RULE 3.03 - Little League substitution rule

Little League substitution rule

Divisions:
All divisions of Baseball and Softball


Synopsis:
This would revise the substitution rule for all divisions of play for the Regular Season.


Rule 3.03

A player in the starting line-up who has been removed for a substitute may re-enter the game, in the SAME position in the batting order, provided:

(a) his or her substitute has completed one time at bat and;
(b) has played defensively for a minimum of six (6) consecutive outs;
(c)

Baseball: pitchers once removed from the mound may not return as pitchers; Intermediate (50/70) Division/Junior/Senior: A pitcher remaining in the game, but moving to a different position, can return as a pitcher any time in the remainder of the game, but only once per game.


NOTE:
A player who has met the mandatory play requirements, and is a pitcher at the time she/he is removed, may be removed for a substitute batter and re-enter the game as a pitcher once, provided the pitcher was not physically replaced on the mound.

EXAMPLE: Player A is a starter and not a pitcher, Player B substitutes into the game for player A. Both players have met mandatory play by completing one (1) time at bat and six (6) consecutive defensive outs and both occupy the same spot in the batting order. In the fifth inning player A becomes a pitcher and is scheduled to bat in the sixth inning, but player B bats for player A. Both players have met mandatory play requirements and player A was not physically replaced on the mound as a pitcher, therefore, player A can return to pitch the sixth inning.


Softball:
a pitcher remaining in the game, but moving to a different position, can return as a pitcher anytime in the remainder of the game, but only once in the same inning as he/she was removed.

Minor/Major Divisions: NOTE: A pitcher, withdrawn from the game for a substitute offensively or defensively, may not re-enter the game as a pitcher. This applies to continuous batting order. EXCEPTION: A pitcher may re-enter the game as a pitcher, if withdrawn for a pinch-hitter or pinch-runner, and then returned to the game at the beginning of the next half-inning.

Junior/Senior Divisions: A pitcher may be withdrawn from the game, offensively or defensively, and return as pitcher once per inning provided the return does not violate either the substitution, visits per pitcher, or mandatory play rule(s).

(d) A starter and her/his substitute must not be in the line-up at the same time, except as provided in 3.03 Note 3. Once mandatory play is met, a starter and substitute(s) can enter/re-enter for each other as desired, but must re-enter in the SAME position in the batting order.

(e) Defensive substitutions must be made while the team is on defense. Offensive substitutions must be made at the time the offensive player has her/his turn at bat or is on base.

NOTE 1: A substitute may not be removed from the game prior to completion of his/her mandatory play requirements.

NOTE 2: When two or more substitute players of the defensive team enter the game at the same time, the manager shall, immediately before they take their positions as fielders, designate to the Umpire-in-Chief such players’ positions in the team’s batting order and the Umpire-in-Chief shall notify the official scorer. The Umpire-in-Chief shall have authority to designate the substitutes’ places in the batting order, if this information is not immediately provided.

NOTE 3: If during a game either team is unable to place nine (9) players on the field due to illness, injury, ejection, or inability to make a legal substitution, the opposing manager shall select a player previously used in the line-up to re-enter the game, but only if use of all eligible players has exhausted the roster. A player ejected from the game is not eligible for re-entry.

Rule 3.09 - Manager or coaches must not warm up a pitcher at home plate or in the bullpen or elsewhere at any time.

You Make the Call – Manager or Coach Warming Up Pitcher

November 18, 2016


Situation

The catcher for the visiting team grounds out to end the top half of the third inning of a Little League® (Major) Division softball game. In the middle of the second inning, while the visiting team’s catcher is dressing into her catcher’s equipment, a coach from the visiting team takes a glove, and proceeds to position herself to catch the “warm-up” pitches by kneeling down behind home plate. Before a warm-up pitch is delivered the home plate umpire informs the coach that she is not permitted to warm-up the pitcher. The coach tells the umpire that she wanted to finish the warm-ups that were started outside the fence. Should the home plate umpire allow the coach to warm-up the pitcher to avoid delaying the start of inning, while the catcher dresses?

Explanation

Only a properly-equipped player (team uniform, affixed with Little League patch; catcher’s helmet and mask with throat guard; groin protection; and catcher’s glove) not currently in the lineup may receive warm-up throws from an eligible pitcher during a game. No manager, coach, or any other adult volunteer, is permitted to be on the field or in the bullpen for the purpose of warming up a pitcher. According to the 2016 Little League Baseball® Official Regulations, Playing Rules, and Policies - Rule 3.09 – Manager or coaches must not warm up a pitcher at home plate or in the bullpen or elsewhere at any time. They may, however, stand by to observe a pitcher during warm-up in the bullpen.

Note: This rule is applicable in all levels of Little League play.

Coaching the Bases

Coaching the Bases

March 17, 2016

“Do you want first or third?” is a question that can be heard at most Little League® fields throughout the season. It’s not a question about what Little Leaguer® on the team is better suited for the hot corner or who can make a great scoop for an out. It’s a question among the adults about who is to handle coaching the bases. No matter if you’re responsible for first or third base, here are some simple tips and rules to best coach the base paths.


Make No Contact with the Player

No matter if you are trying to stop a player’s momentum or speed them up, a base coach is not allowed to touch the runner during play. If you do, the umpire will call interference, and the runner will be out.


Stay Within the Coach’s Box

Just like you instruct your players to stay in the batter’s box when hitting, you, too, should stay within the defined area of the coach’s box during play. There are times, however, when a coach leaving the box will be permitted. For example, if a player is rounding third, headed for home, baseball and softball tradition often allows the third base coach to retreat down the line to take a better position on the play.


Train Their Eyes

At the plate, Little Leaguers have a tendency to watch the ball when they make contact. At practice, instruct your players to draw their attention to first base after a hit, and to listen for your instruction. If they are trying to beat out a ground ball, be sure to teach them to run through first base, and not slow down as they are approaching it. If you are coaching third base, be sure to teach your Little Leaguers that if they are on first or second base to pay close attention to your instruction when the ball is struck by the batter. You may have an opportunity for your team to grab an extra base, but that won’t happen if the runner on first or second is watching the ball and not watching you.


Signs

Every Little Leaguer should know the base coach’s signs for “hold” or “go.” Most times, two arms straight up means “hold”, and a windmill motion with one arm means “go.” Don’t rely on just signs, though. Little Leaguers, especially younger ones, need verbal instruction as they are hustling around the bases.


Remind Players of Game Situations

Little Leaguers can get caught up in the excitement on the field, and lose track of the game situation. You need to remind them of what is happening. If there are two outs, for example, remind runners to run on contact. If there is one out, tell your players if a fly ball is hit, they should either go a third of the way, half of the way, or stay on the base to tag. When you have a player at the plate, and the count is 3-0, encourage them to only swing at a strike, and when the count has two strikes, tell the hitter to “protect the plate.”

For some Little Leaguers, being up-to-bat can be stressful, and being on the bases can be confusing. They’ll look to their base coaches for guidance and reassurance. Whatever you communicate and however you communicate it, be sure to be positive, supportive, and encouraging.

Whether a base runner may advance when the infield fly rule is in effect.

Hey, Blue! – Advance at Your Own Risk

March 21, 2016

 

This month, we will explain and define whether a base runner may advance when the infield fly rule is in effect. The situation described below is applicable in all divisions of Little League Baseball® and Little League Softball®.

Situation:

In the bottom of third inning, with one out and base runners on first and second, the batter hits a high fly ball to shallow right field, prompting the home plate umpire to impose the infield fly rule. The first baseman backpedals a few steps to field the ball, but the ball drops behind him. Noticing the ball was not caught, the runner on second base sprints off of the bag and safely reaches third base. With the play over, the Manager of the defensive team calls for “time” and approaches the home plate umpire. The Manager claimed that since the infield fly rule was invoked, that the base runners are not allowed to advance if the ball is not caught.

Explanation:

By Little League® definition, the infield fly rule is a fair ball (not including a line drive nor attempted bunt) which can be caught by an infielder with ordinary effort, when first and second; or first, second or third bases are occupied, before two are out. The pitcher, catcher and any outfielder stationed in the infield on the play shall be considered infielders for the purpose of this rule.

An infield fly is no different than any other fly ball in regard to the runners. The only difference is that they are never forced to advance because the batter is out whether the ball is caught, or not. Runners may advance without tagging up. Also note that the infield dirt and the outfield grass do not form a boundary line for infield fly purposes.

Rules 2.00, 6.05 (d) and 7.10 (a): A batter is out when – Infield Fly is declared; and 7.10 (a): The Runner; any runner shall be called out, on appeal, when after a fly ball is caught, the runner fails to retouch the base before said runner or the base is tagged.

RULE 6.05 - Batter-runner is contacted by a thrown ball outside of the runner’s lane

Hey, Blue! – The Runner Is Out of the Baseline

May 09, 2016

This month, we will explain and outline the rule governing interference when a batter-runner is contacted by a thrown ball outside of the runner’s lane. The situation described below is applicable in all divisions of Little League Baseball® and Little League Softball®.

Situation

In the top of the fourth inning, with two outs and a runner on second base, the batter swings and taps a ground ball down the first-base line. The catcher charges out from behind home plate, fields the ball, and throws the ball toward first base. The ball ricochetes off of the batter-runner and careens into foul territory down the right field line. The umpire, who is trailing the batter-runner, immediately stops play by calling “time.” Before the runner from second base scored, the batter-runner is called out for interference. Before the next batter enters the batter’s box, the Manager of the offensive team approaches the home plate umpire and asks for an explanation on the “out” call.

Ruling

In the judgement of the home plate umpire, the batter-runner was hit with the thrown ball while running outside of the runner’s lane. The umpire’s opinion was that interference occurred, which resulted in the catcher not being able to complete the play with an accurate throw to the first baseman. Since the umpire immediately killed the play, the resulting run was disallowed counted.

Explanation

Rule 6.05(j)  The batter is out when in running the last half of the distance to first base, while the ball is being fielded to first base, the batter runs outside (to the right of) the three foot line, or inside (to the left of) the foul line, and in the umpire’s judgment in so doing interferes with the fielder taking the throw at first base; except that the batter-runner may run outside (to the right of) the three foot line or inside (to the left of) the foul line the to avoid the fielder attempting to field a batted ball.  APPROVED RULINGThe lines marking the three foot lane are part of the lane and the batter-runner is required to have both feet within the three foot lane or on the lines marking the lane.

It is the first baseman’s ability to catch the ball that is being interfered with not the catcher fielding the batted ball.

RULE 2.00 INTERFERENCE (a) - If the umpire declares the batter, batter-runner or a runner out for interference, all other runners shall return to the last base that was, in the judgment of the umpire, legally touched at the time of interference, unless otherwise provided by these rules.

And

RULE 2.00 INTERFERENCE (e) - on any interference the ball is dead.

These are the two rules which support the umpire’s decision.

Defining Interference and Obstruction

Defining Interference and Obstruction

October 16, 2017

The terms interference” and “obstruction” are often misunderstood and confused by managers, coaches, and umpires alike.

Using the current edition of “Make the Right Call: The Casebook of Little League Baseball and Softball,” examples of interference and obstruction illustrate and help to define the difference between these two judgement calls.


Interference

Situation A:

With a runner on first base, the batter hits a ground ball toward the second baseman. The batted ball strikes the runner from first base before it reaches the second baseman.

Ruling: This is interference, the ball is immediately declared “dead,” the runner is declared out and the batter is awarded first base. If there had been other runners on base, they would return to the base they occupied at the time of the pitch, unless they are forced to advance by the batter being awarded first base.

Situation B:

With a runner on second base, the batter hits a soft line drive toward the shortstop. The runner breaks for third base when the batter contacts the ball, and the batted ball touches the runner and caroms away. The shortstop catches the ball before it contacts the ground and throws to second base to double off the runner.

Ruling: This is interference. The ball became “dead” the moment it touched the runner. The runner is declared out and batter-runner is awarded first base.

Situation C:

During a Senior Division baseball game, with a runner on second base, the batter hits a sharp ground ball, which strikes the umpire before it reaches an infielder.

Ruling: This is interference by the umpire. The ball is dead, and the batter-runner is awarded first base. The other runners are returned to the base they occupied at the time of the pitch, unless they are forced to advance by the award of first base to the batter-runner.

Situation D:

During a Junior Division baseball game, a runner on first base attempts to steal second base. As the catcher attempts to throw to second base contact is made with the home plate umpire, which effects the throw.

Ruling: This is interference by the umpire. If the throw retires the runner, the out will stand. If the runner is not retired, the runner is returned to the base occupied at the time of the pitch.


Obstruction

Situation A:

After a clean hit to the outfield, the batter-runner attempts stretch it into a double. As the runner approaches second base, the shortstop fakes a tag without possession of the ball.

Ruling: A fake tag is considered obstruction and the umpire is to award whatever bases will nullify the obstruction.

Situation B:

The batter hits a ball to the outfield, and while rounding first base the batter-runner contacts the first baseman. The defense relays the ball to second base, where the runner is tagged out.

Ruling: The runner was obstructed by the first baseman, which altered progress toward second base. After the play ends, the umpire is to call “time,” announce obstruction has occurred, and awards bases as necessary, which nullifies the obstruction.

RULE 8.08 - official trips to the mound in the same inning Rule

Hey, Blue! – Two Trips and You’re Out?

February 15, 2018

 

We will explain and outline an umpire’s parameters for a pitcher in the Little League® Major Division, and above, to be removed from the mound during a game. The situation described below is contingent on the defensive team’s manager making multiple “official trips” to the mound in the same inning to speak with the pitcher. The rule for the number of official trips to the mound in a single inning was amended at the 27thLittle League International Congress; and is applicable beginning with the 2018 season in the Major division and above in both Little League Baseball® and Little League Softball®.

Situation

With one out and one runner on base in the top of the fourth inning in a Little League Baseball® Major Division game, the manager of the defensive team calls for, and is granted, “time” by the home plate umpire. The manager proceeds from the dugout to the pitcher’s mound and is informed by the plate umpire that this is his first official trip to the mound. After the ball is put in play, the pitcher walks consecutive batters to load the bases. The defensive manager again calls for, and is granted, “time” by the plate umpire. This time, he comes onto the field and calls his infielders and pitcher together at the mound. After concluding the mound meeting, the manager steps toward the dugout, but is quickly stopped by the home plate umpire. The plate umpire explains that that was the manager’s second official trip to the mound in the inning, and he must remove the pitcher from the game. The manager claims he was talking to his defense and that it is not an official trip to the mound.

Explanation

For guidance on this situation, look to Rule 8.06, which applies to both baseball and softball.

According to Rule 8.06 (a), a manager or coach may come out once (Minor Division: twice) in one inning to visit with the pitcher, but the second time (Minor Division: third time) out, the player must be removed as a pitcher.

Rule 8.06 (b) A manager or coach may come out twice (Minor Division: three times) in one game to visit with the pitcher, but the third time (Minor Division: fourth time) out, the player must be removed as a pitcher.

And, finally, in the situation above, Rule 8.06 (d) outlines that a manager or coach who is granted a time out to talk to any defensive player will be charged with a visit to the pitcher. Therefore, the umpire correctly explained to the manager that the pitcher must be replaced.

Additional related information on common rules misconceptions and misinterpreted rules is available on Little League University

Regular Season Pitching Rules Baseball


Regular Season Pitching Rules – Baseball

Regular Season Pitching Rules – Baseball

VI – PITCHERS

(a) Any player on a regular season team may pitch. (NOTE: There is no limit to the number of pitchers a team may use in a game.)

(b) A pitcher once removed from the mound cannot return as a pitcher. Junior and Senior League Divisions only: A pitcher remaining in the game, but moving to a different position, can return as a pitcher anytime in the remainder of the game, but only once per game.

(c) The manager must remove the pitcher when said pitcher reaches the limit for his/her age group as noted below, but the pitcher may remain in the game at another position:

League Age:

13-16 – 95 pitches per day

11-12 – 85 pitches per day

9-10 – 75 pitches per day

7-8 – 50 pitches per day

Exception: If a pitcher reaches the limit imposed in Regulation VI (c) for his/her league age while facing a batter, the pitcher may continue to pitch until any one of the following conditions occurs: 1. That batter reaches base; 2. That batter is put out; 3. The third out is made to complete the half-inning. Note 1: A pitcher who delivers 41 or more pitches in a game cannot play the position of catcher for the remainder of that day. Note 2: Any player who has played the position of catcher in four or more innings in a game is not eligible to pitch on that calendar day.

(d) Pitchers league age 14 and under must adhere to the following rest requirements:

  • If a player pitches 66 or more pitches in a day, four (4) calendar days of rest must be observed.
  • If a player pitches 51-65 pitches in a day, three (3) calendar days of rest must be observed.
  • If a player pitches 36-50 pitches in a day, two (2) calendar days of rest must be observed.
  • If a player pitches 21-35 pitches in a day, one (1) calendar days of rest must be observed.
  • If a player pitches 1-20 pitches in a day, no (0) calendar day of rest is required.

Exception: If a pitcher reaches a day(s) of rest threshold while facing a batter, the pitcher may continue to pitch until any one of the following conditions occurs: (1) that batter reaches base; (2) that batter is retired; or (3) the third out is made to complete the half-inning or the game. The pitcher will only be required to observe the calendar day(s) of rest for the threshold he/she reached during that at-bat, provided that pitcher is removed or the game is completed before delivering a pitch to another batter.”

(d) Pitchers league age 15-16 must adhere to the following rest requirements:

  • If a player pitches 76 or more pitches in a day, four (4) calendar days of rest must be observed.
  • If a player pitches 61-75 pitches in a day, three (3) calendar days of rest must be observed.
  • If a player pitches 46-60 pitches in a day, two (2) calendar days of rest must be observed.
  • If a player pitches 31-45 pitches in a day, one (1) calendar days of rest must be observed.
  • If a player pitches 1-30 pitches in a day, no (0) calendar day of rest is required.

Exception: If a pitcher reaches a day(s) of rest threshold while facing a batter, the pitcher may continue to pitch until any one of the following conditions occurs: (1) that batter reaches base; (2) that batter is retired; or (3) the third out is made to complete the half-inning or the game. The pitcher will only be required to observe the calendar day(s) of rest for the threshold he/she reached during that at-bat, provided that pitcher is removed or the game is completed before delivering a pitch to another batter.

(e) Each league must designate the scorekeeper or another game official as the official pitch count recorder.

(f) The pitch count recorder must provide the current pitch count for any pitcher when requested by either manager or any umpire. However, the manager is responsible for knowing when his/her pitcher must be removed.

(g) The official pitch count recorder should inform the umpire-in-chief when a pitcher has delivered his/her maximum limit of pitches for the game, as noted in Regulation VI (c). The umpire-in-chief will inform the pitcher’s manager that the pitcher must be removed in accordance with Regulation VI (c). However, the failure by the pitch count recorder to notify the umpire-in-chief, and/or the failure of the umpire-in- chief to notify the manager, does not relieve the manager of his/her responsibility to remove a pitcher when that pitcher is no longer eligible.

(h) Violation of any section of this regulation can result in protest of the game in which it occurs. Protest shall be made in accordance with Playing Rule 4.19.

(j) A player who has attained the league age of twelve (12) is not eligible to pitch in the Minor League. (See Regulation V – Selection of Players)

(k) A player may not pitch in more than one game in a day.

NOTES:

  1. The withdrawal of an ineligible pitcher after that pitcher is announced, or after a warm-up pitch is delivered, but before that player has pitched a ball to a batter, shall not be considered a violation. Little League officials are urged to take precautions to prevent protests. When a protest situation is imminent, the potential offender should be notified immediately.
  2. Pitches delivered in games declared “Regulation Tie Games” or “Suspended Games” shall be charged against pitcher’s eligibility.
  3. In suspended games resumed on another day, the pitchers of record at the time the game was halted may continue to pitch to the extent of their eligibility for that day, provided said pitcher has observed the required days of rest.

Example 1: A league age 12 pitcher delivers 70 pitches in a game on Monday when the game is suspended. The game resumes on the following Thursday. The pitcher is not eligible to pitch in the resumption of the game because he/she has not observed the required days of rest.

Example 2: A league age 12 pitcher delivers 70 pitches in a game on Monday when the game is suspended. The game resumes on Saturday. The pitcher is eligible to pitch up to 85 more pitches in the resumption of the game because he/she has observed the required days of rest.

Example 3: A league age 12 pitcher delivers 70 pitches in a game on Monday when the game is suspended. The game resumes two weeks later. The pitcher is eligible to pitch up to 85 more pitches in the resumption of the game, provided he/she is eligible based on his/her pitching record during the previous four days.

Note: The use of this regulation negates the concept of the “calendar week” with regard to pitching eligibility

New Bat Standard 2018



 

LITTLE LEAGUE® TO ADOPT NEW USA BASEBALL BAT STANDARD STARTING WITH 2018 SEASON

2018 Bat Standard

As of January 1, 2018, the new USA Baseball Bat Standard will be implemented for bats 27" and longer. Little League-approved baseball bats that are approved for use for the 2017 season will no longer be acceptable for use in any Little League game or activity starting on January 1, 2018. For more information on the USABat standard and a complete list of bats approved through the USABat Standard, visit usabat.com.

What You Need to Know

League20172018
Minors & MajorsBPF 1.15 marking/ 2 ¼” barrel maximumUSA Baseball marking
2 5/8” barrel maximum
Intermediate (50/70) & Junior1) 2 ¼" alloy/metal barrel with BPF stamp of 1.15
2) 2 5/8" alloy/metal barrel (no marking required)
3) 2 5/8" composite barrel with BBCOR stamp
USA Baseball marking
2 5/8” barrel maximum
NO BBCOR ALLOWED
SeniorALLbats must be BBCORALLbats must be BBCOR

 

Tee Ball Bats

Starting on January 1, 2018, all Tee Ball bats in the Tee Ball program must feature the USA Baseball mark and accompanying text. Tee Ball bats that were produced and/or purchased prior to the implementation of the new standard can be certified using an Approved Tee Ball Sticker. 

 

Softball Bats

The composite moratorium only applies to baseball bats with 2 1/4 inch barrels. It DOES NOT apply to any divisions of Little League Softball.


Click Here to Visit the Little League Page on the New 2018 Bat Requirements.

 

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