Roy makes pitch for mercy rule

The NYPSHAA is considering a proposal for a 10-run mercy rule for high school baseball.
The NYPSHAA is considering a proposal for a 10-run mercy rule for high school baseball.

Al Roy’s first big pitch as the new state baseball coordinator was met with mixed results.

As part of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association’s annual Central Committee meeting on Tuesday, Roy offered a joint proposal to expand the regular season from 20 to 22 games and introduce a 10-run mercy rule. In a separate proposal, the former Section II baseball coordinator asked for the okay to reset regional schedules if necessary so that every team must play their way into the state final four.

Roy’s proposals had a 2018 starting date and covered all levels of high school baseball. The NYSPHSAA’s Executive Committee will move on the proposals in October.

“I gave them everything we had and the reasons,” Roy said. “I have a sense that the regional proposal is going to go through. My feeling is if we insist on combining the two others, we’ll get shot down. I didn’t feel we got much support for the 22 games, while the mercy rule, there was some support. We could end up rewriting the mercy rule proposa,l and that might have a better chance of getting through as a separate item.”

Roy said part of the rationale in asking for more games is to compensate for innings lost in games ended prematurely by one-sided scores.

“The [state] baseball committee wanted it,” Roy said if the 22 games. ” When we met in June their thinking was, ‘If we’re going to lose innings with the mercy rule, we want something back.'”

Roy knew the 22-game proposal would receive the stiffest opposition at the meeting.

“People said if baseball gets two, other sports will be lining up,” Roy, who previously served as the assistant state baseball coordinator before taking over for Ed Dopp,  said. “I also heard, ‘Are you going to lose enough innings [with the mercy rule] that would warrant adding two games as compensation?'”  

The mercy rule would end games that have a 10-run difference after five innings, or after 4 1/2 innings if the home team is ahead by that margin.

The Executive Committee approved pitch count rules for all levels of high school  baseball last January, and they went into effect this past spring.

“Last year, when we put in the pitch count, we talked about a mercy rule to help save pitching innings,” Roy said. “The mercy rule will do that.”

Roy’s regional proposal would allow the state baseball committee to reset the state tournament schedule in May if necessary. In January the state baseball committee created a state tournament schedule for the next six years.

“If something happen,s we want to be able to make changes,” Roy said. “We want teams that win their sections to earn their way in [to the state semifinals].”

Roy said the proposal stemmed from the situation that came out of last season’s Class D Southeast Regional which includes Section I, VIII, IX and XI teams. Section I and VIII did not have any Class D teams, and Section XI’s lone Class D team had one win and was denied a state tournament spot by Suffolk County baseball officials, according to Roy. Section IX champ S.S. Seward thus went directly to the state semifinals, while three other teams had to win at least one regional contest to make the final four. That trio included eventual state champ Fort Ann.

“Section IX didn’t want a free ride,” Roy said.

Another Section IX Class D title-winning team, Livingston Manor, had no regional competition in 2009 and also went straight to the final four.

“We want to be able to adjust the schedule,” Roy said. “For example, if Section IX had no team to play, they could meet Section II in a regional game because they border each other.”


On Wednesday, the Central Committee approved several proposals including an adjustment in classification numbers for girls’ volleyball beginning in the fall of 2018. The adjustment evens out the numbers of schools in each of the five classes to 20 percent, and looks like this. Class AA, 950-plus, 117 schools; Class A, 598-949, 117 schools, Class B, 368-597, 117 schools; Class C, 221-367, 119 schools; Class D, 220-below, 116 schools.

The Central Committee approved an adjustment to the graduated scale for combined sports teams starting in the 2018-19 school year. The graduated scale is used for determining a BEDS number for placement in sectional and state competitions. The revision increases percentages for Class AA, A and B to 100 percent, while Class C will now be 40 percent with Class D having 30 percent.  According to a NYSPHSAA news release, its membership had concerns the previous graduated scale was too low and resulted in unintended  consequences.

The Central Committee approved the modified sports start date be the same as the junior varsity and varsity start date, with section and league approval, beginning in the winter of the 2017-18 school year.

On Tuesday, the Central Committee approved Albany’s new Capital Center – which is adjacent to the Times Union Center – as the host site for the boys’ volleyball championships for three years beginning in the fall of 2018.

“The NYSPHSAA boys’ volleyball committee is interested in promoting the sport to increase the number of participating schools,” Judy Hartman, the NYSPHSAA  boys’ volleyball coordinator, said. “The bid from Albany provides an opportunity to publicize the sport in the central area of the state and the facility will provide a lively environment for the athletes. We look forward to working with Section II coordinator John Coletta at  the 2018-2020 championships.”

Reach Gazette Sportswriter Jim Schiltz at 395-3143, [email protected] or @jim_schiltz on Twitter.


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