POLL: Should softball have pitch limits?

POLL: Should softball have pitch limits?

Unlike baseball, there are no pitch limits in softball, allowing pitchers to throw multiple games a day.

Should softball have pitch limits?

Last week our Josh Horton wrote a story asking that question. It all stemmed from the 4A state high school softball tournament, which was won by Jackson for the second straight year. Almost all of the first day of the tournament was rained out, which meant it pretty much had to be completed in one day. As a result, Timberwolves star pitcher Iyanla de Jesus ended up pitching four games in one day.

While that may have been an extreme case, it is not unusual for softball pitchers to carry heavy workloads. Most softball teams, particularly at youth levels, have one pitcher who is significantly better than anyone else on the team, so when the games matter teams tend to rely on that one pitcher. In tournament settings, which often involve playing more than one game in a day, that makes for a busy day for the pitcher. I remember many years ago while working for the newspaper in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, that we had a team win the state championship through the loser’s bracket, and the pitcher ended up tossing either six or seven games over the course of two days.

This is not the way things operate in baseball. In youth baseball, from Little League through high school, there are strict pitch limits enforced on pitchers. Pitchers can only throw so many pitches in an outing, and they’re required to rest a certain number of days based on the number of pitches thrown. The point is to protect the arms of young players who are still undergoing physical development, and thus reduce the chance at serious injury, either in the present or the future.

There are no such precautions taken in softball. Why is that? Josh outlines the reasons, the main one being that there isn’t a history of arm injuries for softball pitchers the way there is for baseball pitchers. It’s understood that the underhand softball pitching motion is more natural than the overhand baseball pitching motion, thus putting less strain on the arm and decreasing the likelihood of injury.

But is this actually true, and if so just how true? One thing we have in baseball, because of the major leagues, is more than a century of injury history for individuals who continue pitching into their 30s and 40s. Softball hasn’t had the same professional options, so there isn’t the same kind of data set to work with to see what kind of long-term effect those pitching workloads have on an arm.

There’s also a competitive question that surrounds the concept of softball pitch limits. With no limits, if a team has one dominant pitcher it can pretty much ride that player to success. Limits may compel teams to develop more than one pitcher, and in a team sport depth would become more important.

After working on the story Josh was curious to see what the public thought, so here’s your chance to weigh in. Should softball have pitch limits? Vote here:


Talk to us

More in Sports

Stanwood's Owen Thayer makes a layup during the game against Mountlake Terrace on Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022 in Stanwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Prep basketball weekly update: Storylines from around the area

Chaos atop Wesco 3A/2A boys, a GP boys buzzer-beater, a signature Lake Stevens girls victory, and more.

The Shorecrest bench reacts to a missed shot in the final seconds of regular time to send the game against Arlington to overtime on Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021 in Arlington, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Wave of cancellations wreaking havoc on winter prep sports

‘It’s just been so hard’: Canceled games and program shutdowns have been commonplace for local teams.

Seattle University's Hal Uderitz, a Snohomish High School graduate, competes during a game against Portland on Sept. 12, 2019. (Photo provided by Seattle U)
Snohomish grad hopes to earn contract with Sounders

Hal Uderitz was drafted in the third round by Seattle and aims to prove in preseason he’s deserving of a first-team contract.

Seattle Kraken goaltender Philipp Grubauer (31) looks on as Kraken center Calle Jarnkrok (19) clears the puck during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Florida Panthers, Sunday, Jan. 23, 2022, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Appleton, Grubauer lead Kraken to 5-3 win over Panthers

Seattle scored three goals in the second period and knocked off the NHL’s points leaders.

Oregon guard Rivaldo Soares (11) makes a pass against Washington guard Terrell Brown Jr. (23) in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Eugene, Ore., Sunday, Jan. 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Thomas Boyd)
Huskies go down big in loss to rival Oregon

UW fell behind 37-8 and never came close in a blowout loss to the Ducks.

Stanwood's Kaeden McGlothin yells after stealing the ball from Mountlake Terrace's Adison Mattix to seal the win for Stanwood on Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022 in Stanwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Stanwood pulls out ‘gritty’ win over Mountlake Terrace

The Spartans answered every Mountlake Terrace push in a tense fourth quarter for a 63-62 victory.

Winter prep sports roundup.
Prep results for Saturday, Jan. 22

Prep results for Saturday, Jan. 22: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To report results… Continue reading

Kevin Clark / The Herald

***Silvertips Special Sections*****
Yan Khomenko signals for substitution Sunday night at Xfinity Arena in Everett, Wa on September 6th, 2015

Sports:  Silvertips Special Section
Shot on: 09/06/15
Huuhtanen scores twice, leads Silvertips past Royals

In its only game of the week, first-place Everett beats Victoria 5-3 on the road.

Chicago State guard Aaliyah Collins, a Glacier Peak High School graduate. (Sebastian Montoya / Chicago State Athletics)
Community roundup: GP grad shines again for Chicago State

Plus, professional bull riding is coming to Everett, former Silvertips are headed to the Olympics and more.

Most Read