Some information regarding Montana High School Baseball
Let’s talk Montana High School Baseball for this coming spring. As of writing this, there are 21 schools signed up to play. Those schools are
(AA) Butte, Belgrade.
(A). Butte Central, Dillon, Browning, Columbia Falls, Corvallis, East Helena, Frenchtown, Hamilton/Darby, Polson, Sidney, Whitefish.
(B) Columbus, Florence-Carlton, Eureka, Lone Peak, Plains, Troy, St. Ignatius, Thompson Falls.
Teams will have a cap of 22 games a season, with a limit of 3 games in a day (excluding MHSA tournaments) I was also told that the MHSA would be flexible with possible ‘emergency’ co-ops if they arise this first year.
Double headers will be used, with a couple of options. Both games can be 7-inning games, but there will be an option of 5-inning games as well. So, you could see 2- 7 inning games, 1 seven and 1 five, or even 2-5 inning games depending on all variables. (time, weather, travel, etc.)
The 10-run rule and the 15-run rule will be used for full 7-inning games. Meaning, if a team trails by more than 10 runs after 4.5 or 5 innings (after they have completed their turn at bat), the game is over. And if a team trails by 15 runs after 3 complete innings, the game is over as well.
As of writing this, it was discussed that there would be Four baseball conferences this year. Those conferences will be charged with drawing up individual conference schedules, and the number of conference games needed to be eligible for tournament seeding.
The state tournament will be an eight-team, three-day, single-site event, run similar to a basketball tournament format. By that I mean, it is a 2-loss bracket, but once you lose a game you can not get back to the championship, just the consolation championship, playing for third.
The rules show a max of 17 players on a tournament roster, and that brings us to the biggest question mark.
There will be a pitch count. I was told it is similar to Legion Baseball, but not exactly the same. I was also told that some of the pitch count rules could be changed come tournament time to possibly allow more innings. The paperwork I have from the MHSA does not give a solid number regarding pitch count or rest days, and the MHSA site does not show baseball yet. So, this is a big area of interest moving into winter.
There most certainly will be changes and updates to this as we make our way through winter, and hopefully some clarity on the pitch count. Remember as well that a lot of school districts have made the pledge to start in two years’ time, so these programs in the first year will be smoothing out the road for many additional teams to join us in the next school year.
When we learn more details we will pass them along.