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Expanded Strike Zone in 10u Rec Ball?

Apr 30, 2018
137
18
We played in our first 10u tournament this weekend. We encountered a couple of umps that were calling an expanded strike zone with first year pitchers/teams. The first ump didn't tell us before the game, we had to figure it out on the fly. The second ump at least gave us a heads up before the game started. I have been working with my daughter on getting her to read the pitches and not swing at the high or low ones. All that went out the window and she struck out looking with really low and high pitches. In the second game she also took two strikes before she walked. Basically shins to chin was a strike. It did make the game a little more interesting as the girls had to swing at just about everything unless it was in the dirt or over their head. It kept the game from being a walk fest. I worried that it will induce bad habits chasing bad pitches that will have to be unlearned as they advance into 12u. Thoughts?
 
Apr 12, 2016
298
18
Minnesota
We played in our first 10u tournament this weekend. We encountered a couple of umps that were calling an expanded strike zone with first year pitchers/teams. The first ump didn't tell us before the game, we had to figure it out on the fly. The second ump at least gave us a heads up before the game started. I have been working with my daughter on getting her to read the pitches and not swing at the high or low ones. All that went out the window and she struck out looking with really low and high pitches. In the second game she also took two strikes before she walked. Basically shins to chin was a strike. It did make the game a little more interesting as the girls had to swing at just about everything unless it was in the dirt or over their head. It kept the game from being a walk fest. I worried that it will induce bad habits chasing bad pitches that will have to be unlearned as they advance into 12u. Thoughts?
I am a big fan of the big strike zone when pitchers can't throw strikes. Way more fun than a walk-fest and it makes the girls swing the bat. Your DD will be better off having to swing the bat. She can learn to be discerning later. Have you ever seen a 15 walk inning? It sucks...

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Last edited:
Apr 30, 2018
137
18
All the games we play have a 4 run limit so it doesn't get out of hand. It just sucked watching the girls do what they have been taught and lay off pitches out of the zone and get called out on strikes. At least we know about it now and will make sure and ask the ump ahead of time and have agreement with the opposing coach so we don't get caught out by it. I took my daughter to the field today and went thru 100 balls with her and told her to swing at everything I threw her unless it was in the dirt or over her head. Towards the end she was starting to make some contact with the high ones, low ones, and at least fouling off the inside ones. The outside pitches are still a problem though. She is pretty small for her age so she just doesn't have the reach to get to the expanded zone outside pitches.
 
Feb 15, 2016
259
0
Give both rivers and shins to chins at low-level rec ball please. If 10A then make the girls throw legitimate strikes. Your DD is 10 and nothing that happens in 10U rec actually matters. Have a ton of fun!
 
Jun 12, 2015
3,620
48
Rec ball in my county is really weak. Most of the good players have moved to travel by 12U and there isn't much left as far as pitching goes in the rec program. Without widening the strike zone things get really boring.
 
Oct 2, 2011
3,080
63
Florida
We encountered a couple of umps that were calling an expanded strike zone with first year pitchers/teams. The first ump didn't tell us before the game, we had to figure it out on the fly. The second ump at least gave us a heads up before the game started.
This is a bit of a soapbox item for me... so here goes. MTR & Comp may not want to hear this, but we are talking REC or really young/inexperienced travel and you do have to make adjustments.

First - the umpire should NEVER discuss his strike zone before a game. That is a BIG mistake and is setting yourself up for failure. You have NO idea how the pitching is going to be today even if you think you know the players and teams.

Rec/new travel can be tough - you want to move the game along and strikes do that, but you also can not effect the result of the game. Until the game is out of reach one way or another I try to keep the zone similar for both pitchers no matter their level and generally based on the ability of the best pitcher in the game. A good pitcher SHOULD be allowed to dominate a bad one - they deserve to be rewarded for their work and their ability to pitch. That means if I have a team with pitching, and one without the zone is going to be what I call for decent travel/high school/college etc - i.e. a normal zone. Once it gets out of hand and the result in no longer in doubt, I'll open it up for the bad pitchers - but not before then.

What I am avoiding -and I see way too often - is a 3-4 run game with way different strikes zones because one pitcher is good - and one isn't. As an umpire I can't assume what they have on their benches - I have seen the scenario play out where coach was getting his new pitcher some time and she is really struggling, but the umpire is keeping their team in the game with a wider/more open zone than the other pitcher. All of a sudden they replace the new pitcher with their 'stud' pitcher who shuts down the other team and gets the win. That is IMHO opinion on the umpire - they effected the result of the game by their action.

If both team have no pitching, it is the top of the first inning that is an adventure. At some point after walking the first 5 or 6 you have to expand the zone - but when you get to the bottom you kind of follow the same pattern. Start with a standard zone and expand it. I am not going to let the Home team walk in 4 runs in the top of the first because I am finding out how this game needs to be called and then first pitch in the bottom of the 1st I call a pitch on the top of the letters.

I did a terrible HS game last year. 1:30 in it was bottom of 2 and it was 20-18. With a zone of 'anywhere near the batter' I was still having to walk girls. One team put in a girl who pitched all of 25 mph but it went over the plate. I could have gone out and hugged her. Game was run ruled 20 minutes later.
 

JAD

Feb 20, 2012
8,234
0
Georgia
10U would be a walk fest if umpires had a tight strike zone...therefore umpires do it to keep the game moving. Tell your DD to take good swings at good pitches, but DO NOT go to the plate looking for a walk!
 
Apr 30, 2018
137
18
I can see your point about keeping the strike zone the same for both teams so you don't favor a team over the other. It sucks for the batters if they don't know if they need to swing at everything or if they need to try and pick a good pitch.

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Aug 23, 2016
237
18
What I am avoiding -and I see way too often - is a 3-4 run game with way different strikes zones because one pitcher is good - and one isn't. As an umpire I can't assume what they have on their benches - I have seen the scenario play out where coach was getting his new pitcher some time and she is really struggling, but the umpire is keeping their team in the game with a wider/more open zone than the other pitcher. All of a sudden they replace the new pitcher with their 'stud' pitcher who shuts down the other team and gets the win. That is IMHO opinion on the umpire - they effected the result of the game by their action.
DD pitches in 10U rec and I see this all the time. The pitchers who can throw strikes get squeezed while the other team just needs to avoid throwing the ball in the dirt or over someone's head and they get the call. DD makes the most of it - her pitching coach works with her on how to make minor adjustments to get in the zone the ump is calling for her - but it's frustrating.
 

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