1) What is the length of the game ?
6 innings for single game, 4 or 5 for double-header subject to 1 hour maximum. Regular season games which are tied after 6 innings will result in a tie game. Playoff games which are tied after 6 innings will continue into extra innings until the score is not tied at the end of the full inning.
2) What is the mercy rule ?
6 runs per inning, except for the final inning, where there is a ten-run cap.
If Team A bats first and Team B bats last, and Team B is down significantly - The coaches may agree at the end of the 5th inning to have Team B continue right into a 6th inning. Should Team B score enough runs to tie or pass Team A, then Team A would play the bottom half of the 6th inning. Otherwise, the game ends after that half inning.
3) Safety Rules ?
Batters must wear helmets in all age groups. There is no on-deck circle. The only person swinging the bat should be the batter once he/she comes to the plate. He/she can take a few practice swings at the plate
For 3rd grade and up all male pitchers and catchers MUST wear cups. All male players are strongly encouraged to wear cups as well, but it is not required (New for 2021).
4) Who pitches ?
Kindergarten/T-Ball may hit off a batting tee, if desired. Otherwise, an adult pitcher pitches underhand.
1st-2nd Grade: Parents or other adult pitches. The adult pitcher should pitch to its own team, although the same adult pitcher can pitch both the top and bottom of a given inning. The adult pitcher should pitch underhanded.
3rd- 4th Grade - the following rules apply:
- The players (3rd and 4th graders) pitch the first 3 innings of the game. Adults pitch the final 3 innings of the game, and any extra innings.
- Each player-pitcher has a maximum pitch count of 50 pitches per day. A pitcher may finish pitching in the same at-bat, even if he is over 50 pitches in the middle of the at-bat.
- Unless there is a doubleheader, each pitcher may only pitch in a maximum of two innings per game.
- If a pitcher or pitchers walk or hit three batters in one inning, then a new child pitcher or adult pitcher (if there are no more capable child pitchers) should take over for the rest of the inning. The pitcher who was removed may return for the next inning.
- All adult pitchers should pitch overhand
5th - 7th Grade - the following rules apply:
- The players (5th to 7th graders) pitch the entire game.
- Each player-pitcher has a maximum pitch count of 75 pitches per day. A pitcher may finish pitching in the same at-bat, even if he is over 75 pitches in the middle of the at-bat.
- If a pitcher hits three batters in a game, he must come out for the remainder of the game (New for 2021).
5) What are the Field Dimensions ?
All bases will be 60 feet apart. For adult pitching, they may stand anywhere within the designated pitching circle. For 3rd and 4th grade kids pitching – the pitching rubber will be placed 40 feet from the back of home plate. For 5th grade and higher kids pitching – the pitching rubber will be placed 45 feet from the back of home plate.
6) Who catches ?
An adult should catch for 1st and 2nd grade. For 3rd grade and up, a kid catcher is optional. For 5th grade and up, kids must play catcher (New for 2021).
7) Is it 3 strikes, 3 swings or 6 pitches ?
For children pitching – it is the standard 4 balls and 3 strikes, with unlimited foul balls on 2 strikes.
For parent pitching – It is a maximum of 3 swings and a maximum of 6 pitches. If the batter fouls off the ball on the last pitch, he/she will get another pitch (unlimited). A lousy pitch should not count towards the 6 pitches.
8) Foul Circle / Foul Arc ?
For all divisions other than 5/6/7 –
- A foul circle / foul arc should be drawn in front of the plate at a distance of 10 feet. The territory from the plate to the edge of the foul circle / foul arc is considered to be foul territory. Any ball that is picked up in that territory, or that ultimately ends up there on an untouched ball is considered foul.
9) When is a play over (if a live ball is hit, when is a play considered dead) and what happens to runners ?
1st-2nd Grade – It is when the ball is returned to the pitcher’s circle. The play is still dead, despite an errant throw to the pitcher (or if the pitcher does not catch the ball), as long as the throw was directed in the direction of the pitcher’s circle. Also, if there is an overthrow to first base into dead territory the play is dead, and all runners may advance one base from where they were when they play started and the batter is awarded first base (New for 2021).
3rd-4th Grade – It is when the ball is returned to the pitcher’s circle. The play is still dead, despite an errant throw to the pitcher (or if the pitcher does not catch the ball), as long as the throw was directed in the direction of the pitcher’s circle.
5th-7th Grade – it is the standard rule of when the ball is returned to the infield, and either the pitcher has it close to the mound, or fielder is approaching the mound, and runners are not trying to advance.
As far as advancement of runners - For first to fourth grade, after the play is ruled dead - runners are awarded the next base if they are at least halfway between the two bases OR if there is a force. Otherwise, runners will be returned to the previous base. For home plate, the runner is only awarded the base if he/she has actually reached home plate.
10) Minimum number of players ?
Teams need at least 6 players to play, and 7 players for boys 5/6/7. If a team has fewer players than that, they can avoid forfeit by bringing in a younger player, or an older player if the other coach agrees. If an older player is used for one team to make the minimum, then the other team will be allowed one additional older player as well.
Last Updated on: April 14, 2021 at 8:00 PM EDT by Ariel Cohen