8/9 Year Old Fall Community League
Minnetonka Fall Ball is administered by the Minnetonka Baseball Association, whose rules of play prevail in any instance not covered below. While Fall Ball is generally a more “casual” season than the regular spring/summer season it is also considered to be a developmental league to both introduce new skills to younger players’ and hone those of more seasoned players.
10 players comprise a team on the field. A team must have 8 players to start a game or they forfeit that game. If the loss of an injured player results in the roster going below 8 players, the game can continue without the penalty of forfeiture. Special notation: Non-roster players from another Minnetonka Fall Ball team may be used to temporarily fill positions to prevent a forfeit. The opposing team may fill positions in the outfield for the team lacking players. Non-rostered players will NOT be allowed to play pitcher and will be limited to a maximum of 2 infield innings for that game.
- Players, coaches, parents and fans will observe the MBA Code of Conduct at all times.
- Umpires will have jurisdiction over the entire playing field and grandstands. One umpire will stand behind home plate and the other one will serve as the base umpire. There will be no protests of umpire rulings.
- If a coach has a question on the application of a specific rule or interpretation of a rule, they must wait for the play to end. Ask for time to be called, and then ask for permission and include the other coach in a limited conversation with the umpire. Ultimately, both coaches must agree with the interpretation of the rule or the umpires’ ruling will stand.
- Teams are responsible for cleaning up the dugout and bleacher areas following each game. Protective tarps must be placed on the pitching mound and home plate areas after the completed game or practice, unless another event is ready to start after the completion of the current event.
- The home team will supply two new game balls and a sufficient number of “backup” balls to the umpire.
- The home team will occupy the third base dugout and be responsible for scoreboard operator duty and the official score.
- All batters, base runners and player-base-coaches must wear a helmet. Catchers must wear all catchers’ gear including a catcher’s mask with neck guard. And all male players must wear a protective cup.
- A game will consist of 6 innings unless limited by time, weather, or daylight. If there is another game scheduled on the playing field, no new inning may start after 1 hour and 40 minutes from the beginning of the game. There is no hard stop time; if an inning starts prior to the 1:40 mark it will finish regardless of the time (both teams bat unless the home team is ahead); this could mean some games may run late. It is imperative that both head coaches as well as the umpire agree that the final inning is about to begin.
- A half inning consists of 3 outs or 5 runs scored by the batting team, whichever comes first. The 5 run rule is suspended in that inning which is determined to be the last inning of play, or the 6th inning is about to begin before or by the 1 hour and 40 minute mark. Upon completion of the last out of the bottom half of the current inning will be considered the starting time for determining the next new inning. If the last inning cannot be completed, then the score reverts back to the score at the end of the last completed inning. Failure to mutually agree and declare the last inning before it starts will result in teams losing the ability to suspend the 5 run rule.
- A game is considered official after 4 innings or 3 ½ if the home team is ahead. All games ending in a tie will be recorded as a tie.
- The 10 run rule is NOT in effect for this league, since this league uses a 5 run rule and time limit ruling.
- Prior to the start of the game, if unplayable weather conditions exist, the game may be called at the field by agreement of both coaches. Thereafter, the umpire is responsible for calling the game.
- Games must be stopped immediately if lightning is sighted and cannot be resumed until 30 minutes after the last lightning was sighted.
- Due to the short nature of the Fall Ball season cancelled games will not be rescheduled. If poor weather throughout the day has put the condition of the playing field in question, it will be the sole responsibility of Fall Ball league officials to determine whether play is cancelled. A game cannot be cancelled in advance of game time by a coach.
- Due to the short nature of the Fall Ball season league officials will make every effort to play rather than cancel games due to weather. In the case of a league - cancelled day or evening of play the MBA site system will be utilized to contact all league players/families or the MBA site will be updated to reflect the closing of a game field.
- The same batting order will be followed throughout the season continuously across games. That order will continue for the remainder of the season. The on deck batter for the last out will be the lead-off batter for the next game so all players get an equal opportunity for at bats during the season. Non-rostered players will bat at the bottom of the batting order for that specific game.
- All rostered players present for a game must play in the infield for at least 3 innings per game. Coaches must keep records of innings and positions played in order to provide equivalent participation for all players through the course of the season. Players missing practices and/or games may not receive equivalent playing time at the coach’s discretion. Coaches are required to put players in a variety of defensive positions during the course of a season, both infield and outfield. In no case will a rostered player spend more than half of their defensive innings in the outfield. A player shall not play the same position for more than 2 innings in any game, with the only exception of a pitcher who is allowed 3 innings per game.
- One of the base coaches may be a player and must wear a helmet when doing so.
- No on-deck batters are allowed. Coaches are required to strictly enforce this policy. Do not allow players to handle/swing bats away from the home plate area during games. This includes bench areas, in and around dugouts, or outside the fenced areas of the playing field. NO EXCEPTIONS!
- Bunting is allowed. An attempt/offer to bunt that goes foul or missed with 2 strikes is a strikeout.
- The dropped 3rd strike rule will not be applied. The batter is out and may not attempt to advance to first base. The ball is live and remains in play.
- The Infield Fly Rule is applicable and should be called by the umpire.
- Runners may advance at their own risk until the play is dead. Play will be considered dead when the pitcher is in possession of the ball within fifteen feet of the pitching mound or the umpire has already called time.
- Stealing is allowed (and encouraged as a developing player skill). Base runners may not lead off and may not leave the base until the ball crosses home plate. If a base runner leaves early, a dead ball is declared by the umpire and the base runner is called out. Base runners must return to their base when the pitcher steps onto the mound with the ball and must remain on the base until the next pitched ball crosses the plate.
- Stealing in the 8/9 year old league is governed by modified stealing rules as follows: second and third base may be stolen, but a runner may not advance from third to home unless the ball is put in play by the batter, or the runner on third is forced home by a walk or hit batter. A base runner may not steal home or advance from third to home on a passed ball or wild pitch. Base runners on first or second base may take only one base on a passed ball or wild pitch (unless a base runner already on third-who cannot advance impedes their progress). Base runners cannot advance beyond the base they were initially stealing in the case of a catcher or any other defensive player’s error or overthrow. Note: The modified stealing rules are designed to encourage the defensive team to make plays on base runners.
- A ball inside the fence is in play and runners may advance at their risk. If a ball is thrown beyond the fence or assumed out of bounce boundaries on open fields, runners shall be awarded one base beyond the one they were advancing to, at the umpire’s discretion.
- The umpire shall call time when the ball is in control of the pitcher who is within the dirt circle of the pitchers area and no play is inevitable.
- Coaches should use good judgment by refraining from overly aggressive base running and refrain from continued advancement of runners to get their opponent to chase or throw at them to keep the ball "alive" (i.e; intention hot-box so a runner may score from another base).
- Runners must slide on a close play except at first base. A runner not sliding on a close play can be called out. It is the umpire’s judgment on whether it is a close play. Headfirst slides are not allowed except when returning to a base. Runners using a head first slide other than returning to a base will be called out. A player cannot run more than 3 feet off the base line to avoid a tag.
- Umpires in the 8/9 year old league will be instructed to call a very liberal but consistent strike zone.
- All players will be encouraged to develop their pitching skills. The coach will determine pitchers based on the players ability to pitch, with consideration of the player’s physical and emotional development.
- There will be no penalty for balks by the pitcher. If a balk occurs, the umpire will call it to the attention of the pitcher and coach, but base runners will not advance.
- Any player on the team’s roster may pitch. There is no limit to the number of pitchers a team may use in a game. A pitcher remaining in the game, but moving to a different position, cannot return as a pitcher anytime in the remainder of that game. A pitcher, after throwing 41 pitches, cannot play catcher for the remainder of that day.
- The coach must remove a pitcher once that pitcher reaches the pitch count maximum allowed for that pitcher’s baseball age (50 pitches per day for 7/8 year olds, 75 pitches per day for 9/10 year olds). If a pitcher reaches the pitch count maximum on his/her last batter, the pitcher must be removed before delivering another pitch to a new batter. The pitcher can finish pitching to the batter he/she is facing once the maximum is reached until one of the following conditions occurs: 1) that batter reaches base, 2) that batter is put out, 3) the third out is made to complete the half-inning.
- Pitchers must adhere to the rest requirements:
- If a player pitches 66 or more pitches in a day, 4 calendar days of rest must be observed.
- If a player pitches 51-65 pitches in a day, 3 calendar days of rest must be observed.
- If a player pitches 36-50 pitches in a day, 2 calendar days of rest must be observed.
- If a player pitches 21-35 pitches in a day, 1 calendar day of rest must be observed.
- If a player pitches 1-20 pitches in a day, 0 calendar days of rest is required.
- A player who is at the catcher position for 2 innings in a game, cannot then pitch in that game
Tracking pitch counts: Each team must designate an official pitch count recorder. The pitch count recorder must provide the current pitch count for any pitcher when requested by either manager or any umpire. However, the manager is responsible for knowing when his/her pitcher must be removed. The official pitch count recorder should inform the umpire-in-chief when a pitcher has delivered his/her maximum limit of pitches for the game. The umpire-in-chief will inform the pitcher’s manager that the pitcher must be removed. However, the failure by the pitch count recorder to notify the umpire-in-chief, and/or the failure of the umpire-in-chief to notify the manager, does not relieve the manager of his/her responsibility to remove a pitcher when that pitcher is no longer eligible. Violation of any section of this regulation can result in protest of the game in which it occurs with the possibility of disqualification of the offending team.
Pitchers must follow the pitch count program. The coach must remove the pitcher from the mound (not the game) when said pitcher reaches their max pitch count.
A player’s pitch count is linked to the player’s league age, not the league they are playing in; thus if a player playing in Community League 9 is playing up with their grade but by league age is 8 years old, the maximum number of pitches for that player is 50 in one game.
If a pitcher reaches any pitch limit while facing a batter, the pitcher may continue to pitch until that batter reaches base or is put out.
For example, if a pitcher begins facing a batter at pitch 19 and the at bat finishes at pitch 23, the pitcher follows the rest guidelines provided in rule 5e (1-20 pitches in a day, no calendar day of rest is required).
If, however, the pitcher begins facing a batter at pitch 19 and the at bat finishes at pitch 20, throwing pitch 21 to a new batter would require the pitcher to follow the rest guidelines of rule 5d (21-35 pitches in a day, one (1) calendar day of rest must be observed).
No breaking balls are allowed (only fast balls and change-ups may be thrown). Other pitches (including but not limited to knuckle curves, breaking balls, sliders & etc.) shall be considered an illegal pitch and shall be ruled a ball by the umpire.
The umpire will warn a pitcher that is thought to have intentionally hit a batter. If that pitcher hits another batter in that game, the pitcher must be removed.
Once the pitcher takes the mound, the pitcher has one minute to complete their warm-up (no more than 8 warm-up pitches).