Local coaches react to new high school baseball rules

Published 9:55 pm Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Baseball in the state of Alabama is now jumping headlong in to the new millennium.

The National Federation of State High School Associations ok’d the use of video monitoring/replay equipment for coaching purposes during gameplay.

The ruling allows teams to record at-bats and defensive plays for coaching and teaching purposes. The rule does not allow umpires to use the technology to review plays in the field.

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Charles Henderson head coach Derek Irons likes the new tools.

“It is the way all sports are moving toward,” Irons said. “If you can give a kid instant feedback about what he his doing right or what he doing wrong, then why not let them use it. I think it is a great tool to have.”

Elliot Hopkins, the baseball rules liaison for the NFHS said the timing was right for the new technology to become part of the game.

“With advancements in technology, it was extremely difficult for officials to determine if teams were using video replay during games,” said Hopkins, “The committee determined it was the right time to permit teams to use these technological aids if they so choose.”

While the addition of video monitoring was the big announcement from the NFHS, other rule changes were added.

The NFHS changed the language of a rule dealing interference at home plate, both offensively and defensively.

Rule 2-21-4 will state that “follow-through interference is when the ball hits the catcher after the batter has swung at a pitch and hinders action at home plate or the catcher’s attempt to play on a runner,” and Rule 2-21-5 will state that “backswing interference is when a batter contacts the catcher or his equipment prior to the time of the pitch.”

Goshen head coach Robby Kinsaul thinks the rule will benefit both sides.

“I think it will make the catcher more mentally aware of what is going around around him,” Kinsaul said. “They will have to make sure they are in a good position to receive the ball and not make contact with the batter.”

Baseball is the fourth-most popular sport for boys at the high school level with 474,791 participants in 15,632 schools during the 2012-13 season, according to a NFHS Survey.