In the past, one ace could lead a Maine high school baseball team deep into the postseason, perhaps even to the state championship. With the 2017 season, that’s no longer the case.

Last Fall, the Maine Principals’ Association introduced new pitch count rules, limiting the number of pitches a player can throw in a game and defining the amount of rest each pitcher must have before taking the mound again. The rules come as more high school pitchers nationwide suffer arm injuries as a result of overuse.

In the past, rest was required after a pitcher threw a certain number of innings. Four or more innings thrown on one day mandated a three-day rest period before that player could pitch again. Now, the amount of rest is determined by the number of pitches thrown.

According to the MPA baseball bulletin, the maximum number of pitches any player can throw in a varsity game is 110. Anything between 96 and 110 pitches requires four days rest before the pitcher can take the mound again. Between 66-95 pitches requires three days rest, 40-65 pitches requires two days rest and 21-39 pitches requires one day of rest.

If a pitcher throws between one and 20 pitches, he is eligible to pitch again the next day.

For subvarsity games, the pitch limit is lower. Freshman and junior varsity pitchers max out at 90 pitches in a game. Between 75-90 pitches requires four days rest, 56-74 three days rest, 36-55 two days rest, and 16-35 one day rest. Subvarsity pitchers throwing between one and 15 pitches may pitch again the next day.

Each team must maintain a pitch count for its pitchers, as well as a count for the opponent. Pitch count will be confirmed by each team after each half-inning. The MPA recommends an adult is responsible for tracking the pitch counts. According to the MPA baseball bulletin, any pitch count discrepancy will be reported to the home plate umpire, and the records of the home team shall be used as the official pitch count record of each game.

The MPA also recommends a pitcher not play catcher when not on the mound.

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