Revised January 2011
The official little league baseball playing rules will be the main source or guide to govern play. The following LZBSA guidelines have been adopted by the LZBSA Board of Directors to incorporate and enhance the little league rules.
1.00 LZBSA Major League Structure and Organization
1.10 Official Little League Baseball Playing Rules
1.11 The official little league baseball playing rules will be the main source or guide to govern play. The following LZBSA guidelines have been adopted by the LZBSA Board of Directors to incorporate and enhance the little league rules.
1.20 Manager, Coach, Player And Parent Responsibilities
1.21 Managers, coaches, players and parents shall exhibit good sportsmanship at all times. Any action to taunt, intimidate or degrade opposing managers, coaches, players, parents or umpires will not be tolerated.
1.22 Players will not throw bats, helmets or any other equipment to display anger, frustration or displeasure. Violators may be removed from the game, at the discretion of the umpire, for flagrant violations.
1.23 Swearing by managers, coaches, players or parents, on and off the field, during games or practices, will be strictly prohibited. Violations during a game will result in immediate ejection.
1.24 Influencing the umpires (for example, yelling "safe" or "out" before the umpire makes a call, or yelling "good pitch" before the umpire makes a call) or openly questioning or complaining about the umpire’s call will not be tolerated. See rules regarding protests and appeals.
1.25 Arguing with umpires will not be tolerated and, if violated, managers, coaches, players or parents may be ejected and subject to disciplinary action. Remember, the umpires are often kids, too.
1.26 All managers and/or head coaches will be responsible for their teams, including coaches, players and parents, as outlined in the manager’s agreement. All managers will be required to submit a signed manager’s agreement prior to beginning the season, and to abide by the guidelines set forth by the agreement. These guidelines include, but are not limited to manager/coach responsibility and conduct to players, rule violations, disciplinary action, equipment, knowledge of playing rules, LZBSA responsibilities, etc.
1.27 The position of manager is a privilege retained for one baseball season. At the completion of the season, the league president will review each manager’s privilege and/or the manager review committee, umpire in chief and the respective vice commissioner.
1.30 Rain Outs Or Other Postponed Games
1.31 When a game is rained out or must be rescheduled, the league president is responsible for rescheduling the game on the first available date.
1.32 Failure to play on the assigned date may result in forfeiture; games rescheduled on Sundays may not be played before 12:00 noon, unless explicitly approved by the LZBSA Board.
1.40 Major League Structure
1.41 The number of registered players will determine the number of teams.
1.42 The league will be divided into two leagues, Major 11 and Major 12. The scheduled number of games to be played each year will be determined by the league president.
1.43 At the end of the regular season, there will be a post season tournament. All teams will be eligible to participate in the post season tournament.
1.44 Each team will be comprised of a maximum of thirteen (13) players and in no case will a team have less than ten (10) players.
1.45 In the event the number of registered players necessitates the creation of expansion teams, those teams will be held to the same roster requirements, if possible. It will be the responsibility of the league president and vice commissioner to determine the most appropriate means of rostering the expansion teams.
1.50 Major League Draft Procedure
The draft procedures will be reviewed at the end of each season and determined for the following year.
1.60 Style/Type Of Play
1.61 Standard baseball rules will apply. There will be no fungos, batting tees, limits on walks or limits on runs scored from walks, other than the 4 run and last inning rules in Major 11 and the slaughter rule in Major 12. All players should be encouraged to swing/hit. Umpires will be informed to call a wide strike zone, ball-width on either side of the plate, knees to shoulder, to encourage hitting.
1.70 Protesting Of Games And Appeal Play
1.71 There are no protests of games.
1.72 There is no appeal of an umpire’s call.
2.00 Game Play and Game Structure
2.10 All Play Rule - Batting Order and Infield Participation
2.11 All players present and eligible for the game shall be listed in a continuous batting order, which is in effect for the entire game. All players must bat in their position in the order, whether or not they play in the field. Each manager will submit a listed batting order, including player name and number, to the opposing team manager prior to the game.
2.12 If a team can only field 8 players at the beginning of a game, then the 9th batter position will be counted as an out when this batting position comes to bat. The 9th batter must be present to play the entire 1st inning of a game, to avoid this penalty.
2.13 Players arriving late to the game must be placed at the end of the batting order.
2.14 If a player leaves before the end of a game, that player’s position in the batting order will be eliminated and such elimination will not constitute an out. Exception: if a player is ejected, such subsequent at bat is an out.
2.15 No player can sit on the bench for more than one (1) consecutive defensive inning. Any player that sits out one (1) inning is required to play in the field the next full inning. All players must play at least four (4) full innings in the field per game. Late arriving players will play an appropriate, prorated amount of innings. Violations to the play rule may cause the manager to be suspended.
2.16 In the spirit of fair play, all players should play approximately the same number of innings. If a team fields 10 players for a game, no player on the team can sit more than one (1) inning defensively. If a team fields 11 or more players for a game, every player on the team must sit at least one inning defensively and no more than two times defensively.
2.17 Each player must play at least one (1) inning in each game at an infield position, unless the manager believes that by doing so the player will be at risk of injury. If the coach believes a player will be at risk by playing an infield position, they must advise the parents of their decision in advance, stating the reasons for the decision. Any decision to position a player less than 1 innings on the infield must be approved by the League President and the Boys’ Vice Commissioner, in advance of the game.
2.20 Regulation And Suspended Games
2.21 A regulation game consists of six (6) innings unless extended by a tie score or shortened at the direction of the umpire.
2.22 If a game is called, it is a regulation game if - (1) four innings have been completed or (2) if the home team is ahead after 3 ½ or more innings of play or (3) if the home team has scored a run to tie or take the lead in the 4th or later innings.
2.23 If a game is called after the start of the fifth inning, any partially completed inning will not count, unless the home team has scored one or more runs in its half of the inning to tie or win the game.
2.24 If a game is called and it is not a regulation game (i.e., one of the requirements in part B is not met), the game will be rescheduled and will continue from the point at which it was delayed.
2.25 When lightning is sighted, the game will be immediately suspended. Players and coaches will immediately retreat to safety (e.g., car/building). After 30 minutes, play can resume. If lightning is sighted again (after the 30 minute period), the game shall be called.
See Little League Book for more detail.
2.30 Game And Last Inning Time Limits
2.31 There will be a time limit on all games, except for the playoffs, the all-star and position round games.
2.32 Major 11 Only - No inning shall start more than 2 hours and 10 minutes after the start of the game. Note: a new inning starts as soon as the last out of the previous inning has been made.
2.33 Major 12 Only - No inning shall start more than 2 hours and 20 minutes after the start of the game. Note: a new inning starts as soon as the last out of the previous inning has been made.
2.34 Before each game the managers and home plate umpire will agree on the official starting time and the watch or clock that will be used to determine the time. The home team’s official scorer shall record the official starting time in the home team’s score book.
2.35 All games must end by sunset/dusk when played without lights.
2.40 Run Limits and Slaughter Rule
2.41 Major 11 Only – There will be a four (4) run limit during the 1st thought 5th innings. Upon scoring the fourth run, the umpire will declare the play dead and the defensive team shall leave the field.
2.42 Major 11 Only - If the game is shortened due to time limits or for any other reason, the four run limit will remain in place during the last inning. The four run limit is only lifted in the sixth inning and in extra innings.
2.43 Major 11 Only - During the sixth inning of the game and all extra innings, the four (4) run limit will be lifted.
2.44 Major 11 Only – During all innings, NO batter may come to the plate more than once.
2.45 Major 11 Only – If teams of unequal roster size are playing, then both teams will be allowed to bat an equal number of batters in the sixth and all extra innings. The number of allowed batters will be equal to the larger roster.
e.g. The Nationals have 10 players and the Braves have 13 players still playing the game at the beginning of the sixth inning. The Nationals and the Braves will both be allowed to bat a maximum of 13 batters, pending 3 outs. If during their half of the 6th or extra innings, the Nationals have batted all 10 of their rostered players and have 2 or fewer outs, they may continue to bat from their lineup, according to the batting sequence, and may continue this way until they have made 3 outs or batted 13 players.
2.46 Major 12 Only – There will be NO run limit in any inning. The inning is only ended upon making 3 outs or upon fulfilling the slaughter rule criteria.
2.47 Major 12 Only – There is NO limit on the number of batters which may come to bat in an inning.
2.48 Major 12 Only - The slaughter rule is in effect if either team is 10 runs ahead after 5 complete innings or if the home team is ahead by 10 runs after 4½ innings. In this event the leading team wins the game and the game is over.
2.49 All Divisions - Should time permit, in the event of a tie after six (6) innings, the teams will continue to play additional innings in the same manner as the sixth inning until a winner is determined.
2.50 Dead Play Rule
2.51 Base runners may NOT advance beyond the base they are headed toward once the defensive team has returned the ball to the pitcher, and the pitcher is on the mound. If the pitcher makes a play on the runner by throwing the ball, the runner may advance one (1) base. Above rule applies to Major 11. Major 12 is always a live ball except during a timeout.
2.52 Delayed steals (steals when catcher is throwing the ball back to the pitcher) will not be allowed. If, in throwing the ball back to the pitcher, the throw is wild or the pitcher fails to catch the ball, then the ball is live and the base runners may advance at their own risk. Above rule applies to Major 11 only. Major12 is always a live ball except during a timeout.
2.53 A player is allowed to steal second base after a walk.
2.54 Major 11 Only – There is no dropped 3rd strike in the Major 11.
2.55 Major 12 Only – The dropped 3rd strike rule will be in effect according to Little League and IHSA rules.
2.60 Infield Fly Rule
2.61 An infield fly is a fair ball (not including a line drive nor an attempted bunt) which can be caught by an infielder “with ordinary effort”, when first and second, or first, second and third bases are occupied, before two are out. The batter is out and the ball is alive and runners may advance at the risk of the ball being caught, or may retouch and advance after the ball is touched, the same as any fly ball. If the hit becomes a foul ball, it is treated the same as any foul ball.
2.62 Determination of an infield fly is left to the umpire. The infield fly rule applies if and only if it is so judged by the umpire, and accordingly called by the umpire. There is NO DISPUTING a called or uncalled infield fly. (The term “with ordinary effort” implies a judgment call by the umpire. No judgment call can be disputed. Failure by an umpire to call “Infield Fly” implies the umpire's judgment that the ball requires more than ordinary effort to be caught.)
2.70 Stealing, Bunting And Tag Up
2.71 Major 11 Only – Leading off a base IS NOT ALLOWED in Major 11. The runner must remain touching the base until the pitched ball crosses the plate. Once the pitched ball has crossed the plate, the base runner may attempt to steal a base. If a play is made on the base runner, the base runner has the option of advancing to the next base or returning to the base from which he came.
2.72 Major 12 Only – Leading off a base IS ALLOWED in Major 12. The runner is NOT required to remain in contact with the base while the pitcher is on the mound or rubber. The runner may attempt to advance to the next base at anytime.
2.73 Bunting with runners on third base is allowed; runners may advance at their own risk.
2.74 A fake bunt is not permitted. A fake bunt is when a batter squares off to bunt and then pulls back and swings at the pitch. Any player who attempts a fake bunt is automatically called out and runners are returned to the base they occupied before the fake bunt was made. A player may show bunt and then pull back. i.e. Once a batter has indicated he will bunt he must either bunt the ball or he may “take” a pitch, but he may NOT swing or half swing the bat.
2.75 All Divisions – Stealing of home is permitted ONLY once the ball has passed the plate.
2.76 Tagging up on a fly ball is allowed.
2.80 Sliding and No Contact Rule
2.81 All players must avoid contact, unless sliding.
2.82 A base runner not complying with this rule will receive a warning and an automatic out. (An ejection at the umpire’s discretion can occur on first offense).
2.83 The warning is considered to apply to the entire team of the offending player. A second offense by any player on the team will result in automatic ejection of that player.
2.84 Head-first slides are only permitted when a player is returning to a base after having previously reached that base safely. Any player that violates this rule will be called out.
2.90 Borrowing Players
2.91 All teams need a minimum of eight (8) players to start a game. See rules pertaining to 9th batter out and players leaving a game.
2.92 Teams with nine (9) regular rostered players may borrow one (1) player. Teams with eight (8) or fewer regular rostered players, may borrow up to 2 players. Borrowed players may be the 9th and/or 10th players, only. If regular rostered players show up late, then the borrowed player may play as long as the total players remains at ten (10) or fewer.
2.93 Players may be borrowed from the respective LZBSA “feeder” league, as follows.
2.93a Pony may borrow any 12 YO player.
2.93b Major 12 teams may borrow any player from Major 11
2.93c Major 11 teams may borrow any player from 10YO Minor League.
2.94 Borrowed players must be reported to the player agent, prior to the game if reasonably possible.
2.94a Players may be borrowed only once during the regular season.
2.94b Players may be borrowed only once during the playoffs.
Example: The Angels borrow Lee on May 5th. Lee may NOT be borrowed again by any team during the regular season. Lee may be borrowed by the Angels or Pirates during playoffs. However, if the Pirates borrow Lee in the 1st round of playoffs, Lee is then ineligible to be borrowed by the Pirates, the Angels or anyone else during, thereafter.
2.95 It is the manager’s responsibility to verify that a borrowed player is eligible and has not previously been borrowed according to rules 2.75 and 2.76, and to verify this players status with the borrowed player’s regular manager, parents AND the major league player agent. All violations of the borrowed player rule will result in forfeiture of the respective game and additional penalties at the discretion of the League President and Vice Commissioner.
2.96 Under NO circumstances can a player that is NOT officially registered with LZBSA play during a LZBSA game or LZBSA sanctioned game.
2.97 If eight (8) players are not available to play by scheduled game time, that team will forfeit. Even though a forfeit is called, the league encourages the two managers to play the game with players borrowed from each other. Remember we want the players to play as often as possible. For teams playing with eight (8) players, the ninth position of the batting order will be an automatic out.
2.98 Borrowed players will play at least the required minimum number of innings.
Borrowed players will not be allowed to play more innings than rostered players.
Borrowed players MUST PLAY THE OUTFIELD ONLY. (Borrowed players can not pitch, catch, or play the infield.)
3.01 Refer to Little League Rule Book
3.02 All rostered players are eligible to pitch.
3.03 Borrowed players are not eligible to pitch.
3.10 Pitching Limits
3.11 Major 11 - A player may pitch in a maximum of two (2) innings in a game. A pitcher may pitch a maximum of three (3) innings per game ONLY during playoffs or in a situation where the team is scheduled to play games on consecutive days. Major 12 - A player may pitch in a maximum of three (3) innings in a game.
3.12 A player may pitch in a maximum of six (6) innings in a calendar week, Monday through Sunday.
3.13 Delivery of a single pitch in any given inning constitutes having pitched that inning.
3.20 Pitching Days of Rest
3.21 If a player pitches one (1) or more innings (i.e. one (1) or more pitches) that pitcher must have one (1) calendar day of rest, and is not eligible to pitch again until 2 calendar days after this game was played.
Example: Buehrle pitches three (3) innings on Saturday at 9am. He is eligible to pitch next on Monday. If his team is playing on Sunday night, at 8pm, Buehrle is NOT ELIGIBLE TO PITCH THE GAME ON SUNDAY, despite the fact that he has had 24 hours of rest. He has not had 1 calendar day of rest until Monday.
3.23 A pitch must meet both the days of rest requirements and the weekly inning count limits in order to be eligible to pitch. The “days of rest rules” apply across all weekly boundaries.
3.40 Removing a Pitcher
3.41 A player once removed as a pitcher may not pitch again in the same game.
3.42 No more than six (6) pitchers per team shall be used in one game.
3.43 Rain out/make up game pitching eligibility; innings will not transfer from the rained out/cancelled game to the rescheduled game. Regardless of the circumstances, all teams and pitchers will follow the guidelines as set forth in the Little League Rule Book on pitching eligibility per week.
Example: Matthewson pitches 3 innings on Tuesday, but the game is called on account of rain in the 3rd inning. Matthewson is next eligible to pitch on Thursday following one (1) calendar day of rest. Matthewson has thrown 3 innings in this week, all of which will count toward his weekly inning count.
3.50 Batter Hit By Pitcher
3.51 If a pitcher hits two (2) batters in one (1) inning, that pitcher must be removed from the mound.
3.52 If a pitcher hits three (3) batters during the course of the game, that pitcher must be removed from the mound.
3.60 Balk Rule
3.61 Major 11 Only – No balks will be called in the Major 11.
3.62 Major 12 Only – Balks will be called according to Pony and IHSA rules.
3.62a At the discretion of the Umpire(s) pitchers may be given 1 or 2 warnings. Managers should discuss this prior to the game at the home plate meeting with the umpire.
3.70 No Intentional Walks
3.71 Intentional walks are not permitted at the major league level.
3.80 No “Quick Pitch”
3.81 There will be no "quick pitch." The batter will be allowed to get set in the batter’s box and the pitcher will come to a set position before he pitches the ball.
3.90 Playoff Pitching Eligibility
3.91 A one-time reset will be applied to the “weekly pitch counters” for all pitchers immediately following the final regular season game.
3.92 Pitching eligibility may be altered for playoffs at the discretion of the League President and Boys’ Vice Commissioner.
3.93 Any alterations to the pitching eligibility for playoffs shall be determined and announced prior to the 1st playoff games.
4.01 Players playing the Catcher position must wear a protective cup and athletic supporter.
4.02 The catcher must wear a mask while warming up the pitcher. This rule also applies to any player warming up the pitcher.
4.03 A courtesy runner must be provided for the catcher at any time after 2 outs. This runner must be the last player to have made an out. If there are 2 outs, any player other than the batter, that is on base is ineligible to catch when his team next takes the field defensively.
5.01 A baseball bat with a barrel no larger than 2-1/4 inches in diameter will be allowed.
6.00 Other Rules of Play
6.10 Visits to the Mound
6.11 A pitcher is allowed no more than two (2) visits by any combination of managers, coaches or parents to the mound during an inning. Upon the 3rd visit in any inning, the pitcher must be replaced.
6.12 A pitcher is allowed no more than three (3) visits by any combination of managers, coaches or parents to the mound during a game. Upon the 4th visit of the game, the pitcher must be replaced.
6.13 A visit constitutes any of the above mentioned persons from the defensive team stepping across the foul lines onto the playing field during the defensive teams half inning. A half inning is considered to have ended upon completion of the 3rd out or when an inning has ended according to the run limit rules.
6.20 Field Size
6.21 Each team shall provide 1 new game ball, provided by the league.
6.22 The distance between the base paths shall be 70 feet.
6.23 The distance between the pitcher’s mound and home plate shall be 48 feet. Under certain circumstances the mound may be 50 feet at Heritage Oaks.
6.31 No metal spikes will be allowed.