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We Honor the Game!

We Honor the Game!

2021 Local Rules and Bylaws

1.     The City of Healdsburg has a No Dog (HMC 6.04.150) Policy on Healdsburg Unified School District grounds, which includes A, AA, AAA and 50/70 Baseball Fields at Healdsburg Elementary School (HES) and the Junior and Senior Baseball field and all Softball fields at Healdsburg High School (HHS). The City also has a No Dog Sign posted at Recreation Park. League officials are required to politely ask any offender to remove their dogs from the grounds to comply with this policy and to avoid a risk of injury to players or pet messes to playing surfaces. 

2.     Alcohol, smoking, all marijuana and tobacco products, including chewing tobacco and e-cigarettes are prohibited at any Little League function and facility when players are present. 

3.     No riding of bicycles, scooters or skateboards are allowed on the cement area around the HLL Building on HES Property during HLL events. 

4.     The flying of drones during HLL events is prohibited unless permission has been obtained from the HLL Board of Directors (BOD).

5.     A Managers and Coaching Staff Appointment Committee made up of a minimum of two of the following positions; Player Agent, Player and Coaching Coordinator, Umpire-In-Chief and the League President shall interview applicants including managers or coaches from previous seasons. The objective of the interview is to set expectations, describe the duties, solicit ideas on how the league can better support team managers and coaches, list available training materials for coaches, training opportunities from PCA and NPA and hired instructors including how to run a practice. 

During these interviews the Committee will assess character, leadership skills, Baseball/Softball knowledge and experience. The decision to accept an applicant to fill a manager or coaching position shall be made on the Committee’s judgment as to the candidate’s ability to work within the framework of our culture. The League President is responsible to present formal Appointments to the BOD for their majority vote approval of each individual appointment. At the discretion of the League President he/she may waive an interview based on direct working knowledge of a candidate’s compliance to our Fair Play criteria and culture. Any such appointee is still subject to BOD approval. It is highly recommended when waiving the interview process the League President provide objective evidence of past performance of the candidate including fair play scorekeeping data and character input such as parent and umpire feedback for BOD review.

6.     HLL has a zero tolerance policy with ALL participants regarding argumentative and/or negative comments toward Umpires. Offenses by a member of a coaching staff or a league official shall require a Grievance Hearing and be subject to game(s) suspensions or dismissal from the program for the remainder of the season or operating year as seen fit by the Grievance Board and majority vote of the Board of Directors. Spectators violating this bylaw shall be reminded such behavior is not how-we-do-things-here. If the individual does not immediately refrain, a Board Member shall escort the offender off the facility. If no Board Member is present the umpire crew has authority to put teams in their respective dugout until the offender stops the behavior or leaves the facility.         

7.     Team volunteers and players are expected to water, rake, and chalk between games on Saturdays to enhance performance and pride in our fields. Players are further expected to contribute to the post game care and maintenance of fields and for cleaning their respective dugouts of all garbage, gear & equipment.   

8.     Single A Baseball will be machine-pitch, but practices will be used to teach pitching fundamentals for the purpose of development, with the option when both managers agree to allow player pitch for up to two innings during the final two games of the season. It is the responsibility of the two Managers to ensure play flows reasonably well as compared to machine pitch and the game time limit is adhered to. IMPORTANT INSURANCE NOTICE: Players MAY NOT be allowed to pitch from less than 46 feet without an approved waiver from WRLL. A tee will be incorporated during player pitch in lieu of a walk. After four balls as called by the “pitching” coach. Single A Baseball Guidelines attached as Supplement 2 to these Bylaws

9.     Preseason clinics, including scrimmage games will be used for player assessment (tryouts) and are also considered a part of our training program for volunteer managers and coaches. The league will use this forum to CONFIDENTIALLY rate the athletes for player selection at the division drafts with the objective of achieving team parity in each division of play for the enjoyment and benefit of the players, parents, coaches and spectators.

10.  Players are encouraged to attend all assessment sessions. By Little League Regulation IV(f) any player attending less than 50% of the player assessments (tryouts) shall forfeit league eligibility unless an excuse is presented which is accepted by a majority of the BOD. The player is then required to be placed on an AA Baseball or Minor Softball division team, which may include a waiting list subject to selection onto a team on an as available basis. Note: An acceptable alternative is to arrange a one-on-one assessment for the player(s) supervised by a Player Agent and at least one Board Member using standard Player Assessment rating no less than 48 hours prior to the beginning of the draft.

11. Player Little League Age Eligibility Alignment by Division (BOD Defined) per Regulation III(a) & IV(a): Softball Division of Play Attain MINIMUM LL Age before Jan 1st Attain MAXIMUM LL Age before Jan 1st Roster Size Minors 7 11 8-10 Majors 10 12 10-15 Juniors 12 14 9-15 Seniors 13 16 8-15 Baseball Division of Play Attain MINIMUM LL Age before September 1st Attain MAXIMUM LL Age before August 31st Roster Size A (Machine Pitch) 6 8 8-10 AA (Minor-Instructional) 7 11 * 8-13 AAA (Majors) 10 12 10-12 Intermediate (50-70) 11 13 10-20 Juniors 12 15 ** 10-20 Seniors 13 16 10-20 Softball shall allow Major, Junior and Senior age eligible players to participate in two divisions in the regular season. * LL 7-year-old in Baseball with at least 2 yrs experience and appropriate assessment scores. ** LL 15-year-old in Baseball Juniors shall NOT pitch as restricted by D35 Interleague bylaws. 

12.  A & AA Baseball and Minor Softball Division play is considered Instructional. As in all other Baseball & Softball divisions a maximum of three (3) coaches shall be permitted in the dugout at this level of play. Additional parent/coaches with league background checks may be employed at practices. Games may continue with less than 9 eligible players. 

AA Baseball and Minor Softball scorebooks are kept for training purposes and general player statistics and to monitor position rotations on defense and overall playing time. Standings are not maintained for any Baseball division below Intermediate, or Minor Softball. AA Baseball and Minor Softball shall use a total of ten players on defense. Positioning four of those players in the outfield. These players must be positioned, per pitch, beyond the outer perimeter of the infield. 

13.  INTERLEAGUE PLAY. In effort to provide more games and a more diverse game experience, HLL may participate in Interleague Games in AA Baseball and higher, and Minor Softball and higher.  While we make every effort to come to agreement with the leagues for continuity, there could be discrepancies in local rules.  All HLL Local Rules will be followed by all HLL teams, even if the opposing Interleague team chooses to follow their local rules. All divisions of Softball will operate in Accordance with the Sonoma County Interleague Association, for both Home and Away games.

14.  The Board shall use Little League Player Selection System Alternate Method Plan B on an annual basis for AA Baseball through Senior Baseball divisions and Minor through Senior in Softball divisions. Division A Baseball rosters shall be formed cooperatively between division managers led by the division Player Agent and subject to the oversight and approval of the BOD. The Manager’s son(s) or daughter(s) will be placed in the draft round according to that player’s assessment rating or ranking assigned by the Player Agent from the tryout process and displayed with all other eligible players in the draft prior to the first pick. At the conclusion of the original placements and after the Managers have been assigned a team, the Player Agent will consider any requested trades of players by mutual consent of the two Managers. These transactions will be supervised closely to retain team parity, fairness and adherence to the HLL Fair Play and positive youth sports culture.

15.  A Manager may NOT assign any member to his/her coaching staff until teams are formed and approved by the presiding members of the Board the day/night of the Draft. No player shall be restricted in any way during the Draft based on a manager wanting or expecting to enlist the player’s parent, guardian, or other relation or association as a coach, or any other volunteer position within the program. ALL Coaches MUST have their background checks on file with the league and are subject to Board approval PRIOR to the team’s first practice or team meeting or any event that involves the players of an assigned team.

16.  In accordance with Replacements section in the Little League Operating Manual, a AA Baseball Player (B) may take the roster spot of a AAA Baseball Player (A) after missing five consecutive games during the regular season. The AAA Baseball Manager shall inform the league Player Agent within one day of a player missing their fifth consecutive regular season game. Upon his/her return, Player (A) shall be processed through one of the following:

a.     The AA Baseball division unless said player is LL 12 or a returning AAA Baseball player (played previous season in AAA Baseball) in which case he/she is not eligible to play in the AA Baseball Division

b.     The Intermediate Baseball division

c.     Placed on an AAA Baseball division waiting list.

While on the waiting list, Player (A) shall have priority to be placed on a roster before an AA Baseball division player. Refusal of an AA Baseball Player to comply shall result in forfeiture of further eligibility in AAA Baseball division for the current season. No AA Baseball Player shall be drafted to replace an AAA Baseball Player during the last two weeks of the regular season schedule. (Ref; Little League Reg. III(a).

17.  All managers and coaching staff required to attend and participate in Player Agent and board directed “Fair-Play” feedback session(s) where scorekeeping and game plan sheet data is shared and discussed, along with player evaluations, in an open forum with the end-in-mind of fostering overall program compliance and enhancement to our Fair Play Initiatives and culture. And to share best coaching practices to benefit players on all division teams.  

18.  Managers and their coaching staffs are required to maintain, as part of our Fair Play Initiative, Fair and Equal playing time at a variety of desired positions for each active player on the roster. Playing time shall be based on a player’s attitude, effort, and attendance. The harder a player tries regardless of ability the more playing time above the LL mandatory play rules they can expect to receive. The Player Agents shall monitor playing time and address non-compliances to the HLL culture with the manager and involve the BOD as needed. Repeat offenders not making appropriate adjustments to the satisfaction of the league shall be brought in front of the Grievance Board for a hearing and be subject to disciplinary action.  

19.  The Manager may use their discretion to sit a player(s) for arriving too late (after the fourth inning) to games to meet mandatory play or for disciplinary reasons. The Player Agent must be informed in writing preferably before the game action is taken but no later than before the next game or practice for disciplinary actions, or repeated occurrences of players arriving late or missing practices and games.

20.  When a player is under a doctor’s care for any injury or misses more than seven continuous days of participation for an illness or injury, a physician or other accredited medical provider must give written permission for a return to full Baseball/Softball activity.

21.  A player pool may be used in AA, AAA, Intermediate, Junior, and Senior Baseball and all Softball divisions (when more than one team exists) as an alternate method of operation to fill shortages of eligible players during regular season and Internal HLL TOC games. The Player Agent shall only assign the next pool player to a team which has LESS THAN Nine (9) players available for the game. The only exception for this rule is at the Junior/Senior Baseball and Softball levels where a waiver is in place to allow 1 pool player when a team has 9 of its own players available.

22.   The home team shall provide the official Scorekeeper. This individual shall position themselves as near as physically possible behind the backstop and within view and hearing of the plate umpires calls and instructions. The scorekeeper shall NOT converse or in any way provide information to one team without also making this information available to the other team as directed and supervised by the UIC of that game. The scorekeeper shall NOT inform either team of a Batting Out of Order condition. (An appeal play). The Managers shall communicate all substitutions and position changes through the UIC who is responsible to ensure the official scorekeeper is informed and otherwise aware of all such changes. For Fair Play positional changes, Managers shall submit and league will retain, a separate list for the game so not to slow play between innings for Scorekeepers to annotate changes and include in the official book.

23.  Regular Season Game Count and Schedules:

a.     A, AA and AAA Baseball division and Minor Softball teams are scheduled to play 12-18 regular season games in 2020. A best effort will be made to make up any rainout or suspended games to complete the schedule on or before May 31.

b.     Intermediate, Junior/Senior Baseball division and Major, Junior and Senior Softball game counts for 2020 are subject to inter-league schedule approval, but shall not be less than twelve games PLAYED to qualify for post-season play. 

24.  School and community functions such as Band Concerts, Field Trips, Sixth Grade Camp, HFFCF, and some wine industry events and like activities involving multiple players and/or adult volunteers are considered just reason to request a game reschedule. The Player Agent must be contacted to consider and arrange for the reschedule or use of the player pool option as he/she feels is in the best interest of the participants involved. 

25.  AA and AAA Baseball team placement into the Internal TOC brackets is a random computer selection process and not determined by regular season standings, win/lose records or the Board of Directors.

26.  No inning may start after 10:20 pm at Recreation Park and 9:45 pm at Healdsburg High School due to the City of Healdsburg Lighting curfew of 10:45 pm and 10:00 pm respectively. 

27.  No inning may start after 1 hour and 30 minutes for single A Baseball and 1 hour and 45 minutes for AA Baseball and Minor Softball games. This bylaw is waived for Internal AA Baseball TOC games. The BOD elects NOT to impose a time limit on AAA Baseball. Time limits for Interleague 50-70, Junior and Senior divisions will be set by the D35 Interleague Rules – Minimum 2-hour time limit.

28.  Coaching staffs in all divisions of Baseball and Softball shall maintain Pitching Affidavits on all their players who pitch in games. Managers are responsible for adhering to LL pitch count limits in Baseball and rest requirements in Softball and Baseball at all times.  Regardless of pitch count in AA Baseball and Minor Softball, no player shall pitch more than nine (9) consecutive outs per game. The BOD feels this stipulation will result in more players having an opportunity to pitch at this level and further into their LL careers. Official scorekeepers and/or specific pitch count scorekeepers in Baseball shall record an on-going count of pitches by inning and inform the Plate Umpire when a pitcher is approaching the game pitch limit by LL age of the player. Managers are also expected to track pitches from the dugout and are solely responsible for adherence. Nonconformance is subject to Board Review with consequences including a warning, game(s) suspension and/or dismissal as Manager or Coach for reminder of season.

29. Continuous Batting Order (4.04) shall be used in the AAA (Majors) Division.

30.   Protecting Youth Baseball Pitching Arms; NO intentional breaking pitches shall be thrown, until playing in the Intermediate Division and above. If coaches or umpires observe breaking pitches, they are to stop play and provide a warning to the player and the player’s manager.  If another intentional breaking pitch is thrown, the pitcher shall be removed and the manager will be ejected from the game.  If in the judgment of the league, AA and AAA coaches who do not take an active role in mitigating non-conformance by individual players on their team shall be subject to a grievance hearing for disciplinary action up to and including game(s) suspension and or dismissal for the season.  Our coaching resources should focus on teaching good mechanics and distribute pitching innings to as many players on the roster strong enough to reach the plate and who are capable of defending themselves from the mound. Coaches should emphasize an accurate fastball and then learn to vary speed and location of pitches.   

Notice 1: For purposes of this bylaw HLL defines a breaking ball in Baseball to include any of the following pitches; Curve Ball, Splitter, Slider, Screw Ball. Circle Change and Knuckleball are NOT considered Breaking Balls and ARE therefore allowed at AAA Baseball and below. These are not recommended considering they are likely not able to be consistently thrown for strikes by players of this age and strength.

Notice 2: HLL has selected the Intermediate Baseball division verse a specific age to introduce and allow use of breaking balls based on a smaller and more controlled player and coaching base at this division of play. We feel proper mechanics of the breaking ball is better and more safely coached at this level. Parents and players who decide not to learn and throw breaking balls should inform their team manager accordingly. 

Notice 3: This rule is for arm safety, not blame or shame. If there is a question about intent or mechanics, the 2 managers and umpires will meet and can agree that there is no malice and remove the pitcher without an ejection of the manager, at the lead umpire’s discretion. The Coaching Coordinator and Player Agent should be contacted after the game for additional training resources for the player in question. 

Note: HLL BOD references the USA Baseball Pitch Smart, National Pitching Association (NPA) and LL, Inc. in its effort to monitor the latest medical and bio-mechanical studies to best protect our players arm health.  

31.  By LL Regulation (IVi) every player on the roster who is present at the start of the game will participate in each game for a minimum of six defense outs and bat at least one (1) time. HLL Encourages Managers to distribute playing time equally over the course of each game, week and the entire season. Player(s) arriving late may be inserted into the end of the batting order. Batting order spots of ill or injured players shall be skipped with no penalty (per Rule 4.04 Note 2). A player may return to his/her place in the batting order after missing a turn(s) at bat without penalty. The player who made the last out may run for an injured or ill player on the bases.  Under Rule 4.04 players shall NOT sit two consecutive innings.  

32.  HLL adopts the five run rule per inning for Baseball divisions A & AA and Softball Minor division per Rule 5.07. HLL elects NOT to adopt the open last inning option in 5.07. For Softball Minor division only the half inning shall also end when every player on the opposing team as batted once during that inning if achieved prior to five (5) runs being scored. If an inning ends because of the 5 run rule defensive players will be credited with 3 defensive outs toward minimum play provided said player was on defense for the entire period (shortened inning).

33.  In concert with the Instructional nature of AA Baseball and Minor Softball and to establish an effective balance between offensive and defensive opportunity and maintaining parity in play for the first half of the season while coaches work to establish a level of competency with this age group we stipulate the following play restrictions:

a.     No advancement to home plate on passed balls and wild pitches. 

b.     No runner may advance on muffed throws from the catcher to the pitcher between pitches.

c.     No Batter Runner in continuous play may advance past first base on a base on balls (walk).

d.     Runners may only attempt a steal of second base on pitches that are caught or blocked (ball in front or side and within arm’s reach and not behind the Catcher.

e.     Restrictions a-d end on games played on and after of May 1, 2021. 

f.      Any runner, at the risk of being put out, may attempt to advance on a play made by any player including the pitcher and catcher on the batter runner or any other runner up to the time the pitcher returns with the ball to the mound in Baseball and the eight foot circle in Softball.

34.  Minor Softball shall be player pitch for all interleague and non-interleague games, unless machine pitch is otherwise approved by the HLL Board of Directors (BOD).

35.  For AA, AAA and Intermediate Baseball divisions at HES the fence lines on the front of the dugouts constitute the out of play lines extending down the right field and left field lines on both fields. Any ball entering into tree branches extending into play shall be ruled a dead ball. On-Deck Batter in Intermediate (50/70) play is prohibited on the HES Duel Field.

36.  The fence line extending past and behind the first base dugout at Recreation Park shall be the out of play boundary down the first base line. The face of the first base dugout is in play. The face of the third base dugout extended out to the outfield fence shall be the out of play boundary on the third base line. Passed balls and wild pitches and throws are susceptible to traveling out of play in front of the gate leading onto the field of play adjacent to the third base dugout including rebounds from the backstop. Out of play areas shall be marked in chalk at both ends of each dugout to allow gear to be stored and to protect players from moving into areas where drains and other utilities are located. Players shall not be allowed to sit or stand in the area behind the home dugout - players must be in the home dugout same as the visiting team in their dugout, which does not have a standing area behind that dugout. This is a Safety measure.

37.  Softball practices and games shall be played on the Softball fields at HHS. These two fields are ‘open’ fields without outfield perimeter fencing. Managers and Umpires shall monitor other field users and when their co-existence interferes with or becomes a safety concern during a City of Healdsburg (COH) permitted practice or game play shall be suspended to reposition and/or clear the other activity before continuing play. 

The fence lines extending off the first and third base dugout faces shall be the out of play boundaries down the first and third baselines respectively. The batting cage down the third base line on the Varsity field aligns with the face of the third base dugout and therefore is part of the out of play boundary. Fair batted balls and thrown balls coming in contact with this portion of the fence line are considered live and in play unless the ball becomes lodged in said fence. 

Any player(s) warming up while game is in progress shall do so down the foul territory areas in the outfield well past the infield perimeter and shall require a ‘spotter’ wearing a helmet and fielding glove and facing the game action. 

The double First Base shall be incorporated in practices and games per 7.15. This base shall disengage in the same fashion as Second and Third Base.

Note: The on-deck position is ONLY permitted in the Junior and Senior divisions. 

38.  The use of a face mask is mandatory for the position of Pitcher in all divisions of Softball. 

39.  The Grievance Committee is chaired by the Player Agent Officer and may include Division Player Agents, and the League President on an as needed basis. A quorum of NO less than three is required to hear a case. Members of this Committee shall be excused to avoid any team, player, manager, or coach conflict of interests. The President or other designee Officer shall take the chair when the named Chairperson is unavailable or excused.  

40.  Board of Director Meetings are held the third Wednesday of each month (No meetings July and August) in E & M Electric at 126 Mill Street in Healdsburg, CA. Meetings normally begin at 5:30 pm (7:45 pm during the season) … Deviations are coordinated and communicated via text, email and social media.

41.  During Baseball Games and Practices, at a MINIMUM ALL male players MUST wear a protective cup and female players a Jill Pad or protective cup regardless of the positions played. Any player not properly equipped will not be allowed to play until he/she is properly protected. During practices, players are REQUIRED to also wear Mask w/throat guard, Shin Guards and Chest Protectors when catching bullpens or in games. HLL encourages players to wear full catchers gear whenever practical and whenever catching full sessions of a bullpen and whenever a player feels unsafe catching without full gear. 

42.  For a team to withdraw from any regular season game(s) or tournament they MUST have prior approval from the Board of Directors. The team shall submit a written request to their Player Agent no less than 7 days prior to the (first) game, explaining their reasoning not to participate. Working with the Player Agent and coaching staff the BOD will make every attempt to mitigate the concerns and maximize the benefit for the players on this team’s roster. 

43.  For AA Baseball and Minor Softball regular season games, the HLL Umpire in Chief working with the Umpire Scheduler shall assign the Plate Umpire ONLY. The default for Base Umpires shall be a parent (preferably trained) from the home team. The responsibility for providing a Base Umpire for AA Baseball and Minor Softball games lies with the home team Manager. It is strongly suggested the Manager delegate this task early on to the team parent to recruit volunteers and forward the Parent Umpire Training Dates for all parents to attend.  Games shall NOT begin until a parent volunteer has taken the field to serve as the Base Umpire working under the direction of the Plate Umpire. NOTE: There will be games when the Plate Umpire elects to work an AA Baseball or Minor Softball game solo or with a Junior Umpire partner in training. For these games, the home team parent volunteer Base Umpire is excused from service.  

44. HLL elects NOT to adopt the league option in 7.14(b) to permit a “courtesy runner” for the Catcher and/or Pitcher of record when there are two (2) outs, during Non-Interleague games. Note; Interleague games may vary based on division Interleague bylaws in Softball and Baseball. 

45. Baseball and Softball, League Option under 9.04(a); The plate umpire MAY stand behind the pitcher. This umpire usually is designated as the Umpire-in-Chief. 



Healdsburg Little League
PO Box 674 
Healdsburg, California 95448

Email: [email protected]

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