Minors Rules

Montgomery County Little League (MCLL)

2018 League Rules

Baseball Minors Ball Divisions

Ratified 2017-12-14

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, emphasis 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 eight (8) players for a legal lineup. (Modification of LL Rule 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 wear protective cups while playing and are required to do so while playing catcher. (LL Rule 1.17)
      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)
    3. Game:
      1. Home team will occupy the 1st base dugout and bench area (Local Rule)
      2. Each team must supply a scorekeeper and pitch counter. The home team keeps the official book. (Local Rule)
      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, 31⁄2 innings if the home team is ahead. (LL Rule 4.10c)
      6. 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)
      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)
      8. When it is mathematically impossible to score enough runs to catch up, due to the five-run limit, the game is over. So if after 5 innings, one team has a lead of six (6) runs or more, the manager of the team with the least runs shall concede the victory to the opponent. (Local Rule)
      9. LL Rule 4.19(g) is invoked so that all game protests must be resolved before the next pitch or play. In other words, a game protest made to the board after a game may be reviewed for educational purposes, but will not result in the replay of the protested game, nor change the score or outcome of the game. (LL Rule 4.19(g))
    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. (Local Rule; 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. (Local Rule; 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 be ended upon completion of the current at bat. (Local Rule; Modification of Regulation VII.h))
      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. (Local Rule; 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. (Local Rule)
      3. All suspended games MUST be scheduled through the league. (Local Rule)
    6. Offense:
      1. 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)
      2. A team must bat nine players. If a team only has eight (8) players present then the ninth spot in the batter order will remain open. When this position comes up in the order an automatic out will be recorded in the book. If a player arrives they can be inserted in the open position. (Local Rule)
      3. 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)
      4. The on-deck position is not permitted in Little League (Majors) Division and below. (LL Rule 1.08 NOTE 1)
      5. 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)
      6. 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. (Local Rule)
      7. Batters are OUT on a dropped 3rd strike. (LL Rule 6.05.b.2)
      8. Runners may not take a lead and cannot leave the base until the ball has crossed home plate. (LL Rule 7.13)
      9. The following restrictions on stealing apply to Minors
        1. Players may only advance one base (total) on an attempted steal.
        2. Catchers should be encouraged to make a play on an attempted steal if there is a chance to throw the runner out.
        3. A team may only have one successful steal of home per inning. Advancing home from 3rd on an overthrow of a steal at 2nd counts as a steal of home.
      10. 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)
      11. 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)
    7. Defense:
      1. Teams may only use nine players on defense. (LL Rule 1.01)
      2. 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 encourage to follow this rule with integrity. During the playoffs this rule is suspended. (Local Rule)
      3. No one player can play a single position for more than 3 consecutive innings. The exception is in the case of a pitcher who can remain until pitch count limits are reached. During the playoffs this rule is suspended. (Local Rule)
      4. Playing Rule 4.03(c) is modified such that outfielders must play approximately 30 feet or more beyond the base path which typically means that players must be stationed in the outfield grass. (Modification of Playing Rule 4.03(c))
      5. Infielders must play their defensive position within 5 feet of the baseline in which they are playing. (Modification of Playing Rule 4.03(c)
    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. (Regulation VI.c)
      3. A pitcher who delivers 41 or more pitches in a game cannot play the position of catcher for the remainder of that day. (Regulation VI.c)
      4. 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 Rule 8.03)
      5. Managers and coaches shall not warm up pitchers. (Regulation XIV.f)
      6. 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 Rule 1.11.a.3)
      7. There are illegal pitches but no balks in this division. (LL Rule 8.05)
      8. If a pitcher hits three (3) batters “on the fly” in one one game, the pitcher will be removed from and will not be eligible to return to the pitcher position for the remainder of the game. (Local Rule)
    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. There is no 10 run mercy rule. 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.

Umpire Summary for Minors

Game Format

    • 6 Innings
    • 4 innings for regulation game
    • 10 run mercy rule after 4 innings
    • 5 run limit per inning
    • A team may play with 8. However the 9th position in the order will be an automatic out
    • No new inning after 2 hrs
    • Hard stop at 2 hr 15 mins

Safety Rules

    • Bats must be marked USABat or made of wood
    • No 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 is NOT 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.
    • Limit one steal of home per inning
    • Balks are NOT called but there can be 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
    • One offensive timeout per inning
    • Pitcher visits. 2 per inning, 3rd visit a removal; 3 per game, 4th visit a removal