Pioneer League to decide extra-inning games with home run derby

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Published: Apr. 27, 2021 at 12:31 PM MDT
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - You could see a home run derby break out at a Rocky Mountain Vibes game this season.

The Pioneer League is installing a “Knock-Out” rule for the 2021 season if a game is tied at the end of nine innings. Instead of extras continuing as normal, games will move to a sudden-death home run derby between a selected batter on both teams.

“Under the rule, each team designates a hitter who receives five pitches, with the game determined by the most home runs hit,” the Pioneer League announced in a release Tuesday. “If still tied after the first ‘Knock Out’ round, another hitter is selected for a sudden-death home run face-off until a winner is declared.”

The new rule was created “to avoid excessive strain on our pitching staffs,” the release stated. This is the first season Pioneer League teams are not affiliated with with Major League baseball clubs, and instead are now an independent “MLB Partner League.”

The Pioneer League is also instituting two additional rules in their 2021 season, the “Designated Pinch Hitter” and “Designated Pinch Runner”. Designated pinch hitters will be allowed to hit for a position player, but then return to the bench after the conclusion of the half-inning. Hitters are ineligible for the remainder of the game and the position player retains his spot on the field (unless substituted for). The designated pinch runner can be employed similarly, with the pinch runner returning to the bench after the inning ends. Both can only be used once per game.

The Rocky Mountain Vibes open their season at UCHealth Park May 22 against the Grand Junction Rockies.

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