NEW ORLEANS -- Two outs in the 18th inning, the game tied, 1-1. Finally the Blue Jays break through. Spencer Miller with the base hit to win it.
“It is an instant classic,” said Jesuit manager Joey Latino. It is something that both schools are going to remember for a long, long time.
That's true -- on multiple levels.
For now, though, the game is remembered for the pitchers. Rummel's Mitch Seward, an LSU signee, threw 10 brilliant innings. Jesuit's Emerson Gibbs, a Tulane signee, threw 15 innings, untouchable for most.
But both pitchers threw a lot.
To give it perspective, on Monday Detroit's Justin Verlander, probably baseball's best pitcher, threw the most pitches any major league has thrown this year, 131.
Saturday night Seward threw 154. Gibbs threw 193.
“The number is indefensible,” Latino said. “It's indefensible. I can't defend the number, and I think that's one thing I'm going to have to live with for awhile and I think it's something I'm going to regret.”
Gibbs said he didn’t think the pitch total was too much.
“I was feeling good the whole game. I never lost much velocity. I kept hitting my spots, so I didn't think it was that big of a deal, but now, apparently it is.”
Latino said he's never allowed a pitcher to amass that kind of pitch count before, but he said Gibbs has impeccable mechanics and isn't a hard thrower. His delivery is low stress and clean. Latino said each inning Gibbs told him he felt great, and more importantly, nothing in Gibbs’ delivery showed any sign of fatigue, which is when a pitcher is more apt to get hurt.
“His 15th inning performance could have been the fifth inning for all we knew in terms of what he was showing us on the mound in terms of his mechanics, his delivery, the effectiveness of his pitches,” Latino said. “I defy anybody to look at the tape of the game and say, oh, you can definitely tell he's struggling in the late innings. He simply wasn't.”
For now, Louisiana has no rule about how much a high school pitcher can throw, but many states do. Some states like Florida have innings rules. Others regulate pitch count, mostly between 100 and 120 a game.
Dr. James Andrews, maybe America's leading orthopedic doctor, recommends no high school pitcher throw more than 105 pitches in a game.
Working out at the Blue Jays new practice field on Thursday, Gibbs says he felt nothing really unusual after the game, and he expects to pitch again Sunday.
“I feel like everything is going to be back to normal,” Gibbs said. “Nothing's really changed for me, I've been throwing. I feel fine.”
When asked if, in hindsight, whether he put Gibbs’ career in jeopardy in any way, Latino said he didn’t believe so.
“I honestly don't, but there are going to be those who are going to argue that, certainly, and that's where the indefensible number comes into play,” Latino said.
And that number could lead Louisiana to regulate pitch count, a move Latino says he would support.