Minor League Baseball Rules
4.1 – CONDUCT
4.1.1 – Victor Central District is a smoke and alcohol free campus. Smoking and the possession of alcoholic beverages are not permitted on the Victor Central School District grounds or at any other facility being utilized by VLL
4.1.2 – Coaches, players and fans shall not “ride” or make remarks to the opposing team or umpires at any time before, during or after a game. This includes catchers riding batters. Vocal demonstrations should be directed only to your own team. If, in the opinion of the umpire or a VLL league official, the vocal demonstration is timed so as to effect or disturb the pitcher or batter, he/she will direct the coach to cease the demonstration immediately.
4.1.3 – Any coach, player or spectator not complying with Rules 4.1.1 or 4.1.2 can be ejected from the game and/or asked to leave the playing fields by the umpire or a VLL league official. Failure to comply with these instructions will result in the forfeiture of the game and possible other sanctions deemed appropriate by the VLL Board of Directors.
4.2 – PREGAME RESPONSIBILITIES
4.2.1 – Before the game begins, the coaches of both teams must agree on the fitness of the playing field. If they cannot agree, the umpire or a VLL league official shall make the determination.
4.2.2 -In the event lightning is seen the umpires and/or coaches will immediately suspend play and all people should seek safety until the danger has passed. If one coach decides to pull his team from the playing field due to weather conditions, the game shall be suspended at that point in time.
4.2.3 – Both teams are responsible for setting up the field for play. This includes liming the field before the start of the game. At the conclusion of the game, both teams are responsible for cleanup of the bench, playing, spectator areas and field maintenance.
4.2.4 – If no umpires are assigned, or none show up, each team is to provide 1 adult to help officiate the game.
4.2.5 – Each coach is to the supply the umpire with 1 new (unused) baseball prior to the beginning of each game and will hold a second good ball in reserve. The team at bat is responsible for promptly retrieving all foul balls.
4.2.6 – Coaches should prepare a player rotation schedule before the game. It should be shared with players in advance of position changes to minimize “lost time” selecting or lobbying for positions.
4.2.7 – All weekday games will start at 6:15. The coaches will utilize the time from 5:30 to 6:15 to conduct a series of pregame drills and proper warm up. The drills should focus on baseball fundamentals, including fielding, throwing, hitting, and pitching. The plate umpire is the official timekeeper. All games are 5 innings.
4.2.8 – A minimum of 7 players must be present to constitute a legal game. In the event one team does not have seven participants present, the umpire will wait a maximum of 15 minutes to start the game. At that point, the game will be forfeited if the short manned team does not have at least seven rostered players present. At the discretion of the coaches, a scrimmage game may be played, but all pitching eligibility rules will apply.
4.2.9 – The home team will occupy the benches on the first base side of the field. The visiting team will occupy the benches on the third base side.
4.3 – EQUIPMENT
4.3.1 – Shirts must be tucked in and hats worn by all players. Full uniforms should be worn. Shorts shall not be worn.
4.3.2 – The batter, on deck batter and all base runners must wear helmets. Anyone warming up a pitcher must wear a catcher’s mask and helmet. Pitchers warming up before the game and between innings must wear a batting helmet.
4.3.3 – All catchers must wear a catcher’s mask, helmet, throat protector, chest protector, shin guards and a protective cup.
4.3.4 – All equipment must be stored behind the bench or in the dugout area. Flagrant abuses of equipment and VLL/VCS property by players or coaches will result in ejection from the game and/or possible suspension from the league.
4.4 – BASE RUNNING
4.4.1 Base Running – Advancing Bases following a passed ball or wild pitch.
Runners may only advance to the next base, except for home.
4.4.2 – On overthrows from the catcher following a steal/passed ball/wild pitch:
Runners may only advance to the next base, except for home.
4.4.3 – Base Running – Stealing of any base except home is allowed once a pitched ball has reached home plate.
4.4.4 – No runner may advance on any throwback to the pitcher (delayed steal) – the ball is dead.
4.4.5 – No advance to home can occur on a play featuring a passed ball, wild pitch or a steal of another base (i.e.: runners on first & third, players steals second, runner on third can not advance to home if a play is made to second base). Runners may only advance to home following a batted ball, a walk or a hit batsman. If any infielder has possession of the ball in the infield, and is in position to make a throw before the runner reaches third base or while the runner is on third base, the base-runner must hold at third base. If the runner has passed third base at the time of possession, the play is “live” and the runner may attempt to score.
4.4.6 – On overthrows during play following a batted ball, runners may advance to the base they are going to plus ONE extra base, but the extra base can NOT be home.
Note: Fielders should be coached to react to all overthrown balls as ‘live’, regardless of the base running rules in effect
4.4.7 – Base running – Leading Off
No leading off of bases until the ball reaches home plate. If a player leaves base early, he/she must return to that base. If a player leaves a base early and the ball is hit, this will be a dead ball situation and the play will be repeated.
4.4.8 – Runners must return to their bases when the catcher returns the ball to the pitcher.
4.4.9 – A runner is out if the runner does not slide when attempting to pass through a fielder who has the ball and is waiting to make a tag at any base, including home. Runners should be instructed to slide whenever there is the possibility of a play at their base.
4.4.10 – A fielder not in possession of the ball, or in the act of fielding a ball, cannot impede the progress of a runner, either intentionally or unintentionally. This is deemed to be an obstruction and the umpire will award the runner the proper base he/she would have reached had the obstruction not taken place.
4.5 – BATTING
4.5.1 – Continuous batting is in effect. The batting order will be set and listed at the start of the game. All players must bat. If a child shows up late for a game he/she is inserted into the batting order at the bottom of the line-up.
4.5.2 – Bunting
For games played up to May 19th
Bunting is not allowed.
For games played beginning on May 20th
Batters may bunt.
4.5.3 – The infield fly rule will be enforced.
4.5.4 – A batter who accidentally throws the bat will be warned. On the next offense the player will be registered with an automatic out and all base runners go back to original base. A batter who intentionally throws the bat will be removed from the game without warning.
4:5.5 – Batters cannot advance on a dropped 3rd strike.
4.5.6 – Batting – Run Limits
Each half inning is limited to 5 runs except in the case where the completion of play on a batted ball may score more than 5. Unlimited runs allowed the last inning or in any inning where the mercy rules will come into effect.
Example: Four runs already in with two outs, bases loaded. The batter hits a double scoring the players on second and third. The runs scored for the inning would be six. Three runs already in with two outs, bases loaded. Batter hits a home run. The runs scored for the inning would be seven.
4.5.7 – For all Minors games, a “12 run rule” will be in effect. If, after 4 complete innings, one team is behind by 12 or more runs, the game is automatically deemed completed. This is not optional. The playing teams will continue on playing in a “scrimmage” capacity for the remainder of the game. (So a 5th inning will be played but in a scrimmage capacity.)
- To ensure the health of players pitching at this age, careful monitoring of the number of pitches thrown is a responsibility shared by VLL and the coaches of the teams he/she is a part of. It is always critical to err on the side of caution when managing players who pitch
Little League pitch-count regulations:
- 9-10 year old players – 75 pitches max
- 8 year old players – 50 pitches max
- Pitcher may finish against current batter
- 66+ per day, 4 days rest
- 51-66 pitches, 3 days rest
- 36-50 pitches, 2 days rest
- 21-34 pitches, 1 days rest
- 1-20 pitches, no (0) days rest
- Pitcher cannot re-enter as pitcher
4.6.1 – Pitchers are allowed a maximum of 8 warm-up pitches between innings. However, under no circumstances should the time taken between innings exceed 2 minutes.
4.6.7 – Pitch count limits and rest restrictions apply to all competitive innings pitched by players participating on VLL teams. Innings pitched in scrimmages, games, tournament games, travel, all-star games, & Little League game shall count as innings pitched under the above rules.
4.6.8 – Coaches of VLL Minors teams and any VLL ‘travel’ teams are required to coordinate pitching plans prior to a week’s play and to communicate pitching details to the Minors League President after each game. If it is determined an ineligible pitcher has been used as the result of violating the conditions of Rule 4.6, the team in violation will be required to forfeit the game if it was previously the winner of such game.
4.6.11 – If a pitcher hits three batters during a game, the pitcher is to be removed from game. He/she may move to a new playing position.
4.6.12 The balk rule is not enforced, however a pitcher will be subject to removal if he/she continues to exhibit the balk move after being warned by the umpire to stop.
4.7 – DEFENSIVE POSITIONING AND SUBSTITUTIONS
4.7.1 – Ten players can be played in the field, with four outfielders positioned at equal depth in the outfield grass. No rover positions allowed.
4.7.2 – Every player must field for a minimum of 3 complete innings in a 5 inning game.
4.7.3 – Except in case of injury, no player may sit out two consecutive innings during a game.
4.7.4 – It is encouraged that every player sees a minimum of 1 inning in the infield in each game. However, for safety reasons and at the coach’s discretion, it is not required
4.7.5 – Every player must play a minimum of 1 inning in the outfield in each game.
4.7.6 – A player may not play more than 3 innings at any one position in a game.
4.7.7 – Players may leave and re-enter the game at any time.
4.7.8 – For player safety reasons, exceptions to this policy may be made with the agreement of the player’s parents – all exceptions must be communicated to the league President.
4.8 – GAME TIME AND PLAYING LIMITS
4.8.1 – Only the following persons are to be on the field or player benches: Players in Uniform, Coaches, scorekeeper, VLL League Officials.
4.8.2 – Only the batter, on deck batter and two team coaches should be on the playing field. All other team members should remain on the bench.
4.8.3 – Adults, other than coaches, should stay near the bench at all times. Scorekeepers and pitch counters will exchange information between innings or go around the outside of the playing field to avoid delays.
4.8.4 – The head coach may request a time out, but he/she must remain off the playing field until the umpires approves the request. Only the umpire may call time out.
4.8.5 - No children or spectators are allowed immediately behind the backstop during play. The umpire will remove all individuals from this area.
4.8.6 – For all evening games, play will begin promptly at 6:15PM, allowing time for pregame drills and warm up. No new inning can start after 7:45PM or 1 hr and 30min after the official start of the game, which ever occurs later. The umpire will keep the official time.
4.8.7 – For all daytime games, no new inning can begin after 1 hr 45 min has elapsed from the official start time of the game. The umpire will keep the official time.
4.8.8 – When other VLL games are scheduled to follow the one in play, there will be a ‘drop dead’ 2-hour time limit for the game. After 2 hours, the umpire will suspend play. If the home team is leading when play is suspended, the score stands. If the visiting team is leading or the score is tied, the official score will be recorded as that of the last completed inning.
4.8.9 – If, in the judgment of the umpire or an observing VLL official, a team engages in tactics that delay or artificially accelerate the pace of the game in order to achieve a victory, the coach of the offending team will be warned. After a warning, the continuation of such tactics will result in a forfeit.
4.8.10- All games are a maximum of 5 innings. The official scorekeeper shall record the number of innings pitched for all pitchers in the official score book and have the scorebook signed by the umpire.
4.8.11- The coach of both teams must sign off on the game summary card and pitch count and turn it into concessions. Coaches will enter their own pitch counts in the online pitch count manager exactly as recorded on the sheets turned into concessions. The winning team is responsible for communicating the score of the game to the League President within 24 hours of the completion of the game. Standings will be kept on the web site and the breaker is head to head. Run differential head to head or against other teams is a non-factor. Little League strongly discourages running up the score for playoff standings. As such, if two teams have the same record overall and same record head to head, it will be a one-game tie breaker.
4.9 Post Season
4.9.1 - At the end of the regular season a Minors tournament will be played. The format and schedule will be communicated by the league president. All the above rules will be followed. Trophies will be awarded to the winning team. A player must have played in 2/3rds of the teams games to play in the tournament.
PROTESTS AND RULE INTERPRETATION
- NO PROTESTS ARE ALLOWED. THESE ARE CHILDREN’S BASEBALL GAMES, NOT GAME SEVEN OF THE WORLD SERIES! PLEASE HAVE YOUR RULEBOOKS HANDY AND REACH A QUIET MUTUAL RESOLUTION TO RULE INTERPRETATION, AT THE GAME.
- If a specific situation is not covered by a specific VLL rulebook, the Little League Official Rules of Baseball will be used to settle the situation.
- If conflicting rules are stated, specific VLL League rules take precedence over specified Little League Official Rules of Baseball.