Controversial pitch-count violation could ban coach

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

For the first time, public school baseball teams in New York City are enforcing a pitch count on starting pitchers. Perhaps unsurprisingly, just games into the 2011 season, the Public School Athletic League is already staring down an alleged pitch-count violation, though the circumstances in which it came may be more controversial than the transgression itself.

Benjamin Cardozo baseball coach Ron Gorecki
Benjamin Cardozo baseball coach Ron Gorecki

According to the New York Daily News, Benjamin Cardozo (N.Y.) High baseball coach Ron Gorecki is facing a possible suspension after his senior pitcher Chris Estrada threw 113 pitches in a victory against Bayside (N.Y.) High last Wednesday. The 113 total pitches by Estrada were eight more than the 105 pitch allotment that starters are allowed, pushing the senior's pitch total beyond a level which might be debatable on the part of the Cardozo athletic department.

As a result, Gorecki may face a two-game suspension, a pre-determined punishment he's indicated that he will accept, though the third-year Cardozo coach insists that Estrada's overmatching was a simple mathematical mistake.

"I thought he had 70 at the end of the fifth and he actually had 93," Gorecki told the Daily News. "It was an adding and subtracting mistake. I usually don't do things like that, but it was an honest mistake. It won't happen again."

Perhaps more interesting is the possibility that Estrada reached his pitch limit in the middle of an at-bat. There is no existing protocol for allowing a pitcher to finish an at-bat in which he hits his pitch limit, but Gorecki responded gruffly when asked if Estrada reached his pitch limit in the middle of an at-bat.

When asked if Estrada had reached the 105-pitch limit in the middle of an at-bat, Gorecki declined to answer, saying, "Haven't you ever made a mistake before?"

The adding/subtracting mixup is complicated by the fact that Gorecki uses a player's father to count his team's pitches, meaning that he isn't clicking the pitches off manually himself. That could potentially leave some gray area for Cardozo to file an appeal, though that seems unlikely.

Whether Gorecki eventually faces a suspension or not, one thing has been made clear by his unintentional violation: The new PSAL pitch limit will need some tweaking before its full effects are truly understood.

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