HIGHLANDS BASEBALL LEAGUE
ALLENDALE, HO-HO-KUS, SADDLE RIVER
NOTE: Except as specifically amended in the Local Rules and Interpretations or in this Appendix, the Major League (5th and 6th grades) will be governed by the Official 2015 Little League rules pertaining to the Major League Division
Field Dimensions – listed below are the proper field dimensions in feet. In all cases, the distances are measured from the rear point of home plate (closest to the catcher). The distances for first and third base are measured from home plate to the rear of each base (closest to the outfield). The distance to second base is measured from home plate to the center of the base. The pitching distance is measured from home plate to the front edge of the pitching rubber.
1st & 3rd
Game length – Six (6) innings or 2 hours, whichever comes first.
Inning length – A half-inning is over as soon as six (6) runs or three (3) outs are recorded, whichever comes first.
Mercy Rule – A 7 run mercy rule will be in effect following a game becoming an “official” game (i.e after 5 innings if visiting team is winning and 4½ innings if home team is winning). The coaches may choose to finish the game if time allows regardless of the score.
Player participation – Nine (9) players will be used in the field in a standard baseball lineup with 3 outfielders. In the event a team can field only eight (8) players, the team must play two (2) outfielders. In this case, any defense alignment utilized by a coach must remain in effect for the entire inning.
DEFENSIVE ALIGNMENTS – Unless accomplished as part of a pitching change, defensive positions are NOT to be changed in the middle of an inning.
Only 2¼“ Little League Approved bats can be used.
Bunting will be allowed under the following conditions:
- All bunting is allowed….both straight and sacrifice.
- A batter is not allowed to square up to bunt and then pull back and take a full swing (this is to protect a charging player / pitcher). Once a player squares to bunt they are committed to bunt or they can pull back and NOT swing (on a bad pitch).
- Bunting a player home from 3rd base (squeeze play) is not allowed under any circumstances. If there is a runner on 3rd base the batter is not allowed to bunt.
- Base runners are permitted to leave a base ONLY when the ball crosses home plate.
- Stealing of any base is permitted up to 5 times per inning. Stealing HOME is prohibited.
- Once a runner has reached 3rd base, the runner on 3rd base can only advance as the result of a batted ball, base on balls that forces him home, or an errant throw (on a play that was initiated by a batted ball) that leaves the field of play (dead ball) causing all runners to advance the required number of bases as determined by the umpires.
- Here are some examples that should clarify this rule:
- i. Runners on 1st and 3rd – the runner on 1st attempts to steal 2nd base. The catcher can try to throw the runner out without fear that the runner on 3rd at the time the pitch was thrown can break for home. The runner on 3rd is NOT permitted to score.
- ii. Runner on 3rd – after the pitch crosses the plate, the runner leads off the base and the catcher or pitcher attempts a pick-off. The throw from the catcher or pitcher goes into left field or out of the field of play. The runner on 3rd is NOT permitted to score on the throw even if the throw goes out of play. If the pick-off is successful, the runner is out. (See related “pickle” rules below)
- iii. Runners on any bases with 3rd base UNOCCUPIED – on any attempt to steal 2nd or 3rd base, a runner that is not thrown out is permitted to advance to 3rd base ONLY and can not advance home even if the ball is overthrown by any fielder and stays in play or goes out of play (dead ball).
- A runner that is caught in a pickle between 3rd base and home in the continuation of a play that began with a batted ball is at risk and the runner, if not tagged out, can safely return to 3rd base or may score. However, if the runner is caught in a pickle as a result of (i) a pick-off or (ii) over-running 3rd base on a steal attempt, the runner is at risk of being tagged out. In these circumstances there are only three (3) possible outcomes:
- i. The runner is tagged out.
- ii. The runner makes it back safely to 3rd base
- iii. The runner “scores” but, by local rule, he will be returned safely to 3rd base and any other base runners that had advanced during the pickle will be required to return to the last base touched if forced to do so.
- Runners are permitted to advance around the bases as long as the ball is alive.
- Runners must slide feet first. Sliding head first into a base or home plate is not permitted, unless a runner is sliding back to a base previously occupied.
- The infield fly rule is in effect.
- MAXIMUM INNINGS – the following restrictions are intended to protect pitchers’ arms. Pitchers will be subject to DAILY and WEEKLY limits on the number of innings pitched “IN ALL LEAGUES” in which they participate (Majors, travel, club, school leagues, etc.). Players, parents, and coaches are required to communicate accurate information regarding number of innings pitched to their coaches. Any violation of this rule CAUSED BY PITCHING IN A LEAGUE GAME will result in the player being prohibited from pitching in two consecutive League games involving his team. Any violation of this rule during the playoffs will result in forfeiture.
i) Weekly maximum – For the purposes of this rule, the week begins on Sunday morning and ends on Saturday night. Pitching innings accumulated in a contest declared “no game” WILL count toward a pitcher’s weekly maximum.
a) Regular season – Six (6) innings in ALL LEAGUES
b) Playoffs – If three (3) or more playoff games are played in one week the limit is eight (8) innings in ALL LEAGUES. Otherwise, the regular season limit is in effect. An interrupted game is considered a game played.
Note: The rules pertaining to the weekly maximum will remain in effect as the season transitions from the end of the regular season to the beginning of the playoffs.
ii) Daily maximum – Three (3) League innings; four (4) innings for ALL LEAGUES. Players may pitch in a maximum of two games in one day (doubleheader), subject to these daily limits. If a player pitches any number of innings in more than one game on any day, he will be deemed to have pitched his daily maximum.
iii) Pitching and Catching – A pitcher who pitches 3 innings in a game can only play the position of catcher for 1 inning. Likewise, a catcher that has played the position in any 3 previous innings may only be eligible to pitch for 1 inning.
iv) Pitching on Consecutive Days – Players are permitted to pitch on consecutive days, PROVIDED:
a) The pitcher is eligible to pitch, and;
b) The total innings pitched IN ALL LEAGUES on consecutive days may not exceed four (4) innings.
- DAYS OF REST – The end of one week and the beginning of another has no effect on the Days of Rest requirements. For example, if a player pitches on Saturday and again on Sunday, he is ineligible to pitch until Wednesday (at the earliest, depending upon the number of innings pitched on each day) despite the fact that Sunday was the first day of a new week.
i) Regular season – A player who has pitched will be required to take the maximum days of rest as follows:
a) Two (2) days of rest if the player has pitched on consecutive days IN ANY LEAGUE.
b) Three (3) days of rest if the player has pitched three (3) or more innings in a single game OR has pitched any number of innings in two games IN ANY LEAGUE on a single day.
Example 1: If a player pitches one (1) inning on Saturday and one (1) inning on Sunday (even if it is just 1 pitch) in his Travel game, rule 2(a) applies and that player cannot pitch in a League game until Wednesday.
Example 2: If a player pitches one (1) inning on Saturday and three (3) innings on Sunday in his Travel game, rule 3(b) applies and that player cannot pitch in a League game until Thursday.
Example 3: If a player pitches three (3) innings on Sunday in his Travel game, rule 3(b) applies and that player cannot pitch in a League game until Thursday
Example 4: If a player pitches one (1) inning on Saturday morning and then throws one (1) pitch in a game on Saturday afternoon, rule 3(b) applies and that player cannot pitch again until Wednesday
ii) Playoffs – During the playoffs the days of rest rules are amended as follows:
a) If a player pitches three (3) innings in a game, he must have one (1) day of rest.
b) If a player pitches less than three (3) innings in a game, he may pitch the next day. HOWEVER, any player who pitches on consecutive days must then be required to take two (2) days of rest before he is eligible to pitch again (e.g. Monday, Tuesday, Friday).
c) If a player pitches any number of innings in more than one (1) game on a single day must then be required to take two (2) days of rest before he is eligible to pitch again (e.g. Monday 1, Monday 2, Thursday).
- INTENTIONAL WALKS – Intentional walks are not permitted.
Reporting Scores and Pitching – Following EACH game, the HOME team is expected to record the final score on the league website. BOTH teams are to record pitchers used and number of innings for each pitcher. All scores and pitchers used should be recorded on the same day, but no later than 24 hours following the end of the game.
Issues Resolution Process:
- Coaches are strongly encouraged to resolve issues arising before, during and after games with a spirit of sportsmanship consistent with a recreation level league. As stated in the League’s general rules, the primary purpose of recreational baseball is to teach baseball skills and good sportsmanship. Games, as well as practices, are to be used for this purpose. UNDUE PRESSURE TO WIN IS DETRIMENTAL TO THIS OBJECTIVE. Both players and parents are to be monitored in this regard.
- In that light, coaches ARE EXPECTED TO ALWAYS inform opposing coaches that they are in danger of violating a league rule, especially when the safety of players is at risk (e.g. pitching violations, non-allowed bats), BEFORE the violation occurs so that it can be avoided. If a violation of a league rule is discovered afterwards, both coaches and the umpire will prohibit the violation from being continued or repeated for the remainder of the game, but any results from before the violation was discovered will stand “as is”.
- Protests – Protests are highly discouraged by the League Directors as it is believed that the players should be “playing the games”, not the coaches and league directors in discussions over rules violations. Coaches should endeavor, in good sportsmanship, to settle all disputes amicably as quickly as possible to allow games to continue in a timely manner and without compromising the above stated primary purpose of recreation baseball or in any other manner violating their town’s Code of Conduct.
- Protest Process – In the unfortunate event that a Coach feels an issue was not resolved adequately during a game, he/she may submit a protest to the League Directors for consideration. To protest a game, the protesting Coach MUST take each of the following steps for the protest to be considered by the League Directors:
- Inform the home plate umpire and opposing head coach of the protest and the reasons for the protest PRIOR to the next pitch following the incident triggering the protest.
- Submit a detailed, written explanation regarding the protest within 24 hours of the end of the game during the regular season and by the end of the same day as the game during the playoffs via email. Only the head coach may submit the protest.
- Request contact information for the home plate umpire to be included in the report from 4b above and that the home plate umpire also provide a detailed report via email or phone to the League Directors within 24 hours.
The opposing head coach, may at his/her option, submit relevant information in writing regarding the protest via email. That information must be submitted within 24 hours of the end of the game to be considered by the League Directors.
Any other input from coaches, assistant coaches and the umpires will be sought directly by the League Directors at the discretion of League Directors. Players, Parents and any other spectators should NOT be involved in the protest process and will only be contacted at the discretion of League Directors.
- Protest Review Process – League Directors will give careful consideration to all protests and will issue any rulings as quickly as possible and those rulings will be FINAL. Coaches are expected to treat League Directors, all of whom are volunteers, with the utmost respect and, at all times, consistent with their town’s Code of Conduct or be subject to appropriate disciplinary action.
Playoffs – Following the end of the regular season, single elimination playoffs will be held. EVERY team will make the playoffs and play at least one game. Seedings will be based on a point system, with wins counting as five (5) points, ties as three (3) points and losses as two points. A team canceling a game for any reason other than a field closure, will lose a point (-1) point if the game is not made up. No points are awarded for games not played. First tiebreaker would be based on total number of games played (higher number of games played gets higher seed), followed by the head to head results between the teams. As a last resort, the final tiebreaker would be based on a coin toss conducted by the League Directors.