IHSA puts off vote on proposed high school baseball pitch-count limits
The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) pushed back a vote on proposed pitch-count limit recommendation at its October meeting Oct. 12.
The vote now will take place Dec. 12 after the board holds a series of annual meetings that are not open to the public.
In August, the IHSA baseball advisory committee made a series of recommendations to the board, at which time a vote was scheduled for the October meeting. If the recommendations are passed in December, they would be followed beginning with the 2017 season.
The IHSA conducts the meetings to keep principals up to date on rules and proposed changes. Principals at IHSA member schools are required to attend the meetings each year.
"I don’t know why it did not get voted on," McHenry coach Brian Rockweiler told the McHenry Times. "Maybe they don’t know how they are going to track all of it and how they are going to enforce it."
Rockweiler said that if the proposed pitch-count limits eventually become regulations, his squad will not be affected.
"In all games we played, we had one kid throw 115 pitches, and that was only because he was not going to pitch for another 10 days," Rockweiler said. "Most of the time, we pull our pitchers after 100 pitches."
Dr. Preston Wolin, director and founder of the Center for Athletic Medicine in Chicago, was at the August meeting and helped draft some of the proposed rule changes along with area coaches.
"This meeting was not only extremely gratifying, but really historic for the players, parents, coaches and administrators," Wolin said.
Wolin said Illinois has gone above and beyond any other state in the nation when it comes to pitch counts.
"The proposed rules also provide a weekly cap on the number of pitches thrown,'' Wolin said. "The reason this is important is that while many of the models used by other states protect the pitcher, there is a potential for overuse by throwing the pitcher on multiple consecutive days even at the allowable number of pitches."
"I think these recommendations are going to make the game safer and more enjoyable," Wolin said. "The cooperation of the baseball coaches in coming up with these limits was outstanding. Everyone in that room was committed to the safety of our young pitchers. That dedication is being translated into our pitch count limits in the State of Illinois.’’
Another high school coach does not have a problem with the recommendations but wishes the committee would have gone a little further.
"The biggest issue is not guys being abused during the high school season," Glenbard North coach Rich Smelko said. "One of the biggest issues are guys being abused pitching on summer travel ball teams. Pitchers are going to one-day showcases where they have not thrown for a lengthy period of time."
For that reason, young pitchers may try too hard, Smelko said.
"They are throwing their hardest to light up the radar gun and pop some eyes of some college coaches and scouts," Smelko said. "You combine (that with) guys throwing in the summer, and that could lead to some potential for problems in the future."
"That’s where most of the problems are," Rockweiler said. "The high school coaches in our area do a good job with the pitchers and they are all knowledgeable. It’s the summer stuff and showcases where there might be some problems."
Here is a schedule of the town hall meetings. http://ihsa.org/documents/forms/2016-17/16-17TMPRM%20Final.pdf
Here is the pitch count proposal: www.ihsa.org/documents/ba/2016-17/Pitch%20Count%20Proposal.pdf.
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