SW Community League 4th - 5th Grade Rules of Play Revised 1/2023
The National Federation of State High School Association (NFHS) rules shall be followed, except for the following modifications and exceptions
These rules supersede any and all rules of the participating communities.
When a rule seems unclear, the decision of the umpire is final during the game. An unclear rule should first be interpreted in the best interest of safety, then in the interest of providing the best experience for the participants.
The distance from the back point of the home plate to the front of the pitcher’s rubber is 46 feet and the distance between bases is 60-65 feet.
The Home team has the first choice of the dugout.
Recording final score
The winning team must record the final score on the league website within 48 hours of completion of the game.
The visitor and home teams must each contribute one baseball to the umpire before the start of the game. Each team is equally responsible to contribute more balls to make sure that there are two playable game balls throughout the game.
Each player must play in the field a minimum of 4 innings per 6 innings. This rule intends to assure, that to whatever extent possible, innings played over the season should be distributed equally among all players.
All players on the team must be assigned a position in the batting order. Batting is continuous through all players in the batting order, regardless of whether or not they played a defensive position in the field that inning. Late arrivals are to be placed at the end of the batting order as it is at the start of the game. When a player needs to leave early, the coach needs to inform the opposing coach and umpire when this is to happen. No out is to be recorded at the place in the batting order where the player has vacated. Once a player is out of the game, he is no longer an eligible player.
Players may be freely substituted throughout the game subject to the restrictions listed in the section covering pitchers, except in the case of injury or a pitching change, defensive players may not be replaced during an inning.
A player who is injured during the game must either take his normal turn at bat and fulfill his equal time obligation in the field or be declared injured, “not able to compete,” and be taken out for the remainder of the game. An injury must be declared right after the occurrence to the umpire and the opposing coach, but the decision to declare, “not able to compete,” need not be decided until any subsequent turn at bat or his turn in the field, whichever comes first. When a player is removed from the line-up, due to an injury, it is not necessary to take an out in the position in the line-up.
Number of Players
Teams will play a maximum of 9 players in the fields. A team may start and play a game with only eight players, including substitutions.
Substitution players may be used however, the number of substitutions shall not be more than 2 and shall not be more than required to have 10 players maximum. A substitution player may not pitch or catch and can only play in the outfield. Substitutions must bat last in the batting order.
No non-rostered substitutions are allowed for the season-ending tournament games. Players cannot be rostered on multiple teams. A team that fails to meet these obligations is to forfeit the game.
Maximum Runs Per Inning:
Except for the last inning, a maximum of 5 runs per inning is allowed. There is a hard stop after the 5th run crosses the plate.
In the last inning, the number of runs per inning is unlimited for both teams. The umpire shall decide what inning is the last inning before the start of that inning. Due to time restrictions on the game, the last inning may not necessarily be the sixth inning.
Starting the Game
If one team does not have the minimum number of players (8) within 10 minutes after game time, that team loses by forfeit, and the game is canceled. If both teams do not have the minimum number of players both teams lose by forfeit and the game is canceled. Because the field is available and the object is to play baseball, the teams are encouraged to loan players and begin a practice game. If the coaches mutually agree to do this, the umpire(s) will work the practice game.
If an umpire has not arrived 10 minutes after game time, the game is to proceed using a volunteer umpire, or a coach from each team will alternate innings as the umpire. If the umpire shows up later, they are to take over their duties.
Coaches are encouraged to communicate before arriving at the field to determine if a game should be called due to weather. Once a game starts, the decision to call the game due to weather is based on the umpire’s discretion or mutual agreement between the coaches and umpire.
During the game, the umpire has discretion for the suspension of play due to rain, lightning, or any unsafe condition. If in the opinion of a coach, there is a danger to a player, he is to call a conference between the other coach and umpire to discuss and agree on the course of action.
If lightning is observed the play is to be halted and the field cleared until no lightning is observed for 20 minutes before play can be resumed.
Play can be continued after the weather threat has passed. If it is obvious that the weather condition will not dissipate in a reasonable time, the game is to be called, based on the umpire’s discretion or mutual agreement between the coaches and umpire.
Length of game
No new inning may start after 1 hour and 45 minutes after the first pitch. A regulation game is 6 innings.
A player may pitch a maximum of 2 innings in any game played. Having pitched in any part of an inning is counted as a whole inning. A pitcher that has been replaced during a game may not re-assume the position of pitcher unless it is the starting pitcher and they have pitched less than the maximum number of innings.
Since leading off is not allowed, there are no balks.
No Contact Rule
Contact is to be avoided; sliding is preferred. Any offensive player that runs into a defensive player attempting to make a putout is automatically out, except for the first basemen moving into the path of the runner. Sliding into a fielder who is attempting to perform a double play is not allowed and the penalty of doing so will result in an automatic out of the second runner. If the offensive player intends to injure, the umpire is to throw the player out of the game. Any such incident is to be communicated to the community commissioner.
A pinch runner may be allowed for a player with an injury that prevents him from running at full speed. If the player has the condition before the game, the umpire must observe that the injury affects the player’s ability to run. If a player is injured during the game, the umpire needs to determine if the injury adversely affects the player’s ability to run. The injured player must take a normal turn in the field. He cannot simply bat. Pinch runners are also allowed for the player who will be in catcher position the next inning with 2 outs remaining in an inning.
Infield Fly Rule
A fair fly ball (not a line drive or attempted bunt) that can be caught by an infielder with ordinary effort is an infield fly provided first and second bases or all bases are occupied and there are less than two outs. The umpire shall immediately declare, “infield fly” for the benefit of the runners. If the umpire does not declare “infield fly”, and it should have been called, the umpire shall at his discretion rule that the batter is out and may return the runners to their original bases. The ball is alive and runners may advance at their risk as on any fly ball. If the ball is foul, it is treated as any foul ball.
During each game, a manager or coach may make only one trip to the mound per pitcher before removing the pitcher from the game. On the second trip to the mound, the pitcher must be removed. Any conference to discuss the balk rule is not considered a trip
Only one offensive conference is allowed per inning. A conference with an injured player is not a charged conference. A conference where a pitcher is removed is not a charged conference. The other team may conference during the same time as the team that called the conference and not be charged for the conference.
Dropped 3rd Strike
A dropped 3rd strike is an out and the batter may not try to advance to first base. Base runners may attempt to advance on a dropped 3rd strike according to the Stealing rules.
Leading Off & Stealing
Leading off is not allowed but runners may steal as soon as the ball crosses the plate.
If on the first team violation, in the opinion of the umpire, the base runner left early, (1) the Umpire will issue a warning to the coach, (2) the runner will be required to return to the base, and (3) the ball is dead and other runners may not advance.
On the second and subsequent team violations, (1) the runner will be declared an out, (2) the pitch will be declared a “No Pitch”, and (3) the ball is dead and other runners may not advance.
Advance on stolen base attempted
Runners are not permitted to run at their own risk when a catcher overthrows second or third base in an attempt to catch a runner who is stealing. In this case, the runner is awarded the base safely, but the ball is called dead and the runner may not advance past the base being attempted.
Each bat must be 2-5/8 inches or less in diameter at the thickest part. Bats shall not weigh more than 11 ounces less than the length of the bat in inches (for example, a 31-inch-long bat must weigh 21 ounces or more). There are no restrictions on the length of bats. Wood bats are allowed. Bats with a USA/USSA/BBCOR Baseball Stamp are allowed.
Molded plastic spikes are recommended. Metal spikes are not allowed.