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How Long Do High School Baseball Games Last?

Millions of people in the United States play high school baseball. It is one of the most popular sports for players at all levels. Athletes at the top of their game are trying to play collegiately or professionally after graduation.

While baseball at the high school level is different from a competitive perspective, some different rules are in place as well. The length of the game is one big difference.

How Long Do High School Baseball Games Last? High School baseball games only last seven innings, which equates to an average time of 2 hours. There’s also generally a shorter amount of time between innings compared to a college or professional game.

Mercy Rule in High School Baseball

There can be a lot of disparity between high school baseball teams, which is why the mercy rule is available. The standard mercy rule is a 10-run lead after five completed innings. However, some leagues have bigger mercy rules earlier on in the game.

Having a 15 or 12-run lead in the third or fourth inning, respectively, could be one such mercy rule. It’s very hard for a team to come back from that type of deficit. It’s a way to complete the game without completely embarrassing the opposition.

Other Factors That Lead to Shorter Baseball Games in High School

It might not seem like much, but other factors play into why high school games are shorter than those in college or professional leagues.

Saving two innings helps, but the game speeds up a little bit here and there that all adds up also.

Shorter Warm-Up Times

Between each half inning, there are much shorter warm-up times at the high school level. There’s no need to take long breaks because of commercials, promotions, or anything like that. Younger players normally just get out there and go quickly.

Saving 30-60 seconds might not seem like a huge deal, but doing that each half-inning could result in 10-15 minutes of saved time compared to the majors.

Fewer Lineup Changes

A high school baseball team might only have 10 to 15 players on the roster at any given time. There simply aren’t as many lineup changes when there are so few players. Teams can’t afford to check out their best players, and the shorter games don’t allow for as much strategy overall.

At higher levels, teams carry 25 players or more on a roster. They have an entire arsenal of bullpen arms to turn to if necessary. It becomes fairly tedious to switch out players during the second half of the game when this happens.

Bigger Talent Gaps

At the end of nearly every high school baseball lineup, some hitters aren’t all that great. This means that when they are facing one of the better pitchers, it’s very unlikely that they are going to put up much of a fight. These at-bats tend to go pretty quickly, keeping the game moving.

There are some cases where as much as 1/3rd of the batting order can’t do much of anything against a top player. All they have to do is throw the ball over the plate, and it results in an easy out.

How Long is the High School Baseball Season?

A high school baseball season varies quite a bit depending on the location. Teams in the north tend to play fewer games than teams in the south.

This is before even factoring in canceled games because of inclement weather. If a northern team schedules 25 games a year, they consider it a success if they play 20 or more.

High school baseball players should expect to play about 25 to 30 regular-season games. After that, the number of games played depends on the caliber of the team. A deep run in the playoffs could add a few more games to the schedule.

High school baseball players play a lot more games outside of their actual high school season. Summer league teams are very prevalent, especially for the more talented players. This is where scouts have the opportunity to better see players go up against high-caliber opponents as well.

What Do High School Baseball Players Do in the Summer?

The upper level of high school players will find some type of summer league team to play on during the summer months. It’s already been talked about how relatively short the high school baseball season is, and there’s just not enough game action for players to prepare for future levels.

With the high school baseball season ending in the spring, players can jump right into playing summer baseball. If the season ends in May, the summer season can go from the end of May until August.

High school baseball takes place in the spring, which leaves an opportunity for players to also participate in fall leagues in some locations. In the truly warm areas like Florida, Southern California, Texas, and more, there are winter leagues for players to get extra reps in.

Coaches do need to be worried about potentially doing harm to a player‘s arm or burning them out of baseball in general.

There is such a thing as playing too much, and it’s a big reason why a lot of baseball scouts recommend younger players to play multiple sports. If the focus is only on baseball, it can wear on a young player.

Is High School Baseball Important?

High school baseball isn’t always viewed as extremely important for players to get to the next level. That’s because there isn’t as much opportunity to scout during these months for college and professional skills.

There’s also more of a talent discrepancy, since not everyone on the high school team generally is looking to play at the next level.

With all that said, high school baseball is too important as a way to play with friends and represent a school.

Many who have won state championships have no regrets about playing high school baseball, even if it didn’t contribute that much to a player earning a scholarship.