Updated Friday April 27, 2018 by Sean O'Bannon.
HWLL Local Rules
Updated Friday, April 6, 2018
Local Rules for Major and Minor League Play
- Enforcement: Please note that for all rules below where a specific penalty is not stated, the following will apply:
Proper procedure is to remedy any situation upon discovery and provide caution for the potential of the violation as soon as possible. For example, if it is noted that a player has not yet played their infield requirement, the manager of the team yet to meet that requirement should be advised, to make them aware of the issue with the opportunity to remedy that situation as soon as possible. Infractions will not change the outcome of any game, regular season or playoff, but will be reviewed by the league directors and may result in the suspension of the manager.
- Sportsmanship: HWLL is a recreation-based league whose primary goal is to provide a fun, safe environment for every child in our community who wishes to play Little League baseball. Managers and coaches are responsible for teaching players that sportsmanship, a positive attitude, and respect for the game, their teammates, opposing players, adult volunteers and umpires are an important part of baseball
All players and coaches must sign HWLL's respective Code of Conduct and adhere to its principles of sportsmanship. Cheering on your team and encouraging your teammates should be encouraged.. Harassing the other team is not allowed. Trash talking, taunts and negative comments directed at teammates, opposing players, coaches and umpires will not be tolerated and could result in an offending player or coach being removed from a practice or game. In extreme circumstances a player or coach could lose their privilege of participating in HWLL.
Acts such as switching batters boxes, shaking the bat in the strike zone, or loud chanting or banging of fences or bats intended to break the concentration of the pitcher are examples of negative coaching and do not teach the sportsmanship we desire in our children. Positive cheering is permitted including chanting for your teammates at a consistent tone when the pitcher is pitching. For example, players cannot raise the tone of cheering as the pitcher is winding up with the intent to break his or her concentration. (This is in addition to LL National Rule 4.06 governing conduct.)
- Continuous batting order: All players available to play in a game will be included in the batting order. Every batter in the order bats before the first batter bats for his second time. A player reporting to a game late will be inserted as the last batter, unless his/her spot in the lineup has yet to hit. A batter may be skipped without penalty due to injury or illness.
Managers should give all players the opportunity to bat in different positions in the batting order throughout the regular season. This is to avoid having players always batting last or near the bottom of the order.
- Playing time: No player may sit out more than two innings in a game (unless for disciplinary reasons, for chronic absenteeism, or injury). HWLL strongly encourages equal playing time for all of its players. Singling out any one player for less playing time is not permitted (i.e. don’t sit the same player two innings every game while other players are only sitting one). For example, if a team has two substitutes out per inning, every player must sit out at least one inning before a player sits out their second. The only exception to this rule is detailed below with a Major League Pitcher and Catcher.
- Playing positions: Per game, each player must play at least one inning (defined as three defensive outs which need not be consecutive) in both the infield and outfield by the end of the game. Not having the home half of the 6th inning is not an exception. The only exceptions to this rule is that a major league pitcher (and catcher who continuously catches that pitcher) may pitch up to his/her pitch limit and remain on the mound (and behind the plate), potentially for the entire game. If pulled from the mound before the end of the game, that pitcher (and catcher if they were continuously catching the pitcher) need fulfill their outfield requirement or be removed from the game for a substitute. For example, if a pitcher reaches his pitch count and removed after the 5th inning and the same catcher has been catching him continuously, the pitcher and catcher MUST fulfill their outfield requirement or sit out, they may not be reinserted in the infield.
Players arriving late to the game must fulfill their infield/outfield requirement if there is more than 1 inning remaining in the game. For example, if a player arrives in the 4th inning, that player can play any position including pitcher, but must still fulfill their outfield requirement by the end of the game. A late arriving player is required to sit out an inning only if it will prevent a player from sitting out for the second time. Players arriving in the 6th inning may play any position.
Managers should give players the opportunity to play different positions throughout the regular season, taking into account any safety risk issues, to give players a variety of experiences and to avoid always playing them in the same position(s).
- No “Ten-Run Rule”: Play the full 6 innings and coaches please make every effort to not let games get or continue to be out of hand (which a 10-run lead certainly implies).
- Intentional walks: Intentional Walks are not permitted.
- Injured Player: If a base runner is injured and is unable to run, the manager may replace him/her with another runner. The replacement will be the last player in the batting order, previous to the injured player, who is not currently a base runner. The injured player may return to the game once he/she is able. If their spot in the batting lineup is due up and they cannot hit, their spot in the lineup is skipped without penalty.
- Make-up games: A postponed game must be played on the next available date. The next available date should be no later than the weekend following the day on which the game had to be postponed. The availability of a manager or specific player on a team should not impact the re-scheduling of a game. The assistant manager can fill in for the manager.
- Base Coaches: A maximum of 1 adult coach may be a base coach. The other base coach must be a player. Players coaching bases must wear a helmet. Bases coaches shall not leave their dugouts until the pitcher has completed their preparatory pitches to the catcher.
- Pitcher Disqualification: Any pitcher who hits 3 batters in one inning or 4 batters in a game must be removed from the game as a pitcher.
- Uniforms: Players shall wear HWLL issued jerseys and hats. Baseball pants are recommended. Players must not wear jewelry such as bracelets and necklaces. Helmets used by players not supplied by HWLL must meet NOCSAE specifications and bear the NOCSAE label. Wearing uniforms or helmets from other leagues is not permitted. This is in addition to Little League National rule 1.16 regarding shiny helmets.
Any part of the pitcher's undershirt or T-shirt exposed to view shall be of a solid color and shall not be white or gray.
All batters must have shirts tucked in and helmets properly on before they enter the batter’s box.
- Sliding Rules: Any runner is out when the runner slides head first while advancing. Headfirst sliding is only permitted when returning to a base. A runner must slide into any contested base. The umpire will determine when there is a contested base (typically when the ball and player are arriving at the base at roughly the same time). In any situation involving a contested base, failure to slide results in the runner being called out.
- Tie break rules: For post-season/playoff seeding in major and minor:
- Win – Loss Record
- Head-to-head record
- Runs Against
- Runs Scored
- Home vs. Away Team: The home team will be responsible for paying the umpire (Major League only) and providing game balls (3). The home team will occupy the first base dugout. The home team will use the field first for warm-ups, from a half hour before game time until 15 minutes prior to game time. The away team will occupy the 3rd base dugout. The away team will use the field from 15 minutes prior to game time until game time. Batting practice with baseballs is not allowed on the field within 30 minutes of game time. Following the game, both teams are responsible for cleaning up all trash in their dugouts and raking the dugout, home plate, and pitching mound areas, filling holes where appropriate.
- Pitch Counts: Both Teams must count pitches and compare after each half inning. All disagreements must be settled prior to the start of the next inning. Mangers are responsible for knowing when their player reaches his/her pitch count.
- Number of Coaches: A total of 3 Coaches including Managers are allowed in the Dugout or on the field during a game. All other Assistant Coaches must stay outside of the Dugout and field of play.
- Regular Season Tie Games: Regular season games can end in a tie and no extra innings will be required.
- Playoff Games: All playoff games must be played to completion. Playoff games halted because of any reason must be resumed on the next available date. The next available date should be no later than the weekend following the day on which the game had to be postponed. The availability of a manager or specific player on a team should not impact the re-scheduling of a game. The assistant manager can fill in for the manager. The game should resume as it was left, including the count to the batter, outs in the inning, runners on base. All rules effecting player responsibility including outfield requirements, catching, pitching will resume as though the game was not interrupted.
- Ground Rules:
Out of play is a straight line drawn from the end of the fence on both 1st and 3rd base sides.
Ball lands on or over the road it is a HR. Note: a fielder may not enter the road to catch a ball.
Ball rolls onto the road, the ball is dead and the batter is awarded 2 bases from where the Umpire determines the batter to be at the time the ball enters the road
Out of play is a straight line drawn from the end of the fence on the 3rd base side. On the 1st base side, out of play is a line extending from the end of the fence, to the road, and along the edge of the road to the foul pole. The rocks that line the road are in play, so if a ball hits a rock and bounces back into the field of play, the ball is live.
Balls that go under the fence or over the fence on a bounce are dead and a ground rule double.
Balls that go over the fence or hit the road in the air are a HR. Note: a fielder may not enter the road to catch a ball.
Balls that roll or bounce onto the road in fair territory are a ground rule double.
Out of play is defined by the fence surrounding the field.
- All rules not specifically addressed in the HWLL local rules will be governed by the Little League Baseball Official Regulations and Playing Rules. Coaches, managers, umpires, and league officials are strongly encouraged to familiarize themselves with the rules.
Local Rules - Major League Only
- Replacing Players for one game or longer: Major League managers who know they will have less than 10 players for a game must contact the Major League Director who will arrange calling up replacement(s) from the Minor League. Also, if a player for any reason will miss the remainder of the season, that spot on the roster must be filled by bringing up a Minor League player permanently. It is understood that this will weaken the team who will be losing the player, but the overriding factor is giving a deserving player a promotion when a spot at the Major League level is available. Temporary call up players may not play the position of pitcher for the game that he/she is called up to play in. All requests for a replacement player must be made through the Major League Director.
- Bunting: Bunting is not limited but same player should not be asked to bunt excessively.
- Delayed Stealing: Delayed Stealing is permitted as it is in Little League nationally.
- Infield Fly: The Infield Fly rule will be enforced.
- Completing Games: Ending games due to darkness is the Umpire’s call and is not limited to a specific time (i.e., No 7:30 rule). If the Umpire determines that it's too dark (or late) to finish an inning, the final score will be the score after the last completed inning.
- Dropped 3rd Strike: There is no dropped 3rd strike rule.
Local Rules - Minor League Only
- Infield Fly: The Infield Fly rule will NOT be enforced.
- Bunting: – Each team is limited to 2 bunts per inning.
- Moving a game along: - The Minor League coaches should take steps to move the game along. This would include having the kids ready and running on and off the field, having the batting order communicated, having the catcher geared up and ready to go, etc. Any measures that will speed up the game will improve the chances of completing more innings.
- Dealing with Umpires: Being respectful to the Umpires is required at all times. HWLL uses teenage umpires so make them feel comfortable. Arguing judgment calls or balls and strikes is not permitted. Do not yell or try to intimidate in any way, which includes yelling or signally “safe” or “out”. Let the Umpires make the call. If a Manager has a question about the interpretation of a rule they must first receive permission from the umpire before leaving their dugout or coaches box. .
Remember no balls and strikes or judgment calls can be argued. Failure to follow these rules will be brought to the attention of the Minor League Director and may result in suspension or removal as a Manager or Coach. Any managerial concerns about umpiring should be communicated right after the game to the Minor League Director and Umpire Coordinator. In the same way, if an umpire has a problem with a manager or coach, that needs to be brought to the attention of the Minor League Director and the Umpire Coordinator to resolve the problem. We support our umpires. (See National Little League Rule 9.02 below.)
- Starting an inning after 7:30 PM: No new inning shall start after 7:30 PM. The umpire alone will make the call regarding the 7:30 PM ending. Not starting an inning after 7:30 does not mean that an inning cannot be completed after 7:30. Unless it is dark and unsafe to play the inning out, once an inning is started it can be completed after 7:30. HWLL will communicate to managers during the season should it decide to establish a later starting time for a new inning (e.g., 8:00 p.m.) because of available light. The exception are games at Patton Field in which no inning shall begin after 9:00 p.m. when field lights are turned on.
- Five Run Limit: Prior to the sixth inning, there is a five run per inning limit per team. If a sixth inning is played, it will be played without the five run per inning limit, applicable to both teams. The coaches may not agree to waive the five run per inning limit for any earlier inning.
- Pitching: Pitchers are limited to three innings per game or pitch-count limit, whichever comes first. Three innings is defined as nine consecutive outs. For example, if a pitcher enters with one out in the 2nd inning, the pitcher can stay in the game until one out in the 5th inning. In suspended/continued games, pitchers are limited by pitch count eligibility and are still limited to three innings. Any player is eligible to pitch in a game regardless of age. Call ups are not allowed to pitch.
- 9 Positional Players: Play with three outfielders. NO short fielders are allowed and outfielders must be positioned on the outfield grass.
- Replacing players for one game or longer: Minor League managers who know they will have less than 10 players for a game must contact the Minor League Director who will arrange calling up replacement(s) from the American Farm League. Also, if a player for any reason will miss the remainder of the season, that spot on the roster must be filled by bringing up an American Farm League player permanently. Temporary call up players may not play the position of pitcher for the game that they are called up to play in. All requests for a replacement player must be made through the Minor League Director.
- Stealing: Each team may steal up to 2 bases per inning and 1 steal of home base, for a total of 3 advancements by steal per inning. Advancing on a passed ball, an overthrow on a steal attempt, or immediately after a walk is counted as a stolen base. Runners can only advance home on a passed ball or wild pitch. Runners may NOT steal home outright or by delay. Runners must slide feet first into home. Runners may NOT advance to home on an overthrow of a steal or pickoff attempt. This rule does not affect advancement on a batted ball or an overthrow on a play that was initiated with a batted ball.
National Little League Rules of Particular interest:
- A pitcher once removed from the mound cannot return as a pitcher.
- Pitching Limits:
- 11-12: 85 pitches per day
- 9-10: 75 pitches per day
- 8: 50 pitches per day
- Exception: If a pitcher reaches the limit imposed for his/her league age while facing a batter; the pitcher may continue to pitch until the at bat is over and the pitch count reported will be the pitch count threshold reached during that at bat.
- A pitcher who delivers 41 or more pitches in a game cannot play the position of catcher for the remainder of that day.
- A catcher who has caught more than three innings cannot pitch.
- Pitchers league age 12 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.
- If a pitcher reaches a days of rest threshold while facing a batter, the pitcher may continue to pitch to that batter until the at bat is over. The pitch count will revert back to the prior threshold. For example, Pitcher A has thrown 18 pitches prior to facing Batter B. It takes 5 pitches to retire Batter B. If Pitcher A does not throw a pitch to another batter, his/her pitch count will revert back to 20 Pitches despite having thrown 23 pitches.
- A player may not pitch in more than one game in a day.
- Pitch counts are to protect the pitcher. All pitch count limits should be followed even if the player is pitching in more than one League.
- Suspended Games: 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 four 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 four days of rest.
- Bat Rule (1.10) The bat must be a baseball bat that meets the USA Baseball Bat (USA Bat) as adopted by Little League.
- Note 4 – An illegal bat must be removed
- PENALTY The batter is out. Rule 6.06(d). The batter enters the batter's box with one or both feet entirely on the ground with an illegal bat or is discovered having used an illegal bat prior to the next player entering the batter's box. The ball is dead. Runners must return if they advanced on the play.
- (1) The manager of the defense may advise the plate umpire of a decision to decline the penalty and accept the play. Such election shall be made immediately at the end of the play.
- (2) For the first violation, the offensive team will lose one eligible adult base coach for the duration of the game. [A.R.-Any of the three adults in the dugout may be used as the one adult base coach at any time during the duration of the game.]
- (3) For the second violation, the manager of the team will be ejected from the game. Any subsequent violation will result in the newly designated manager being ejected.
- A.R. When an illegal bat is discovered, it MUST be removed from the game at that point.
- (8.06) Visits to the Pitcher’s Mound: The manager may go to the pitcher’s mound to talk to the pitcher no more than 2 times in one inning or 3 times in one game. A 3rd visit in an inning or the 4th visit in a game will required the pitcher to leave the game as a pitcher. A coach granted a time out to come out and talk with any defensive player will be charged with a visit to the pitcher. A conference with any defensive player to evaluate the player's condition after an injury shall not be considered a visit for the purposes of this rule.
- (1.08) The on deck position is not permitted except for the leadoff batter of an inning– Also, attempting to substitute for the on deck position by moving outside the fences to take practice swings is not allowed.
- (4.10 (d)) If a game has been called before it has become a regulation game, but after one (1) or more innings have been played, it shall be resumed exactly where it left off. Note: All records, including pitching, shall be counted.
- (1.11(a) (3)) Any part of an undershirt exposed to view (i.e. long sleeve) shall be of a uniform solid color (not white) for all players on the team. (1.11(j))Players must not wear watches, rings, pins, jewelry, other metallic items, or casts. (1.15(c))No pitcher may wear sweatbands on the wrists.
- (8.05 (k)) No balks will be called or enforced.
- (9.02 (a)) Any umpire’s decision which involves judgment, such as, but not limited to, whether a batted ball is fair or foul, whether a pitch is a strike or a ball, or whether a runner is safe or out, is final. No player, manager, coach or substitute shall object to any such judgment decision.
- (9.02 (b)) If there is a reasonable doubt that any umpire’s decision may be in conflict with the rules, the manager may appeal the decision and ask that a correct ruling be made. Such appeal shall be made only to the umpire who made the protested decision. Appeals are not permitted in HWLL's Minor League Division.