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 Minor League (3rd and 4th grades) will be governed by the Official 2015 Little League rules pertaining to the Minor 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 five (5) runs or three (3) outs are recorded, whichever comes first.
Mercy Rule – A 6 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 – Ten (10) players will be used in the field. There will be four (4) outfielders playing “4-across” (i.e., no “short fielders”). In the event a team can field only nine (9) players, the team must play three (3) outfielders in a standard baseball lineup. If a team is playing with only eight (8) players, coaches have the discretion to play with either three (3) or two (2) outfielders, however, under no circumstances can a team play with less than two (2) outfielders. In this case, any defense alignment utilized by a coach must remain in effect for the entire inning. The Pitcher, once removed from the mound, may not return as a pitcher during the same game.
DEFENSIVE ALIGNMENTS – Unless accomplished as part of a pitching change, defensive positions are NOT to be changed in the middle of an inning.
- Bunting is NOT permitted.
- Only 2¼“ Little League Approved bats can be used.
Base Running – Coaches are encouraged to teach proper base running techniques and to be conservative when running the bases.
- Stealing is not permitted. Base runners are permitted to leave a base ONLY when the batter strikes the ball. As a result, attempts to pick runners off base are NOT permitted. If a pickoff is attempted, runners may NOT advance.
- Runners are permitted to advance around the bases as long as the ball is alive.
- Once an infielder has control of the ball and the general play is stopped, or the ball is on the pitcher’s mound (or the general vicinity thereof), the play is dead and a runner will return to the previous base occupied unless the runner is more than half way to the next base.
- Runners must slide feet first. Sliding head first into a base or home plate is not permitted.
- The infield fly rule does not apply.
- 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 (Minors, 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.
c) The Pitcher, once removed from the mound either during the inning or at the end of a completed inning, may not return as a pitcher during the same game.
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 – Two (2) League innings; Three (3) 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 full three (3) inning daily maximum.
iii) Pitching and Catching – A pitcher who pitches 2 innings in a game can only play the position of catcher for 1 inning. Likewise, a catcher that has played the position in any two 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).
- 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.