News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local Interest

July 25, 2008

Count on it: Number of Little League pitches being watched

(Continued)

TERRE HAUTE —

A local official’s perspective

Bob Bolin has been involved for many years in Little League District 4, currently serving as an assistant commissioner.

“The kids pitch a whole lot less as far as innings,” Bolin says. “It’s pretty well accepted by the coaches — they don’t like it because they want to control their pitchers — but I think we’ll find out that we have a lot better health with the kids. I haven’t seen as many sore arms.

“Before this, most coaches didn’t keep pitch counts. Some kids would throw 120, 130 pitches which is way too much for their arms.”

Bolin recalls the “older” days of lesser numbers of pitchers, especially if a team had a couple good, strong arms.

“Couple, three pitchers at the most [would be used],” he said. “At the minimum, now you have four, five or six pitchers.

“A lot of teams, a pitcher throw 85 pitches … that’s in four innings. So you have to pitch another pitcher, then he’s not eligible for the next day. You use up two pitchers a day. If you play three, four nights in a row, you can use all your pitchers.

“There’s a big difference. But I think it’s better for the kids, better for the game. I really do.”

From a manager’s point of view

Hans Eilbracht has managed North Terre Haute All-Star teams to state tournaments for the past two seasons — 9-10s to runner-up in state last year, 11-12s competing earlier this week.

Eilbracht also is aware of pitch counts at a personal level, his son Jonathan has been a pitcher both seasons.

“There’s a whole new strategy when you’re going from innings pitched vs. pitch count,” Eilbracht mentioned. “For example, when we were at Princeton [11-12s Section Tournament earlier in July] you’re trying to intentionally walk somebody. So to get the pitch count up, the coaches tell the batter to swing two times. Two extra pitches doesn’t seem like a lot, but sometimes it is.

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