Futures league will use home run derby to break ties

CHELMSFORD, Mass. (AP) The Futures Collegiate Baseball League digs the long ball.

The unaffiliated minor league said on Friday it will use a home run derby to determine a winner for regular-season games that remain tied after the 10th inning. Much like in the NHL, each team will receive one point toward the league standings for reaching the tie-breaker, with the winner getting two points for the victory.

Commissioner Christopher Hall says the change is designed to protect pitchers and also make the games more exciting for fans.

The short-season, wooden-bat Futures League has nine teams scattered around New England. Last year, the league had 26 extra-inning games - about three per team in a 55-game schedule - with 15 longer than 10 innings and one lasting 21 innings.

Oklahoma coach Pete Hughes said the format gives him confidence that he can send his pitchers to the Futures League without worrying about undue strain on their arms.

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