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No batting practice on day of a Southern Section playoff game

No batting practice on day of a Southern Section playoff
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Seemingly every season, a Southern Section baseball coach fails to follow the rules and their team has to forfeit because of an illegal batting practice taken on the day of a playoff game.

With playoffs beginning this week, it’s time again to remind everyone of the batting practice rule, because parents and coaches are certain to have their cellphones ready to record anything that might be considered batting practice. A protest must be lodged with an umpire before the start of the game for it to be considered.

According to the Southern Section baseball playoff bulletin: “Batting practice will be construed as any type of pitching motion with any type of ball in front of the batter (including pitching machines and overhand throwing). The only acceptable batting warmup will be side soft toss, batting tee work or pepper.”

More from the bulletin:

A) For side soft toss, the guidelines are as follows: The tosser should be on a knee, to the side of the batter, and the ball should be lifted, not pitched, to the batter.

B) For pepper, the guidelines are as follows: The maximum distance between the pitchers/fielders and the hitter is 40 feet, and batted balls are to be directed toward the pitchers/fielders.

C) To clarify any questions that may arise. “Tracking” — in which the hitter stands in a batter’s position while a pitcher throws overhand to a catcher, and the hitter “tracks” the pitch as it comes toward the plate — is not considered batting practice by definition and is allowable before a playoff contest. Batters who swing, or attempt to swing or bunt in any fashion, will be in violation of the rule and may face the consequences of that action. Coaches should be very careful to monitor any and all pre-game activities.

Somehow, someway, coaches need to know the rule and not break it.

Also important are pitching limitations. Pitchers are allowed 30 outs a week and no more than 110 pitches in a game. Pitchers are required to have three days of rest after 76 or more pitches.

Since players and teams lost the 2020 season because of COVID-19 restrictions, let’s hope there are no forfeits because of rule violations during the 2021 playoffs.





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