Majors Rules

Montgomery County Little League (MCLL)

2022 Local Rules

Baseball Majors Division

Ratified: March 18, 2022

(Revised May 30, 2022)

MCLL will be governed by the rules set forth by “Little League Baseball Official Regulations, Playing Rules, and Policies”, also known as “The Green Book” unless noted and modified below. Please be familiar with the official LL rules. The rules below are primarily to help clarify common areas of confusion, emphasize safety rules or set a local rule that varies from a Little League rule. Rules related to safety, good sportsmanship and the proper teaching of fundamental baseball skills should receive the highest priority.

  1. Team Composition:

    1. Each team must field a minimum of nine (9) players for a legal lineup. (Emphasis LL Rules 1.01, 4.16 and 4.17)

    2. Only players on the official league roster provided to the manager / head coach by the league commissioner are permitted to play in a league game unless assigned by Player Agent. (Summary of Regulation V)

    3. If a team knows it will be short players for a game the manager can make a request to the Player Agent for fill-in players. The Player Agent maintains a list of eligible pool players from which the fill-in players will be drawn. (Summary of Regulation V)

  2. Equipment:

    1. The bat must be a baseball bat which meets the USA Baseball Bat standard (USABat) as adopted by Little League. It shall be a smooth, rounded stick, and made of wood or of material and color tested and proved acceptable to the USA Baseball Bat standard (USABat). (LL Rule 1.10)

    2. Traditional Batting donuts are not allowed to be used. (LL Rule 1.10)

    3. Any non-adult personnel occupying a coach’s box must wear a helmet. (LL Rule 1.16)

    4. Helmets cannot be removed during play. After a warning the player can be removed for unsportsmanlike conduct. (LL Rule 1.16)

    5. All male players must wear athletic supporters while playing and are required to wear a metal, fibre or plastic type protective cup while playing catcher. (LL Rule 1.17). MCLL strongly encourages all players to wear protective cups regardless of position.

    6. All catching masks must be outfitted with a “dangling” type throat protector (LL Rule 1.17)

    7. Shoes with metal spikes or cleats are not permitted. Shoes with molded cleats are permissible. (LL Rule 1.11.h)

    8. C-flaps and other protective helmet attachments are permitted so long as the helmet is not altered in a manner that voids the helmet safety certification (NOCSAE certification). For example drilling holds in a helmet will void the certification, as may the addition of after-market third party C-flaps.

  3. Game:

    1. Home team will occupy the 1st base dugout and bench area.

    2. Each team must supply a scorekeeper and pitch counter. The home team keeps the official book.

    3. Teams are responsible for tracking their own pitch counts and removing players when pitch count limits have been reached. (See Pitching)

    4. Each game shall consist of six (6) innings. (LL Rule 4.10a)

    5. An official game shall consist of at least four (4) innings, 3 1⁄2 innings if the home team is ahead. (LL Rule 4.10c)

    6. A 15 run mercy rule is in effect. If after 3 innings, two and one-half innings if the home team is ahead, one team has a lead of fifteen (15) runs or more, the manager of the team with the least runs shall concede the victory to the opponent. NOTE: (1) If the visiting team has a lead of fifteen (15) runs or more, the home team must bat in its half of the inning. (LL Rule 4.10e)

    7. A 10 run mercy rule is in effect. If after 4 innings, three and one-half innings if the home team is ahead, one team has a lead of ten (10) runs or more, the manager of the team with the least runs shall concede the victory to the opponent. NOTE: (1) If the visiting team has a lead of ten (10) runs or more, the home team must bat in its half of the inning. (LL Rule 4.10e)

  4. Time Limits:

    1. Time Limits are a Local Rule and necessary due to time restrictions on field permits. The following are all Local Rule modifications of Regulation VII.h.

    2. Due to time restrictions on field permits, it is imperative that games start on time. If a game is not completed within the time limit, the determination of the winner follows the same rules as a game called for weather. (Modification of Regulation VII.h))

    3. No new inning shall begin 2 hours after the start time of the game and the game shall not extend beyond 2 hours 15 minutes in total. If a shorter time limit is necessary, no new inning will start 15 minutes before the official end time and will be clearly communicated at the home plate pre-game meeting. (Modification of Regulation VII.h).

    4. If the hard time limit of 2 hour 15 minutes has been reached the game will be called immediately. If an at bat is in process, the game will end upon completion of the current at bat. (Modification of Regulation VII.h)). During the playoffs there is no hard stop and any inning started within the "no new inning" time limit must be completed.

    5. For purposes of determining whether or not there is enough time to start a new inning, the actual start of a new inning shall be deemed the time at which the third out to end the prior inning occurs. In other words, the third out for the home team immediately triggers the next inning. (Modification of Regulation VII.h))

  5. Called and Suspended Games:

    1. Please see LL Rules 4.10, 4.11 and 4.12 for a full explanation of regulation, called and suspended games.

    2. In the event of a called or suspended game, and the outcome is not clear or disputed, the Managers and Umpire shall submit a description of the exact situation for resolution by the Umpire in Chief and the Board.

    3. All suspended games MUST be scheduled through the league.

  6. Offense:

    1. A continuous batting order that includes all players on the team roster present for the game batting in order may be used. (Variant of LL Rule 4.04). If only 9 batters are used, the little league mandatory play and substitution rules must be followed and every player must have at least one at bat and play 6 consecutive outs. See LL Rule 3.03.

    2. When a player is injured, becomes ill, or must leave the game site after the start of the game, the team will skip over him/her when his/her time at bat comes up without penalty. If the injured, ill, or absent player returns he/she is merely inserted into their original spot in the batting order and the game continues. Also, if a player arrives late to a game site, if the manager chooses to enter him/her in the lineup (see Rule 4.01 NOTE 2), he/she would be added to the end of the current lineup. (Variant of LL Rule 4.04)

    3. The on-deck position is not permitted in Little League (Major) Division and below. (LL Rule 1.08 NOTE 1)

    4. Only one player (the batter) is allowed to handle a bat at any time - the batter at the plate. All other players must remain on the "bench". An assistant coach or parent must monitor this requirement to avoid injuries. (LL Rule 1.08 NOTE 2)

    5. Any player throwing a bat will be given a “player warning” for throwing equipment (each player will receive one warning per game). Any further action of throwing equipment will result in the offending player to be called out. If that player had put the ball in play (with less than 2 outs and other runners on) then it is a live ball and the defense may make a play to record an out. In such a case where one of the other runners was called out, then both that runner and the offending player would be out.

    6. Runners may not take a lead and cannot leave the base until the ball has crossed home plate. (LL Rule 7.13)

    7. Head first sliding is not allowed and that player will automatically be called out. Exception: Any player who has possession of a base may “dive back” into the same base to avoid being thrown out by a fielder making a play. (LL Rule 7.08.4)

    8. There is no “must slide” rule. However, the runner is out when the runner does not slide or attempt to get around a fielder who has the ball and is waiting to make the tag. (LL Rule 7.08.a.3)

    9. Pursuant to LL Rule 7.00(b) a "courtesy runner" shall be permitted for a player who is on base with two outs and is the designated catcher or pitcher in the next half inning. The courtesy runner will be the player that made the last out (i.e., the player that made the second out of the inning). No courtesy runner is allowed in the last inning of the game (i.e., the 6th inning or as may be designated by the umpire).

  7. Defense:

    1. Playing Rule IV is modified so that each player must play at least three (3) innings by the end of the fifth (5th) inning of the game and must have played both an infield and outfield position by that point of the game. The Catcher position counts as an infield position. A starting pitcher may stay in the game until their pitch count limit is reached and does not have to be removed from the mound in order to satisfy outfield play. However after leaving the mound that player must satisfy the outfield play conditions as applicable. This rule is intended to encourage player development but not easy to enforce, therefore coaches are encouraged to follow this rule with integrity. During the playoffs this rule is suspended. During playoffs if only a 9 person batting lineup is used, the Little League rule must be followed. See LL Rule 3.03. If a continuous batting order is used all players must play 6 defensive outs by the end of the 6th inning.

  8. Pitching:

    1. Pitching limitations – Regulation VI regarding pitch limits MUST be adhered to.

    2. Any player who has played the position of catcher in four (4) or more innings in a game is not eligible to pitch on that calendar day. The catcher receiving one pitch to a batter in the fourth inning constitutes having caught four (4) innings. Warm-up pitches do not count. (Regulation VI.a)

    3. Any player who played the position of catcher for three innings or less, and delivers 21 pitches or more in the same day may not return to the catcher position, except if a pitcher reaches 20 pitches while facing a batter, the pitcher may continue to pitch and maintain their eligibility to play catcher until that batter reaches base, is retired, third out is made, or pitcher is removed prior to the batter completing the at-bat. (Regulation VI.a)

    4. A pitcher who delivers 41 or more pitches in a game cannot play the position of catcher for the remainder of that day, except if a pitcher reaches 40 pitches while facing a batter, the pitcher may continue to pitch and maintain their eligibility to play catcher until that batter reaches base, is retired, third out is made, or pitcher is removed prior to the batter completing the at-bat (Regulation VI.c)

    5. Under no circumstances may a player pitch more than 3 consecutive days or more than one game in a day. (Regulation VI.d and k)

    6. A pitcher is allowed eight (8) warm-up pitches between innings or one (1) minute, whichever comes first. An initial eight (8) pitches will be awarded to any pitcher entering the game. (LL 8.03)

    7. Managers and coaches are not permitted to warm up pitchers. (Regulation XIV.f)

    8. No pitcher will be allowed to wear long white or gray sleeve shirts. Neoprene sleeves, if worn by a pitcher, must be covered by an undershirt. Any pitcher doing so will be asked to remove the shirt or sleeve, or will be removed from the pitcher’s position. (LL 1.11.a.3)

    9. There are illegal pitches but no balks in this division. (LL Rule 8.05)

    10. A manager or coach may come out once in one inning to visit the pitcher, but the second time out, the player must be removed as pitcher. A manager may come out twice in one game to visit the pitcher, but the third time out the player must be removed as pitcher. The number of visits applies to each pitcher in a game. (LL Rule 8.06)

  9. Fall Rule Variations:

    1. Pitchers are restricted to two innings for a Fall Ball game. Fall Ball is development so coaches should work to develop more pitchers.

    2. No official score is kept except for purposes of determining the end of a half-inning under Local Rule 9.3. Fall Ball is developmental so the full time should be utilized to give players playing time. If a team is up by a large margin then that is an opportunity to allow other players to pitch.

    3. A team may only score five (5) runs per inning. After the 5th run has scored, that team’s at-bat is over. (Rule 2.00 - An Inning)

Umpire Summary for Majors (Spring Season)

Game Format

  • 6 Innings

  • 4 innings for regulation game

  • 15 run mercy rule after 3 innings

  • 10 run mercy rule after 4 innings

  • No new inning after 2 hrs

  • Hard stop at 2 hr 15 mins, except during the playoffs any inning started within the no new inning time limit must be completed.

Safety Rules

  • Bats must be marked “USA Baseball” or made of wood

  • No batting donuts

  • Catcher masks must have “dangling” throat guard

  • On deck circle is NOT allowed; no players other than batter should have a bat in hand

  • Head first slides are NOT allowed when advancing, only when retreating to base

  • Lightning: Halt game if lightning less than 10 miles away; 30 minutes must elapse after storm

Field Rules

  • Infield Fly in effect

  • Dropped 3rd strike in effect

  • Runners may not take a lead and cannot leave the base until the ball has crossed home plate. Please see LL Rule 7.13 for full details and penalty for leaving early.

  • Courtesy runner permitted for catcher or pitcher with 2-outs utilizing a player that made second out.

  • Balks are NOT called but are illegal pitches; Dead ball; penalty is a ball. Please see LL Rule 8.05 for full details

  • Pitchers may not wear white or gray sleeves

  • Pitchers may not wear neoprene sleeves unless covered by an undershirt

  • Pitcher gets 8 warmup pitches OR 1 minute for warmups, whichever comes first. Coaches are NOT permitted to warm-up pitchers.

  • One offensive timeout per inning

  • Pitcher visits. 1 per inning, 2nd visit a removal; 2 per game, 3rd visit a removal

  • Warning for throwing a bat are issued to the specific player.