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AA Division Baseball Rules of Play

AA Division Baseball Rules

This document will serve as an effort to document some guidelines on conducting games at the AA Division level of play for the 2024 season. Please keep in that mind we are a development league and our primary goal is to prepare our players to move up the Little League ladder and eventually play in the Majors.

Rules are non-negotiable and must be adhered to and come from either the official Little League Rule Book (a.k.a "The Green Book") or by NCLL board-approved policy.

Guidelines are nuances within the game agreed to by the Managers and League.

1. Pitching Rules Highlights

A) Pitch Counts - Baseball Pitch Count by League Age
B) Pitcher Mandatory Rest - Baseball Rest Day Thresholds
C) Must pitch from rubber.
D) If a pitcher pitches 41+ pitches, they cannot play catcher.
E) If a player plays catcher for more than 3 innings, that player cannot pitch.
F) Standard baseball strikes, balls, etc.
G) No balks.

2. Pitching Guidelines

A) Throwing Strikes: Coach your pitchers that we WANT the other team to hit the ball; it's all about throwing strikes. Success is getting through the game without massive walks.

B) Pitch Counts: Managers are responsible for recording pitch counts. This is usually a job of the scorekeeper. Pitch counts will be maintained for all pitchers of the team for the season and a Manager should be prepared to share them with the Board on request.

C) Coach Pitch: In an effort to maintain pace of play once a team pitcher has issued three consecutive walks or hits batters in an inning, a coach pitcher will finish that inning. If the player has not completed their two innings, they are allowed to return.

D) Coach Pitch: The coach will pitch in the event no team pitchers are available until the end of the game to his own team.

E) When a Coach Is Pitching.

a) The coach who is pitching has two responsibilities:

1. Provide a hittable pitch to his/her batter

2. Help direct the player "pitcher" to the correct position.

b) From where:All pitchers (player and coach)will stand at the rubber 46' from home plate. This is the MIDDLE rubber at Lower Woodland.

c) Flight of the ball: Try to avoid the rainbow pitch. A pitch from 46 feet that drops a foot over the plate is hard to hit even in the big leagues. Try to find the right combination of speed and distance that allows a level swing through the strike zone a likely success of hitting the ball.

d) Knee / no knee: All pitchers should hrow from the standing position. Coaches have the optionof pitching from a knee.

e) Catching: Catching is provided from the defensive team.A youth catcher's glove is provided in your equipment bag and must be used.

3. Catcher Rules Highlights

A) A player who has played catcher for 3 innings cannot pitch in that game.
B) All male catchers must wear a hard protective cup.
C) Catcher's helmets must have dangling throat protector ("dangler").
D) Catcher's must use a catcher's mitt (infielders mitts not allowed).
E) Anytime (including practices, warm ups, sidelines, etc)a player is in the crouch position must have a minimum of mask, chest guard, and cup.
F) Catcher cannot block access to the plate until the ball is in play to him/her.

4. Catcher Guidelines

Your catchers have no hope throwing out base runners.That's OK. Coach and re-enforce KEEPING THE BALL IN FRONT. Your catcher's success is defined by

A) Keep the ball in front as much as possible;
B) Showing s/he is quick to find ball in the dirt;
C) Understanding what is happening on the field - where are the outs?

Again - keep it basic and simple and make sure your catcher's "let go" of base runners for now. Don't let them take it personally.

5. Hitting/Offensive Rule Highlights

A) Balls and Strikes: Standard baseball 4/3 count
B) Strikeouts: Standard baseball 3 strikes and you're out.
C) Dropped 3rd strike is an out (no need to throw to 1B)
D) Innings: Standard baseball 3 out innings.
E) Foul tips: foul tips do not count as a third strike, player "stays alive". Foul tips that are caught are a third strike.
F) Batting Order: All teams will bat a straight line-up of ALL PLAYERS 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.
G) Number of at Bats: It should be a goal of all AA 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.
H) 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.
I) 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.
J) NO BATS IN HANDS unless player is up to bat. No on-deck circle, no warm up on sidelines, PERIOD.

6. Base Running Rule Highlights

A) Leading Off: There are no lead-offs in Little League baseball 12 and under.
B) Base runner cannot leave bag until ball reaches the batter
C) No headfirst slides

7. Base Running Guidelines

A) Single or more: In 8/9ers,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) Advancing on an error: AA Division has many errors. Try to help your opposing coach by taking just one base on an error. Although the player may be able to advance more,try to limit this type of play.

C) Base coaches: Again, in the spirit of player development, you should always have a 1st and 3rd base coach. This 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 howto instruct the players.

D) We should coach the following as it pertains to NON-hit ball situations:​

​a) For the first half the season, we agree that players will NOT steal bases. This gives catchers and pitchers the opportunity to develop skills without worrying about base runners, at first.

b) In the second half of the season, we agree players can steal bases in the following situations:

  • ​A passed ball or wild pitch that gets by the catcher
  • ​A dropped ball on the return to the pitcher.
  • ​This is true 1B to 2B and 2B to 3B.
  • ​We do not allow AA players to steal home for safety reasons.

​​E) If your team is in the lead by 5 or more runs, put on the brakes.Teach the kids a "slow down" sign and concept- that when we are in "slow down" mode,you only advance on a hit ball.

F) Sliding: Sliding and learning how to slide properly are very important aspects of the game you need to teach and incorporate into your practices. Sliding reduces injuries when done properly.

G) As a general rule - ALWAYS slide into home.

8. Fielding/Defense Rule Highlights

A) Defense: Standard baseball 9 defensive players with standard positioning.

B) A team may field a defense of 8 players - or - can request a 9th player from the opponent for defensive purposes only (player still hits for his/her team) or, if managers agree, a 10th player can play a 4th outfield position. On large teams this can help ensure that everyone gets even playing time.

C) Managers are asked to strive for even playing time in the field each game, with the understanding that with larger teams sometimes the inning parity needs to be spread out over a few games.

D) Players should play all positions during the course of the season(catcher and pitcher exempted).

9. The Umpire

A) The AA Division provides our own Umpires.
B) The home team will provide the Chief Umpire and will be behind home plate.
C) The visiting team will provide the Field Umpire.
D) 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.
E) The Chief Umpire has final say on ALL calls.

10. Game Rules

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

B) Time limit / Inning limit: our games have a time limit of 90 minutes or 6-innings which ever come first. You will have 30 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.

C) 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.

D) Mercy Rule: There is NO mercy rule in AA Division play. Play your game to time limit.

E) 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.

11. Other Things

A) Ball we use: we use an Official hardball

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 -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.

12. 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. While specialty gloves(1st base, catcher,etc.) can be used at this level, try to discourage this. Most of these gloves are too large for players at 9ers.

B) Bats: Bats should be between 26-30 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 eft hand(if right handed batter) and moveit slowly across theirbody on a level plain without dipping. Be on the lookoutfor bats the player picked becauseit was cool or the red one, butare 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. Some players will love to catch, others will like to avoid it, try not to find that player who wants nothing to do with catching as you ask him to gear up in the 1st game. I've always tried to encourage Mom or Dad to get their player ready to catch while we're up to bat. 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 teamsuntil yours can be fixed. A hard cup is part of the cathers uniform.

13. Final thoughts

While we are a non-competitive division in Little League, game scores are kept, but there are no playoffs or standings. It's inherent to sports that there will be individual and team successes and failures. At all times in the game, find the good in each play. The ball that sails over the 1st baseman's head is still a "strong throw" from the player. Every strikeout has at least some number of "good cuts" in it. Be your team's advocate and head cheerleader.

Parents are welcome to participate in practices and game days at the AA level. However, anyone participating with the players on a regular basis is required to complete a background check and be cleared by NCLL to participate. If needed, invite your parents to participate in the activity, these willing parents are our future coaches.