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 > Little League Online > Learn More > Newsletters > Coach's Box Newsletter > 2006 > Coach's Box - Nov/Dec 2006 > Pitch Count - November/December

Pitch Count - November/December


Volume I, No. 8  

   November/December 2006


Here’s the Pitch: Little League Volunteers Ask for Clarification of What Constitutes a Countable Pitch

By Chris Downs
Media Relations Manager
Little League International

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (Dec. 12, 2006) – When the Little League International Board of Directors voted in August to adopt the pitch count rule in place of the innings-pitched rule governing a baseball pitcher’s eligibility, a recurring question from Little League managers and coaches has been: Under the pitch count rule, what is the definition of a countable pitch?

All of the current information on the pitch count can be found here: http://www.littleleague.org/media/pitch_count_10-03-06.asp

In the weeks since the announcement, Little League International has produced information and released perspectives from Little League volunteers designed to inform and educate local leagues on the rules that will be in place for the upcoming 2007 season. That effort will continue in the months ahead.

Last month, Nick Caringi, director of operations for Little League Baseball and Softball, was a guest on “Ask Little League,” Little League’s on-line chat series. Of the more than 275 questions submitted, Mr. Caringi fielded many queries about what defines a pitch.

The full transcript of Mr. Caringi’s remarks can be found here: http://www.littleleague.org/askll/06octsession.asp

Responding to a question from Daniel, a vice president and player agent in a local league in New Castle, Ind., Mr. Caringi said, “(The rule defining a legal pitch) is the same as always. The definition of a pitch is Rule 2.0. It is a pitch delivered to a batter.”

Other questions revolved around the difference between a pitch and a throw.

Willis, a local Little League president in South Harrison, N.J., wanted to know, “At the Junior, Senior and Big league levels, does a pick-off attempt count as a pitch?”

Mr. Caringi took the opportunity to answer related questions with his response, stating, “Pick-off attempts are not pitches, so they would not count. Also, warm-up pitches are not counted. Also not counted are the times a pitcher has to throw the ball to make a play (such as on a bunt the pitcher might field). The key is in the definition of a ‘pitch,’ located in Rule 2. It is defined as a, ‘ball delivered to the batter by the pitcher.’”

The interpretation and execution of an intentional walk was addressed by Mr. Caringi in his response to a question from Alan, a District Administrator in Massillon, Ohio.

Mr. Caringi said, “When we released the text for the new pitch count regulation, it included a provision for intentional walks. You can see the regulation here: http://www.littleleague.org/media/Rule_Changes_09-06.06.pdf.”

Bill, an information officer in Pittsburg, Calif., asked, “If a manager decides to intentionally walk the batter after a pitch is thrown, may that batter be sent to first base with no further pitches being thrown?”

“The answer is no,” Mr. Caringi said. “The only time a ‘no-pitch’ intentional walk can be granted is if it is indicated before a pitch is delivered to that batter.”

Counting pitches thrown in a suspended game is also important to note as Mr. Caringi pointed out in a reply to a question from Lee, a local Little League coach in Black Rock, Conn.

“All the pitches count in such a game,” Mr. Caringi said. “That has not changed, as the innings counted in such a game in previous years.”

The only exception is when less than six outs have been played, and the game is re-started on a subsequent day, as explained to Manny, a district umpire consultant in Alexandria, Va., who asked, “Are the pitches counted, and is (the pitcher) required to observe one day’s rest, if the pitches were delivered in innings that ‘never happened?’” His examples were: A 12-year-old pitcher, who delivers 24 pitches in the top of the first inning before the game is called in the bottom of the first inning; or both opposing pitchers deliver pitches in the sixth inning, but then the outcome of the game reverts back to the end of the previous inning under Rule 4.11(d).

“First, pitches delivered in the first inning of a game that does not advance beyond that inning, will not be counted,” Mr. Caringi said. “This is the same as in previous years, when that inning was not charged to that pitcher. In answer to the second question, (Little League International) treats it the same as previous years, i.e., the pitches do count in that situation.”

Expectations are that under the new rule more emphasis will be placed on establishing a pitching rotation. Bob, a local Little League umpire in Coon Rapids, Minn., pointed out, “The pitch count rules for the 2007 regular season state a pitcher may throw 20 pitches and require no rest, yet for many years prior, ‘one pitch constitutes an inning,’ and would require a day of rest. This rule appears to allow a star pitcher to pitch every day, just not more than 20 pitches a day. Why the variance?”

“You are absolutely correct,” Mr. Caringi said. “The reason it is different is that the experts (Little League International) consulted said that a low number of pitches does not require a full day of rest. Just because ‘we’ve always done it that way,’ does not mean we cannot change.”

The 2007 tournament rules with reference to the pitch count are listed here: http://www.littleleague.org/media/New_T_Rules_10-06.asp

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