Section 1: Definitions
Obstruction: the act of a fielder, while not in possession of the ball or in the act of fielding a batted ball, which impedes the progress of a baserunner who is legally running bases
Interference: the act of a defensive player which hinders or prevents a batter from striking or hitting a pitched ball, or the act of an offensive player which impedes, hinders, or confuses a defensive player while attempting to execute a play.
Base Path: A base path is an imaginary line three feet to either side of a direct line between the bases.
Blocked Ball: a blocked ball is a batted or thrown ball that is touched, stopped, or handled by a person not engaged in the game, or while touched any object which is not part of the official equipment or official playing area.
Catch: a legally caught ball which occurs when the fielder catches a batted or thrown ball with his hands or glove. If the ball is merely held in the fielder’s arms or prevented from dropping to the ground by some part of the fielder’s body or clothing, the catch is not completed until the ball is in the grasp of the fielder’s hands or glove.
Chopped Ball: one at which the batsman strikes downward with a chopping motion of the bat. The batter will be declared out
Dead ball: the ball is not in play and is not considered in play again until the pitcher holds it in pitching position and the umpire has called “play ball”
Force Out: an out which can be made only when a baserunner loses the right to the base which he is occupying because the batter becomes a baserunner, and before the batter or a succeeding baserunner has been put out
Foul tip: a foul ball which goes directly from the bat, not higher than the batter’s head, to the catcher’s hand and is legally caught. This is a strike or an out depending on the strike count
Illegally caught ball: when a fielder catches a batted or thrown ball with his cap, glove, or any part of their uniform while it is detached from its proper place
In jeopardy: indicates that the ball is in play and an offensive player may be put out
Infield fly: a fair hit ball other than a line drive that is caught or in the opinion of the umpire could be easily handled by an infielder (not to be confused with the infield fly rule)
Legal touch: occurs when a runner or batter-baserunner who is not touching a base is touched by the ball while it is securely held in the fielder’s hand. The ball is not considered as having been securely held if it is juggled or dropped by the fielder after having touched the runner unless the runner deliberately knocks the ball from the hand of the fielder. It is sufficient for the runner to be touched with the hand or glove in which the ball is held
Legally caught ball: occurs when a fielder catches a batted or thrown ball provided it is not caught in thefielder’s hat, cap, pocket, or other part of his uniform. It must be caught and firmly held with hand or hands.
Quick return pitch: made by the pitcher with the obvious attempt to catch the batter off guard. This would be before the batter takes his desired position in the batter’s box or while he is still off balance as a result of the previous pitch
Section 2: The Game
- the choice of first or last bat in the inning shall be determined by a coin-toss
II. Length of game
- a regulation game shall consist of seven innings, or one hour. No new innings may start after 55 minutes of play.
- A full seven innings need not be played if the team second at bat scores more runs in six innings or before the third out in the last of the seventh inning
- A game that is tied at the end of seven innings shall be continued by playing additional innings until one side has scored more runs than the other at the end of a complete inning, or until the team second at bat has scored more runs in their half of the inning before the third out is made
- The umpire is empowered to call a game at anytime because of darkness, rain, fire, panic or other cause which puts the patrons or players in peril
- The umpire may forfeit the game if attacked physically by any team member or spectator
- A forfeited game shall be declared by the umpire in favor of the team not at fault in the following cases:
- If a team fails to appear upon the field, or being upon the field, refuses to begin a game for which it is scheduled or assigned by the time scheduled or within the time set for forfeiture by the organization in which the team is playing
- If, after the game has begun one side refuses to continue to play unless the game has been suspended or terminated by the umpire
- If, after play has been suspended by the umpire, one side fails to resume play 2 minutes after the umpire has called “play”
- If a team employs tactics designed to delay or to hasten the game
- If, after warning by the umpire, and one of the rules of the game is willfully violated
- If the order for the removal of a player is not obeyed within the one minute
III. Winning team
- the winner of the game shall be the team that scores the most runs in a regulation game
- The score of a regulation game shall be the score at the end of the last complete inning unless the team second at bat has scored more runs than the first team at bat in the incomplete inning, in this case, the score shall be that of the incomplete inning
- The score of a forfeited game shall be 7-0
- one run shall be scored each time a baserunner legally touches first, second, third bases and home plate before the third out of the inning
V. Disallow score
- a run shall not be scored if the third out of the inning is a result:
- The batter being put out before legally touching first base
- A baserunner being forced out due to the batter becoming a baserunner
- A preceding baserunner being put out for failure to touch base if the base missed was one to which the runner was forced to advance
VI. Legal pitch
- the pitcher takes a position with one foot firmly on the ground in contact with the pitcher’s rubber, not off to the side. His arm must come to a rest holding the ball in front of his body. He must deliver the ball toward home plate on the first forward swing of pitching arm past the hip. There shall be no stop or reversal of the forward motion. The pitch starts when the pitcher makes any motion that is part of his wind up. The pitcher must step toward home plate with the foot not touching the rubber.
- The ball must be delivered at a moderate speed, under hand, below the hip, with a perceptible arch of at least over the batter’s head. There is no height limit to the pitch
VII. Legal pitch
- A quick return pitch is illegal
- An illegal pitch is when the pitcher delivers the ball not in accordance with this pitching rule
- Effect: in each case an illegal pitch shall be declared a ball by the umpire, the ball is dead until put in play again at the pitcher’s box, provided, however, that is the batsman strikes at any illegal pitch it shall be a strike, and there shall be no penalty for such an illegal pitch. The ball shall remain in play if hit by the batsman
Section 3: Batting
I. Batter position
- the batter shall take his position wherever he wants near home plate
- the batter must take his position within one minute after the umpire has called “play ball”
- effect: the ball is in play, the batter is out
- the batter must take his position within one minute after the umpire has called “play ball”
- the batter shall not hit the ball with an illegal bat
- the ball is dead, the batter is out, and baserunners may NOT advance
- the batter shall not hit the ball with an illegal bat
II. Batting Order
- each player of the side at bat shall become a batter in the order which their name appears on the scoresheet
- the batting order of each team must be on the scoresheet and must be delivered before the game by the captain to the plate umpire. The umpire shall submit it to the inspection of the captain of the opposing team. Then it is the team at bat’s responsibility to keep score correctly.
- The first batter in each inning shall be the batter whose name follows that of the last player who completed a turn at bat in the preceding inning
- Effect: batting out of order is an appeal play
- If the error is discovered while the incorrect batter is at bat, the correct batter make take his place, assume and balls and strikes, and any runs scores or bases run while the incorrect batter was at bat shall be legal
- If the error is discovered after the incorrect batter has completed his turn at bat and before there has been a pitch to another batter, the player who should have batted is out. Any runs scored are cancelled and baserunners must return to the bases occupied when the incorrect batter took his position in the batter’s box. The next batter is the player whose name follows that of the player called out for failing to bat. If the batter declared out under these circumstances is the third out, the correct batter in the next inning shall be the player who would have come to bat had the players been out by ordinary play
- If the error is discovered after the first pitch to the next batter the team at bat of the incorrect batter is legal, all runs scored and bases run are legal, and the batter in order shall be the one whose name follows that of the incorrect batter. No one is called out for failure to bat. Players who have not batted and who have not been called out have lost their turn at bat until reached again in the regular order.
III. Batter’s Interference
- The batter shall not hinder the catcher from fielding or throwing the ball by stepping out of the batter’s area or intentionally hinder the catcher while standing within the batter’s box.
- Effect: the ball is dead, the batter is out, and baserunners must return to the last base that in the judgment of the umpire was touched at the time of the interference
IV. Opposition Interference
- Members of the team at bat shall not interfere with a player attempting to field a foul fly ball
- Effect: The ball is dead, the batter is out, and baserunners must return to the base legally held at the time of the pitch
V. Illegally Hitting Ball
- The batter shall not intentionally strike the ball a second time, strike it with a thrown bat, or deflect its course in any way while running to first base
- The ball is dead, the batter is out, and baserunners may NOT advance
VI. Strike Calls:
- a strike is called by the umpire:
- for each legally pitched ball touching home plate or the carpet
- for each pitched ball struck at and missed by the batter
- for each foul tip
- for each foul ball not legally caught on the fly when the batter has less than one strike
- for each pitched ball struck at and missed which touches any part of the batter
VII. Ball Calls
- a ball is called by the umpire
- for each illegally pitched ball not swung at by the batter
- when a delivered ball by pitcher hits a baseman outside of strike zone
VIII. Fair Ball
- a fair ball is a legally batter ball which:
- settles or is touched in fair ground between home and first base or between home and third base
- bounds past first or third base over fair ground
- touches first, second, or third base
- while on, or over fair ground touches the person or clothing of an umpire or player
- first falls on fair ground beyond first or third base. A fair fly must be judged according to the relative position of the ball and the foul line regardless of whether the fielder is on fair or foul ground at the time he catches the ball
- effect a-c. The ball is in play and baserunners are entitled to advance any number of bases with liability to be put out. The batter becomes a baserunner unless the infield fly rule applies
IX. Foul Ball
- a foul ball is legally batted ball which:
- settles on foul ground between home and first or home and third
- bounds past first or third on or over foul ground
- first touches on foul ground beyond first or third base
- while on or over foul ground touches the person or clothing of an umpire or player, or other obstructions
- effect a-d. 1. The ball is dead unless it is a legally caught foul fly. If a foul fly is caught, the batter is out. 2. a strike is called on the batter unless he already obtained one strike. 3. Baserunners must return to their bases without liability to be put out unless a foul fly is caught. In this case, the baserunner may advance with liability to be put out after the ball has been touched.
X. Batter is Out
- the batter is out under the following circumstances:
- When the 2nd strike is called
- When he bunts or chops the ball downward
- When a fly ball is legally caught
- Immediately when he hits an infield fly with the baserunners on first and second, or on first second and third with less than two outs. This is called “THE INFIELD FLY RULE”
- When they interfere with the catcher
- If a fielder intentionally drops a fair fly or line drive with the first, first and second, first and third, or first second and third occupied before two are out, runners need not retouch and may advance at their own risk (a trapped ball shall not be considered as having been intentionally dropped)
- If the proceeding runner shall, in the umpire’s judgment intentionally interfere with a fielder who is attempting to catch a thrown ball or to throw a ball in an attempt to complete a play, both runner and succeeding runner will be called out and interference called.
Section 4: Baserunners
I. Running the Bases
- The baserunners must touch the bases in legal order: first, second, third, then home plate
- When a baserunner must return while the ball is in play, he must touch the bases in reverse order
- When a baserunner acquires the right to a base by touching it before being put out he is entitled to hold the base until he has legally touched the next base in order or is forces to vacate it for a succeeding baserunner
- When a baserunner dislodges a base from its proper position, neither he nor succeeding runners in the same series of plays are compelled to follow a base unreasonably out of position
- Effect: The ball is in play and baserunners may advance with liability to be put out.
- A baserunner shall not run the bases in reverse order, either to confuse fielders or to make a travesty of the game
- Two baserunners may not occupy the same base simultaneously.
- Effect: The runner who first legally occupied the base shall be entitled to it: the other baserunner may be put out by being touched with the ball (exception: if the first runner is awarded the base to which he is returning because of obstruction, the second runner is also entitled to return one base without liability to be put out)
- the failure of a preceding runner to touch a base and who is declared out does not affect the status of a succeeding baserunner who touches bases in proper order. However, if the failure to touch a base in regular order is the third out of the inning, no succeeding runner may score a run.
II. The Batter Becomes a Baserunner:
- As soon as he hits a fair ball – the ball is in play and he is a baserunner with liability to be put out.
- When 4 balls have been called by the umpire – ball is dead.
- If the pitcher desires to walk the batter intentionally, he may do so by notifying the umpire, who shall award the batter first base – ball is dead.
- The catcher interferes with him or prevents him from striking at a pitched ball. Except if he hits the pitch and succeeds in reaching first base safely and no preceding runner is put out before advancing at least once, the interference should not be called.
- If a fair ball strikes the person or clothing of a baserunner or umpire before touching a fielder, ball is dead
- If a fair ball hit strikes the umpire or baserunner after having passed a fielder other than the pitcher, or having been touched by a fielder (including the pitcher) the ball shall be considered in play. Also, if a fair hit ball strikes an umpire on foul ground, the ball shall be in play
- Effect: 1. If the ball hits the umpire or baserunner after passing a fielder other than the pitcher or touched by an infielder including the pitcher, the ball is in play 2. If the ball hits the umpire or baserunner before passing a fielder, the ball is dead and the batter is entitled to first base without liability to be put out.
III. Baserunners are entitled to advance with liability to be put out under the following circumstances:
- A legally caught fly is first touched
- When the ball is overthrown into fair or foul territory and is not blocked
- When the ball is batted into fair territory and is not blocked
- When a thrown ball strikes the person or clothing of an umpire
- Effect a-d: The ball is alive and in play
IV. A player forfeits his exemption from liability to get put out:
- If, while the ball is in play, he fails to touch the base to which he was entitled before attempting to make the next base. If the runner put out is batter/baserunner at first base or any other baserunner forced to advance because the batter became a baserunner, this is a force-out
- If, after overrunning first base, the batter-baserunner tries to continue to the next base
- If, after dislodging the base, the batter-baserunner tries to continue to the next base
V. Baserunners are entitled to advance without liability to be put out:
- When forced to vacate a base because the batter was awarded a base on balls – ball is dead
- When a fielder obstructs the baserunner from making a base unless the fielder is trying to field a batted ball or has the ball ready to touch a baserunner.
- Effect: If he is prevented from making a base by the obstruction of a fielder. The ball is still in play so far as other runners are concerned. On the obstruction of this kind the umpire’s judgment shall prevail as to the number of bases to be awarded to the baserunners
- Effect: The baserunners shall be entitled to three bases if a batted ball, or two bases, if a thrown ball and in either case the baserunners may advance at their own risk. If the illegal catch or touch is made on a fair hit ball which, in the opinion of the umpire’s judgment, would have cleared the field fence in flight, the runner shall be awarded a home run.
- Effect: In all cases where a thrown ball goes into a stand for spectators or over, through or under any fence surrounding the playing field, or hits any person or object not engaged in the game or into the players’ benches (including bats lying near such benches), whether the ball rebounds into the playing field or not, or remains in the meshes of any wire screen protecting the spectators, each and every baserunner shall be awarded two bases
- When a first throw is made by an infielder, the umpire, in awarding such bases shall be governed by the position of each runner at the time the ball was delivered by the pitcher
- when the throw is made by an outfielder or is the result of any second succeeding play or attempted play, the award shall be governed by the position of each runner and the last base he has touched at the time the final throw was made
- When a fielder contacts or catches a batted or thrown ball with his cap, glove or any part of his uniform while it is detached from its proper place on his person.
- When the ball is in play and is overthrown into foul territory at first or third bases or home plate and is obstructed or blocked
VI. The baserunners advance is limited:
- When a fair ball bounds or rolls into a stand, over, under, or through a fence or other obstruction marking the boundaries of the playing field.
- The ball is dead and all baserunners are awarded two bases, from time of pitch unless umpires believe batter-runner could have advanced further. In this case umpire may award either a triple or a home run
VII. The baserunner must return to his base under the following circumstances:
- When a foul ball is illegally caught and is so declared by the umpire.
- When an illegally batter ball is declared by the umpire.
- When a batter or baserunner is called out for interference. Other baserunners shall return to the last base which was in judgment of the umpire legally touched by him at the time of the interference.
- When any part of the batter’s person is touched by a batted ball.
- When an umpire or baserunner is struck by a fair ball before it is touched by or passes through a fielder.
- Effect: 1. The ball is dead. 2. The baserunners must return to base without liability to be put out except when forced to go to the next base because the batter became a baserunner. 3. No runs shall score unless all bases are occupied. 4. Baserunners need not touch the intervening bases in returning to base but must return promptly. 5. However, they must be allowed sufficient time to return.
VIII. Base Stealing
- Under no condition is a runner permitted to steal a base. He may leave his base when a pitched ball has left the pitcher’s hand.
- Effect: Baserunners can lead off (as soon as the pitch has left the pitcher’s hand) but may not steal. They must return to that base after each pitch not hit by the batter, before the pitcher releases the next pitch. A runner not having returned to base before the next pitch will be declared out. Throwing the ball to the base results in a force out if the ball reaches the base and is caught by a fielder in contact with the base before the runner returns to the base.
IX. Batter-Baserunners are out under the following circumstances:
- When after a fail ball is hit, he is legally touched with the ball before he touches first base.
- When after a fair ball is hit, the ball is held by a fielder touching first base with any part of his person before the batter-baserunner touches first base.
- When, after a fly ball, the ball is caught by a fielder before it touches the ground or any object other than a fielder.
- Effect a-c: The ball is in play and the batter-baserunner is out.
- When he runs outside the three-foot baseline and in the opinion of the umpire, interferes with the fielder taking the throw at first base. However, he may run outside the three-foot line to avoid a fielder attempting to field a batted ball.
X. Baserunners are out:
- When, in running to any base, he runs outside the baseline in regular or reverse order to avoid being touched by the ball in the hand of a fielder.
- When, while the ball is in play, he is legally touched with the ball in the hand of a fielder while not in contact with a base.
- When, on a force-out a fielder tags him with the ball or holds the ball on the base to which the baserunner is forced to advance before the runner reaches that base.
- When a baserunner fails to return to touch the base when play is resumed after suspension of play
- When a baserunner physically passes a preceding baserunner before that runner has been put out.
- Effect a-e: The ball is in play and the baserunner is out.
- When the baserunner leaves his base to advance to another base before a caught fly ball has touched a fielder, provided the ball is returned to a fielder and legally held on that base or a fielder legally touches the baserunner before the baserunner returns to his base.
- When the baserunner fails to touch the intervening base, or bases in regular or reverse order and the ball is in play and legally held on that base, or the baserunner is legally touched while off base.
- When the baserunner legally overruns first base, attempts to run to second base before returning to first and is legally touched while off base
- Effect f-h: 1. These are appeal plays and the defensive team loses the privilege of putting the baserunner out if the appeal is not made before the next pitch. 2. the ball is in play and the baserunner is out. 3. All runs scored shall count unless this is the third out of the inning and is a force-out.
- NOTE: On appeal plays, the appeal must be made before the next pitch or before the defensive team has left the field. The defensive team has “left the field” when the pitcher and all infielders have clearly left their normal fielding positions.
- Effect h-q: The ball is dead and the baserunner is out. No bases maybe run unless necessitated by the batter becoming a baserunner.
- Effect: The ball is dead. NO PITCH is declared and the baserunner is out.
- When the baserunner interferes with a fielder attempting to field a batted or intentionally interferes with a thrown ball. If interference, in the judgment of the umpire, is an obvious effort to prevent a double play, the immediate succeeding runner shall also be called out.
- When a baserunner is struck with a fair ball while off base before it touches or passes a fielder.
- When a runner intentionally kicks a ball which an infielder has missed
- When, with a baserunner on third base, the batter interferes with a play being made at home plate with less than two outs.
- When, in the judgment of the umpire, the coach touches or holds the runner physically to assist him to return or to leave a base.
- When the coach near third base runs in the direction of home plate on, or near the baseline while a fielder is attempting to make a play on a batted or thrown ball and thereby draws a throw to home plate. The baserunner nearest to third base shall be declared out.
- When one or more members (includes bat boy or any other person authorized to sit on team’s bench) of the offensive team stand or collect at or around a base to which a baserunner is advancing thereby confusing the fielders and adding to the difficulty of making the play.
- When the baserunner runs the bases in reverse order.
- If coach intentionally interferes with thrown ball.
- When the baserunner fails to keep contact with the base to which he is entitled, until a legally pitched ball has reached home plate.
XI. Baserunners are not out:
- When a baserunner runs behind the fielder and outside the baseline in order to avoid interfering with a fielder attempting to field the ball in the base path.
- When a baserunner does not run in a direct line to the base, provided the fielder in the direct line does not have the ball in his possession
- When more than one fielder attempts to field a batted ball and the baserunner comes in contact with the one who, in the umpires judgment, was not entitled to field the ball.
- When a baserunner is hit with a fair ball that has passed through an infielder and in the umpire’s judgment, no other fielder has had a chance to play the ball.
- When a baserunner is touched with a ball not securely held by a fielder.
- When the defensive team does not request the umpire’s decision on an appeal until after the next pitch.
- When the baserunner overruns first base after touching it and returns directly to the base.
- When the baserunner is not given sufficient time to return to a base, he shall not be called out for being off the base before the pitcher releases the ball. He may advance as though he had left the base legally.
Section 5: Ball Dead – Ball in Play
I. The Ball is dead and not in play in the following circumstances:
- When the ball is batted illegally
- When the batter steps from one box to another when the pitcher is ready to pitch
- When the batter bunts or chops the pitched ball
- When “no pitch” is declared
- When a pitched ball touches any part of the batter’s person or clothing whether the ball is struck at or not
- When a foul ball is not caught
- When a baserunner is called out for leaving the base too soon on a pitches ball
- When the offensive team causes an interference
- When a batter intentionally strikes the ball a second time, strikes it with a thrown bat or deflects its course in any way while running to first base.
- When an overthrow is intentionally touched by a coach
- When a fair ball strikes a baserunner or umpire before touching or passing an infielder, other than the pitcher
- When a blocked ball is declared
- When an overthrow becomes a blocked ball
- The ball shall not be playable outside the established limits of the playing field
- In case of interference with batsman or fielder.
- After each strike or ball
- When time is called by the umpire
- Effect: Baserunners cannot advance on a dead ball, unless forced to do so by reason of the batter giving reached first base as entitled to. In all of the foregoing cases, the ball shall not be considered in play until it be held by the pitcher standing in his position and the umpire shall have called “play.”
II. The Ball is put in play in the following circumstances:
- At the start of a game when the pitcher has the ball while standing in his pitching position and the umpire called “play”
- In each instance, when the ball becomes dead, after the above procedure is followed
III. The Ball is alive at all time:
- When the pitcher has the ball in his possession on the pitcher’s plate
- While the pitcher delivers the ball to the home plate
- When the batter hits the ball
- As long as there is a play as a result of the hit by the batter
- When a fly ball has been legally caught
- When the infield fly rule is enforced
- When a thrown ball goes into foul territory and is neither blocked nor obstructed
- When a thrown ball strikes a coach
- When a thrown ball strikes an umpire or an offensive player
- When a fair ball strikes an umpire or baserunner on fair ground after passing or touching an infielder
- When a fair ball strikes an umpire on foul ground
- When the baserunners have reaches the bases to which they are entitled when the fielder illegally fields a batted or thrown ball
- When a baserunner is called out for passing a preceding runner
- When a fielder obstructs a baserunner, the runner obstructed cannot be put out until he reaches the base to which he is entitled because of the obstruction
- When an appeal play is enforced and involved