As Tyler Lockhart's pitch count climbed well above 100, Walker (La.) High coach Randy Sandifer reportedly asked an assistant to check with Lockhart's father and make sure it was OK to keep his ace hurling. He may have wanted to check with the Southeastern Louisiana University football staff, too.
A Southeastern quarterback commit, Lockhart reached 100 pitches by the seventh inning and required 181 over 12 innings to finish off an epic 2-1 win over district rival Zachary, according to the Times-Picayune.
"It was hard," Lockhart told the New Orleans paper. "After seven, Coach said I was only going to pitch to 115 pitches. I ended up going (181). It was tough. It’s just my back. My arm was fine. I could have went even more, but it was just my back. I’m going to take an ice bath tonight."
According to the game story, Walker finally scratched a run across on a 12th-inning error after loading the bases in the ninth and 11th, saving Lockhart from further taxing his right arm. The 5-foot-11, 185-pound senior collected 16 strikeouts and allowed only a third-inning solo home run.
"He had a no-hitter going from the fifth on, and he just kept getting stronger" Lockhart's teammate Dennis Bennett told MaxPreps. "Why take him out?"
Two years ago, when a pair of New Orleans area prep pitchers combined for 347 pitches in a single game, renowned orthopedic surgeon and Louisiana native Dr. James Andrews declared, "It's ludicrous and it's not safe judgment. That is just way too many pitches. That shouldn't happen anywhere in any league." Similarly, longtime baseball agent Don Nomura equated high pitch counts to "child abuse" last year.