All major league baseball rules and regulations apply within the Rookie division with the following local modifications and exceptions: (Reference Cal Ripken Division or ‘Old Bambino’ League Rules and Regulations)
1) GENERAL RULES
2) GAME LENGTH
• Games are scheduled for 6 innings, subject to time limits. The time limit is that no new inning can be started after 1 hour and 30 minutes (1:30) from the start time of the game. Please try to start the games on time as per the start time listed on the schedule. However, the start time will be considered as when the home team takes the field to start the game. This time should be noted by the umpire and provided to the official score keeper (home team scorer) who should mark it in the score book. The umpire or his/her designee will keep the official time. Once a new inning is started, it should be completed (if the home team is leading, they do not need to bat in the bottom of the last inning). The visiting team should never get more ‘at bats’ than the home team. When the time limit for starting a new inning is reached, the umpire should inform both Managers that this is now the last inning. In the event of a tie after 6 innings, extra innings may be played until there is a winner as long as within the time limits. All games are subject to the time limit. It does not matter if there is a game following your game or not. We want to maintain one set of rules for all games and not have different rules for different situations. If a game is tied and the new inning limit has been reached, the game will end as tie.
• 15 run rule - A game will be considered complete and shall end after four or more complete innings have been played if the home team is ahead by 15 or more runs. The scoreboard should be turned off and the score recorded at that point. The teams should feel free to continue playing a practice game as long as they are within the time limits (the intent is to play/practice as much baseball as possible within the time constraints)
• Speed up rule - A pinch runner may be inserted for the catcher when there are two outs and the catcher is on base in order for the catcher to put on his equipment. The pinch runner must be the player who made the second out of the inning. This is optional and not a requirement.
3) COACH POSITIONING
• While on offense, coaches are allowed on the field as first and third base coaches, to pitch, and to back up the catcher. Other than the pitcher, no other coach may be in fair territory. The manager of the team can allow parents to back up home plate, as well as serve as a dugout coach.
• While on defense only two coaches are allowed on the field. They can position themselves in foul territory behind the first base and third base coaches. They must stand behind these coaches and cannot stand in fair territory. Prior to the start of each inning, coaches are permitted on the field to position their Players, but after each inning starts, coaches are not permitted in fair territory to position their player; they must offer verbal instructions.
4) PITCHING MACHINE
• Pitching machines will be provided for all games. The pitching machine (Louisville Slugger Spring Loaded) will be maintained & monitored by the umpire only. The speed of the machines will be universal for each game of the tournament (Approx. 38 – 43 mph). The machine will be located at the pitchers rubber or in front of the mound; this will be determined by the field configuration. Any alteration (beyond adjusting the screw) to the pitching machine after the start of game play, must be agreed upon by both team’s managers. Alterations (beyond adjusting the screw) can only take place prior to game beginning, or at the end of an inning, before the next inning begins. Adjustments can be authorized by the umpire at any time due to machine malfunction.
• If a batted ball strikes the pitching machine, it will be declared a ‘dead ball’ and the batter will be awarded first base. Any runner on base that is forced to advance will advance 1 base. If a runner is on base but not forced to advance, they will return to the base they were on before the ball was hit (i.e.: runner on 1st base, ball hits machine – base runner is awarded 2nd base and batter is awarded 1st base; runner on 3rd base, ball hits machine, runner must stay/return to 3rd base and batter is awarded 1st base. No runner can be put out when a batted ball hits the machine (as it is a dead ball situation). If the ball were to hit the fielder first and then the machine, it is a live ball. The umpire, manager or coach feeding the machine for the pitch is considered to be a part of the machine so this rule would apply if the batted ball hits this umpire, manger or coach.
• Each batter shall receive a maximum of five (5) pitches or three (3) swinging strikes. If the batter misses strike 3, then he/she is out. If the batter fouls the 5th pitch, batter will receive pitches as long as batter continues to foul the pitch. There will be no walks.
• All players are in the batting order. The batting order may not change after the game is started.
• If a player arrives late, he/she may be added only to the end of the batting order.
• There is a six (6) run limit per inning. A team cannot score more than 6 runs (i.e.: they have already scored 5 runs, have bases loaded, and player hits a grand slam home run – Only 6 runs are shown in the score book for that inning)
• Bunting is allowed.
• Fake Bunting is not allowed. If the batter offers to bunt, then the batter must bunt the ball or pull the bat back to take the pitch. If the batter offers to bunt, pulls the bat back, and then swings at the pitch, the batter will automatically be declared out by the umpire.
• Fake bunt and slash will result in an out.
6) DEFENSIVE POSITIONING
• The defense may field 12 players. Before the additional 3 players are positioned, the normal 9 positions must be filled.
• If a team has 13 players, 12 will be on the field defensively and one will have to sit out each inning. A different player must sit out each inning. No player should sit out more than 1 inning. All players will be in the batting order. If a team has 12 or less, all players will play defensively and be in the batting order.
• The defensive pitcher must be positioned with at least one shoe inside the dirt portion of the pitcher's mound, but may not be closer to home plate than the pitching rubber and should be either to the 1st base or 3rd base side of the mound.
• The defensive catcher is a legitimate defensive player and can field 'short' hits. He/She is positioned directly behind home plate.
• The 1st, 2nd, 3rd basemen and the shortstop may be no closer to home plate than 3 feet inside the baseline (or at the grass line), which is the imaginary line connecting the bases. Defensive players must give the right of way to the runner. They may only “charge” once the ball is in play.
• Only 6 players (pitcher, catcher, 1st baseman, 2nd baseman, shortstop, and 3rd baseman) can play infield. It is the responsibility of the umpire to check positioning. Only infielders can make a play in the infield (i.e.: an outfielder cannot intentionally run in on a batted ball and cover a base for a force play or to make a tag). An outfielder is allowed to back up a base and in case of an overthrow or a ‘pickle’ situation get involved in the play. This will be an umpire’s judgment call dependent on the situation and the result (if deemed intentional coverage on a batted ball) will be that the runner is safe on the play for the location where the outfielder was covering.
• Outfielders, including the extra three defensive players, must be positioned fifteen feet (15') beyond the grass line at the start of the outfield or the imaginary baseline connecting 1st, 2nd, and 3rd bases (whichever is greater).
• Each player must play in the outfield for 1 complete inning (3 OUTS IN THE SAME INNING or 6 RUNS) prior to the 4th inning. If on a team with 13 players, the inning that a player is on the bench (not in the game) will be considered as his/her playing an inning in the outfield. Failure to meet this requirement results in forfeiture of the game. If a player arrives after an inning is played, he/she will be considered to have played in the outfield during the inning that he/she was not present. If a player arrives in the middle of the first inning, he/she should be placed in the outfield and it will be considered that he/she played the outfield that entire inning. If he/she is placed in the infield, it will be considered that he/she played the infield that entire inning.
7) BEGINNING AND ENDING PLAY
• Any ball hit by a batter, fair or foul, is in play regardless of distance (per normal baseball rules).
• When the coach is pitching, he/she must attempt to move themselves into foul territory away from the ball during the play (after the ball is hit), until play ends.
• If at any time during the game a coach pitcher accidentally interferes with the ball in play, the play is void and treated as never occurring. The players return to their previous positions, the play is 'done over', and the pitch count does not change. If the coach interferes intentionally, the batter or runner is out.
• Play is ended and time out occurs when the defensive player has control of the ball, and is positioned between the lead runner and the next available base, so that the runner would not attempt advancement OR the player pitcher has control of the ball on the mound. When the umpire believes that play has stopped, and the aforementioned has occurred, the umpire may call time out. The umpire does not have to wait until a defensive player takes the ball up to a base runner to tag him/her on the base.
• If time out is called by the pitcher on the mound who has control of the ball, runners will be granted the bag they were advancing to, if they are more than halfway to said bag when time out was granted by the umpire.
• Play can also be ended by the umpire calling 'time-out' at any time he/she deems necessary.
8) BASE RUNNING
• Sliding is permitted. Care should be used to teach the players how to slide safely. 'Taking Out' a defensive player or spiking is strictly prohibited.
• Leading off and stealing is prohibited. The runner can only leave the base when the batter puts the ball in play.
• Tagging up (after a caught fly ball) is permitted.
• Running out of the base path and runner interference should be enforced.
• Ties (in the umpire’s judgment) go to the runner.
• Infield Fly rule is not enforced.
• In the event of an overthrow, the runner may advance only ONE base beyond the base he/she was attempting at the time of the overthrow. The advancement is at the runner's own risk, and he/she can be tagged out.
• An overthrow is defined as a passed ball during a defensive attempt to throw out a runner at any base or a throwback to the pitcher to call timeout. This includes any passed ball that may come to rest in the infield, outfield or foul territory after the defensive attempt.
• A relay from one player to another, which is dropped, is not an overthrow; play is continued until ended by the player-pitcher controlling the ball on the mound or the defensive team stopping the offensive players from any further advancement. There is a maximum of one (1) overthrow per AT BAT, INCLUDING the pitcher. (Example- -Batter hits ball to short stop, short stop overthrows 1st and batter attempts 2nd base, 1st baseman throws to pitcher to stop play and over throws pitcher, runner CANNOT advance.
• The base advance must be earned, whereby if the runner chooses not to attempt the next base, the base is not automatically awarded (i.e.: The batter hits the ball to the shortstop, who fields the ball and throws to 1st base. The 1st baseman misses the ball; the batter/runner can now advance to 2nd base at his/her own risk. 1st baseman retrieves the ball, throws to 2nd base, where the 2nd baseman misses the ball. The runner may not advance any further.
REMEMBER... THIS GAME IS FOR THE KIDS TO LEARN AND HAVE FUN!