IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) - The Pioneer League announced a new set of rules for the upcoming 2021 baseball season on Tuesday. One of the most innovative is the elimination of extra innings. Instead, the league will employ the first of its kind "Knock out" rule in which ties will be broken with a sudden death home run duel.
In the case of a tie after nine innings, each team will designate a hitter who will receive five pitches. The winner will be determined by whoever hits the most home runs. If there is still a tie after the first "knock out" round, another player is designated to be the hitter and the process is repeated until there is a winner.
In a release, the league says the idea behind the change is to avoid excessive strain on the pitching staffs. Pioneer League President Michael Shapiro adds the league is "committed to developing ideas that enhance the strategy of the game, protect the safety of our players and add to the fun and the engagement of our fans."
Other new rules announced regarded substitution for pinch hitters and pinch runners, check swing appeals, and the addition of a third umpire to officiating crews. More details can be found here.