National League Rules

National League Division Ground Rules

Little league pitcher in red jersey in the middle of his pitch, making a funny face.

Video surveillance on BLL fields is for entertainment only!  Never should or will video recordings or live feeds be used for game time management, pitch counts or score verification or validation.  The BLL Board does have the right to utilize recordings in investigating disciplinary actions of participating players and adults.



1. Field Preparation, Pre-Game Warm-up, Field Shut Down

  • 65 minutes before the game, the home team and visiting team split the cages at Jessamine and Tiras.  (for Bayland, the visiting team uses the cages 65 minutes before the game and the home team uses the cage 35 minutes before the game)
  • 65 minutes before the game the home team warms up on the field if it is available.
  • 35 minutes before the game, the visiting team uses the field if it is available.
  • Both teams should avoid touching any chalk on the field prior to the game.
  • 5 minutes before game -- pregame conference with umpire.
  • Before the game, the home team is responsible for getting the field ready for play.
  • When there are successive games, the teams should allocate 5 minutes for the umpire pregame conference and then evenly divide the remaining time before the game starts for infield warm-ups for both teams, with the home team using the field first.
  • There should be no soft toss or balls hit off a tee into the fence, please use the nets provided in the cages to hit into.
  • When there are time restraints, the umpire may prohibit infield warm-ups for both teams.
  • Managers shall exchange batting orders prior to the pre-game conference with the umpire. The batting order shall list the players’ jersey number and first and last names.
  • After the game, the visiting team is responsible for locking up all equipment, watering the field if necessary, and covering in the mound and home plate with tarps.


2. Number of Coaches, Assignment of Dugouts

  • During game time there will only be three (3) coaches allowed in the dugout area, one (1) manager and two (2) coaches.
  • The home team will occupy the 3rd base side and visitors will occupy the 1st base side dugout.
  • Coaches should be behind the dugout fence or in the coach's box.


3. Time Limit and Run Limit for Games

  • No new innings will start from the last recorded 3rd out after 1 hour and 30 minutes from the start of the game provided however that the game is official per rule 4.10 which requires at least 4 innings be played or 3.5 innings if the home team is ahead. A game will not end immediately after the 3rd inning regardless of the 1 hour and 30 minute time limit and must go 3.5 innings if the home team is ahead or 4 innings if the home team is behind.  A game may not go more than 6 innings unless the game is tied AND the 1 hour and 30 minutes has not elapsed. If after the final out in the 6th inning, 1 hour and 30 minutes has not elapsed the game may continue to a 7th inning if tied at the end of the 6th.
  • Minors Fall & Spring Regular Season – Max 3 runs every inning (edited 2020)
  • Minors Play-off’s  – 5 runs in the first 3 innings, unlimited  4th – 6th
  • In all innings, if last batter hits an over the fence home run then all runs will be counted
  • The 10-run “mercy rule” of 4.10(e) does not apply in the regular season.
  • There may be extra innings after the 6th inning as described above.
  • Tie games are allowed during the regular season after the game has become a regulation game pursuant to rule 4.10 and the 1 hour 30 time limit has expired.

4. Batters -- No Fake Bunts and No Thrown Bats Continuous batting order will be used.

  • All batters and base runners must wear protective helmets with full face masks or helmets with a properly installed C-flap covering the side of the face exposed to the pitcher.
  • Batters are not allowed to show bunt then swing away. If a batter "shows" bunt, their options are: (a) bunt, (b) offer or not offer at the bunt attempt, or (c) pull the bat back taking the pitch. Penalty: the ball becomes dead at the moment of the infraction and the batter shall be warned if the ball was missed or the batter is out if the ball was hit. No runner may advance.
  • If a batter throws or wildly slings his bat after hitting (or attempting to hit) the ball to the extent that his coach and/or umpire believes other players are endangered, time-out will be called and the coach will discuss the infraction with the batter. If it happens again, in the same game, the batter may be called out, prohibited from batting further in the game, or ejected (umpire’s discretion).
  • The batter should not throw the bat toward the dugout after the batter completes the at bat (i.e. after the batter is walked).


5. Pitching

  • Minors - No pitcher can exceed 30% of team’s season total pitches.  If pitcher exceeds 30%, they will rest until his/her percentages falls below 30%.
  • Minors (Spring) – no one pitcher may exceed 50 pitches in a single game before HISD Spring Break.  If the pitcher starts a batter under 50 they can finish the batter.
  • Pitch count totals will start at the beginning of the season and will include all pre-season exhibition games.
  • Season percentages will be calculated at the end of each game (% eligible pitcher(s) will be able to start and complete game).


6. Official Scorebook, Scoreboard and Official Pitch Count

  • The home team is responsible for keeping the official scorebook and official pitch count and reporting the results to the League Rep. (scores, names of pitchers, pitches thrown by each pitcher, home runs, and no hitters pitched) within 24 hours of the completion of the game.
  • The official scorekeeper for the home team shall keep the official pitch count. In addition, the visiting team and the home team each shall have an additional person from each team keep the pitch count. After each half inning, the umpire shall reconcile each pitch count and make the official determination, which shall be recorded by the home team scorekeeper as the official pitch count.
  • The visiting team shall be responsible for operating the score board.


7. Runners -- Courtesy Runner for Catcher 

  • If the catcher for the next half inning is on base and there are (a) two (2) outs or (b) 2 runs in the first three(3) innings, or 4 runs in the 4th 5th or 6th inning, the catcher must be replaced with a courtesy runner (the player that made the last out).


8. Mandatory Play Rules

  • Each player must start and finish each defensive inning played (subject to injuries or disciplinary action).
  • No player may sit two (2) defensive innings until all players on the game roster have sat one (1) defensive inning.  No player may sit two (2) consecutive defensive innings.
  • By the end of the 4th inning, each player shall have played at least one (1) inning of infield.
  • In the event one team starts the game with more players than the other team, the team with fewer players must rotate all players into an outfield position or bench at least once in a fifth (5) inning game.  This rule applies if the same game is postponed to a future date due to rain or other issues.
  • Unless the managers agree prior to the game, only the Executive Committee of the League will consider written requests from parents that their child not be required to play an infield position each game.
  • In the event a team has fewer than 9 players, the team may request a pool player.  Pool players will be picked from season pool based on a random draw.  If player from opposing team is picked, another player will be chosen.  Once pool players have participated, they will not be available until all pool players have been contacted.  In play-off’s the Player Agent will make an attempt to replace a comparable player from eliminated teams with League Representative approval. There is no player pool in the Fall.
  • Player pool player(s) must play right field and bat last.  If multiple pool players, they must all play outfield or bench, starting with right field, then center field, then left field and bat at the end of the lineup.  Pool players are not subject to mandatory infield play rules and they are not allowed to play infield.
  • If a team has less than 9 players because of player pool limitations, when at bat the team with less than 9 players will be required to take an automatic out in the 9th batting spot.  When in the field borrowed players will be the teams last batter of prior inning.
  • If these regulations are not complied with for any reason, managers will be subject to review and possible disciplinary action by the League, which may include suspension from League play.  Opposing managers must object to any rotation infraction at the time they occur so the rotation rule can be complied with before the game continues.  Rotation violations will not result in any formal protests of any games.  Failing to abide by these rotation rules will not change the outcome of any game but may result in manager discipline.


9. Intentional Delay or Otherwise Making a Travesty of the Game

  • Causing players to intentionally perform poorly (including intentionally striking out, intentionally being put out, intentionally failing to record an out, or intentionally making wild pitches or throws) for the purpose of extending or shortening a game, or otherwise engaging in any action whose purpose is to manipulate the time or duration of the game (including repeated and unwarranted timeouts or replacement of players (including catchers), shall be considered making a travesty of the game.
  • Willfully and knowingly disregarding the requirements of these Ground Rules and other applicable rules also shall be considered making a travesty of the game. In addition to ejection, additional penalties may be imposed if, in the opinion of the Disciplinary Committee of the Board of Directors of BLL, such additional penalties are warranted in light of the offending conduct.  The outcome of a game will not be reversed by the Disciplinary Review Committee.


10. Season Champions (Spring season only)

  • Regular season champions will be determined by Win-Loss-Tie percentage records
  • Regular season co-champions are possible if more than one team has equal Win-Loss-Tie percentage records
  • All teams must play at least 12 regular season games.



National League Post-Season Tournament Rules

The following additional rules shall apply unless otherwise amended by the President, League Representative or the Vice President of Operations of the Board of Directors of the League, who shall be the Tournament Official.


  1. Except as reflected below, all games shall be played based on the Minor League ground rules and applicable Little League Rules (regular season), with no exceptions or changes.
  2. The first game of the day will start when the schedule indicates; subsequent games will     start 20 minutes after the conclusion of the preceding game or at the time the schedule indicates, whichever is earlier.
  3. Seeding will be based on regular season records (other than in the Fall, in which case the League Representative will determine seeding). In the event of a tie in season records, ties will be resolved by determining a winner based on (a) head-to-head results, if still tied then (b) runs against over the entire regular season, if still tied then (c) runs for over the entire regular season and if still tied (d) by coin toss.
  4. Highest seed will be home team (descending order with top seed #1, next #2, #3, #4, etc.)  However if the higher seed home team loses the first championship game, resulting in a second “if necessary” championship game, the team that lost the first game will be the visiting team for the second game regardless of seeding.
  5. For tournament games, no new inning will start after 1:30, with no drop dead time (finish the last inning started) Subject to the game being an official game pursuant to rule 4.10 and all of the above language in Section 3 above. For the championship and if-necessary championship games, there shall be no time limits.
  6. For tournament games, runs will be limited to five (5) per half-inning for the first three (3) innings. For the championship and if-necessary championship games, there shall be no run limit for any inning.
  7. The ten-run rule or mercy run rule defined in 4.10(e) is in effect for the tournament.
  8. All games shall be completed before 10:00pm, and shall be considered final if it has become a regulation game under Rule 4.10(c); provided that no game shall end in a tie. Tie games shall be continued until a winner is determined in accordance with the Rules as further described above in Section 3.
  9. The same “mandatory play rules” exist as in the regular season ground rules, including seasonal pitch percentage limits (30%) for pitchers.
  10. Player pool – In the event a team has less than 9 players, team may request a pool player.  Player will be picked from season pool based on a random draw.  If player from opposing team is picked, another player will be chosen.  If team advances and still needs a player to field 9, pool will be limited to players who teams have been eliminated from tournament. Once pool players have participated, they will not be available until all pool players have been selected.
(Revised and adopted October 2019)