Talking Sports: Local baseball coaches weigh in on pitch count

Published 2:24 pm Saturday, December 3, 2016

The North Carolina High School Athletic Association recently approved a pitch count for baseball teams. The objective is to protect the arms of pitchers in light of the increasing number of young players needing Tommy John surgery.

The pitch count works on a tier system that requires more rest the more pitches thrown in a single game. No rest is needed if a pitcher throws fewer than 31 pitches. One day is needed after 31-45 pitches thrown. A two-day break is needed following an outing of 46-60 tosses. A pitcher that throws 61-75 pitches needs to rest for three days. Throwing 76 or more pitches requires four days off, and a pitcher can’t throw more than 105 pitches in a game.

Here’s what local baseball coaches had to say about the rule:


Washington coach Kevin Leggett:

“It should be interesting. It’s going to make game plans a lot different. We have to plan for what pitcher to use and when we can use him. Before, you’d let a pitcher finish out a batter, but that might put him over his limit. You’ve got to think about that, and you have to plan your game strategy a little bit better to make sure you have the pitching depth to finish out your games for the rest of the week.

“We’re pretty lucky we’ve got so many pitchers. Varsity, I think we’ll be fine. We’ve got six or seven pitchers. I think the three-game weeks, that’ll make a difference. We’ll try to use a whole-staff approach. Once you get to conference and two games a week, this year we’ll be fine.”


Southside coach Kevin McRoy:

“They’re trying to protect kids and keep them safe. I understand that completely. As a coach, the last thing I want to do is put a player out there with a chance of getting injured somehow or another. I won’t ever do that. I already put a pitch count on mine when they go out there anyways. When they go out there, I’ve got in my mind a preset limit of how much I want them to throw in that game. Normally I don’t go over 70 to begin with.

“I do think that it’s going to hurt smaller 1-A schools a lot more than it’s going to hurt larger schools. If you’ve got one or two pitchers and that’s it, if you want someone to go in and throw an inning here and there, you’ve got to be careful with it. It’s going to be interesting.”


Northside coach Keith Boyd:

“I know what we’re trying to do is help kids out with their arms. I think, as a coach, what it makes you do is develop a pitching staff and not just live off of two or three guys. It keeps people who have a really good player from having that player win the ball games for them. In my situation, it evens the playing field a little bit. We have five or six guys who can go up and throw strikes. A lot of people don’t have that luxury.

“It makes you have to work in the offseason to try to get kids who aren’t pitchers to at least go in there and throw you strikes. It poses problems, it does. I can see where it may cause people to shorten their schedules and not play as many games.”