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Tuesday, December 7, 2021
ArlingtonCommentary: Legion pitch count too low

Commentary: Legion pitch count too low

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For nine-inning baseball games, the 105 maximum pitches that were allowed by any one pitcher to throw during the recent American Legion District 17 baseball tournament was a number much too low.

For seven innings, 105 is OK, maybe even too few then, especially in late July when most pitchers’ arms are warm and well worked and into a routine of throwing more pitches than, say, during the early spring high-school campaign.

For nine-innings summer outings, the pitch count should be closer to 120, maybe even 125 or so. Maybe starting with that 105 number, then extend later in the summer, certainly by the final two weeks of July or so.

Having the 105 total might have been a factor in the recent district-tourney championship game. Vienna Post 180 starting right-hander Ian Babey was hurling along quite nicely in the contest. Through eight innings, he had limited Arlington Post 139 to just two runs, as Vienna led 3-2.

Babey seemed to have the Arlington batters off balance, pitching well to contact and causing multiple fly-ball outs and popups.

After eight frames, though, Babey had thrown 103 pitches, so he was finished on the mound because of that low pitch limitation. Babey yielded to a relief pitcher in the ninth. Arlington rallied for two runs on three hits off the new hurler and won, 4-3, to win the league championship.

If the pitch limit had been higher, Babey most likely would have started the ninth inning at least, and who knows what might have happened. The game was Babey’s to finish, but 105 pitches were not enough to allow him to attempt to win the game.

Hopefully, by next summer, those making the pitch-count rules for District 17, or Legion baseball in general, will extend that meager 105 limit for those later-in-the-summer nine-inning playoff games.

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