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PHS volleyball: Abigail Brown, Megan Harper

Philomath High's Abigail Brown, left, and Megan Harper both had big nights blocking Tuesday at Stayton.

Hey Warriors fans, today is Thursday, Sept. 12

The Oregon School Activities Association has been posting explanations of rule changes in various sports that came out of the National Federation of State High School Association meetings this past summer.

Here’s a rundown of some of the ones you may notice:

• Baseball — The role of the designated hitter has been expanded to give coaches an additional option for the 2020 season. There are now two scenarios in which a designated hitter may be used. The first scenario is the traditional use where the designated hitter may be a 10th starter who hits for any one of the nine starting defensive players. The team begins the game with 10 starters — nine defensive players and nine hitters in the batting order, one of whom is the designated hitter hitting for a defensive player. The rule change now allows the starting designated hitter to also be a starting defensive player. Utilizing this option, the player has two positions — defensive player and designated hitter. The team would begin the game with nine starters — nine defensive players — one of whom also assumes the role of the designated hitter.

• Cross-country — In the past, if a competitor stopped to help an injured or sick runner, the person helping would be disqualified. Now, there is no disqualification unless the assisting athlete does something to create some sort of advantage. “In a clear majority of these types of situations, the action is intended to be an act of good sportsmanship and not an attempt to circumvent the rules or gain an advantage,” said Julie Cochran, NFHS director of sports and liaison to the Track and Field/Cross Country Rules Committee. On courses, beginning straightaways are recommended to be at least 100 meters in length and that no narrow section of a course should be longer than 3 meters (10 feet).

• Softball — The rules committee made an adjustment to pitching regulations. Pitchers must now take a position with the pivot foot in contact with the pitcher’s plate. Previously, pitchers were required to have the pivot foot on or partially on the top surface of the pitcher’s plate. “The change allows for different styles of pitching and permits them to place their feet where pitchers feel most comfortable,” said Sandy Searcy, NFHS director of sports and liaison to the NFHS Softball Rules Committee. “The rule now clarifies that part of the foot must simply be in contact with the pitcher’s plate.” Another change involves the scoring of runs. A run is not scored when the third out is obtained by a preceding runner who is declared out on an appeal play. Previously, the rule only covered runners who were declared out for failing to touch one of the bases.

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• Track and field — The exchange zones in relays that have legs of 200 meters or less will be expanded from 20 to 30 meters. The longer relays continue to have 20-meter exchange zones. Also, during warm-ups, athletes are not allowed to run backward or in the opposite direction on jumps, pole vault or javelin runways. “This change promotes a more organized and efficient warm-up period,” Cochran said. “Competitors should now be more aware of their surroundings.”

There are a few other rule changes, but those are the highlights.

Big sports day today with Philomath vs. Sweet Home. Volleyball and girls soccer will be in Philomath while the boys soccer team plays over on the Huskies’ field.

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you at the next game.

— Brad Fuqua, Philomath Express

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