Limit Pitch count or throw a shutout


I am 11 and play little league and AAU. I find that, especially in little league with a pitch count, that whenever I shutout a team, I have less innings pitched. It comes pretty easy to me shutout teams in little league and sometimes in AAU, but it takes a lot of pitches. Other times I’ll throw a complete game with not many pitches but more runs than normal. My question is, which one do I go for? Or, how can I do both? Thank You!


I was just having the same conversation last night with a friend of mine at his son’s little league playoff game.

One common stat for pitching is “<13”. It means a very efficient inning to get three outs with less than 13 pitches. In little league (particularly younger than 11), most kids have not mastered their swings yet. Some kids are more aggressive at bats while other half are passive and will not swing. Assuming your control is decent and you are throwing strikes, you will still need at least 9 pitches to get the three outs. If you manage to throw a couple of balls and few fouled off your pitches, it’s easily over 13 pitches per inning. Assuming again that you league has 65 pitch count limit, it means you will pitch less than 5 innings.

One kid on my son’s travel team was average size and he had an awesome knuckle ball. So, in 12-14U travel arena, he often would get <13 easily for three outs when batters made bad contacts and grounded out. But it also meant that he would not get many strikeouts. When he switched to FB, he did manage to get a few K’s, but his velocity is not as good and good hitters would crush them or put them in play. Prior to 12U, the infielders would often made errors on the ground balls, and that also increased his pitch counts.

It’s good that you are asking a great question and it means you are aware of the importance of controlling your counts. Even MLB pitchers have issues keeping their pitch count low at times.

If you enjoy strikeout batters, keep doing it and don’t worry about the count. This is useful against bottom of the lineup because they are usually weaker hitters. I taught my son to pitch more carefully against the top lineup. He learned to pitch to corners and off-speed pitches to get the outs.

I know it’s not a straight answer you would like, but I hope it helps you understand a little better.

Good luck and enjoy the game.



Thank You. I tend to do that with the tip and bottom of the order. In AAU our Field is usually stellar so I’m more of a ground ball pitcher in that league but in little league my pitch counts get up there because I pretty much have to strike out every batter. BTW the pitch count max for 11 yo in LL is 85


As weird as it may sound, when you dominate a team usually you strike them out a lot while complete games are more pitched to contact which results in less pitches by innings. That’s an other problem in the major league as the strike out for a batter isn’t seen as bad as it used to so instead of hitting for contact, they’ll make you strike them out.