Keeping count - how many pitches is too many?

Posted at: 07/18/2013 6:34 PM

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- Joey Hyde threw two complete games in the state tournament to help Kasson-Mantorville win its first-ever baseball state title.

His pitch count in each game never exceeded 90, but even if it was getting high, it probably wouldn't have mattered.

"I'm never going to say I'm not fine, even if you're not the greatest, people aren't going to say they want to come out of a game. That's just the way I am, I like to finish the whole game," said Hyde.

"You're a senior in the state championship so that means a little bit too. He wanted the ball and he was kind of our guy that had the most rest and we felt the most confident with. He didn't wear, he didn't tire," said Kasson head coach Broc Threinen.

Kasson doesn't have a magic number when it comes to pitch counts. In fact, most teams don't. It's more on an individual basis.

"We look at it too if you're going to go work out, go run, some days you have a little more oomph than others," said Mayo assistant coach Jeff Anderson. "So we look at the guys' body language and say 'alright he's out of gas at this point in the game.'"

But injuries happen, so Kasson, Mayo, and other area schools take some precautions before the season starts.

"We do a throwing program with the Mayo Clinic that we think gets the kids in better shape to extend their innings," said Anderson.

"We like to front load," explained Threinen. "Dan Christoffer from the Mayo Clinic has done a lot of preseason work with our pitchers and given us a lot of routines that we've gone through. Since we've been working with them, since 2008 or 2009, we haven't had any arm concerns for overuse."

Dan Christoffer,the head of the Mayo throwing program, wants to both prevent injuries and better pitchers, a lot of which starts with education.

"We do have different seminars and I think they're doing a lot better job of things," said Christoffer. "The biggest thing with baseball is it's an overuse sport, so if you're doing way too much that's what's going to cause the injuries."

At the end of the day, it's up to the coaches. Most athletes aren't going to admit they're tired, or their pitch count is getting high, so it then becomes the coach's job to know when to say when enough is enough.

"I think there's enough responsibility among the coaches that they're looking out for the kids," said Threinen.

"It's erring on the side of safety whenever you can," said Anderson. "We want our kids to go on and play college sports and not look back and say 'well I don't have that chance anymore because I was over used in high school."