Baseball to lengthen season for 3A, 4A, 5A teams in 2019

(Ryan Casey/CHSAANow.com)

AURORA — Baseball in Colorado is going to be a little bit longer. At Thursday's Legislative Council meeting, the council voted the passage of an amendment that proposed expanding the number of games in Class 3A, 4A and 5A.

Starting in 2019, those classes can schedule up to 23 games. As a result, athletes are now allowed 161 innings of participation, up from the previous number of 133.

The 23-game schedule applies to the classes that do not have district tournaments as a part of their schedules. 

The 1A and 2A classes participate in district tournaments so their game cap remains at 19.

A number of factors led to the raised issue of increasing games. Colorado has been ahead of the curve in many aspects when it comes to baseball participation. The pitch count rule that was enacted in 2016 has been adapted on a national scale.

But the number of competitions has been one aspect of the game that the state has not caught up to until the passage of the amendment. Games in northern states with weather that is comparable to Colorado compete in anywhere from 22-25 regular season contests.

Additionally, 23 games has been the number of contests allowed in basketball and volleyball and the baseball committee felt it was time to match that number.

"I'm always trying to know what the coaches and the schools are looking for, but it had to make sense," assistant commissioner Bert Borgmann said. "I think this time, the coaches did a great job on educating their coaches on why they needed those games."

Later in the meeting, the baseball committee report was passed, which extended the season one week. State championships for 3A, 4A and 5A will now be held the weekend after Memorial Day.

As with anything involving sports in the spring, weather can always be a factor when taking this kind of action. The final day of the 3A, 4A and 5A state tournaments were pushed back a day last spring due to weather conditions leaving the fields unplayable.

With the extra week, more favorable weather could help the season finish on the expected end date rather than pushing the final games back one or several days.

"That would be nice," Borgmann said. "By extending it into that next, that's the week we were generally finishing up anyway probably four of the last five years. It's not like it's a foreign concept to be playing after the scheduled end date. Hopefully the weather cooperates in all spring sports so we're not facing that as often as we have in the past."

There is one other factor that increasing the number of games brings up. Last week, the equity committee recommended that if baseball was going to increase the number of contests that the same action should be taken for the like-sport of softball.

"The membership is going to have to address the softball piece," Borgmann said.

Boulder athletic director and equity committee chair Eddie Hartnett urged the leagues to consider the implications that the passage would present to softball prior to their vote.

The amendment passed with a 60 percent vote from the Legislative Council.