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State high school athletics committee considering rule changes in baseball, wrestling

Christian Hansen of Cold Spring Harbor wins the

Christian Hansen of Cold Spring Harbor wins the 152-pound title in the Division II final at the New York state wrestling championships on Saturday Feb. 29, 2020. Credit: Newsday/William Perlman

Revised pitch counts for baseball, the reduction of weight classes contested in wrestling and the addition of a non-league football game were all discussed by the Executive Committee of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association at its quarterly meeting earlier this week.

"Most of the proposals up for discussion will be voted on at our July meeting,” said Tom Combs, the executive director for Section XI, which governs Suffolk’s high school athletics. “The committee unanimously approved the additional football game but that doesn’t really affect Long Island. We already play the extra game with the Long Island championships so that was really geared toward the upstate schools. But some of the other issues on the agenda prove to be very interesting."

The proposal to reduce the number of weight classes in wrestling from 15 to 13 will be voted on at NYSPHSAA’s meeting on July 28-29 at the High Peaks Resort in Lake Placid.

"The lightest weight class would be at 102 pounds,” said Pat Pizzarelli, the Executive Director of Section VIII, which governs Nassau’s schools. “And some of the heavier weights could change. The committee felt there are more participants in the middle weights and there were too many forfeits in the sport.”

Pizzarelli and Combs thought the new pitch count proposal would make for a hot topic among coaches and administrators.

"Some folks want the pitch count to be higher,” Pizzarelli said. “I like it right where it is for the safety of the pitchers. We’ve had too many arm injuries and that seemed to lessen with the pitch count restrictions.”

Combs said there might be a revision in how the pitch counts are enforced.

"One of the proposals is to start out at a comfortable number and be more restrictive early in the season,” he said. “And then as we get into the postseason, get less restrictive and allow more pitches in the warmer weather.”

Pizzarelli said Long Island has always had the ability to play a non-league game in football because they were approved to play nine games after the playoffs went to an eight-team format.

"Theoretically, teams that don’t make the playoffs in football could add a non-league football game for the ninth game,” Pizzarelli said. “But with all the financial concerns because of the potential cuts in state aid, I don’t see the superintendents adding anything at this point. I think we’re just hoping to maintain. Everything is speculative right now for budget concerns."

As a result of the cancellation of numerous state championships due to COVID-19, a one-year extension was approved to Hofstra University to host the boys lacrosse state tournament through 2023. In addition, the Town of Brookhaven will now host the softball state championships at the Moriches Athletic Complex through 2023.

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