Rule change requires softball pitchers to throw farther |

Rule change requires softball pitchers to throw farther

Steve Yingling and Sylas Wright
Sun News Service and Sierra Sun

High school softball pitchers will take a few steps back in the spring.

The National Federation of State High School Associations has extended the pitching distance from 40 to 43 feet for its member associations, including the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association.

The longer distance from the mound to home plate will enable high school hurlers to match what is expected of college pitchers.

and#8220;Our main thrust is getting the defense more involved,and#8221; said Mary Struckhoff, assistant director for the NFHS. and#8220;When more balls are hit into play, the defense is more involved in the game, thus enhancing skill development.and#8221;

The NFHS reportedly talked about making the rule change for 10 years and even tested the distance in Oregon and Florida, where it was well received.

Truckee softball coach Geary Jones also welcomes the rule change.

and#8220;I think itand#8217;s great, because it puts them where theyand#8217;re headed anyway (in college). It might be a little bit harder for the younger girls, just because of the strength issue. But I think itand#8217;s great because itand#8217;s kind of tough on the kids to go from here to college and have to make that adjustment,and#8221; Jones said.

and#8220;And honestly, for our program, because we donand#8217;t have kids that get the year-round softball, it might actually help us be a little more competitive. You move the pitchers back 3 feet and you get that much longer to look at it if someoneand#8217;s really bringing it.and#8221;

Whittell softball coach Rich Barna said he likes the change as well.

and#8220;We knew it was coming. My pitchers have been throwing at that length in the offseason to prepare for it,and#8221; Barna said. and#8220;Itand#8217;s a good rule because it makes it more cohesive and a better transition going into college.and#8221;

Barna believes hitters and certain pitchers will benefit from the new distance.

and#8220;It is going to give batters a little better of an advantage because theyand#8217;ll be able to see the pitch a little longer,and#8221; Barna said. and#8220;Those pitchers who are slower, it will give them an advantage. It gives them more time on their movement. The ones who throw curves, that ball is really going to tail on them.and#8221;

Barna estimates that a 60 mph fastball will become a 54-55 mph heater.

In addition, the NFHS revised a rule regarding hair control. Players can now use hard, unadorned devices such as bobby pins, barrettes and hair clips that donand#8217;t exceed two inches in length.

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