AHSAA pitching change should alter game

Published 6:46 pm Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The AHSAA announced the it will implement a change in the 2010 softball season that is expected to significantly impact the game. The association determined to increase the distance between home plate and the pitcher’s rubber to 43 feet, relocating the circle from its 40-foot distance of previous years.

“Three feet doesn’t sound like a lot,” Demopolis High softball coach Joey Browder said. “But I think it’s going to definitely change the game.”

Browder believes that the change will result in a more offensive game than the state has seen in previous seasons.

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“It’s going to give batters more reaction time and pitchers are going to lose a little bit of speed until they can build their strength up,” Browder said.

While the change figures to have a considerable impact on the game, Browder said the move comes as no surprise to coaches.

“This is something they’ve been debating for probably 10 years,” he said. “It’s something we’ve seen coming. It brings the high school level of pitching up to the same as college. The national federation said that one of the big things aside from safety is getting the defense more involved. I believe slapping, which has become such a big part of the game, may become less frequent because they have more time to place the ball.”

Now that the decision has been passed down, pitchers around the state have begun the process of adjusting to the new distance.

“There is going to be an adjustment period. Our pitchers are already working on it,” Browder said. “The are going to have to have three more feet of power and it is also going to change the release points on certain pitches. The weight room is going to be more important.”