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Local Rules and Rule Clarifications

We've added some local rules and clarifications to complement the Little League® Official Rules, with input from the SMLLA Board and our Divisional Commissioners.

Table of Contents

Rest Threshold

In Little League, there is a maximum limit for the number of pitches allowed, whereas SMLLA has a rule that lowers this maximum limit even further. The pitch count determines how many days of rest are required before said player may pitch again.

Additionally, Little League has rules for players that pitch and catch in the same day.

  • Any Player who has played Catcher in any part of 4 innings that day cannot Play Pitcher
  • Any Pitcher who delivers 41 or more pitches that day, cannot play Catcher
  • If a player plays Catcher for 3 innings or less, moves to the pitcher position, and delivers 21+ pitches, they may not return to the catcher position in the same day.

For more information on Little League's Rest Thresholds, see the Official Little League Rest Thresholds page.

Courtesy Runner for Pitcher and Catcher

When there are two outs, a courtesy runner will be permitted for the pitcher and catcher in the next inning, using the last recorded out. However, in PCL, Minors, Cal, and Single A leagues, if the time limit is reached and the current inning is the last inning, no courtesy runner will be allowed. This rule applies to the catcher only in Single A.

Quick Reference On-field Rule Book

  Majors PCL Minors Minors Cal League Single A T-Ball Wiffle Ball
Badged on-field Coaches - 1 coach MUST always be in the dugout 3 3 3 4 - Coaches allowed in OF on defense 4 - Coaches allowed in OF on defense 4 1 badged Manager and any number of un-badged parents
Time Limit Unlimited No New Inning after 1:50 No New Inning after 1:50 No New Inning after 1:50 No New Inning after 1:50 3 innings or 1 Hour No new inning after 0:50 3 innings or 30 Minutes
Pitcher & Pitch Count Limits March: 45, April: 65, May: 85 PCL: 50 Minors: 50 March: Standing Coach Pitch, April: Kid 40 Pitches or 2 Innings Standing Coach Pitch all Season N/A N/A
Pitcher Distance 46 feet 46 feet 46 feet 42 feet N/A N/A N/A
Batter HBP proceeds to 1B Yes Yes Yes Coach Pitch: No - Spent Pitch. Kid Pitch: Batter's option: Coach pitch with strikes carryover or take 1st. Spent Pitch N/A N/A
Other Pitching Rules None None None No Walks. Kid pitch until 4 Balls are thrown. Then a Coach enters in-relief for up-to 3 additional pitches with Strikes carrying over. At bat cannot end on a hit foul ball.  A ball that hits the Coach Pitcher is dead and will be re-pitched. Coach pitch only. Up to 5 total pitches per batter until ball is put in play. At bat cannot end on a hit foul ball.  A ball that hits the Coach Pitcher is dead and will be re-pitched. N/A N/A
Minimum/Maximum Defensive Play 3 innings 3 innings 4 innings 4 innings and no more than 2 innings at any position 4 innings and no more than 2 innings at any position N/A N/A
Minimum Infield Play 1 inning 1 inning 1 inning 2 innings 2 innings N/A N/A
Sitting out on Defense Everyone sits 1 inning before anyone sits 2 innings Everyone sits 1 inning before anyone sits 2 innings Everyone sits 1 inning before anyone sits 2 innings Everyone sits 1 inning before anyone sits 2 innings Everyone sits 1 inning before anyone sits 2 innings N/A N/A
Minimum # of Outfielders 3 in innings 1-5; 2 in 6+ 3 3 4 4 Unlimited Unlimited
Infield Fly Rule Yes Yes No No No N/A N/A
Bunting Yes (slash bunting allowed) Yes Yes No No No No
Dropped 3rd Strike Yes No No No No N/A N/A
Steal 2nd and 3rd Yes Yes Yes No No N/A N/A
Steal Home Yes No No N/A N/A N/A N/A
Other game play rules None None Runner at 3rd may only score on a Bases Loaded, Walk or a Batted Ball. One Base Only for each overthrow Dead Ball (runners may not advance) when the Pitcher has the ball with one foot in the dirt pitchers circle. One Base Only on an Overthrow. Dead Ball (runners may on advance to the next base if they are more than half-way) when any Infielder has the ball in the Infield Dirt or Grass and holds it above their head. One Base Only on an Overthrow; Outfielders can’t make an UNASSISTED out at a base, both force or tag. But can throw a player out if fielding the ball and throwing it to a base… No recorded Outs.All batters hit a single. Last Batter hits a Grand Slam. No recorded Outs. All Batters hit a Home Run.
Inning Run Limit None First 3: 5 Runs. 4th On: Unlimited First 3: 5 Runs. 4th On: Unlimited First 3: 5 Runs. 4th On: Unlimited First 5: 5 Runs. 6th (or last because of time limit):Unlimited N/A N/A
Mercy Rule 10 Runs after 4 10 Runs after 4 10 Runs after 4 10 Runs after 4 None - Play as many innings as time allows. N/A N/A

To see the complete of set of local rules, refer to the SMLLA Local Rules document.

Player Pool

SMLLA uses a "Player Pool" to assist teams with a shortage of players on game days, preventing forfeits or rescheduling. Managers can request Pool Players from the SMLLA Player Agent for upcoming games.

Rules around using player pool kids.

  1. Email Player Agent an your Commissioner as soon as you know. 
  2. Please don’t grab a pool player without going through the Player Agent & Your Commissioner

Please include the following information in your email request:

  1. How many players you need?  
    1. Rules allow for 2 pool players to get to 9 or 10.  If you have 6 or less players you will need to reschedule.
    2. You do not get to reschedule a game just because you don’t have your best players – if you have 7 players,we will get you two pool players.  Please don’t reschedule games for this reason – this is not a fair or ethical way to play a game.  Email Joe Godfrey and Jon Wells to reschedule, cc your commissioner.  Rescheduled games will be sent to our UIC (Larry Weyer) so he can manage the umpires.
  2. Team Name, Opponent, Date of Game, Division
  3. You can start with 9 and end with 8.  Even if you have a player for one pitch and they run off the field, that counts.
  4. You can request a pool player with 9 to get to 10, especially if you are worried your 9th won’t show.  If they are sick or on the bubble than I recommend having 10 so we aren’t scrambling when you have 8 at the game.

Please don’t request a specific player.  We have the draft lists.  Asking for your best friend, or a specific player to fill a position, or any other reason is not needed.  We will get you a body.  There will be times we have to grab a player last minute and it might not be a fair match but again, we will do everything possible to get you a player vs. forfeiting or rescheduling. 

Remember:  While we understand the frustration of not having your best players, our goal is to get your game in. We will always find a player for you.  Please don’t be upset if it isn’t an equal replacement.  The goal is to get your game in, not to try to win a game using a pool player.  If that happens, great, but your players should come first.  While we aim to get players around the talent you are missing, often times they are busy and we have to take players of lesser talent.

Guidelines for having a pool player:

  1. Player wears their own team uniform
  2. Player bats last
  3. Two innings in the infield max 
  4. Player should sit out first, before your own team (if you have 10)
  5. Player can’t pitch or catch
  6. If they are coming from a game or have one immediately after your game, go easier on them in warm ups so as not to wear them out
  7. Once you request a player, and they arrive at the field, they are to play.  We don’t send a pool player home if a child you didn’t think was coming shows up. 
  8. Email the Player Agent and your Commissioner after the game so we know they played and we will mark it on our document.  We try to rotate kids as often as possible.  It is possible a kid might get asked several times before another child – we try to match kids on talent, some teams need pool players often while other teams don’t.  It will never be an even system but we will rotate turns within the confines of the talent needed to replace your missing players.  And of course who is available. 

Remember to encourage your kids to sign up: The more, the merrier.

Once we secure a player for your team, we will email you and the parent.  You can let them know what time to arrive, the field, ask what position the child is comfortable playing, etc.  Please work with your team to welcome and cheer on this child. 

Bat Types

Little League Baseball® adopted the USA Baseball bat standard for mandated use effective January 1, 2018. All players in Majors and below ages 4-12 must have a bat with the USA logo. See the USA Bat website for more information.

For our Juniors Division, ages 13 and 14, bats meeting the Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution (BBCOR) standard may be used in the Intermediate (50-70 field) Division and Junior divisions (54-80 field). USA Bats may also be used at this level.

Field Prep and Scorekeeping Duties

  • The home teams are responsible for field preparation both before and after the game. Please refer to the Trinta Field Prep Manual for details.
  • Visiting teams are in charge of scorekeeping and managing the booth. For detailed information on scorekeeping requirements, please refer to the Scorekeeping Requirements.

Fall Ball

Alongside the Local Rules, we have prepared an additional addendum specifically for the Majors Division.

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