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State approves mercy rule for high school baseball

State approves mercy rule for high school baseball

Each section has option
State approves mercy rule for high school baseball
The state has approved a run rule for baseball.
Photographer: PETER R. BARBER

TROY — One-sided baseball games in Section II could be halted early after the approval of a run rule Friday by Executive Committee of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association.

According the NYSPHSAA baseball coordinator Al Roy,each of the state's 11 section has the option of using the run rule, commonly known as the mercy rule.

Under the rule, a game will end with a run differential of 10 runs after 5 innings, or 4 1/2 innings if the home team is winning. The rule was approved as a two-year pilot, or on a trial basis, beginning this spring season.

"We'll have to see how the vote goes," Section II baseball coordinator and Gloversville athletic director Mike DeMagistris said. "Section II will have to approve the run rule. If that happens, the league's will have to approve it."

DeMagistris said Section II may end up having some league's using the run rule and some not.

"People have different opinions," said DeMagistris, who coaches the Gloversville varsity baseball team. "I am against it. Baseball is not a free substitute sport, and this will limit opportunities for kids. We're taking innings away from kids. We don't stop other games."

The run rule proposal states in part, "The run rule will have a saving impact on pitch counts and the number of pitchers that are used in games when there is a lack of competitiveness." Though Roy backed the proposal, he said he could see DeMagistris' point.

"A game gets out of hand and a coach may want to play other kids," Roy said. "I understand that."

Section II voted in favor of the run rule at Friday's Executive Committee meeting.

"The Section II baseball committee was against the run rule," DeMagistris said. "The Section II Athletic Council was for it."

While each section has a run rule option for the regular season and its postseason tournament, the run rule will be in place for all teams involved in regional, state semifinal and state championship games.

Roy said the NYSPHSAA Baseball Committee had previously made a proposal to the Executive Committee that included adding two regular season games to compensate for innings lost with the run rule. No action was taken after that joint proposal was discussed.

"With the run rule we wanted to add two games to the season," Roy said. "We rewrote  it [the proposal] and took out adding two games. What we will do during the two-year trial is look at each section and keep track of the innings lost. After we look back, we may make a proposal in the future to add games."

The Executive Committee approved pitch count rules for all levels of high school  baseball in January of 2017, and they went into effect last spring.

The Executive Committee Friday also approved a proposal to readjust a regional baseball bracket if a section does not have a team represented. That happened last season, when Section XI did not have a Class D team advance, and a Section IX Class D team made it to the state final four without playing a regional game.

"To ensure everyone has an equal path to the state tournament, we have a mechanism in place," Roy said. "We can now make a late-season adjustment."

The Executive Committee approved several sites for championship competitions from 2019-2021, including the Times Union Center for individual wrestling, as well as the HarborCenter in Buffalo (boys' ice hockey), Rochester Institute of Technology (cheerleading), and Deerfield Country Club in Rochester (girls' golf). AMF Strike-N-Spare in Syracuse (boys' and girls' bowling, 2019-2020) and state skiing sites Gore Mountain (2019), Bristol Mountain (2020) and Whiteface Mountain (2021) were also approved.

Five-sport classification numbers for boys' and girls' soccer, boys' and girls' basketball, baseball and softball were approved. They are Class AA, 965-up (107 schools); Class A, 500-964 (169 schools); Class B, 270-499 (185 schools); Class C, 150-269 (171 schools); Class D, 149-below (162 schools).

Reach Gazette Sportswriter Jim Schiltz at 518-395-3143, [email protected] or @jim_schiltz on Twitter.

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