By STEVE KRAH
Two Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association proposals were approved by the Indiana High School Athletic Association.
Two proposals were rejected.
One was tabled.
Several rules and points of emphasis were discussed.
This all happened late last week and was announced at the IHSBCA State Clinic in Indianapolis. IHSAA assistant commissioner Robert Faulkens was there to answer questions and provide information for the coaches.
The first proposal was to allow catch during conditioning (which can be done six days a week). The IHSBCA withdrew that proposal and it was tabled. Faulkens still presented it to the IHSAA executive board. The board directed him to re-write the proposal.
“Effective with the 2021 season, playing catch will be in conditioning and not Limited Contact,” said Faulkens.
“Playing catch during conditioning, what does that looks like?,” said Shane Edwards, an IHSBCA executive council member and head coach at Oak Hill High School. “It’s 1 v 1. There’s no catching gear and no mound.”
The second proposal was to add a third day to the Limited Contact Period (two days a week for a maximum of two hours) after Week 33 of the IHSAA calendar and that extra day could be used for bullpen sessions. The proposal was rejected 19-0.
The third proposal was to add a week to the end of the baseball season. The proposal was rejected 19-0.
The fourth proposal was to provide for 10 activity days during the summer for school baseball teams. The proposal was approved 19-0.
Within those 10 days, there can be eight contest days and more than one game can be played on those days. IHSAA Moratorium Week rules still apply.
The fifth proposal was to add a person to track to track the pitch count rule (1 to 35 pitches requires 0 days rest; 36 to 60 requires 1 day; 61 to 80 requires 2 days; 81 to 100 requires 3 days; and 101 to 120 requires 4 days) during the IHSAA tournament. Beyond that, the tracker would be able to notify game officials that a pitcher needs to come out when they reach their pitch count limit. The proposal was approved 15-4. The host site is responsible for hiring the pitch counter at all levels of the tournament.
To be clear, the same person who keeps the scorebook can be the pitch counter.
Indiana high school baseball teams are currently in a Limited Contact Period.
Practice starts March 16. The first contest date is March 30.
IHSAA sectionals begin May 27. The calendar rolls this year so games are not played on Memorial Day (May 25).
Faulkens asked coaches to take seriously the grading of umpires for the state tournament series. Voting opens April 13 and closes April 27.
“The rating system for umpires is so tight that one or two votes can impact whether we’re getting our best officials, our best umpires at the regional, semistate, state level,” said Faulkens. “Take some time and honestly and earnestly evaluate our umpires. Take the emotion out of it.
“It makes my job difficult when I know who my best guys are and they can’t advance one or two bad votes. Half of their rating comes from your vote.”
Faulkens noted that the National Federation of State High School Associations requires that varsity baseballs plus chest protectors and body suit used during the 2020 season must carry the NOSCAE (National Operating Committee for Athletic Equipment) seal.
This year, there will be an expanded designated hitter rule to allow a player to be used as a position player and a DH. This will allow for more lineup flexibility.
Faulkens said a point of emphasis in 2020 is for players to stay in their dugout unless they are the on-deck hitter.
In addition, the National Federation says video technology can be used in teaching and coaching. But it has to be used appropriately.
“Last year, we saw a team video-taping a pitcher from behind the backstop,” said Faulkens. “You can’t do it.”
Faulkens also addressed ejections.
“There are way too many coaches getting kicked out of baseball games,” said Faulkens. “If there’s one, it’s too many.
“Baseball coaches had more people kicked out of games last year than any sport. That’s unacceptable.
“We are an education-based entity. We are supposed to be teaching through sport. If it’s unacceptable in your classroom, it’s should be unacceptable on the diamond.”
Varsity baseballs plus chest protectors and body suit used during the 2020 Indiana high school baseball season must carry the NOSCAE (National Operating Committee for Athletic Equipment) seal. (Steve Krah Photo)