Rules - Minors Division
If only one umpire shows up for a game, coaches will jointly appoint someone (e.g., a parent) as the field umpire. If coaches cannot agree on the appointee, then only one umpire will be used. Coaches must not make “shadow” calls or other gestures which might influence an umpire’s call. For example, coaches must not signal outs or make safe signs before a call is made. An umpire’s judgment call shall not be questioned after it has been made. Coaches may request clarification on the proper application of rules to a specific situation. At their sole discretion, umpires may request help from another umpire, but they are not required to do so.
Fielding a Team/Forfeit
A team forfeits a game if it does not have nine (9) players and an official coach ready to play within 15 minutes after the umpire’s official start time. A team also forfeits if it does not have at least eight (8) players playing throughout the game.
Coaches will exchange lineups before the game. Lineups consist of both batting order as well as defensive positions for each inning. Players must be identified on the lineup card by full name and number. Coaches shall identify on their line-up cards players who are not eligible to pitch under the pitching rules below. Line-up cards shall be in a form so that the players are listed in the first column in the order they are batting and their positions by inning are listed in the same row as their name. Substitutions are allowed provided that they are clearly communicated before the substitution to the opposing coach. Minimum playing time and other rules requirements must still be observed.
A regulation game consists of 6 innings. After 1 hour and 45 minutes, another inning cannot begin and all games must complete 3 innings to be official. In the event weather, darkness or other conditions cause a halt to play before the game is concluded, the game shall be resumed at a time determined by the Minors Commissioner. Resumed games shall pick up exactly where they were halted (with the same line-ups, pitch count etc.) with the rules applying to the game as if it were played continuously. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the pitch count limit and rest rules are applied based on the status of the pitcher at the time of the resumed portion of the game. With the exception of playoffs, games can end in a tie.
When a team is at bat, two adult base coaches are allowed on the field. A team may only have three (3) coaches on the field or in the dugout at any given time.
An inning is 3 outs, or five runs, whichever happens first. There is no five run limit in the last inning of the game.
All players present shall bat based on their position in the team’s batting order that is presented to the coach of the opposing team at the beginning of the game. Players arriving at the game after the game has begun shall be moved to the bottom of the batting order and shall remain at that position in the batting order for the entire game. If a player leaves the game, that player will be skipped in the batting order and no out is recorded.
Minimum Playing Time
In each game, all players must have played a total of four full innings, two full innings of which must be in the infield. By the end of the game, no player shall have sat on the bench any greater than 1 inning more than any other player on the same team. Pitcher and catcher are infield positions. Protests regarding a violation of this rule must be made before the end of the game and to the umpire and the opposing coach. They shall be referred to the Minors Commissioner immediately after the game. If the winning team is found in violation of this rule, the winning team will forfeit the game.
NOTE: The above rules are only a minimum requirement and coaches are encouraged to offer each player the same quality playing time as all others regardless of ability. If a coach has a player or parent inform them that they do not want the player to play in the infield due to safety or other issues, then upon notice to and approval of the appropriate Commissioner this requirement will be waived for this particular player.
Bunting is allowed. Walks are allowed. Strikes are called. A pitcher may walk a runner home. Defensive teams can intentionally walk a batter by announcing the decision to the plate umpire. After appropriate notification is made by the defensive manager, the ball is ruled dead and no other runners may advance unless forced by the batter’s award of first base. Once the award is granted, four pitches will be added to the defensive pitcher’s official pitch count.
- Game Pitch Count Limits: Pitchers have specific pitch count limits for each game based on their league age. Twelve year old’s are not allowed to pitch in Minors. The maximum number of pitches per day by age of player is shown in the table below.
- A pitcher who reaches the below limit while facing a better may continue to pitch until that batter either reaches base or is put out. These extra pitches are NOT included for the purposes of calculating required rest, provided that the coach notifies the opposing team that he intends to remove that pitcher after the current at bat is concluded.
- Rest: The number of pitches delivered in a game will also determine the amount of rest the player must have before pitching again. Required rest is calculated in calendar days and not hours or any other measure of time. For example, a pitcher who throws 40 pitches in a game Wednesday morning cannot pitch until Saturday.
Maximum Pitches per Day
- 11-12 year olds = 85
- 9-10 year olds = 75
- 7-8 year olds = 50
Rest Days Required
- 66+ Pitches = 4 calendar days
- 51-65 Pitches = 3 calendar days
- 36-50 Pitches = 2 calendar days
- 21-35 Pitches = 1 calendar day
- 1-20 Pitches = No rest required
NOTE: Protests regarding violation of these rules shall be made upon discovery to the opposing coach and to the umpire. The Minors Commissioner shall be notified immediately following the game.
- Reporting: After each game, coaches must confer and agree on the number of pitches thrown for each pitcher who pitched during the game. Pitch counts and results should be posted by the winning team to the league website within 24 hours of the conclusion of the game.
- Substitution: Players once removed from the mound may not return as pitchers. A player may not pitch in more than one game in a day. A pitcher that is replaced in the middle of a count inherits the count for purposes of the game. The replacement pitcher does not inherit the pitches for purposes of the Game Pitch Count Limits and Rest rules.
- Hit Batters: If a pitcher hits two batters in the same inning, or three batters total over multiple innings, the pitcher must be replaced. That pitcher may not return to the game as a pitcher.
- Mound Visits: A coach may visit a pitcher on the mound once per inning. That pitcher must be replaced after a second visit to the mound in the same inning. Once the pitcher is replaced, the coach may visit the new pitcher on the mound in that inning once before having to replace the new pitcher. A pitcher must be replaced after a third (total) visit to that pitcher on the mound over the course of the game.
- Catching After Pitching: A pitcher who delivers more than 40 pitches in a game cannot play the position of catcher for the remainder of that day.
NOTE: As a point of clarification, a pitcher can have played the position of catcher prior to pitching more than 40 pitches in a game.
- Pitching After Catching: Any player who has played catcher in four (4) or more innings (whether playing in all of an inning or in any portion of an inning) in a game is not eligible to pitch on that day.
NOTE: As an example, this rule would prohibit a player from playing catcher in the 1st and 2nd innings; pitching in the 3rd inning and then catching in the 4th and 5th innings.
The catcher must wear a catcher’s glove and properly fitted catcher’s equipment including a throat guard.
Uncaught Third Strike
An uncaught third strike does NOT require a put out at first base or that the runner be tagged out.
Base runners are not allowed to take leads. Once a pitcher is in contact with the pitcher’s rubber, in possession of the ball and the catcher is in the catcher’s box, base runners shall not leave their bases until the ball has been delivered and has passed home plate. Base runners may advance only after the ball passes home plate. If the pitcher does not control the ball on a throwback form the catcher, runners may steal and continue to take bases until the pitcher has the ball and is in contact with the pitcher’s rubber and the catcher is in the catcher’s box. Stealing home is permitted and provided that the other rules are followed. Coaches may not physical assist base runners (e.g., pushing the runner off a base or grabbing a runner to stop the runner from taking another base). If a coach physically touches a base runner, the base runner will be called out. There is no sliding head first to advance to a base, but is allowed going back to a base.
In the event a runner is injured and cannot continue on base, the pinch runner shall be the last batter out (i.e., not the last runner out). A courtesy runner will also be allowed for any player on base with two outs who will be catching the next inning. This is intended solely to expedite the pace of the game. The courtesy runner shall be the last batter out.
Baserunners may only advance one base on an overthrow that goes out of play. The out-of-bounds line is typically defined as the fence in front of the dugout extended into the outfield unless the out-of-bounds is otherwise clearly marked. If, and as long as, the ball remains in-bounds, there is no limit to the number of bases that the runner may advance. This rule is applicable regardless of the base being thrown to.
Ground Rule Double
An award of two bases from the time of pitch to all baserunners including the batter as a result of the ball leaving the field of play after being hit fairly.
See Little League National “Obstruction” Rule 7.06 and Rule 2.00 (definition of “Obstruction”).