In Alaska, there’s a call to arms– and it has nothing to do with the Second Amendment. It’s all about preservation of another type of arm: the one on a pitcher’s mound.
The Alaska School Activities Association says some kids have thrown as many as 160 pitches in a high school game– a ridiculously high number and one which invites serious injury. Now, they’re joining an effort to curb how often the curve can be thrown with a pitch count. They’re common in Major League Baseball and now, Alaska high schools are following suit. If a pitcher tosses more than 30 pitches in a game he’ll have to rest for at least one day. But even a low total will send a young hurler to the bench. Two straight days of pitching regardless of the pitch count triggers a call to the bullpen and a mandatory day off.
31-55 One day
56-80 Two days
81-105 Three days
106-120 Four days
“The concern was with the overuse of arms, particularly young arms. The National Federation of High Schools put into its rule book this year that all state associations have to adopt a pitch count,” said Billy Strickland, ASAA’s executive director. “So now, we’re tracking the actual number of pitches, which ultimately, makes for a safer game.”
Players and coaches understand it’s for their benefit.
Grace Christian pitcher Josh McGovern won’t overdo it.
“My coach says whenever your arm starts to hurt, just tell him, and he’ll pull you out of the game because he doesn’t want you to get hurt.”
Coaches realize parents are entrusting their children to them.
“Our focus on our team is a player’s health first and then performance. We don’t want to blow this young kid’s arm out,” said Grace Christian head coach Ted McGovern.
While it will necessitate coaches to manage a game differently, safety remains the top priority.