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Pioneer League to Have 'Sudden-Death' Home Run Derby Instead of Extra Innings

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistApril 27, 2021

FILE - In this April 14, 2020, file photo, baseball and softball bags for Colin and Catherine Graves lie untouched in Monroeville, Pa. Doctors, scientists and sports leaders are outlining the path back to playing fields for children in grassroots sports -- an exercise that could inform major organizations on how to get their industries up and running as well in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. (AP Photo/Will Graves, File)
Will Graves/Associated Press

An independent baseball league is moving away from traditional extra-inning games in favor of a home run derby.

Per an official release from the Pioneer League (via Baseball America's JJ Cooper), games tied after nine innings will go to a "head-to-head, 'sudden-death home run duel."

JJ Cooper @jjcoop36

The Pioneer League has announced rules it will use for its first year as a Partner League. Instead of extra innings there will be a HR derby to settle ties. Each team can use a designated pinch hitter and a designated pinch runner. https://t.co/0xLnUJ4s1V

Each team will designate one hitter to use. They will be given five pitches, with the winner being determined by whoever hits the most homers. 

In the event of a tie after the first round, teams will assign another hitter for a "sudden-death home-run face off" to determine a winner. 

The Pioneer League's idea is a variation on an idea floated by Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner last year. He suggested that Major League Baseball let teams play one traditional extra inning in the event of a tie after nine innings. 

If the game remained tied after 10 innings, Turner said MLB should "take each team's three best hitters and you give them all five outs and see who hits the most homers.”

Even though MLB didn't adopt Turner's idea, the Pioneer League may have been listening based on its approach for the 2021 season. 

The Pioneer League's 96-game regular-season schedule will begin on May 22. 

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