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Discussion: Getting game ball back to pitcher in a quick manner

Posted Discussion
Nov. 9
Men's 65
71 posts
Our local Senior slow pitch, high arc league is self umpiring, plays 9 inning games using a 0-0 starting pitch count. Looking for ways to speed up the return of the game ball to the pitcher to shorten game time, staying with 9 innings and the 0-0 count.

What is done in tournament play and local league play to get the game ball back to the pitcher quickly during these conditions:
1. The pitched ball either hits the strike mat or the ground when the batter does not make contact (ball is dead).
2. When dead ball bounces away from catcher (think physically challenged player put into the catcher position) and he has to retrieve it.
3. Foul ball or any other ball that goes "out of play".

We are thinking about having 2 game balls, with the home ump holding the 2nd game ball and throwing it back to the pitcher under the above listed conditions. Once the other game ball is retrieved, the home ump gets it to use when the game scenario repeats itself.

Are your pitchers sensitive to strictly using the same game ball throughout the entire game (except for foul balls and other situations where the game ball is not readily available) and oppose using two alternate new game balls during the game?

Can the pitcher request another game ball if he "doesn't like the feel" of the one being used?

Care to share your thoughts?
Nov. 11

29 posts
Does your league use a pitching screen ?

Is so, put one or two balls behind the pitching screen. When there is a foul ball or a wet ball have the pitcher pick up one of the extra balls.
Nov. 11

92 posts
1-1 best way to speed a game up.
Nov. 12
Men's 65
71 posts
45621, no, we do not use a pitching screen. Good idea, though.

r4pitch, we are not looking to speed up the game by using a 1-1 count, as stated in the original post. We are looking for ways to get the game ball back to the pitcher in an efficient manner without having the catcher waste time fetching the errant balls that elude him. Many of our catchers don't have good arms (or legs) to begin with and time is wasted while they retrieve the ball. We want everyone to enjoy playing the game regardless of poor physical ability.

I thought using 2 new game balls and having the home ump put the 2nd game ball into play while the 1st game ball is being fetched, may shorten the overall time to get the pitcher ready for the next pitch.

Do any of your leagues use more than one game ball without the pitcher complaining about it? When using more than one game ball, when and how do you rotate them to get them in the game to save time getting the ball back to the pitcher?
Nov. 12
Men's 75
605 posts
If you don't have extra teammates who are more athletic than the catcher(s) you use, you might ask the hitting team to provide catchers or have the on deck hitter stand behind the catcher by the back stop. The hitting team also wants the game to move along.
Nov. 12

200 posts
I found out that it takes approx. 90 seconds to get on an off the field. You can play back to back innings twice a game (or more) and that will save you quite a few minutes. I found that you can at least get a 9 inning game complete about the same time as 7 innings. Hope this helps …..
Nov. 13

514 posts
Hey Bob,
I am really impressed that you play 9 innings.
What are your start times?
I guess that have to be at least 90 minutes apart.
Is the last inning unlimited runs?
If you worried about the time, why not play full 7 inning games without a time limit.
This should still be shorter than any 9 inning games.
just my 2 cents worth.
Nov. 13
Men's 65
71 posts
DieselDan, Real good idea which will work, as long as the pitcher doesn't complain about the on-deck batter being a distraction behind the catcher or at the back of the backstop.

CAT, yes, that will speed up the game, but my focus is on getting the ball back to the pitcher quickly to save time. Thanks.

coop3636, we are a local league whose start time is 10AM. No time limits on the game, but asking about ways to get the ball back to pitcher so the defensive players don't have a lull in the game because the pitcher doesn't have the ball.
One game only. Game is usually 2 hours for 9 innings, 0-0 count.
Last inning is unlimited runs.

Nov. 13

514 posts
Hey Bob
It sounds like it is a league for retired folks
If it is, ENJOY the time out on the field and don't fret about 10 mins
life is too short
but if you want to speed it up, let the pitcher wear ball bags (like the umps)
he can carry two extra balls with him at all times.
Nov. 13
Nancy Allen
Men's 55
1438 posts
Turbobob, these are just my opinions. With 1 and 2, I think that someone should get the ball and return it to the pitcher. A loose ball is a hazard to anyone walking or running around. On 3 a second ball is appropriate. Having your umpires just hold a ball risks the ball becoming loose during plays which creates another safety issue. I would think that no one would have a ball bag if they are self umpired games. If someone does, attach it to the backstop. Some local leagues make a ball holder out of PVC pipe that seems to work well. With all seniors you don't want them bending over to get the extra ball. I just don't think that except for 3 that there is a real way to speed anything up to this age old scenario. As a side note on 3, it seems that any time that I put in another ball that someone throws the original ball back in over half of the time which also slows things down. Safety is more important than a quick ball return in my mind.
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