Rules- Rookie Ball
Montgomery County Little League (MCLL)
2023 Local Rules
Baseball Rookie Ball Division
Ratified: February 8, 2023
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.
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)
Teams may play with a minimum of seven players occupying the following positions in the field: 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, P, OF, OF.
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)
Traditional Batting donuts are not allowed to be used. (LL Rule 1.10)
Any non-adult personnel occupying a coach’s box must wear a helmet. (LL Rule 1.16)
Helmets cannot be removed during play. After a warning the player can be removed for unsportsmanlike conduct. (LL Rule 1.16)
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 male players to wear protective cups regardless of position.
Shoes with metal spikes or cleats are not permitted. Shoes with molded cleats are permissible. (LL Rule 1.11.h)
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.
Home team will occupy the 1st base dugout and bench area. (Local Rule)
Each game shall consist of four(4) innings. Teams are encouraged to continue play if the time limit has not been met and the players are still engaged. (LL Rule 4.10a)
An official game shall consist of at least three (3) innings. (LL Rule 4.10c)
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)
No official score is kept. Score is only kept for purposes of determining the end of a half-inning consistent with Local Rule 3.4. Managers should express accomplishments in ways that emphasize non-score events (e.g., hard hit balls, good throws).
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.
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. (Local Rule; Modification of Regulation VII.h))
No new inning shall begin 1 hour 15 minutes after the start time of the game and the game shall not extend beyond 1 hour and 30 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. (Local Rule; Modification of Regulation VII.h)
If the hard time limit of 1 hour and 30 minutes hours has been reached the game will be called immediately. If an at bat is in process, the game will be ended upon completion of the current at bat. (Local Rule; Modification of Regulation VII.h)
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. (Local Rule; Modification of Regulation VII.h))
Bunting, leading, and stealing are not permitted which is a modification to LL Rule 2.00.
Runners may not take a lead and cannot leave the base until the ball is struck by the batter.
A continuous batting order that includes all players on the team roster present for the game batting in order shall be used. (Variant of LL Rule 4.04)
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, he/she would be added to the end of the current lineup. (Variant of LL Rule 4.04)
The on-deck position is not permitted.(LL Rule 1.08 NOTE 1)
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)
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)
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)
Use of a rescue tee is permitted as laid out by Local Rules 8.5 and 8.6 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 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 5th inning or as may be designated by the umpire).
The team At-Bat provides an adult volunteer pitcher, that individual throws from 30 feet away from home plate preferably on one knee and must pitch overhand. (Local Rule; Modification to LL Rule VI)
The Coach Pitcher may move up or back depending on the skill level of each batter.
The Coach Pitcher must try and throw a “dart like” pitch to the plate. We do not encourage “lobs” or “underhand” in Coach Pitch. The goal is for the batter to experience a pitched ball and not necessarily to hit a pitched ball. Throwing the ball so that it begins to challenge the hitter improves hitting development.
If the coach pitcher is struck by a batted ball, the ball is dead and the batter is awarded first base. Any runners that would be forced to advance, may do so. All other runners must remain on their base and may not advance.
LL Rule 6.05 is modified such that an at bat will be considered four (4) pitches. If the fourth pitch (or any thereafter) is fouled then the batter will be awarded another pitch. Players unable to hit the ball into play within the four pitches will hit off a tee (aka “rescue tee”). There are no strikeouts. No “extra” pitches should be thrown unless (a) the coach pitch pitcher hits the batter on the final pitch. In such cases the batter may receive one additional pitch (2) the ball is not hit greater than 10 feet.
The limitation on pitches thrown is to keep a suitable pace of play for all players. At bats need to be brisk to ensure that players in the field are more focused and that more active play occurs given the time we have on the field.
The fielding team’s dugout coach must be ready with the rescue tee when needed. The pitching team’s coach at home plate will adjust the tee as needed and place the ball on the tee. After the ball is hit, the pitching team’s coach will quickly move the tee out of harm’s way. When the play is dead, the fielding team’s coach will reclaim the tee.
The ball is considered dead if the tee (not the ball) is hit. The offensive coach assisting batters at the tee will call out “Dead Ball” and the batter will try again.
The ball is considered dead if it is not hit 10 feet beyond homeplate when hit off of the tee. All balls hit beyond 10 feet are live. Note: on pitched balls, the batted ball is live at any distance beyond homeplate.
A batter that hits off a tee and all runners on base are only permitted to advance at most one base on any ball batted off of the tee.
The defensive team may field a maximum of ten (10) players which is a modification to LL Rule 1.01. The positions include: 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, Right P, Left P, and four outfielders. If using nine players, the team may only use one pitcher. No more than 10 defensive players may be on the field at one time.
No catcher position is utilized in rookie ball. After the ball is hit, the left pitcher is responsible for covering home plate.
Outfield positions are defined as left field, left-center field, right-center field, and right field. “Short” outfielders are not permitted.
LL Rule 4.03(c) is modified such that outfielders must play approximately 20 feet or more beyond the base path which typically means that players must be stationed in the outfield grass.
The players fielding the pitcher position must stand 35 feet from the back edge of home plate. This spot on the field will be known as the “pitchers mound.” The player fielding the pitcher position(s) may stand 5 feet to the left and/or right so their view of the play is not obstructed by the coach pitcher. Pitchers may not be positioned on the same side.
Infielders should be encouraged to play their own positions. E.g. Pitchers may tag out batters running to first however throwing the ball to first should be encouraged.
Infielders must start their defensive position within 5 feet of the baseline in which they are playing, which is a modification of LL Rule 4.03(c).
An outfielder cannot make an unassisted out in the infield. The outfielder must throw the ball to an infielder who must make the play.
No infield fly rule.
LL Rule 5.02 is modified such that play is stopped either by a play at any base, unless the defensive team attempts to make multiple outs in which case, play will continue until the defense calls for a time out as follows:.
Play is stopped when an infielder has possession (control) of the ball and, while inside of the base path, raises the ball in the air with a fully extended arm. If the fielder raises the ball before the runner reaches 1st base, the runner will be awarded first base.
If when play is stopped a runner has advanced 2/3 of the way (runner A) to the next base then they will be awarded that base.
Exception: If another runner (runner B) is in front of the runner A and that runner (B) had not advanced 2/3 of the way and is required to return to the previous base then the runner A must return to the previous base.
Once the play is officially stopped no additional outs may be made.
Base runners (including the batter) will NOT be granted an extra base on overthrows. In the event of an overthrow, the play is called dead. All runners will be placed on the closest base at the time of the overthrow (see Local Rule 9.12.1). An overthrow is when the fielder has to abandon his/her position to retrieve the baseball or the ball leaves the official field of play.
LL Rule IV is modified so that each player must play at least three (3) innings by the end of the fourth (4th) inning of the game and must have played both an infield and outfield position by that point of the game. No one player can play a single position for more than 2 (two) innings in a game.
A maximum of two defensive coaches are allowed in the field. It is recommended that one coach be placed in the infield and one in the outfield.
Unless otherwise agreed to, volunteers from each team (three total on the field during the game) will umpire games.
A volunteer from the offensive team will coach and umpire 1st A volunteer from the offensive team will coach and umpire 3rd base The coaches in the field for the defensive team will help umpire second base.
A volunteer from either team must stand behind home plate to collect balls thrown by the coach pitcher, keep track of the number of pitches, call fouls, place the tee if necessary, and assist with making plays/callsat home plate.
In case of a disputed call, a manager may request a conference with the “umpire” that made the call and the other manager to discuss the particular instance. A copy of the division rules can be reviewed to assist in making the correct call. The participants in the discussion will decide the final call. If there is not a consensus amongst the three participants then the original call stands. Please remember the spirit in which we are operating and remember to use good sportsmanship, especially in these situations.
There are no game protests. Any dispute between coaches concerning a rule or play must be resolved before the next pitch or play. Following conclusion of the game rule inquiries may be made to the Umpire in Chief or Division Commissioner for educational purposes. Any findings will not result in the replay of the game, nor change the score or outcome of the game. (LL Rule 4.19(g))
The volunteer fielding balls at the backstop must remove the bat after each hit to reduce the chance of injury for base runners.
Play is stopped when any “umpire” has called "time".
Play immediately stops upon an injury to any player. Base runners will be awarded only the next base to which they were intending to advance. All defensive players will sit down at their positions during the injury timeout.
Please remember that our primary purpose at this age group is to teach players the basic rules and fundamentals of the game in a safe and positive manner.
As a coach, please also remember that YOUR conduct is being watched by players, parents and coaches on BOTH sides of the field.
Concerns regarding conduct by a coach, player or parent should be brought to the attention of that division’s Commissioner immediately.
A written incident report must be submitted within 48 hours of the incident. Incident reports can be found on the MCLL web site (www.mclittleleague.org) under the “Coaches/Incident Report” section.
Please review the complete Code of Conduct policy on the MCLL website to obtain a full understanding of MCLL’s expectations of conduct.