A new rule passed by the UIL in October will have high school coaches putting more thought into their rotation this season based off the newly introduced pitch count regulation.
"It's a new rule by the UIL, so we have to keep heavy track during the game. Once they get to 110 with a certain number of days of rest then they got to come out of the ballgame," said James Boxley, Tyler Lee Head Baseball Coach.
For instance, if a pitcher reaches the 110 threshold then they are not eligible to throw in another contest for four days. Anything under 45, that pitcher can pitch as early as the next day.
So far, East Texas coaches don't have a problem with what's been set in place.
"I think that 110, I think your pushing the limit of the kid. It's something we've monitor heavily and have for several years. You look out for the best interest of the kid," said Coach Boxley.
"We have a decent amount of kids that would like to go play at the next level. If I'm abusing their arms now that could hinder how they can go on to the next level, and their performance at the next level," said Rich Sanguinetti, Lindale Head Baseball Coach.
"As much as we want to win right here high school wise, our goal is to make sure that guy's prepared to go. Whether that's to play college ball, or just go to school, or whatever it is. You know we want to take care of them as much as we can," said Derrick Jenkins, Whitehouse Head Baseball Coach.
Not only are these coaches behind the new rule, they don't believe the pitch count will greatly change their approach to the regular season.
"At the end of the day, you work a couple more arms during district contest, during the week. You certainly need additional arms, someone to come in and get an out," said Coach Boxley.
The rule however, will more than likely effect the way teams compete come postseason play; a scenario where 110 pitches gets stretched out over a potential three game series.
"If you have a number one and he throws 50-60 pitches on Friday, you may take him out a little earlier then normal so that he can come back the next day," said Coach Sanguinetti.
"I think guys are going to go to one game series a whole lot more. People say one game at a time, and you can kind of do that, but now you really can't pitching wise. You got to start thinking two or three ahead. Guys are going to try and push you for a Wednesday game cause your guy threw on Saturday. So you got to think about those things also," said Coach Jenkins.
But what about the pitchers? The athletes who's personal wins or loses will be most effected if they are not allowed to finish something they've started.
"There's kids that want to win, so they are going to throw no matter what, no matter how many pitches. In the past people have done that, and I've seen it happen to a couple of my friends and they've thrown their arms out doing that," said Gage Walters, senior Lindale pitcher.
"I know if I'm working hard and it's a close game and we're about to come out on top that I'm going to want to finish it out. But I'm confident with the guys we have to finish it out for me," said David Randall, junior Tyler Lee pitcher.
With District action just around the corner, it will be interesting to see how the pitch count truly effects the game at this level. But whether it's 110 or 150 kids still got to throw strikes.
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