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Local Interest

July 25, 2008

Count on it: Number of Little League pitches being watched

(Continued)

TERRE HAUTE —

“You have to really manage your staff a lot better, a lot closer. One batter can foul off three or four pitches and that changes the whole dynamics of the game. Some batters are good at fouling off pitches … we’ve had times where we’ve had seven, eight, nine pitches to one batter. That changes your strategy because your pitcher comes out of the game earlier.

“You try to plan for the whole tournament that you’re in,” he said. “But then you’ve got to win that game. You can plan all you want, but the game’s always going to change [plans] no matter what. You really have to think on the fly.”

How an All-Star team is constructed has also changed due to pitch counts, because more pitchers are needed during tournament play.

“That enters your decision who you pick for your All-Star team a lot of times,” he added. “Because you always want pitchers … nowadays, you need six, seven pitchers if you can. This year we have that.

“Last year for 9-10 year-olds in the [state] championship game, we ran out of pitches when we got close to the end there and the other team did to. You hate to see a championship game decided on a sixth or seventh … a pitcher that hasn’t pitched very much. You want to win or lose with your best.

“The intention’s good, but I have mixed feelings,” summed up Eilbracht. “It’s good for the kids. You don’t want to see a kid hurt his arm and jeopardize his future. But I think the next thing Little League needs to address is the curveball situation.

“Because you hear nationally so many kids hurting their arms, have Tommy John surgery, because they’re throwing all these curveballs.”

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