National League Rules
National League Division Ground Rules
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.
- Spring Regular Season - Max 3 runs the first 2 innings, Max 5 runs inning 3 and on (33555) (Minors Fall – Max 3 runs every inning)
- 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).
- General Rules:
- Any player on a regular season team may pitch, subject to the rules below.
- Pitch count totals will start at the beginning of the season and will include all pre-season exhibition games. (practice tip – do not pitch your top 3 pitchers for any practice game since these games count towards your total percentage pitch counts but not in the standings).
- No pitcher can exceed 30% of team’s season total pitches during the season. If a pitcher exceeds 30%, they will rest until his/her percentage falls below 30%. The league rep will maintain a joint spreadsheet documenting all pitching percentages from every player. All managers will have access to each teams percentage totals.
- Season cumulative percentages will be calculated at the end of each game (% eligible pitcher(s) will be able to start and complete game).
- National League – 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 or the half inning, whichever comes .
- Once a pitcher has been removed from the mound in a game, they cannot return as a pitcher.
- Each league must designate the scorekeeper or another game official as the official pitch count recorder. For National League, the home team is responsible for this designation.
- The pitch count recorder must provide the current pitch count for any pitcher when requested by either manager or any umpire. However, the manager is responsible for knowing when his/her pitcher must be removed.
- The official pitch count recorder should inform the umpire-in-chief when a pitcher has delivered his/her maximum limit of pitches for the game, as noted in Regulation VI (c). The umpire-in-chief will inform the pitcher’s manager that the pitcher must be removed in accordance with Regulation VI (c). However, the failure by the pitch count recorder to notify the umpire-in-chief, and/or the failure of the umpire-in- chief to notify the manager, does not relieve the manager of his/her responsibility to remove a pitcher when that pitcher is no longer eligible.
- Violation of any section of this regulation can result in protest of the game in which it occurs. Protest shall be made in accordance with Playing Rule 4.19. The withdrawal of an ineligible pitcher after that pitcher is announced, or after a warm-up pitch is delivered, but before that player has pitched a ball to a batter, shall not be considered a violation. Little League officials are urged to take precautions to prevent protests. When a protest situation is imminent, the potential offender should be notified immediately.
- Pitches delivered in games declared “Regulation Tie Games” or “Suspended Games” shall be charged against pitcher’s eligibility.
- In suspended games resumed on another day, the pitchers of record at the time the game was halted may continue to pitch to the extent of their eligibility for that day, provided said pitcher has observed the required days of rest discussed below.
Mandatory Rest Requirements
Pitchers league age 14 and under must adhere to the following rest requirements:
- If a player pitches 66 or more pitches in a day, four (4) calendar days of rest must be observed.
- If a player pitches 51-65 pitches in a day, three (3) calendar days of rest must be observed.
- If a player pitches 36-50 pitches in a day, two (2) calendar days of rest must be observed.
- If a player pitches 21-35 pitches in a day, one (1) calendar days of rest must be observed.
- If a player pitches 1-20 pitches in a day, no (0) calendar day of rest is required.
Exception: If a pitcher reaches a day(s) of rest threshold while facing a batter, the pitcher may continue to pitch until any one of the following conditions occurs: (1) that batter reaches base; (2) that batter is retired; or (3) the third out is made to complete the half-inning or the game. The pitcher will only be required to observe the calendar day(s) of rest for the threshold he/she reached during that at-bat, provided that pitcher is removed or the game is completed before delivering a pitch to another batter.”
Example: If you have a Tuesday night game and Johnny pitches 35 pitches, he cannot pitch on Thursday unless he started the batter before 35 pitches. If he starts the batter at 35 or more pitches, 2 calendar days rest must be observed. This would be Wednesday and Thursday. He would not be eligible to pitch again until Friday.
Example for double headers: If a pitcher reaches 20 pitches while facing a batter in the first game, the pitcher may continue to pitch, and maintain their eligibility to pitch in the second game on that day, until any one of the following conditions occurs: (1) that batter reaches base; (2) that batter is retired; or (3) the third out is made to complete the half-inning or the game. The pitcher would be allowed to pitch in a second game provided that pitcher is moved, removed, or the game is completed before delivering a pitch to another batter. If a player delivers 21 or more pitches in the first game, and is not covered under the threshold exception, the player may not pitch in the second game that day.
League age maximum total pitches per day:
11-12 85 pitches per day
9-10 75 pitches per day
7-8 50 pitches per day
The manager must remove the pitcher when said pitcher reaches the limit for his/her age group as noted below, but the pitcher may remain in the game at another .
Application of Age Limit Rule: If a pitcher reaches the age limit rule imposed above his/her league age while facing a batter, the pitcher may continue to pitch until any one of the following conditions occurs: (1) that batter reaches base; (2) that batter is put out; (3) the third out is made to complete the half-inning.
Catcher Rules Regarding Pitching
A player may not play the catcher position for 4 innings and also pitch in the game.
If they start any part of the 4th inning at catcher they are unable to play pitcher for the remainder of the game. However, a player who plays the position of catcher for three (3) innings or less may move to the pitcher position and pitch as many pitches allowed above.
Example going from Catcher to Pitcher, back to Catcher. A player can play 3 innings at the catcher position and move to Pitcher and deliver 20 pitches or less and still be eligible to return to catcher for one additional (4th) inning. Exception: If the pitcher reaches the 20-pitch limit while facing a batter, the pitcher may continue to pitch, and will maintain their eligibility to return to the catcher position, until any one of the following conditions occur: (1) that batter reaches base; (2) that batter is retired; or (3) the third out is made to complete the half-inning or the game. In the event of a double header, once a catcher has caught in an aggregate of 4 innings in that day, he/she is no longer eligible to pitch that day.
Pitchers cannot pitch 40 pitches and then play the catcher position.
Example regarding catchers and 40 pitch limit: If a pitcher reaches 40 pitches while facing a batter, the pitcher may continue to pitch, and maintain their eligibility to play the position of catcher for the remainder of that day, until any one of the following conditions occurs: (1) that batter reaches base; (2) that batter is retired; or (3) the third out is made to complete the half-inning or the game. The pitcher would be allowed to play the catcher position provided that pitcher is moved, removed, or the game is completed before delivering a pitch to another batter. If a player delivers 41 or more pitches, and is not covered under the threshold exception, the player may not play the position of catcher for the remainder of that day.
Practice Tip: Once a player pitches, plan on them playing other positions other than catcher to avoid confusion with the totals above. If they threw more than 40, they can’t play Catcher. Also remember once a player catches for at least 3 innings, you should remove them from that position to ensure they are eligible to pitch if you need them later.
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.
- The Home team should keep the official book via the gamechanger app.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Highest seed will be home team (descending order with top seed #1, next #2, #3, #4, etc.)
- For the Championship game, the undefeated team will be the home team regardless of regular season seeding for game one. Should the Visiting team win game one, they will be home team for if necessary second game.
- 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.
- 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.
- The ten-run rule or mercy run rule defined in 4.10(e) is in effect for the tournament.
- 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.
- The same “mandatory play rules” exist as in the regular season ground rules, including seasonal pitch percentage limits (30%) for pitchers.
- 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.
Bellaire Little League
P.O. Box 2016
Bellaire, Texas 77402