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AAA Division Baseball Rules of Play

This document will serve as an effort to document some guidelines on conducting games at the AAA Division level of play for the 2018 season. As a Double Goal League, we strive to ensure a balance between using the baseball field as an opportunity to develop essential skills and habits in our players and mastering the technical and tactical components of baseball in a way that leads to competitive success. Our guidelines are intended to help Managers navigate these two important goals.

AAA will follow the green book Little League International Rules; the following is provided as clarification or exceptions:


1. Pitching

 

a) Who pitches: Any player on the roster can pitch but each player has a maximum pitch count based on his or her age.

b) From where: The pitcher stands at the rubber 46' from home plate.

c) Resting Pitchers: The AAA Division follows Official Little League Rules regarding mandatory pitcher rest.

d) Intentional walks: Must be completed with thrown pitches all counting toward the pitchers pitch count.

e) Catching: Catching is provided from the defensive team.


2. Hitting

 

a) Balls and Strikes: We play a 4/3 count.

b) Strikeouts: 3 strikes is an out. An out is still recorded if a swinging or called strike is dropped by the catcher.

c) Outs: 3 outs in the field or strikeouts, switch sides.

d) Foul tip: Foul tips not caught by the catcher do not count as a third strike, player "stays alive". Foul tips that are caught are a third strike.

e) Who bats: All teams shall bat a straight line-up regardless of if players are in the field or not. There shall be no substitutions or pinch hitting. If a player is injured and cannot bat they are scratched from the line-up.

f) Number of at Bats: It should be a goal of all AAA coaches to get each player at least two at bats, it is understood that this can be difficult to achieve in a pitching duel type game, or obviously a 4 or 5 inning game.

g) Late arrivals: If a player is late to arrive to a game, they are inserted at the end of the batting lineup regardless of where the team is in the lineup.

h) Throwing of bats: If a player throws the bat following an at bat, that players is given one warning. If a player throws the bat again following the warning, that player is removed from the game for safety precautions. The warning and removal are at the discretion of the Umpire.


3. Base Running

 

a) Single or more: In AAA, we need to teach base running skills and that means not every hit is a single as in the younger leagues. Players who hit a legitimate double should take two bases and three on a triple, but the main point to teach is, get out of the box quickly and look to your base coach for instructions.

b) Base coaches: You should always have a 1st and 3rd base coach. If you do not have enough coaches to fill this role, it is an excellent job for that Mom or Dad in the stands. If they have not participated in practices, you will need to teach them hand signals and how to instruct the players.

c) Stealing / leading off: There is stealing but no leading off in the AAA Division. The base runner cannot leave the base until the ball has crossed home plate.

d) Sliding: is allowed in the AAA Division and should be encouraged. Head first slides are not allowed.


4. Fielding

 

a) How many players in the field: A standard 9 player lineup is used.

b) Infield positions: 6 players per normal baseball lineups.

c) Outfield positions: 3 players.

d) Encroachment: While there is not a specific rule regarding encroachment, try to avoid this type of play. Even your players who need the most development still need the opportunity to make a play.

e) Player Rotations: All players must have at least one at bat and play a minimum of 9 outs in the field for a six inning game. If the game is shortened, revert to a minimum of 6 outs in the field. It should be a goal of all AAA coaches to get each player at least two at bats, it is understood that this can be difficult to achieve in a pitching duel type game, or obviously a 4 or 5 inning game.


5. Umpire

 

a) The league will provide a plate umpire during regular season games.

b) In addition to the plate umpire, during playoffs a field umpire will also be provided.

c) If an umpire is not available at game time, the home team will provide an umpire. If this guest umpire does not have protective gear, they will call the game from behind the pitching rubber.

d) The visiting team can provide a second field umpire if requested and approved by the home team Chief Umpire. The Chief Umpire has final say on ALL calls.


6. Other considerations

 

a) Ball we use: we use an Official hard ball

b) Bats we use: bats must be 2 ¼ inch barrel, Little League approved.

c) Where to keep the bats: During a game, keep bats under your control. There is no warm up circle in Little League, so your on-deck batter needs to be in the dugout.

d) What do my bench players do: organized the dugout during warm-ups and they are your cheerleaders. Know and teach some baseball chants to your players.

e) Inning run rule: We play a 5 run rule per inning. Once five runs are scored, the inning is over and the batting team returns to the field.

f) Inning run rule EXCEPTION: The run rule (6e) is not valid in the final inning of a game.

g) Time limit / Inning limit: our games have a time limit of 2-hours or 6-innings which ever come first. You will have 15 minutes of field time to share between teams before your game begins to warm up your team. For eager team members, have them move to the deep outfield to warm up before your field comes available.

h) Mercy Rule: A 10 run 'mercy rule' will be in effect for all games. If the game has four complete innings in, and one team is ahead by 10 or more runs, the game is officially over and score is final. The managers may choose to play another inning or two of 'exhibition' if both teams are willing.

i) Dugout assignment: For all games in NCLL, the home team will take the 3rd base dugout and the visiting team will take the 1st base dugout.

j) Pre-game warm-ups: Pending field availability, each team will receive 15 minutes to warm up prior to 1st pitch. The visiting team will warm up first, the home team will warm up second - and stay on the field to begin the game. If 30 minutes is not available prior to the scheduled game start time, teams will agree on a mutual number of minutes for warm ups. The field is under the control of the umpire at the scheduled start time, if managers want to warm up after the scheduled start time, a request should be made to the umpire who will have the final decision. A team that is not ready to warm-up at their scheduled time will forfeit their warm-up.


7. Equipment checks

 

a) Gloves: Gloves for this level of player will be between 9-11 inches. Take a look at your players gloves, make sure their names and phone numbers are on them. Advise the players parent if they are playing with equipment that is not appropriate.

b) Bats: Bats should be between 27-31 inches and between 15-20 oz (this is just a rule of thumb). A batter should be able to hold the bat with only their left hand (if right handed batter) and move it slowly across their body on a level plain without dipping. Be on the lookout for bats the player picked because it was cool or the red one, but are completely too big for them. You may not be able to convince the player to use another bat, but limit the use of that large bat to just the owner.

c) Helmets: Check for cracks or missing pads. There has been some concern in the past regarding lice. If a player has those concerns, they can purchase their own helmet. Again, the manager/coach is the final authority on anything safety related, so any "player owned" equipment must meet your satisfaction.

d) Catchers Gear: Your equipment bags will have a complete set of catchers gear including glove. On the safety side, all catchers' masks must have a "dangler" attached to be used in a LL game. If you are missing one, ask for a replacement or share the helmet with the dangler between teams until yours can be fixed. Catchers will use a catcher's glove during all practices and games.
Interleague Play: AAA teams MAY play teams from other leagues within District 8. At that time, the two managers will need to agree on the rules of play, and it may be decided to revert to the green book rules for these games. This means that some of the exceptions above (continuous batting and substitution, for example) may not be allowed in Interleague Play.


8. End of Season Tournament


At the end of the regular season, every team in the division will play for the Majors Championship. The tournament is a double elimination tournament in which initial seeding is decided by a random draw.


9. Final thoughts


While we are a competitive division in Little League, with score keeping, it's inherent to sports that there will be individual and team successes and failures. At all times in the game, we all - parents, Managers, and umpires - should try to find the good or teachable moment in each play.

Further, we can not mandate "fairness" and we believe it is important to allow Managers leeway to make decisions about where, when, and how a player plays based on his/her commitment, improvement, interest, and skill. And we expect that all Managers and coaches are striving at all times to improve the play of each individual player and the team as a whole; each COACH will have his/her own approach to that end.

Lastly, parents are welcome to cheer for their team on game days but should avoid coaching from the stands or being in the dugout area. Supportive cheering and positive regard for all kids and volunteers is expected from all NCLL fans.

Anyone participating with the players on a regular basis is required to complete a background check and be cleared by NCLL to participate.

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