Barnstable's Nastasi talks pitch count with ESPNHS

After Jesuit (New Orleans) pitcher Emerson Gibbs and Archbishop Rummer (Metairie, La.) pitcher Mitch Sewald combined for 347 pitches in a recent high school game, ESPNHS' Matthew Muench discusses pitch counts with world-renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews, in an article posted today in ESPNHS' baseball section.

In the article, which you can find by CLICKING HERE, Muench also talks to Barnstable senior righthander Willie Nastasi, a UConn signee who ignited some local controversy last month when he threw 155 pitches in a 16-strikeout, nine-inning performance over Taunton. His effort also sparked a roundtable discussion on ESPNBoston.com.

Nastasi reaffirmed that he doesn't regret the high pitch count, but probably wouldn't do it again:

Two weeks later, another young pitcher was piling up the pitch count in Massachusetts. Barnstable (Mass.) senior ace Willie Nastasi threw 155 pitches in a nine-inning, complete-game victory over Taunton (Mass.).

Nastasi, who struck out 16 in the game, said he doesn’t regret the high pitch count but does agree that 155 is a little too steep for his comfort.

“Looking back, yes it probably was too many pitches and I won’t do it again,” said Nastasi, who is signed to play for UConn next season. “But I also look back at that game and remember that I stayed strong throughout the whole game. I really felt great and had no fatigue.”

Raiders head coach Joe DeMartino also discusses with Muench his decision to leave Nastasi in for the win -- which turned out to be a crucial one, as the Raiders pounded Taunton in their rematch to finish the Old Colony League schedule one game up, and therefore winning the league outright.

All three pitchers felt no pain beyond the usual soreness. And they all continued to pitch this season.

“I felt fine the whole time before and after,” Nastasi said. “But I will say, if I was tired and if I felt like my arm was getting tired I think I am smart enough to know to take myself out. That just wasn’t the case that game.”

His coach, Joe DeMartino, agreed.

“He didn’t look like he was pressing, and in my mind he was looking really strong as the game went on,” he said. “I was confident in my decision. And I still am.”

DeMartino said he always kept Nastasi’s health a concern during the game and repeatedly asked his young pitcher if he was OK to continue.

“It’s a tough call,” he said. “Any coach who has been in my position knows the feeling. But I know what Willie is capable of and I know he works hard and has great mechanics. The key in all this is a coach should know what their pitcher can and cannot do. I can tell when a pitcher is getting tired. I would have had no problem pulling him if I felt he wasn’t good to go.”