Farm Game Rules 2019
Belmont-Redwood Shores Little League shall be governed by the current Official Regulations and Playing Rules (Green Book) and the procedures of the Little League Operating Manual as published by Little League Baseball unless superseded by these special Supplemental regulations and rules.
Objective of the Game: Farm is a non-competitive division and no scores or season standings shall be kept. The purpose of the Farm division is to provide training and instruction to the players and not managing to “WIN”. Managers must always keep this in mind during practices and games.
- Safety: The manager must bring first aid equipment and medical release forms to all games and practices. The manager will report all accidents at practice or in a game to the League Safety Officer. Any member may report safety issues to the League Safety Officer.
- Field Preparation: Both teams shall jointly be responsible for field preparation prior to the start of each game and for cleanup, takedown and lock up after the game. Instructions specific to each field are available on the league web site. Each team is responsible for post-game cleanup of its dugout. In addition to the standard process, the following Farm-specific rules apply:
- Pitching circle: On turf or dirt infields, a 9-foot radius is painted/chalked around the pitching rubber. Do not chalk a circle at the Marina Field! Instead, a two foot imaginary line around the dirt area surrounding the pitcher's mound will act as the circle. It will be an umpire’s judgment call when the pitcher’s helper is touching or inside the imaginary line.
- Base path half-way marks: One 3 foot line shall be painted/chalked midway between 1st and 2nd, 2nd and 3rd, and 3rd and home plate.
- Outfield: An open field will be used on fields without a permanent fence. We do not use outfield cones or temporary fences.
- Warm-ups: The home team should warm up in the corner opposite to home plate at Marlin and Sandpiper and in the Right Field corner at other fields. The visiting team should warm up in the Left Field corner.
- Dugouts: The home team should use the first base dugout and the visiting team use the third base side. All Managers, Coaches and Players must stay inside the dugout area. There MUST be one adult in the dugout. Only Managers and Coaches may stand in front of the doorway of the dugout but may not stray more than one arm’s length away from the entrance (except for base coaches and pitching machine operators). Non-compliance will result in removal from the game. Up to four approved volunteers are permitted in the dugout. At fields where no fenced dugout exists, this rule shall apply to the “dugout area”.
- Base Coaches: The team at bat is allowed coaches at 1st & 3rd base. Players may be base coaches if they wear helmets.
- Pitching Machine Operator: Only an approved volunteer may be the pitching machine operator.
Catcher’s Helper(s): Only an approved volunteer may assist the catcher with handing him/her back balls that get past them.
- On-Deck Circle: The on-deck position is not permitted and on-deck batters may not swing their bats. No player may swing a bat during a game unless they are at bat. The traditional batting donut is not permitted.
- Substitutions: Late arriving players shall be added to the end of the roster batting order. Minimum play requirements shall not apply to late arriving players.
- Game Balls: The home team shall provide two game balls.
- Starting and Ending the Game
- Number of players: A team must have at least 7 players to start a game. Players may be borrowed from the opposing team if both managers agree and both resulting teams have at least 7 players.
- Minimum Play: Each player shall be rotated between outfield and infield positions. No player may play an outfield position in two consecutive defensive innings. No player shall play outfield for a second inning in a game before all players have played outfield for at least one inning. No player shall sit two defensive innings more than any teammate in any game (so every player on a team must sit one defensive inning before any player sits two innings).
- A team shall field no more than 10 defensive players on the field at once.
- The 10th player shall be an outfielder. All outfielders may not line up on the infield dirt (or brown turf at Sandpiper or Marlin) as the pitch crosses the plate.
- Pitcher’s Helper: A fielding pitcher shall be positioned with at least one foot in or on the pitching circle as the ball is put in play. The player must behind or to the side of the machine when the ball is released from the machine.
- Roster Batting: This division has adopted roster (i.e. continuous) batting order (see Little League rule 4.04). Special Pinch Runners are not allowed. If a runner is injured, the player making the last out will be the substitute runner. There is no penalty for missing an at bat, and the player will return to the same batting order assignment when ready. Minimum play rules do not apply to injured players. If a player leaves the game for any reason, there is no penalty.
- Ending the offensive inning: The offensive half of an inning shall end when 3 outs have been recorded or 8 batters have batted; whichever occurs first. After the 8th batter puts the ball in play, the batter shall not continue around the bases once the ball is dead.
- Time Outs: Only the team manager and coaches are permitted to ask for time from an umpire to visit their players on the field. They may not enter the field until they have permission to do so.
- Time Limit: Games have a hard time limit of 1 hour and 45 minutes. No new inning may start after 90 minutes of play, and game should not be longer than five innings. Managers are encouraged to end the game at the end of a full inning even if they are a few minutes shy of 90 minutes. Once the 1:45 mark is reached the current batter may complete his at-bat and then the game is over no matter the game circumstances. As a courtesy to parents and teams playing after you, do not extend games beyond this time limit.
- Between innings or game stoppage activity: Pitching machine test pitches should be kept to a minimum and a maximum of two; the pitches should only be caught by players wearing necessary safety protection. Managers are not to assist the players in warming up on the field.
- Protests: No protests are allowed.
- Putting the Ball in Play – Live Ball
- Pitching Machine: All teams shall use machine pitch for the first ½ of the season. Once the second half of season starts, teams can optionally choose to use coach pitchers. If two teams cannot agree whether to use machine or coach during game time, the default will be to use the machine. The other team can also offer use of their coach to pitch for both teams as well.
- Pitching Machine Operator: The batting team’s coach or manager will feed and operate the pitching machine
- Pitching Machine Settings: Prior to the game starting, the managers will verify the pitching machine’s settings are correct. See Appendix H in “Managers Guide to Farm League” on how to operate the pitching machine and the default settings. The pitching machine should be tested prior to the game. Changes to the settings are not allowed. Minor adjustments should be made by adjusting height adjustment screw or rear part of base.
- Hit Pitching Machine: Batted Ball hitting the Pitching Machine shall be live unless the ball travels into foul territory before reaching 1st or 3rd base (thus ruled foul) or unless the ball settles (stops) under the Pitching Machine. In the latter case the ball is immediately dead and the batter is awarded 1st base. Runners on base are awarded one base only if forced.
- Thrown ball hitting the pitching machine shall be live and runners may advance at their own risk unless the ball settles (stops) under the pitching machine. If this occurs, the umpire shall call the play dead, and runners will be placed according to their position in respect to the half-way marks.
- Hit Operator:Batted ball hitting the Pitching Machine Operator shall not count and a replay occurs. If the Pitching Machine Operator intentionally contacts the batted ball, or doesn’t use reasonable efforts to get out of the way of the batted ball, then the hitter is ruled out and all base runners shall return to their respective bases.
- Thrown ball hitting the Pitching Machine Operator shall be live. If the umpire judges that Pitching Machine Operator did not try to get out of the way of the throw or did intend to interfere with the throw, the batter shall be called out and runners shall return to their original bases, unless the throw was clearly intended for the pitcher’s helper, in which case the umpire should call dead ball as if the pitcher’s helper caught the ball in the pitcher’s circle and the results of the play shall stand.
- Ending a Play via Dead Ball:
- A ball shall be considered a “dead ball” when it goes past the “out of play line”. The “out of play line” shall be defined as the imaginary line extending from the end of the backstop parallel to the foul line. A ball hitting the chain link fence but not going beyond it is NOT out of play.
- The ball/play is dead once any defensive player has control of the ball and at least one foot in or on the pitching circle. The chalk line shall be considered part of the circle.
- If a batted ball is fielded on the ground within the pitching circle and the fielding pitcher does not attempt a play on a runner, the play is dead after the batter is safe at first base.
- Transfer of the ball to the Pitching Machine Operator: The Pitching Machine Operator may receive the ball from the defensive players only if the ball is not live. If the defense tosses the ball to the Pitching Machine Operator while play is live (e.g. tosses from outside the circle), the Pitching Machine Operator should not catch the ball. If the pitching machine operator catches the ball the play is dead at that moment.
- All batters hit: A batter shall bat until a fair ball is hit. A batter shall be given five pitches from the pitching machine for the first 2 games. If none of the first five pitches are hit fair, a batting tee shall then be used. If the batter fouls the 5th pitch, the batter shall continue to receive pitches until s/he hits a fair ball or misses the ball, whichever comes first. Starting with game 3, a batter shall be given three pitches from the pitching machine before moving to the tee. During the second half of the season, if coach pitch is used, the batter shall receive three pitches from his/her coach before moving to the tee.
- The batter shall be allowed unlimited swings using the tee. A hit off the tee can result in no more than a “single” and base runners can only advance one base, regardless of the number or nature of the defensive plays being made (including overthrows). Defensive players may attempt a play on any runner. The pitching machine operator should set up the tee and remain off the field while the hitter hits.
- Outfield Hits: All hits to the outfield shall be considered live. All runners shall advance at their own risk of being put out.
- No Infield Fly: The Infield Fly Rule shall not apply.
- No Bunting: No bunting is allowed. An attempted bunt shall count as one pitch. Any ball that is hit due to a full swing is a live ball regardless of how far it goes.
- Throwing the Bat: A thrown bat violation shall be called when the batter does not drop the bat after a swing, but rather throws or releases it with dangerous force outside the batter’s box. Determining the severity of a thrown bat and whether to consider a given incident as a thrown bat violation is up to the discretion of the umpires. If the batted ball is a fair ball, the ball is live, and play is allowed to continue. At the next stoppage of play, the umpire will call time out and inform both managers that there was a thrown bat. The scorekeeper shall advise the umpire if this is the batter’s first, second, or third infraction. The Penalty is as follows:
- First Offense: The batter shall receive a warning.
- Second Offense: The batter is out, the out is treated as a strike out, and all base runners return to the base they occupied when the batter finished his at bat. If the out is the third out of the inning, the inning is over.
- Third Offense: The ruling from (ii) above will be applied and the player will be removed from the game (offense and defense) for next three innings.
- Halfway Lines: Halfway lines determine whether a base runner can advance to the next base when the play is dead.
- If the runner has completely crossed the halfway line and has not reached the base they were running to at the moment the ball becomes dead, the runner will be awarded that base they were running to.
- If the runner has not completely crossed the halfway line at the moment the ball becomes dead, the runner will be returned to the last acquired base.
- If after the play is dead, two runners occupy the same base, then the following base runner (and any other following base runners) shall return to the previous base. If previous base(s) is (are) occupied, then the leading base runner advances one base.
- Out of Play: When a thrown ball goes out-of-play (i.e., into the dugout, over a fence, etc.), all runners advance at least one base and may advance two bases if they had completely crossed the halfway line before reaching their next base. If the runner did not completely cross the halfway line at the moment the ball becomes dead, the runner advances only one base.
- No Steals, No Leading Off
- Tagging up: Tagging up is permitted.
- No Head-first Slides: Runner is out on head-first slide except when returning to a base.
- Who: Each team supplies one to two umpires (adult/parent/person over 13). The umpires must be certified by the league certification program.
- Chief Umpire: The umpires shall decide who the Chief Umpire will be prior to the start of the game. Both teams shall be notified who the Chief Umpire will be.
Please consult the Green Book for more detail.