INDIANAPOLIS, IN (July 12, 2016) — High school baseball rules now will require a pitching restriction policy based on the number of pitches thrown in a game.
The revised pitching policy in Rule 6-2-6 was one of six rules changes approved by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Baseball Rules Committee at its June 5-7 meeting in Indianapolis. The rules changes were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.
Each NFHS member state association will be required to develop its own pitching restriction policy based on the number of pitches thrown during a game to afford pitchers a required rest period between pitching appearances.
“We’re pleased that the rules committee worked in conjunction with the NFHS Sports Medicine Advisory Committee to find an acceptable and reasonable modification to this rule in order to emphasis the risk that occurs when pitchers overuse their throwing arm,” said Elliot Hopkins, NFHS director of sports and student services and staff liaison for baseball.
The AHSAA Central Board of Control, in a proactive move at the recommendation of the AHSAA Baseball Coaches Committee and Medical Advisory Committee, approved a pitch count policy for its member schools last fall. The AHSAA Pitch Count Rule, which has been lauded by baseball groups across the nation, will be implemented in the 2017 season. The previous policy was based on innings pitched per week. The AHSAA Pitch Count Rule can be found on the Baseball Page at www.ahsaa.com.
The Baseball Rules Committee also revised Rule 2-32-2 regarding sliding into home plate. The revised language states: “At home plate, it is permissible for the slider’s momentum to carry him through the plate in the baseline extended.” The committee altered this rule since the physical design of home plate makes it difficult for a runner to break momentum on a slide – as opposed to the other three elevated bases which are elevated.
The committee also revised Rule 3-3-1, which states the umpire has the ability to give three warnings to a coach or player before he or she is removed from the game.
“Officials now have the opportunity to provide a tiered warning system for coaches or players,” Hopkins said. “It provides the coaches or players with a teachable moment to change their unsportsmanlike behavior in order to stay in the game.”
A new article 6 was added to Rule 8-3 to provide a rules reference for an existing ruling in the Baseball Case Book. The new article reads: “When a plate umpire hinders, impedes or prevents a catcher’s throw attempting to prevent a stolen base or retire a runner on a pickoff play, if an out is not made at the end of the catcher’s initial throw, the ball shall be dead and all runners shall return to the bases occupied at the time of the interference.”
The rules committee also approved an addition to Rule 8-4-2, which states that any runner is out when he is physically assisted by a coach. This rule change supports a revision in Rule 3-2-2 Penalty, which states that the runner shall be called out immediately when he is physically assisted by a coach.
A complete listing of the baseball rules changes will be available on the NFHS website at www.nfhs.org. Click on “Activities & Sports” at the top of the home page, and select “Baseball.”
According to the 2015-16 NFHS High School Athletics Participation Survey, there are 486,567 boys participating in baseball at 15,899 schools across the country, and 1,203 girls playing the sport in 260 schools.
BIRMINGHAM – The Alabama Sports Writers Association named Cullman’s Owen Lovell the 2016 Mr. Baseball Award recipient and Curry’s Ashlee Swindle captured the 206 Miss Softball Award during Sunday’s annual banquet.
The ASWA also honored Brantley softball player Alex Wilcox with the inaugural Jimmy Smothers Courage Award. Smothers, the long-time sports editor of the Gadsden Times and much loved leader in the ASWA for more than 50 years, died in the past year. He was inducted into the ASWA Hall of Fame, the AHSAA Sports Hall of Fame and the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame.
Lovell helped Cullman to the Class 6A state finals this season batting .392 with 14 home runs, 64 RBIs, 24 stolen bases and 15 doubles. The junior center fielder and Alabama commitment also pitched 51 innings compiling a 7-1 record with 63 strikeouts, three shutouts and a 1.51 ERA.
Lovell heads the Super All-State team and is joined by Florence’s Brax Garrett, last year’s Mr. Baseball recipient and second to Lovell in the 2016 balloting. Garrett, a left-handed pitcher, was the highest drafted selection from the state in the 2016 Professional Baseball Draft. He was selected in the first round by the Miami Marlins as the seventh pick overall. Also named to the Super All-State squad were Decatur’s Tanner Burns, Sparkman’s Brock Anderson, Russellville’s Judd Ward, Vestavia Hills’ Sonny Potter, American Christian’s Deacon Medders, UMS-Wright’s Tanner Allen, Helena’s Sam Praytor and Corner’s Jackson Tavel.
Auburn signee Swindle (45-2) led Curry to its second straight Class 4A softball championship in 2016. The 2015 title was the first of any kind in school history. She pitched 262 2/3 of the team’s 285 total innings this season, striking out 385 and walking 34 while allowing only 22 earned runs for an 0.59 ERA. Opponents batted .132 with a .169 on-base percentage, managing only 123 hits in 973 batters faced.
Swindle posted the best numbers of her career at the plate, batting .557 with 13 home runs and team best 86 RBIs. She headlines the ASWA 2016 Super All-State softball team. Also named to the squad by th state’s sportswriters were Brantley’s Alex Wilcox, Sumiton Christian’s Kendall Beth Sides and Jenna Ergle, Spain Park’s Mary Katherine Tedder, Elmore County’s Elissa Brown, Baker’s Victoria Ortiz, Demopolis’ Abby Latham, Cullman’s Claire Jenkins and Macon-East’s Paxton Searle of the AISA.
Lovell is the 18th Mr. Baseball and second Cullman player to win the award after Keegan Thompson was named the 2013 recipient. No player has repeated as Mr. Baseball, and it’s the first time any school has produced multiple winners.
Swindle is the 14th Miss Softball and first Curry player to earn the honor. Grissom’s Anna Thompson is the only two-time Miss Softball winner, earning the award in 2004 and 2006. Pisgah, Hueytown and Baker have had multiple winners in the 14-year history of the award. Pisgah’s Holly Currie won the first Miss Softball award in 2003 and Shelby Holley won in 2011. Hueytown’s Lindsey Dunlap won in 2008 and Leigh Streetman in 2010 while Baker’s Tara Donaldson won in 2005 and Lacey Sumerlin in 2015.
Brantley’s Wilcox was diagnosed with ovarian cancer on Christmas Day and fought through nine weeks of chemotherapy, missing only about nine games during the Bulldogs’ run to their third straight Class 1A championship. She’s the ASWA Class 1A Hitter and Player of the Year and was selected to the Super All-State team, finishing second to Swindle in Miss Softball voting.
2016 ASWA Super All-State Baseball Team
Mr. Baseball: Owen Lovell, Cullman
Brax Garrett, Florence
Tanner Burns, Decatur
Brock Anderson, Sparkman
Judd Ward, Russellville
Sonny Potter, Vestavia Hills
Deacon Medders, American Christian
Tanner Allen, UMS-Wright
Sam Praytor, Helena
Jackson Tavel, Corner
ASWA Mr. Baseball Winners
2016: Owen Lovell, Cullman
2015: Brax Garrett, Florence
2014: Cody Reed, Ardmore
2013: Keegan Thompson, Cullman
2012: Mikey White, Spain Park
2011: Daniel Koger, Huntsville
2010: Daryl Norris, Fairhope
2009: Luke Bole, Hartselle
2008: Tyler Stovall, Hokes Bluff
2007: John David Smelser, Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa
2006: Del Howell, American Christian
2005: Colby Rasmus, Russell County
2004: Patrick White, Daphne
2003: Joey Doan, Baker
2002: Allen Ponder, Lee-Scott Academy
2001: Eric West, Southside-Gadsden
2000: Wade Miller, G.W. Long
1999: Matthew Maniscalco, Oxford
2016 ASWA Super All-State Softball Team
Miss Softball: Ashlee Swindle, Curry
Alex Wilcox, Brantley
Kendall Beth Sides, Sumiton Christian
Mary Katherine Tedder, Spain Park
Jenna Ergle, Sumiton Christian
Elissa Brown, Elmore County
Victoria Ortiz, Baker
Abby Latham, Demopolis
Claire Jenkins, Cullman
ASWA Miss Softball Winners
2016: Ashlee Swindle, Curry
2015: Lacey Sumerlin, Baker
2014: Madi Moore, Winfield
2013: Kasey Cooper, Dothan
2012: Haylie McCleney, Mortimer Jordan
2011: Shelby Holley, Pisgah
2010: Leigh Streetman, Hueytown
2009: Hilary Phillips, Ider
2008: Lindsey Dunlap, Hueytown
2007: Whitney Larsen, Vestavia Hills
2006: Anna Thompson, Grissom
2005: Tara Donaldson, Baker
2004: Anna Thompson, Grissom
2003: Holly Currie, Pisgah
MONTGOMERY – Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa rallied in the bottom of the seventh inning to beat Cullman 4-3 Friday night at Paterson Field in game one of the Class 6A State Baseball Championship Series. Game two moves to Riverwalk Stadium Saturday at 4 p.m. Game three will follow at approximately 7 p.m. if needed.
Cullman (40-12) took a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the sixth inning, but Hillcrest tied the game to set up the exciting finish. Coach Brent Patterson’s Bearcats took the lead again 3-2 in the top of the seventh before Coach Mark Garner’s Patriots scored twice to win.
Michael Garner pitched 6 1/3 innings allowing three hits and three runs for Hillcrest. Reliever Tyler Frederick (5-1) got the final two outs in the seventh to get the win in relief. He faced three batters and struck out one.
Cullman’s Jacob Heatherly pitched six innings allowing four hits and striking out four. Carter Bowen and Levi Thomas pitched in the seventh. Bowen (5-4) got the loss.
Blake Robbins had a single and two RBIs for the Patriots. Frederick also had a hit, scored a run and drew a crucial walk. Sage Bailey also had a hit and scored a run, and Walt Bailey had two hits.
Kolby Robinson had three hits as leadoff hitter for Cullman. Ben Smith had a pinch-hit single and RBI.
All games are being live-streamed over the NFHS Network.