Montgomery County Little League (MCLL)
2023 Local Rules
Softball Juniors/Seniors Division
Ratified: March 2023
MCLL will be governed by the official Little League Softball Rules 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.
Note: For D2 Games rules may differ from those listed here. The Division Commissioner will notify teams participating in D2 games of any rule variations. Coaches should be sure to check-in with the Division Commissioner prior to any D2 games.
Each team must field a minimum of eight (8) players (including player pool players) for a legal lineup. (LLS Rules 1.01, 4.16 and 4.17)
Players of League Age 12 through 14 may play Juniors. Players of League Age 15 may play Juniors if their the player’s skill level is deemed appropriate for that division. (Regulation I(a))
Players of League Age 13 through 16 may play Seniors. Players of League Age 12 may play Seniors if assessed by the league as capable of participation at that level. (Regulation I(a))
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).
A team low on players may “borrow” a player from the opposing team if coaches and player(s) agree, in which case the borrowed player is considered to have been re-rostered to the new team and will be rostered back to the original team at the conclusion of the game. (This rule is for the purpose of the umpire’s own regulations).
12-inch softballs are used
A dual/safety base at first base is used whenever possible (LLS Rule 7.15) 3. Batting helmets must have a facemask/cage securely attached.
Defensive facemasks are permitted, but are not required for any position in the field. This rule applies ONLY to internal MCLL games. Games played against other Districts, including D2 may mandate the wearing of defensive face masks and all MCLL players must comply.5. Bats must be no longer than 34 inches long. Traditional Batting donuts are not allowed to be used. (LLS Rule 1.10)
Any non-adult personnel occupying a coach’s box must wear a helmet. (LL Rule 1.16)
Shoes with metal spikes or cleats are permitted. Shoes with molded cleats are also permissible. (LLS Rule 1.11(h))
Players may not wear jewelry such as, but not limited to, rings, watches, earrings, bracelets, necklaces, nor any hard cosmetic/decorative items. This rule applies regardless of the composition of such jewelry, hard cosmetic item, or hard decorative item. Hard items to control the hair, such as beads, are permitted. Religious necklaces and medical bracelets and may be worn if taped down so they are not dangling. (LLS Rule 1.11(j)
Home team will occupy the 1st base dugout and bench area, when practicable.
Each game shall consist of seven (7) innings. (LL Rule 4.10a)
An official game shall consist of at least five (5) innings, (4-1⁄2 innings if the home team is ahead), unless the time limit rules shorten the game. (LL Rule 4.10c)
A 15 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 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)
A 10 run mercy rule is in effect. If after 5 innings, four 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)
A 8 run mercy rule is in effect. If after 6 innings, fuveand one-half innings if the home team is ahead, one team has a lead of eight (8) runs or more, the manager of the team with the least runs shall concede the victory to the opponent. (LL Rule 4.10e)
The Mandatory Play rule is in effect for both Juniors and Seniors, and requires each player to have at least one time at bat and play at least six (6) defensive outs in the field every game. If a team has 15 players present at the game, the number of defensive outs that each player must play is reduced to three (3). NOTE: Defensive outs need not be consecutive, and are not required to be in the infield. (LLS Regulation IV(i) & Note 4)
Time Limits are a Local Rule and necessary due to time restrictions on field permits. The following are all Local Rule modifications of LLS Regulation VII.
Due to time restrictions on field permits, it is imperative that games start on time, with the coaches’ pre-game conference with the umpire taking place before the start time and the home team in position on the field with the pitcher warmed up with practice pitches completed and ready to make the first pitch at the scheduled start 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, except that: (1) the game is a regulation game regardless of the number of innings played; and (2) a regular season game that is tied when stopped shall be recorded as a tied, completed game and will not be continued. (Modification of LLS Rule 4.11))
No new full inning shall begin 2 hours after the scheduled start time , 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 LLS Regulation VII(h)).
If the “drop-dead” time limit of 2 hour 15 minutes has been reached the game will be called immediately. However, if an at-bat is in process, the game will end upon completion of the current at-bat. (Modification of LLS 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. (Modification of LLS Regulation VII(h)).
Teams shall not attempt to exploit the time limit rules or try to “run out the clock” by employing any delaying tactics, such as unneeded or excessive timeouts with the time limits approaching, even if such tactics are otherwise permitted. This is not football.
During the playoffs rules may be altered with regards to time limits. In all cases there must be a winner.
A continuous batting order that includes all players on the team roster present for the game batting in order may be used, and is considered typical for regular season games. (LLS Rule 4.04 variation).
There will not be any penalty for the “9th” position in the lineup if a team is playing with eight (8) players (including players assigned from the player pool). (LLS Rule 4.04 NOTE 3 variation)
If a player is injured, becomes ill, or must leave the game site after the start of the game, the team will skip over the player without penalty when the time at bat comes up. If the player returns, the player 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 them in the lineup (LLS Rule 4.01 NOTE 2), the player would be added to the end of the current lineup. (Variant of LLS Rule 4.04)
On-deck batters are permitted. (LLS Rule 1.08 NOTE 1)
Runners cannot leave the base (e.g., to lead or steal) on a pitch until the ball has left the pitcher’s hand. (LL Rule 7.13)
When the pitcher has the ball within the 8-foot pitcher’s circle, a runner must immediately either attempt to advance to the next base or return to the previous base, otherwise the runner is out. (LLS Rule 7.08(a)(5), NOTE 2). This rule will be in effect automatically whenever a circle is drawn on the field. If there is no circle on the field, the rule may be enforced at a coach’s request if the umpire agrees during the pre-game meeting.
There is no “must slide” rule. (LLS Rule 7.08(a)(3)).
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 7th inning or as may be designated by the umpire) or during extra innings.
There are no pitching limits or restrictions at the Juniors or Seniors softball level. (LLS Regulation VI(b).
Between innings, in order to maximize playing time and avoid time limits, pitchers should limit warm-up throws to two pitches (and in any event, pitcher is limited to one minute of warmups). A new pitcher entering the game may have up to eight pitches (but is still limited to one minute of warmups). (LLS Rule 8.03)
Managers and coaches are permitted to warm up pitchers. (LLS Regulation XIV.f)
Umpire Summary for Juniors or Seniors
▪ 7 Innings
▪ Mercy rule: 15 after 4 innings; 10 after 5 innings; 8 runs after 6 innings
▪ No new inning after 2 hrs after scheduled start
▪ Hard stop at 2 hr 15 mins after scheduled start
▪ Pitching rubber is 43’ from home. Bases are 60’ apart.
▪ Infield Fly in effect
▪ Dropped 3rd strike in effect
▪ Runners may not take a lead and cannot leave the base until the pitcher has released the ball.
▪ One offensive timeout per inning.