Schalmont Wins in Wrong Fashion
Chris Hamilton of Schalmont High School, the same Chris Hamilton who starred on the Sabres soccer team and I interviewed this soccer season, threw 138 pitches yesterday in Schalmont baseball's regional win over Plattsburgh High.
Look, I get it. I really do. I get it from the player's perspective: I played high school and college baseball and still play now.
Hamilton is the team's workhorse. He has an ERA of 0.53 this season according to James Allen of the Times Union. He's a senior potentially playing in his last game and trying to will his team to victory. He's a Division I commit (Stony Brook). He wants to pitch and he wants to finish the game and he may have not even felt fatigued.
I even get it from head coach Chris Teta's perspective: I've coached 14-year-old baseball, 16-year-old baseball and college baseball.
The kid is probably stubborn. He's your best chance to win. You want to advance to the state quarterfinal this weekend. Hamilton is your senior leader. He's tough. He's a competitor.
I get it all.
But it's wrong.
According to Dr. James Andrews (via ESPN). You know, the James Andrews, the one who performs all the arm surgeries on pitchers?
“High school pitchers should not throw more than 90 pitches in a game and they should have to take at least five days rest before they pitch again anywhere,” he said. “No way should they throw more than 100. The elbow isn’t ready for that workload."
Now I don't necessarily think 90 is a fair number to take someone out at, but 138 is way too much.
According to Allen's article, Teta had this to say:
"Even if I went there to take the ball, he was not giving the ball up," Teta said. "At this point, he can make his decision. He wanted to stay in. It's all him. He's the man, so we let him go if he needs to go."
"Any other day, he would have been out 30 or 40 pitches ago," Teta said of Hamilton.
And Hamilton should have been out yesterday. He was at 120 pitches entering the seventh inning. He was at 93 after four innings.
And what's worse is the team was up 5-2 entering the seventh. Bring in someone else to get the save. You have to have at least one more pitcher that you can trust to get three outs. Even 120 pitches is a lot, but 138 is in the danger zone.
Teta gets paid to take care of his players, in addition to winning games, and letting Hamilton go 138 pitches was just too many.
I once threw 138 pitches in a college game. My freshman year. I was just one year older than Hamilton, and I didn't need Tommy John Surgery as a result, so I understand that Hamilton may not feel an immediate effect. But Hamilton will be playing again on Saturday for Schalmont. I had a week off, a trainer, ice, stim machines - all of it at my disposal. Hamilton will come out again and throw in a day in all likelihood.
Great win for Schalmont, but they got it the wrong way.