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Stateline Baseball

Stateline Pony Baseball - Local Rules

These rules are designed to make the sport of baseball fun for our players and to help ensure their safety and healthy growth. Please follow them faithfully while respecting the spirit of fun youth baseball. The Board of Directors is asking the umpires to take the leading role in enforcing these rules. These general rules are designed to help maintain the condition of our playing fields, to help ensure everyone's safety, and to supplement our "Good Neighbor" Policy.

If a rule is not mentioned here, we revert to the most recent copy of the NFHS Rules used by the IHSA.


Coaches & Responsibilities

Each team may have no more than 1 head coach, and no more than 3 Assistant Coaches. These 4 coaches will constitute the official coaching staff for the team. Each coach shall be registered on statelinebaseball.com as a volunteer coach.

Volunteering as a coach does not guarantee that you will be a coach. The Board of Directors reserves the right to appoint, remove, and realign coaches as they deem necessary for the benefit of the league. Coaches agree to be subject to the directives of the Board of Directors and their respective Division Commissioner, as they relate to league logistics, equipment management, and disciplinary actions against players and/or coaches.

Coaches are assigned a team and are expected to manage that team according to ethical youth athletics standards. It is the Coach’s responsibility to communicate all news, updates, schedules, and other information to their players, their player’s parents, and all other necessary individuals. Coaches are responsible for reviewing the league rules and will be held accountable for the application of all rules.

Draft Rules & Regulations

At a time set by the Board of Directors, normally 1 week before the scheduled practice start date, a team draft will be held to set the rosters for any given season. All coaches are encouraged to attend, Head Coaches are required. If a Head Coach may not attend, an Asst. Coach must be sent in his stead. Coach’s kids are automatically placed on a team's roster. Players returning to the same division are placed on last season’s team, so long as a coach has agreed to maintain that team, or take that team over for a previous coach. Players retain the right to re-enter the draft if they would like to be on a different team.

New for 2018 Fall Season and beyond...The league will appoint all Head Coaches and Assistant Coaches. Coaches may NOT choose their own coaching staff. Teams will enter a new division with 3 available Coach and Coach's kid slots. 1 HC and 2 AC. Coaches and Coach's kids that fill these slots will remain in these slots for the duration of this team's time in that division - whether or not the Coach is active or not. 

This is intended to remove the opportunity to stack a team by removing a coach but keeping his kid, only to add another coach and his kid in his place. 

A draft order will be set by the commissioner with the intent of getting all teams equal ability to draft a competitive team. Only draftable players may be picked. A draftable player is a registered player who has either attended the skill assessment and has been given a skill number, or a player that can be given a skill number with the consensus of at least 2 present opposing coaches or board members. Non-registered players will not be placed on a team, and un-rated players will be hat picks.

No team may draft more than 6 members of their team being of the higher age in that division. E.g. if a team has 5 players returning as 10 years old in Mustang, they may draft only 1 more 10-year-old player, and thereafter may only draft players of the younger age, until all players of the younger age are taken, or until their team is complete.

Coaches must complete the Team Sheet and submit to their division commissioner after the conclusion of the draft.

Draft Schedule

The Draft will include the following actions in this order:
Coach Assignments → Pitchers → Players → Hat Picks → Team Review → Practice Locations → Team Name / Colors

Skill Rating Scale

Pitchers
1 • slow speed, 10 - 40% strikes;
2 • mid speed 10-40% strikes;
3 • mid speed, 40-70% strikes or slow speed, 70-100% strikes;
4 • high speed, 40-70% strikes or mid speed, 70-100% strikes;
5 • high speed, 70-100% strikes.

Player
1 • needs to be heavily trained on almost all baseball concepts & skills
2 • understands concepts but needs practice on applying them
3 • good understanding of concepts, and average athletic skill applying them
4 • good understanding of concepts, and above average skill applying them
5 • great understanding of concepts, and high level of athletic skills applying them

Playing w/ less than a full roster

Each team must field a minimum of 8 players or forfeit the game. Teams who have 7 players, and expect to have another one show up late, must take the visitor spot and bat first. If the 8th player does not arrive to bat in their spot, or a team takes Defense with less than 8 players, the team will forfeit (7-0). If a team is playing with 8 players, the 9th spot in the order will be an out each time it comes up. Each team may only have 9 defensive players on the field at any one time. All players will bat. 

This same rule applies to 8u division, reflecting 10 players on defense (add 1 to all numbers above).
 

Roster

No player may sit out more than 2 innings per game before another player has sat out 2. Sitting out 1 pitch counts as sitting out the entire inning. Arriving late to a game or leaving early do not count as sitting out. Coaches found to be violating this rule will be held to our Code of Conduct 3 strike policy, and the players found to have been benched for more than 2 innings shall play the entirety of the immediately following game, and hit at the top of the batting order.

If an injury keeps a player from being able to bat, the team must choose to either: 

a) take an out but keep the player in the game b) remove the player from the rest of the game and not take an out. 

Players who show up to the game after their listed turn in the batting order are placed at the bottom of the batting order. If due to injury a player cannot run the bases, a pinch runner may be used. All pinch runners must be the player that recorded the last out (1st inning no outs exception: pinch runner is any previous batter not on base.) 

 

Substitute Players

Only roster-listed players may play, except for substitutes from the divisions listed below.  Substitutes are not allowed to pitch.  All substitutes must come from a current year SB roster.  A team may call up subs for a total of 10 players. The called up player(s) must bat at the bottom of the order, and shall only play the field in replacement of an injured (pulled from game) or not-present roster-listed player.

8u- Substitutes from 6u, age 6, are allowed
10u
- Substitutes from 8u are allowed
12u - Substitutes from 10u are allowed
14u - Substitutes from 12u are allowed
16u - Substitutes from 14u are allowed
 

Batting

Continuous Order • All Players will bat, in order, no matter their position on defense. If a batter is unable to complete their at bat, the last batted out will temporarily fill their spot in the order, and will assume the same count left. If that spot comes up to bat again, and the injured batter is able to bat, he may bat. If he cannot play, the player must be pulled from the game, and the spot will be skipped, or count as an out, depending on the total # of remaining players as it relates to the above rule “playing with less than a full roster”.

Bunting • Bunting is allowed in all divisions other than Pinto/Shetland. Players may fake bunt, but they may not pull back a fake bunt and take a full swing at the ball. If a player does this, they will be called out immediately, and no runner shall advance.

Injured While Batting • If a player is unable to complete an at-bat due to an injury, the last batted out shall step in and take over his count. If his place in order comes up to bat again, the original player shall either bat or be removed from the game (See "Playing with less than a full roster" to determine how to treat this spot in the order).

Batter's Box • The batter's box is a 4'x6' box on either side of the plate, starting 6" away from the plate, centered off the middle of the plate. This gives the batter 3 feet from the center point of the plate either towards or away from the catcher. Because we do not normally mark the batter's box, this is an imaginary line made by the judgment of the umpire. If a player is found to be out of the batter's box at any time, the Umpire reserves the right to ask the player to reenter the box, or a strike may be called.
 

Length of Games

6u, 8u, 10u - 6 Innings
12u, 14u, 16u - 7 Innings

There shall be NO INFIELD WARMUPS before a game. Be in your dugout at least 5 mins before game time, ready to play.

Ending a Game Due to Time • No new inning shall start after 1 hour and 45 minutes from the games start time (2 hours for Colt, 1 hour 30 minutes for fall ball). Time is judged at the last out of the previous inning. If a prior game is running late, the next game must start within 10 minutes from the end of the previous game, and that will be that games official start time. The umpire will be the official timekeeper, announcing the start time after the first pitch.  

At any time that the time limit has been met and a winner may be determined (due to per inning run limits) - the umpire may call the game immediately (even in the middle of an at-bat). Umpires reserve the right to announce a "last inning" based on their judgment of the time necessary to complete the inning relevant to the available playing time.

Partial Games Considered Complete • In the event of weather or other necessary game time delays, any game that has completed at least 4 innings, or 3 1/2 innings if the home team is winning, shall be considered a complete game and shall not be postponed or rescheduled. Only games that have not met this requirement will be postponed to a new date/time.

Weather Affecting Length of Game • At any time that an Umpire or Coach sees lighting or hears thunder, the Umpire shall immediately call for all participants to clear the field of play and find shelter. Umpires reserve the right to either delay the game or postpone it entirely. All players, coaches, parents, and fans shall find shelter, which may be a dugout, a pavilion, a car, or inside. 

Games that have already begun shall be paused immediately, with the home team bookkeeper documenting the exact batter, pitcher, count, outs, runners, and score of the game. The game shall be delayed for 30 minutes from the time that any lightning is seen or thunder is heard. The game time limit of 105 minutes shall be paused, so long as there is ample time to complete the game without losing daylight or impeding on another scheduled game's start time. If the game has not yet begun, the scheduled start time shall be 30 minutes from the time that any lightning is seen or thunder is heard.

In a case where daylight or another scheduled game will impede on the ability to complete a full game (at least 4 innings, at most no inning, starting after 105 minutes), then the game shall be postponed to another day. If the game can begin (after 30 minutes of no thunder or lightning) with a reasonable expectation of completing the game that day, then play will resume on the Umpire's signal based on the recorded situation at the time of the initial delay. 

It is the Umpire's discretion if there will be enough time to complete the game after any delays, and any decisions to postpone or play the game after a delay must be approved by the Umpire. 

Parents and fans observing the game are also encouraged to look out for lighting and thunder and notify an Umpire or Coach if any is seen or heard.
 

Scoring

Games may end in a tie; however, extra innings will be played until a winner is determined or the time limit is met. Each division has specific rules regarding runs allowed, and are as follows:

6u - No score is kept. 
8u
- No more than 5 runs per inning.  Mercy rule applies only as it relates to the run limits. It is calculated that once you cannot come back and tie, the game is over.
10u, 12u - No more than 7 runs per inning (5 during Fall Ball).  Mercy rule applies only as it relates to the run limits. It is calculated that once you cannot come back and at least tie, the game is over.
14u, 16u - No run limits (5 during Pony Fall Ball). Mercy of 15 @ 4 innings, 10 @ 5 innings.
 

Pitching 

We recommend that each team develops a 5 player rotation. Once a pitcher has been pulled, that player may not return as a pitcher in the same game. These pitching limits apply for all games, including tournaments, no matter when the tournaments begin.  Limits are on a 7-day cycle, and a single pitch is considered to be an inning.

Mound Visits • Each team is allowed 1 visit to the mound per inning without penalty. Each subsequent visit to the mound after the first in each inning shall result in the Pitcher being replaced. We have a short amount of time to complete each game, so we need to keep mound visits to a minimum.

The following shall be considered mound visits:

• Coaches walking into the field of play to talk with the pitcher and/or any other players on the field
• Coaches seen signaling (verbally or non-verbally) to any player to talk with the pitcher
• Coaches visiting the mound while the pitcher is warming up before the first batter of the half inning

Any visits to the field of play to address an injured player (or for any other health or safety concerns) shall not be counted as a mound visit. Remember: There is no such thing as "between" innings. Any visits to the mound/pitcher during warmups are considered the same way they would be during or between at-bats.

Pitching Limits

6u - Coach Pitch, no child will pitch at any time
8u - 2 Innings / day, 6 Innings / 7 Days. No Walks. Pitcher will pitch until either a hit or a 3 ball count, at which point the Offensive coach will resume the count until the ball is put into play, or the batter strikes out. 
10u - 3 Innings / day, 8 Innings / 7 Days.  Breaking balls not permitted. Balks will not be called.
12u - 4 Innings / day, 10 Innings / 7 Days.  Breaking balls not permitted. Balks will be called, but will only be enforced during a steal or pick move. Each Pitcher will receive a warning and an explanation.
14u - 6 Innings / day, 10 Innings / 7 Days. Balks will be called, but each pitcher will receive a warning, and an explanation.
16u - 6 Innings / day, 12 innings / 7 Days. Balks will be called, but each pitcher will receive a warning, and an explanation.

*The per day rule also applies to suspended games, i.e. a 12u game is suspended after a pitcher has thrown for 2 innings. That same pitcher may only throw for 2 more innings, even if the remainder of the game is played on a different day. 

We highly encourage coaches to count pitches as well. Total pitch count may be harder to track, but it is a much better gauge of arm usage. These recommendations are a great resource to determine how much pitching players should do, and how long they should rest afterward.

Recommended Max Pitches/Day
8 & under: 50
9-12: 60
12-13: 70
14-16: 90
17 & older: 100

Recommended Rest 
Under 20 Pitches: None
21 - 40 Pitches: 1 Day
41 - 60 Pitches: 2 Days
61 - 80 Pitches: 3 Days
80+ Pitches: 4 Days

Stealing 

6u, 8u - No stealing or leading off. Runners must be hit around the bases.

10u
- Stealing home is not permitted (including on passed balls and overthrows trying to pick-off a runner or trying to throw out a runner stealing, basically there is a stop sign at 3rd unless walked or hit in). Runners may not lead-off of any base, but can steal 2nd or 3rd Base after the ball crosses the plate. Drop 3rd strike does not apply. Runners may advance or steal on a live ball until such a time that the Pitcher has the ball in his possession and is heading back to the pitching rubber. Exception: Batter-Runners advancing to first base on anything other than a hit may NOT advance to 2nd base until after another pitch is thrown. 

12u
- Runners may lead-off of all bases (3rd Base limited to 10 feet until the ball is pitched) & steal at will. Drop 3rd strike does apply.

14u, 16u
- NFHS Rules

Direct Stealing home is prohibited in all divisions. A steal is considered a “direct steal” when the runner on 3rd base proceeds to home on the pitch. Umpires will determine if the runner attempted a direct steal or a secondary lead followed by a steal. Penalty: Runner is out.
 

Running, Sliding & Contact

Pinch Runners - At any time after 2 outs where the Catcher of record is on base, a Pinch Runner may be used for the Catcher. This is only for the Catcher, and only when there are 2 outs. Catcher of Record is the Catcher that finished the previous inning (if in the first inning for the visiting team, the catcher that starts the game at the bottom of the first).

All Divisions - We encourage all players to slide into any bag other than 1st where a play seems imminent. However, at no time does a runner have to slide. At home plate, we will enforce a "must slide or avoid contact" ruling. If the runner does not slide or make a reasonable attempt to avoid contact and a collision occurs, an out will be called, and if in the umpire's judgment the contact was malicious, an ejection will be warranted. Hard tags by the Defense that are judged intentional will warrant an ejection.  

When there is a possible play at home plate, the catcher must line up in fair territory leaving a path to the plate. If a catcher is blocking the running lane of the runner, the catcher shall be seen as intentionally inviting dangerous contact, and the runner will be called safe.

8u- Batters do NOT take first on a Walk or Hit By Pitch. Cather's interference is in play, batter gets first base. No runners may advance to the next base unless they have advanced at least 1/2 way to the next base BEFORE the baseball has been reached the infield. The Umpire will judge how to apply this rule.

8u, 10u, 12u
- All slides into a base must be feet first unless sliding back to a base from a leadoff.  If a player slides head first there will be 1 warning per game, which will apply to both teams.  Any subsequent headfirst slides will result in an out.

14u, 16u - Head first slides are not encouraged, but will not result in a warning or out.
 

Pitching Distance

6u- 38’ no mound
8u - 40’ no mound
10u- 46’ no mound 
12u - 50’ from a mound
14u- 54’ from a mound
16u- 60’ 6” from a mound
 

Bases

6u, 8u - 50’
10u- 60’
12u - 70’
14u - 80’
16u- 90’
 

Dugouts

Home team will occupy 3rd base dugout.  Cheering for both teams is encouraged, but all noise shall end before the pitcher makes his motion to throw. 

Coaches and players are not allowed to run into the field of play at any time during a live ball. The only coaches allowed outside the dugout area during a live ball are those coaches that are designated for first and third base. No buckets allowed outside the dugout during live play.

 

Equipment

Shoes with metal cleats are prohibited in all divisions other than Colt. A protective cup is recommended for all players. Helmets must be worn by all players at bat, on deck & on base.  Individuals under 18 who are acting as 1st or 3rd base coach must wear a helmet.  Players in 12u and below must have a mask on their helmets.

Pitchers - A pitcher may not wear reflective glasses, any wristbands, or any other ornamental accessories that may be seen as a distraction to the batter. Sleeves below the elbow may be worn only if they are a solid color other than white.

Catchers Gear - All catchers must wear a protective cup. Helmets must cover the entire head, including ears, and shall have the mask connected to the helmet in some fashion, ie. mask straps button to the helmet.

Bat Certifications -  All bats may be no larger than 2 5/8" at the largest part of the barrel. All bats must have a Bat Performance Factor of 1.15 and the barrel must be stamped BPF 1.15 for league play with the USSA stamp. Bats with a USA Bat stamp are also allowed and will be required effective in the 2020 season. BBCOR bats are also allowed, but only recommended for players in or moving into High School. Coaches will be trained to look for the necessary stamp. Although wood bats are not recommended, as they remove power and comfort from the bat, they are also allowed in all divisions.

Commonly Misunderstood Rules

All 4 bases are in fair territory - Example: a batter swings, hits over the top of the ball, ball hits home plate and goes forward into the playing field - live ball. A bunt that hits and rolls back onto home plate and stops is fair. 

Infield Fly Rule - Only in 12u, 14u & 16u Divisions. With runners on 1st & 2nd or 1st, 2nd & 3rd - With less than 2 outs. 
Any pop fly that is in the infield or can reasonably be caught by an infielder. The batter is automatically out (regardless if the ball is caught or not). Runners may advance at their own risk but there is no force. The ball does not have to be caught by an infielder: an outfielder can catch a ball that is still under the infield fly rule. Simplified explanation - 1 fly ball in the infield or shallow outfield = 1 out. A player may not intentionally drop the ball to get a double or triple play.

Hit By Pitch 
- A batter in the box that is hit by a pitch, even if the ball hits the ground, is awarded 1st base. The ball is dead on contact with the batter, not the ground. Example: A wild pitch hits the ground 3 feet in front of the batter and bounces into the batter's leg. The batter has been hit by the pitch and will be awarded first base. The ball is dead when the ball hits the batter.

Appealing a Play / Protesting a game - There is a difference between appealing a play and asking for a 2nd opinion. Please understand that an official Appeal is only accepted on a few plays. Use the word “Appeal” only in cases where one is allowed, if you want a 2nd opinion, do not ask for an “Appeal”, rather, ask “will you consult with your partner on that call?”. 

When seeking an “Appeal” you must either make an Appeal Play (ie. tagging the player that missed a base), or call time to address the Umpires. Appeals are made by the Defense when there is a perceived violation by the offense. Plays which may be Appealed are: Faulty rule application (ie. giving 3 bases on a ball out of play), batting out of order, runner missing a base, not tagging up, a checked swing called a ball. Appeals must be made before the next pitch is thrown. Once the next pitch is thrown the call will stand. If a play is being appealed on a rule, and the game protested, an official protest shall be marked by the bookkeepers. The game shall continue, and the rule shall be reviewed after the game. If the call is overturned by rule, the game shall be continued from the same spot as marked in the book (same batter & count, runners, outs, score, etc.). All other non-rule appeals shall be resolved on the field.

When seeking a “2nd Opinion”, a coach must ask the umpire that made the call if he will ask his partner for a 2nd opinion. Do not ask the umpire not making the call for a 2nd opinion. Balls and strikes may not be questioned. In the case where a Coach feels that the umpire may have made the wrong call (including judgement calls for force outs, tags, dropped balls, and/or an umpire in a bad position to make the proper call) then the Coach may ask for time, approach the umpire making the call, and respectfully ask the umpire “will you consult with your partner on that call”, clearly defining which call is in question. The Umpire has the right to deny this request, and is the presiding umpire on the call. Only if the Umpire agrees to consult with the other Umpire will the 2nd Umpires opinion carry any weight. However, it is ALWAYS the decision of the Umpire making the call if he will overturn his ruling.

For further clarification, please review MLB rule 9.02 

Calling Time Out - Calling timeout is to be used for special circumstances, such as time to clean off after a slide. Do not teach the kids to call a timeout to throw the ball to the pitcher or stop runners from advancing. Asking for timeout does not automatically stop play. Only when an Umpire acknowledges and grants time will it be honored. 

Interference - Offensive Interference is when a batter or runner interferes with or confuses a Defender’s ability to make a play. Defensive Obstruction is when a defender obstructs a Batter’s ability to hit or a Runner’s ability to advance while running inside the base path. Batters have a right to the batter’s box, and Defenders have a right to field the ball. Intent weighs heavy here.

Balls Caught in Foul Territory - A ball caught in foul territory is not a "foul ball". It is an out.  For specific rules on what is a foul see MLB Definition of Terms. Therefore, a runner on base is allowed to advance on a foul ball caught for 1st or 2nd out, at their own risk, but must tag up just like any other caught ball.

Mustang 3rd Base Stop Sign - The only time a player may score in Mustang is when they have been forced by a walk, or they have advanced during a live ball that was hit into play. Example: Runner on 3rd, catcher attempts a pick by throwing to 3rd after the pitch, the ball proceeds out of play - the runner may not score. A pitched ball is hit into play, the ball is fielded and thrown around and ends up out of play - the runner can score.

Dropped 3rd Strike - In Bronco and above, the dropped 3rd strike rule is in effect. A ball that is called 3rd strike which hits the ground before it is caught (or "scooped") by the catcher, is considered a dropped 3rd strike. If there are less than 2 outs, and a runner is occupying first base at the time of the pitch, the batter shall be called out without any further action necessary by the defense. Any runners on base may attempt to steal any base, but if they were on first or leading off of first base at the time of the pitch - no matter if they steal or not, first base shall be considered occupied for application of this rule. If a batter-runner attempts to run to first base when he is otherwise determined to be out, but the defense attempts a play on him, the batter-runner is still out, but it is NOT a dead ball, and all other runners on base may advance at their own risk. The batter-runner does NOT have to start running to first immediately, and is NOT out unless put out or tagged by the defense, or has entered a dead-ball area (such as the dug-out).

The Base Path -There is no defined base path until a defender, with the ball in his possession, attempts to make a tag on the runner. It is ALWAYS an Umpire's judgment of when the base path has been defined, what the base path is, and whether or not the runner has deviated from that path.