The controversial end to State College’s baseball season this spring sparked a PIAA rule change.
At its monthly board meeting Wednesday at the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel, the PIAA voted to have an official pitch counter for all district and state playoff games. The board also voted to increase the pitch count cap from 100 to 105; that’s 210 per week.
That change, according to the board, was made based upon what happened in the first round of the PIAA Class 6A baseball tournament in May when State College, which had won in a 3-2 thriller, had to forfeit due to a pitch-count infraction.
According to the previous rule, a pitcher could not throw more than 100 pitches. If they did so in the middle of an at-bat, they were allowed to finish with that batter.
The Little Lions thought they were following that rule in their playoff game with Erie McDowell, when, according to their pitch count, starter David Shoemaker was at 97 pitches. They planned to have Shoemaker finish that at bat, then exit the game. However, according to McDowell’s pitch count, Shoemaker’s pitch count when he started with that pitcher was 101.
And because McDowell was the home team, their count was the one the PIAA considered official.
Both coaches, then-State College coach Troy Allen and McDowell coach Mike Hayes told the Centre Daily Times they thought the ending was unfortunate and that they’d like to see an official scorekeeper in the future.
“I’m gutted for these kids,” Allen said after the game in a phone interview. “They knew they had the goods to go the whole way and, for them not to be able to do it because of an issue like that, that’s tough to swallow.”