pitcher is up 5 to 1 in a game. hits a batter, balks and then a hit. pitcher is up 5-2. Is it time to switch pitchers. the pitcher has gone 2 and 2/3 innings.
Unless the batter who’s coming to the plate with two men on base is a serious threat, I think it would be too soon to switch pitchers Unless the pitcher is either 12u or on a very strict pitch count, I’d say give him a chance to pitch his way out of the jam. He is, after all, still ahead by three runs. You don’t say how many are out, but if, say, there are two out, that pitcher has a good chance of getting out of the inning with no further scoring.
In a major league situation, there have been plenty of instances where the pitcher has run into trouble early in the game, manages to get out of the jam, and from then on is absolutely unhittable. But from what you’re saying, this is not a major league situation—this is definitely Little League. So the manager, or coach, or whoever, should use discretion in making the decision. 8)
Depends . . . is the kid losing control? . . . . pitching high? . . . or throwing every pitch in the dirt? . . . not following through? . . . is thee something that shows he’s tiring? . . . or was the hit batsmen on a change up, where the youth pitcher is trying to expand his repertoire? Was the hit ripped to the wall, or off the end of the bat bloop single? Was the youth pitcher emotionally upset? Arguing with himself or the umpire?
I would pull him if he was losing emotional control or showed signs of tiring. Otherwise, if he’s still in control and has his stuff and hasn’t reached his pitch count, let him continue. Stuff happens.
I pulled my son once last year in the middle of an inning. Emotionally, he was letting the umpire and the fielding behind him get to him. He still had his stuff velocity wise, but emotionally he was pitching mad, and getting lit up. It was a learning experinece for him.
Here’s another instance where a manager or coach would pull a pitcher in the middle of an inning—if the pitcher has sustained some kind of injury. I will never forget the time when I had to come into the game in the top of the seventh inning: bases loaded, one out, our lead had been cut from 6-0 to 6-4, and a dangerous pinch-hitter was coming to bat. I had been warming up down in the right-field corner, and when I looked up for a moment the manager was signaling to me, was I ready? I signaled back that I was, and he waved me in. When I reached the mound we discovered that our starting pitcher, who had been running into trouble from the sixth inning on, had developed a very nasty blister on his pitching hand and couldn’t go on—had to leave the game. So I took the ball from him and assured him that I would get our team out of this jam. And I did. I struck out the two batters I faced in the seventh, we got our three runs back, and I pitched two more scoreless innings and rescued the game. We won 9-4.
And have any of you ever faced a situation in which the count has gone to 3-and-0 with the bases loaded—and it’s at that point the manager pulls the pitcher from the game? And you come into the game and you’re facing a 3-0 count. Now what? This was something my pitching coach and I would discuss often—how to pitch to that batter, how to keep him off the basepaths, because if he were to get on a run, maybe more, would cross the plate. We’re really getting into some heavy strategic pitching here. And it could happen in any game, at any level—even in Little League—in any inning. 8)