Frontier League Introduces Sudden Death Baseball

Last season, the Frontier League decided extra inning games with a homerun derby. While exciting at times, the homerun derbys took time to set up and still took a while to decide a winner. This year, it has developed a plan to end games with an inning of sudden death baseball.

See the official press release below:

The Frontier League of Professional Baseball announced the introduction of a sudden-death tiebreaker to determine the winner of extra-inning games.

For any regular season game tied at the end of regulation (nine innings for a traditional game and seven innings for a double-header game), and remaining tied following one inning of play using International Tiebreaker (ITB) rules, a sudden death inning will determine the winner.

Field managers will meet with umpires with the home manager choosing offense or defense. For the team on offense, the player on the lineup card immediately preceding the batter due up will start on first base. The defensive team will have three outs to prevent the offense from scoring. If the team on offense scores they will win the game, while if the defensive team retires the side without scoring a run, they will win. As with the ITB runner, if the runner placed on first base scores, the run will be unearned. The sudden death rule guarantees that no game will be played beyond 10.5 innings or beyond 8.5 innings for a double-header game.

“While sudden death will not happen every game, we believe when it does it will have the fans on their feet,” commented Kevin Winn, Deputy Commissioner for On-Field Operations. “Created by a former manager, this initiative received overwhelming support of our current field managers and Rules Committee.”

The rule was first proposed by former Florence field manager Dennis Pelfrey, who currently manages in the San Francisco Giants’ organization. It was refined by a committee of Frontier League managers and administrators, including managers Andy McCauley of Evansville, Quebec’s Pat Scalabrini, and Ottawa’s Bobby Brown.

“Short of playing traditional extra innings, the sudden death tiebreaker is the best option for determining the outcome of a game,” stated McCauley, the Frontier League’s winningest active manager and 2021 Manager of the Year. “With regard to game time, injury prevention, and a baseball strategic outcome I feel the new sudden death rule could be an innovative solution.”

The Frontier League of Professional Baseball is an official Partner League of Major League Baseball and the largest of its kind in professional baseball. The Frontier League has moved over 1,000 players to MLB Teams in its 29-year history. The 2022 Frontier League season opens on Thursday, May 12. Please visit www.frontierleague.com.

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