive days.

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris at [email protected] or via Twitter @CHarlan_Trib.

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