My son is 16 and plays for his HS team. He pitched two innings on Saturday (35 pitches). Then he was the starting pitcher on Monday. He ended up throwing a complete game. I later came to find out that he threw 133 pitches in that complete game. I had a discussion with him and asked him about discussions with his coach that led to that many pitches and staying in the game. Essentially, the coach just asked him how he felt from about the 4th inning on. My son kept saying he could go and the coach kept rolling him out there. He never even warmed anyone up in the pen during the final innings. After 6 innings he had thrown 126 pitches. Fortunately, he threw a 7 pitch 7th inning, or who knows how high that count might have gone.
After the start, my son's arm felt fatigued in the shoulder, but not sore. He was a bit tight the next day, but was able to work out (no throwing). On Wednesday, he was still a bit tired in the shoulder, but OK enough to throw and get loose with no serious throwing. Thursday, he felt fine and Friday he was supposed to catch, but the starting pitcher had thrown 5 innings on another team Tuesday (the coaches had not communicated with each other about their plans). I showed up at the game in the second inning to find my son on the mound. The score at the time was 1-3 bad guys. In the fourth inning, the other team tacked on 3 runs. No action in the bullpen. In the fifth inning, our team put up 5 making it 6-3. The 5th and 6th runs were courtesy of my son's 2 run double over the left fielder's head. In the bottom of the fifth, my son goes out again and the opposition ties the game. No action in the pen. In the top of the sixth, our team gets two more runs and it's 8-6. In the bottom of the sixth, the bad guys tie the game. No activity in the pen. Our team does not score in the top of the 7th, but my son gets into some trouble again. No pen. Not even a mound visit. The home team pushes across the winning run. Game over. Final tally--exactly 140 pitches. I knew his pitch count was up there, but I had no idea how high.
I called the coach when I got home. No answer. I left a message for him to call me back. Two hours later I got a text saying he'd have to call me in the morning. You can imagine how that conversation went.
I almost forgot the kicker to all this--my son's shoulder was inflamed and he had a slight pain in his inner elbow beginning on the bus ride home. I was outside of my mind when he got home and told me about the arm pain.
Essentially, he may only use my son for a maximum of 80 pitches--per week. He will have to get my permission on which day he intends to use him, and I control how many innings he sees behind the plate as well. Also, he's not to even speak to him about mechanics or give him any game advice--at all. My son and the catcher will be calling the pitches. If I see the coach giving the catcher signs, I'm pulling him from the team.
Lots of parents don't go to HS games because of work. I was fortunate that I could rearrange my schedule and make a few games. What's going on behind your back with your kids? I bet you would be shocked!