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Pitch Counts: There is probably not a single position player in any sport that can control a game like that of a pitcher in baseball or softball.

A pitcher can give a bad team a chance or make a good team great when the ball is in their hands. I'm not a betting man, but odds differ greatly in the big leagues depending on pitching matchups.

The thing about the pitcher is usually they pitch a small amount of the team's total games. That's the case in baseball at least. In softball it is much different in many cases.

Baseball and softball, while both being played on a diamond, are different. The dimensions are different. And it when it comes to the pitcher, the motion is different.

All the experts state that the underhand softball windmill pitching motion is more natural than the overhand version used in baseball.

Some of those same experts are speaking up more now due to more softball-related pitching injuries - many because of overuse. The most common are shoulder problems.

I've started paying more attention in recent years myself. You can't help but notice how many teams, regardless of the level, ride a pitcher throughout a season. It's more common than not.

Most teams don't have a rotation like pitching staffs in baseball. There are usually only a couple of pitchers who get the bulk of the work. A lot of teams rely on one arm all season.

Not to pick on Brewbaker Tech (they're not alone), but they had one ace. She was the MVP in the Rams state-championship season.

Taniyah Brown, according to GameChanger stats, pitched in 52 of Brew Tech's 57 games this season (91 percent). She was used exclusively during last week's state tournament. Brew Tech is not the first team to do it and won't be the last.

There are no pitch count rules in high school softball. High school baseball implemented a rule in recent years that limits an excessive number of pitches in games as well as rest periods required based on those numbers.

Many may remember Kerry Wood, who pitched with the Cubs. He is one example of pitcher that threw too much in high school. It worked in a Texas high school title series. He threw 175 pitches in a doubleheader starting both games. Surprise, surprise... he had arm issues later.

The National Federation of High Schools chimed in on the pitch count question for softballers noting that coaches should "strongly consider monitoring pitch counts."

Their doctors went on to note in a 2021 review that "fast-pitch softball in the 21st century is as stressful for a pitcher's shoulder as baseball." Seems like maybe a reason to implement some limitations?

They closed with this line, "At this time the NFHS Sports Medicine Advisory Committee does not believe the available injury data warrant the implementation of pitch or inning limitations for high school softball."

I guess they're leaving it up to the coaches to use common sense or ignore it. How about Kerry Woods' coach? When it comes to winning, the safety of the student-athlete takes a bench seat.

The NFHS referenced a pitch count chart. The chart puts guidelines for recommended pitch capacities to "monitor." It lists 700 pitches in a week as the max. Some experts feel those numbers are too high even if put into practice based on the grind during a full season and lack of off time in "off-seasons."

Back to Brown. She threw every inning of Brew Tech's seven-game stretch in Oxford over two days. She threw 806 pitches - excluding warmup tosses.

Montana Fouts in her college career at Alabama has 156 appearances in the Crimson Tide's 268 games since 2019. That is 58 percent of their total games.

The record for most innings pitched in a college career belongs to Tennessee's Monica Abbott. She threw 1,448 innings from 2004-2007 for the Big Orange. That's 85 percent.

Times have changed a little. It would be interesting to see coaches have to strategize a little more when it comes to having to make a move.

Will it come to that? Somebody has to make the first move. The NFHS can force the hand of state organizations. It should have more data since its review from a few years ago.

If things go in that direction, I believe we'll start to have a truer assessment of the best teams, not just the teams with the best pitcher.