Texas High’s Colby Adkins Narrowly Beats New UIL Pitch Rule In Complete Game Win At Marshall
MARSHALL -- The University Interscholastic League's newly initiated 110-pitch limit is solely meant to save athletes from a wide array of arm injuries, but Texas High's 3-2 win Tuesday at Marshall revealed it can also be an exciting game within the game.
Tigers starting pitcher Colby Adkins hit the limit amid inducing the winning out with two Mavericks runners in scoring position.
Marshall would have won the game, tied the game or had the bases loaded for Texas A&M catcher signee Cam Haller against a cold pitcher if Adkins failed to get an out against the final batter the UIL allowed him.
"There's no doubt that's the closest we've been to getting into trouble," Texas High skipper John McClure said. "Early on, in the tournaments, we try to keep them between 70 and 80. Then between 90 and 100. We build them up to that, so he was ready to go out for that. There's not a guy on our team I'd rather have the ball than him. He really went out and finished the game out for us. I'm really proud of his effort."
Adkins, a Seminole State signee, ultimately threw 111 pitches. The UIL rule allows pitchers to continue facing an opponent at the plate as long as the at-bat began with the pitcher under 110 throws.
A testament to how precious pitches have become under the rule, the Texas High coaches wanted to talk with the game's pitch counter after the contest ended. They thought Adkins should have been charged with 110 pitches in total because one throw was released a split second after an umpire called time.
Each Texas high school ballpark is different in the early days of the rule.
Marshall uses what is effectively a shot clock inside its press box to display where a pitcher is toward the limit, pitch-by-pitch. Other schools have someone in the press box that tallies the pitches on paper and a team representative goes up to the box to inquire about the count.
At the end of a game -- regardless of what system a school uses -- both head coaches sign off on the pitch count on a formal piece of paper along with a member of the officiating crew. It certifies that everyone involved was honest to the best of their ability about the count, and it is allowing the parties to discuss how it's working here in the first year of utilization.
"I think it's good for the pitchers," Adkins said. "We're not maxing out our arms every game, but it's hard when you get in tough situations like that. You get real short on your pitch count because you can only (average) 15 an inning or you're done. I think it's good, but it hurts too."
Texas High (5-5, 1-0) took its first step toward postseason eligibility with a league win on the first night of District 16-5A play.
Not only did Adkins survive for a complete game with six strikeouts to four hits and a walk, he scored the winning run himself in the top of the fifth with a two-run homer from his cleanup spot in the order. That negated a two-run bottom of the fourth for Marshall (9-6, 0-1) for a briefly held 2-1 advantage.
Adkins had the green light to swing away on a 3-1 count just after Conner Allred drew a full-count walk with one out in the inning. He knocked the ball beyond 320 feet in left field.
Marshall made it an interesting final 10 minutes before succumbing.
Ty Kirkland started the bottom of the seventh with an infield single. Cade Bickerdike followed with a full-count walk.
Ball four to Bickerdike placed Adkins at 100 pitches.
Adkins got his first out on a sacrifice bunt and then saved himself with a four-pitch strikeout to stay under 110 pitches ahead of the third out -- a fly ball left fielder Adam Quinn successfully grabbed.
"I was so nervous because I couldn't give up a base hit because that would probably end the ball game," Adkins said. "I also knew I really only had three pitches left before I was getting pulled. So, that was nerve wracking."
Texas High took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on a two-out double steal between courtesy runner Cole Jean at first base and leadoff hitter Eric Sutton at third. Jean got caught in a pickle, but Marshall reversed course when it saw Sutton beginning to move and threw an off-target ball toward third base.
A laser by Haller through left infield gap got the Mavs' rally going in the fourth frame.
Haller got batted in by Kelton Roberson's one-out double to deep center field. Roberson later scored on a wild pitch by Adkins.
Texas High, the odd team out Friday in the seven-squad district, will bounce out of 16-5A competition to play Paris North Lamar in Texarkana.
Marshall will try to get back in the win column today at 1 p.m. versus Carthage in non-district action and then travels Friday to Sulphur Springs for a league game.
Sulphur Springs and state-ranked Hallsville were the district's other winners Tuesday. Greenville was the day's odd team out and begins its league schedule Friday.
"Marshall is going to be a great team in this district," McClure said. "They're going to win a bunch of ball games and be right in the thick of things."
Texas High 3, Marshall 2
At Marshall High School
Texas High 100 020 0 -- 3 4 2
Marshall 000 200 0 -- 2 4 2
Pitchers and catchers
- Texas High: Colby Adkins and Kyle Choate
- Marshall: Ty Kirkland, Hunter Neal (5) and Cam Haller
WP -- Adkins
LP -- Kirkland
Marshall: Kelton Roberson
Texas High: Adkins