West Windsor Little League Last Update: 03/05/2023
And Operating Instructions
The following WWLL Baseball Rules and Operating Instructions clarify, emphasize, and in some cases modify the Official Little League Rules established by Williamsport. All managers and coaches are responsible for reading and understanding the official Little League rules and Safety Procedures and these Rules and Operating Instructions. The WWLL Rules Committee as well as the League Coordinators have approved these rules. Where there is a conflict between the official Little League Rules and this document, follow the WWLL League Rules. Any questions concerning the League Rules should be directed to the League Coordinators.
General Rules and Procedures Applicable To All Leagues
The following table lists the divisions and age breakdowns for participation. Tryouts will be held in order to evaluate the players and determine the most appropriate division of play.
12 and 11
Some 10s may be selected to play based on talent level and need to fill rosters.
10 and 9
Some 11s may play at this level.
Some 8s may be selected to play based on talent level and need to fill rosters.
8 and 7
Some 9s may play at this level.
7 and 6
Some 5s may be selected to play based on talent level and need to fill rosters. Some 8’s may be permitted if the player
has no prior experience
The safety of our players is our #1 priority. This should always be given the highest consideration when interpreting our rules and making game decisions.
Players are not permitted to wear jewelry of any kind (e.g. earrings, watches, bracelets, etc.). The only exception is a medical warning tag, which should be taped to the player. The umpire will require the removal of any jewelry prior to the beginning of each game. Casts may not be worn during the game.
Hard protective cups are required at all times during games and practices for all male players. No cup – no play or practice. Tee ball players can wear a soft cup.
Managers must bring the players medical authorization to each practice and game. Each team should have a small medical kit and a cell phone.
There is no on-deck batter. Only the player at bat may have a bat in his hand. On-deck hitters should be ready to hit, with helmet on, but MAY NOT have a bat, and MAY NOT take practice swings. No do-nuts or other removable weights are permitted on bats at any time.
“Fake Bunts are not permitted at any level of play. If a batter squares to bunt, the batter must bunt
If a pitcher hits 3 batters in one game, or 2 batters in one inning, the pitcher will be removed from that position by the manager.
Anyone who is involved with the children as a manager, a coach or just wanting to help out must undergo a background check before he/she can work with the kids. It is the manger’s responsibility to enforce this rule
Player and Coach Conduct
No food is permitted in the dugout (except if medically necessary). The dugout must be cleaned up after each game to remove all litter.
Players are not allowed to chew gum in the dugout or on the field of play.
Smoking and all Smokeless products is prohibited. This includes all managers and coaches during practices and games (including behind the dugout).
Inappropriate language or conduct will not be tolerated. Any obscenity, threat, or intimidating conduct directed at an opponent, or an umpire, will result in ejection from the game and field area, and will be reviewed by the League’s Disciplinary Committee for further action. Any inappropriate action by the managers, coaches and parents that is inconsistent with good sportsmanship will be addressed by the executive committee of WWLL.
Ejection and suspension -- appeals. Any manager, coach, or player who is ejected from a game receives an automatic suspension from the team’s next physically played game. (See rule 4.07) Any suspended manager, coach, or player, may appeal the one-game suspension by making an application to the Player Agent. The Player Agent will convene a meeting of the League’s Disciplinary Committee, composed of the President, Vice- President (for the affected division), and the Player Agent. If an appeal is initiated, the suspension will not be served until after the appeal meeting. The decision of the Disciplinary Committee is final. If the Disciplinary Committee reverses the suspension, then it will not be served; otherwise, it must be served immediately (the team’s next physically played game) after the Committee issues its decision.
Inappropriate language or conduct before, during or after games or practices will not be tolerated. Any obscenity directed at an opponent, or an umpire, will result in ejection and league review for further action.
Parents are expected to be supportive and positive – toward their own children as well as toward other players.
Parents are expected to treat managers and coaches with respect. Yelling at or challenging coaches, at any time, is inappropriate. Please maintain an appropriate professional demeanor in all your relations with managers and coaches, and respect team rules established by your team’s manager.
General Game Procedures
Field Setup: The Home team will rake and line the fields prior to the game. The Visiting team will be responsible for post-game field maintenance. The Home team will take the first base dugout. Pay particular attention to the following:
Rake the infield dirt away from the grass lip. Be careful to rake dirt around the outer lip of the infield back into the infield, not onto the outfield grass or onto the lip.
Rake base lines away from the lip using either a lengthwise motion or a short stroke away from the lip of the grass and toward the middle of the running lane on each side.
Clean out bases before/after each game so that bases sit flat
Visiting teammanager should make sure that field lights are OFF before leaving the field at the end of the night.
Additional field maintenance instructions are provided separately.
The Home team shall be responsible for providing two new game balls for each game. Balls can be obtained and signed out from the concession stand by the team Manager.
If time permits prior to the start of a game, the visiting team will practice on the infield for the first 5-10 minutes and the home team for the 5-10 minutes up to game time.
Two adult base coaches are permitted.
A manager and up to three coaches are permitted in the dugout.
Each team will provide the other team with their line-up roster before the game.
The pitcher will receive eight (8) warm-ups at the start of a game. The pitchers will be allowed five (5) warmups between innings or when a new pitcher enters the game. Regardless of the number of warm-ups actually thrown, the time between innings should be limited to not more than two minutes. Umpires are empowered to “play ball” after two minutes and instruct the pitcher to stop warming up.
No balks are called in WWLL. An illegal pitch is called a ball as per the rules. Refer to rule 8.05. In Minors, a warning will be issued before an illegal pitch is called.
Bat throwing is prohibited. Only one warning will be issued. Upon the second infraction, the batter will be called out.
A manager or coach must request/receive permission from the umpire to leave the dugout to conference with a player on the field.
Obstruction. Read rule 7.06 a and b. Please read Note 2 of 7.06 b. Managers should instruct their players to not block the plate or base without the possession of the ball or the runner will be declared safe because of obstruction. Players should either straddle the plate or bag to take a throw or step in front of the bag or plate to take a throw. Rule 7.06 b note 2 will override 7.08 a3 if both situations occur simultaneously. This rule is for safety purposes.
Interference. Rule 7.09 defines interference by a batter or runner using 12 examples. Obstruction explains why a batter/runner is called safe; Interference explains why a batter/runner is called out.
The umpires will enforce a “slide or avoid” rule. Any runner who attempts to knock over, hurdle or slide feet up when defensive player has possession of the ball will be ruled out and may, at the discretion of the umpire, be ejected from the game. Read Rule 7.08 a3. Runner should slide or go around when the defensive player has possession of the ball. Also note that there is NO “must slide rule.”
Managers should use best efforts to meet mandatory play requirements for players who arrive late, but no penalty will be assessed for violation of mandatory play if a player comes late.
Protests must be resolved before the next pitch or play (Rule 4.19G) Games may not be played “under protest.” Rulings on the field will stand and game results will stand regardless of subsequent rulings by the League Coordinator that may apply to future games.
A 10 run mercy rule is in place for all divisions. (Rule 4.09E) A ten run rule shall apply after 3 ½ innings at the discretion of the losing manager, provided the losing team batted 4 times. Since Minors and AAA are developmental leagues, managers are encouraged to continue playing to the time limit even if one team is ahead by more than ten runs.
Pitch Count Rules
Managers must maintain a record of pitchers who pitched in recent games, which may be examined by the opposing manager. Each team must maintain one scorebook for the year. After each game, the number of pitches thrown must be emailed to the League Coordinator and Managers. Disputed pitch counts need to be brought to the attention of the League Coordinator to be resolved prior to the next game.
The pitch count rules outlined in the Official Little League Rules will be followed in WWLL unless explicitly stated in the division specific rule. For clarity, the following table outlines the number of days rest required based on pitch counts:
Number of Pitches
66 or more
The following table outlines the maximum number of pitches that are permitted by age:
75 60 for AAA
If a pitcher reaches a limit identified in rule 2 or 3 above while facing a batter, the pitcher may continue to pitch until any of the following conditions occur: (1) the batter reaches base; (2) the batter is makes an out; or
(3) the third out of the inning is made (e.g., a runner thrown out stealing during the at-bat). The official pitch count will be the number of pitches thrown at the start of the batter where a threshold was reached.
A pitcher who delivers 41 or more pitches in a game cannot play the position of catcher for the remainder of that day.
Managers must comply with pitch count guidelines. Days of rest for pitchers includes all games, scrimmages, and practices, including games played outside West Windsor Little League (e.g., Warriors, PPH). Abuse of the pitch count guidelines reported by a parent or a league official will result in a consultation with the VP of Baseball and Player Agent and continued abuse will affect future consideration as a WWLL teammanager.
ALL PLAYERS AND COACHES ARE EXPECTED TO SHOW RESPECT FOR UMPIRES AT ALL TIMES. WWLL has a zero tolerance policy for abuse of umpires. All team members, coaches, and parents should be courteous and respectful toward all umpires.
We have a terrific teenage umpiring group. Disputes about a rules interpretation (never about a judgment call) are to be respectfully addressed to the umpire who made the call. Only the umpire can defer to another umpire for help on a call. A manager or coach cannot ask an umpire to override a call if he has not been asked for help by the other umpire. Keep in mind that Little League is a learning and development process. The teenage umpires are developing also.
When one umpire is assigned to a game, the umpire will be positioned behind the plate. The umpire’s decision will be final.
Once a game has begun, the umpire has the sole discretion to stop a game due to darkness, inclement or dangerous weather. If called, the game will revert back to the last complete inning.
When only youth umpires are present at a game, the League Coordinator for Umpires shall have final authority in resolving any disputes, questions, or rule interpretations that may arise.
If lightning is sighted or thunder heard, the players must be removed from the field and should seek shelter in dugouts or vehicles where possible. Play may resume at the discretion of the umpire (or managers where no umpire is present) when there has been no lightning/thunder for 30 minutes. Anyone sighting lightning or hearing thunder should alert the umpire, who will make the decision to suspend play.
Games will be postponed due to inclement weather in advance of game time if both managers agree in consultation with the League Coordinator. The Home team’s Manager is responsible for notifying the umpire(s), the League Coordinator, and the Umpire Coordinator(s) as early as possible. The managers involved will reschedule make-up games with the League Coordinator and Umpire Coordinator at the earliest available date.
Time Limits, Game Length, and Curfews
All games except championship games in the playoffs will have time limits.
A regulation game is 6 innings. A game is “official” after 4 innings (after the top of the 4th if the home team is ahead) if called due to inclement weather, darkness, or other reason.
No new inning will start after one hour and fifty minutes (1:50) have elapsed from the start of the game. The time reference is from the last out of the previous inning. Exception: in Majors Division the time limit is two hours from the start of the game whenever there is not another game following on the same field (e.g., weekdays unless there is a scheduled double-header, and the last game of the day on Saturdays).
If a game is delayed by weather (or other reason) at the time of Curfew, the game is considered “called” at that point and, if the game has completed the necessary innings to be an official game, the winner will be determined based on the official Rules (e.g., score reverts to last completed inning). The game will not restart after curfew.
Official game delays of significance (more than 5 minutes) will suspend the one hour and fifty minute clock. This includes warm-up time. The clock restarts after the first pitch resuming play.
No inning may start after 9:05PM on Sunday through Thursday and 9:35PM on Friday and Saturday. Note: a new inning starts the moment the final out is recorded in the prior inning.
Games tied at the time of curfew or after time limit expires will be recorded as “ties.”
For Rookie and T-Ball, the time limits for Saturday games will be strictly enforced.
League Organization and Playoffs
The League Coordinator(s) will develop the schedule with the approval of the league Board of Directors to maximize competition and player development during the “regular season” and to allow sufficient time for playoffs. Playoff format will stress multiple games in a relatively short period of time, requiring teams to use many different pitchers. Playoffs will follow a “pool play” format, followed by single-elimination games. Regular season records will be used to determine playoff pool assignments.
MAJOR LEAGUE Rules
The following rules apply only to play in the “Major” League. Play will be governed by the Official Regulation and Playing Rules published by Little League Baseball except as modified by League Rules.
Major League Specific Rules
Mandatory play requirement is 3 innings (9 outs) in the field, which must be completed by the 5th inning. A player who does not get the mandatory play will start in the field the next game and play at least the remaining outs from the previous game plus an additional 9 outs before the player may be removed. All players will be in the batting order and will bat in turn regardless of whether they are in the defensive lineup. There shall be no pinch hitters. The offending manager will get a warning from the league. Additional penalties may be levied by the VP of Baseball in consultation with the Player Agent. Note: Mandatory play rules may not be protested. Illegal substitution violations must be appealed immediately or are waived.
Players in the defensive Catcher position must wear full catcher's gear, including a catcher's mitt (not a fielder's glove). Managers who need larger or smaller catcher's gear, or a left-handed catcher's mitt, should contact the league's equipment manager.
There shall be no intentional walks of hitters during the regular season. In playoffs, intentional walks are permitted. Pitchers must throw pitches as part of an intentional walk and those pitches will count toward the pitcher’s pitch count.
The uncaught third strike rule (Rule 6.09B) will not be in effect for the first half of the season.
Minor League Call-ups
If a player is lost for the season, the manager may “call up” a replacement player from the Minor League. The Major League manager will select an available 10-year-old Minor player. If approved by the Player Agent, the Minors coordinator will contact the player’s manager. Either the Minors coordinator or the player’s Minors manager will advise the player. No one else should contact such potential replacement players. If the selected player elects to stay in Minors, the Major League manager selects another available 10-year-old Minor player until the selected player accepts the call-up.
No call-ups will be allowed after May 1. Players lost after that date will not be replaced.
Once a player is called up to the Majors they will not be permitted to return to the Minors.
MINOR LEAGUE Rules
Minor League games are instructional and recreational. Managers and coaches should stress development of players. Managers should attempt to develop as many pitchers and catchers as practical, and should rotate players defensively to allow players to learn and practice skills under game-conditions. For example, the “best” player on the team should learn to play outfield, because at the Majors level, outfield play is important, and the player may not be able to play shortstop at Majors level. Skills development and fun should be emphasized over winning games.
Minor League Pitching Restrictions
It is recommended that managers pitch as many players as possible in order to develop pitching depth. A rough guideline is that teams should give at least 75% of the players a chance to pitch. If the player is not interested in pitching the manager should not force the player to do so. In order to support this goal, the following rules are in place for a team’s first 6 games of the season:
A player may not pitch more than 50 pitches in a single outing.
A player may not throw more than 30 pitches in an inning.
If a player pitches over 40 pitches in a game they are not eligible to pitch in the next game, regardless of the Little League days rest rules.
Minor League Specific Rules
Managers shall exchange positional game plans and line-ups prior to the start of the game.
No player may sit out (a) more than two innings per game or (b) two innings in a row. Each player must play at least one inning in the infield and one inning in the outfield. No player may play more than three innings at any one position during the game. Managers with teams of 12 players or less should ensure that positional and playing time requirements are satisfied by the end of the 5th inning. If a team has 13 or more players positional requirements should be satisfied by the 6th inning. If for some reason a game ends early (weather, 10-run rule) and a player has not satisfied the positional requirements, that player shall satisfy the missed requirement at the start of the next game in addition to that games positional requirements.
When the bases are loaded, a walk will consist of five balls rather than four balls.
A modified five-run rule will be in effect. No batter may bat after the fifth run scores in an inning. In a situation where a team has scored four runs in the inning and there are runners on base, runners on third or second base may attempt to score on the next ball put in play, but no more than six runs may score in the inning. The inning ends when the 6th run scores, or after five runs have scored and there is a defensive out or
when the play is dead (see below). A runner may not score the 6th run in an inning unless the runner was at second base when the ball is put in play. (This prevents the offensive team from sending all runners, including the batter, around the bases once the fifth run has scored – only runners who were in “scoring position” when the ball is put into play may attempt to score the 6th run in an inning.). The lone exception to this rule is if the batter hits a home run over the fence, in which case the batter and all runners on base may score even if the total runs scored exceeds.
Play is dead when the pitcher is in control of the ball on the mound (one foot on the dirt). For purposes of this rule, runners who are already advancing toward the next base (before the pitcher has the ball on the mound) may continue to advance at their own risk, or may return to the previously occupied base without risk.Once the runner begins to retreat to the last occupied base, the umpire will declare the play “dead” and will order the runners to return to the last occupied base. (The runner may not continue running past the base to which he is advancing when the pitcher has the ball on the mound.) If the pitcher throws the ball in an attempt to get the runner who is advancing to a base, the ball is back in play and all runners may advance at their own risk.
A team will be allowed to successfully steal a maximum of 2 times per inning. Stealing of home plate will not be permitted. A stolen base is defined as advancement to the next base as a result of a play where there has been no batted ball. If a player attempts to steal after the fifth steal, he will be forced to return to the base (by order of the umpire) unless he is thrown out in which the out call willstand.
Batters shall not wag the bat during a bunt attempt to distract the pitcher. Penalty -- the pitchwill automatically be called a strike.
There will be no intentional walks.
Runners may only advance 1 base on an overthrow
Players in the defensive Catcher position must wear full catcher's gear, including a catcher's mitt (not a fielder's glove). Managers who need larger or smaller catcher's gear, or a left-handed catcher's mitt,should contact the league's equipment manager.
If the home team is ahead and it is already past the 1:50 time limit, the managers may agree to play the bottom half-inning if it is the last game of the day. As usual, new innings should not begin after 1:50 has elapsed. The visiting team manager may opt to stop the game at any time during the half-inning after consulting with the home manager.
AAA Division games are instructional and recreational. Managers and Coaches should stress development of players. Managers should attempt to develop as many pitchers and catchers as practical, and should rotate players defensively to allow players to learn and practice skills under game conditions. For example, the “best” player on the team should learn to play outfield, because at the Majors Division, outfield play is important, and the player may not be able to play shortstop in Majors Division. Skills development and fun should be emphasized over winning games.
AAA Pitching Restrictions
It is recommended that managers pitch as many players as possible in order to develop pitching depth. Managers should try to give all players the experience of pitching. If the player is not interested in pitching the manager should not force the player to do so. In order to support this goal, the following rules are in place for a team’s first 6 gamesof the season:
A player may not pitch more than 3 outs per game.
A player may not throw more than 30 pitches per outing.
In addition to the pitching restrictions mentioned in the “General Rules and Procedures” section of this document,
after a team’s first 6 games the following restrictions are in effect:
A pitcher may not pitch more than 2 innings per game.
Pitchers may not exceed 50 pitches in a game.
AAA Specific Rules
Based on level of play, the season will begin with a mix of coach and kid pitch, and transition to all kid pitch by the end of the season. The transition timing will be determined by the AAA Coordinator and AAA Coaches
Example – first 3 games 2 kid pitch innings, next 3 games 4 kid pitch innings, rest of season all kid pitch
No illegal pitches will be called. Rule 8.05 not in effect.
A coach will relieve a pitcher if that pitcher has thrown to 4 or 5 batters without consistently throwing strikes. The batting team’s coach will throw to batters until completion of the inning. Once coach pitch commences, batter will receive a maximum of 5 pitches. No called strikes, but 3 swinging strikes will be a strikeout.
Four balls to a walk; five balls if bases are loaded.
There will be no intentional walks.
For teams with 11 players, no player may sit out more than one inning before the 6th inning Each player will play at least 4 innings in the field before the 6th inning
All players bat whether or not they play the field that inning. The batting order is established at the beginning of the game and should stay the same during the game.
Each player must play at least two innings in the infield and one inning in the outfield. No player may play more than two innings at any one position during the game, except for catcher who is limited to 3 innings per game. Managers should ensure that positional and playing time requirements are satisfied by the end of the game (by the end of the last inning if the game is shortened due to bad weather, time limits or 10 run rule).
A maximum of five (5) runs may be scored in one inning.
Play is dead when the pitcher is in control of the ball on the mound (one foot on the dirt). For purposes of this rule, runners who are already advancing toward the next base (before the pitcher has the ball on the mound) may continue to advance at their own risk. The runner may not continue running past the base to which he is advancing when the pitcher has the ball on the mound. If the pitcher throws the ball in an attempt to get the runner who is advancing to a base, the ball is back in play and all runners may advance at their ownrisk.
.Runners may only advance 1 base on an overthrow
No Stealing of ANY base will be permitted
Batters shall not wag the bat during a bunt attempt to distract the pitcher. Penalty -- the pitch will automatically be called a strike.
The Catcher may wear a fielder’s glove but is encouraged to learn to use a catcher’s mitt.
If the home team is ahead and it is already past the 1:50 time limit, the managers may agree to play the bottom half-inning if it is the last game of the day. As usual, new innings should not begin after 1:50 has elapsed. The visiting team manager may opt to stop the game at any time during the half-inning after consulting with the home manager. 14. A game will be deemed “official” after three innings.
Rookie Division Rules & Guidelines
Please read the General Rules and Procedures at the beginning of this document. Rules identified in the general rules section apply to the Rookie division unless explicitly stated in this section.
Safety of players, coaches and spectators is our most important task. In questions of field conditions; inclement weather, etc., safety should be our paramount concern.
Managers should make the call in case of bad weather if they should play.
Game Play - General
No score is kept in Rookies. No winners/losers are reported, and no standings are maintained.
Each game consists of a maximum of 6 innings.
No inning can begin after 1:30 from start of the game.
All teams are responsible to clean up and clear their team from the field as soon as possible at end ofa game.
Players should arrive 30 minutes prior to every game. Players should only warm up under the supervision of a coach or manager.
Managers should have lineups and fielding positions prepared prior to arriving for the game.
A player must be in full uniform to participate, including wearing their hat.
The home team is responsible for providing two brand new balls for each game.
A team should have a minimum of 6 players to play a game
Defensive positions shall consist of no more than 9 fielders, with a minimum of 6 fielders: When coach is pitching, the fielding pitcher must be positioned with two feet on the mound dirt area.
Catcher (must wear catcher’s gear but may use fielder’s glove if preferred)
Four Outfielders (4 across/no short fielder). Outfielders may not come in and play in the infield. When the ball is pitched, the outfielders must be positioned at least 10 feet beyond the outfield grass perimeter.
No player can sit out more than one inning in a row and no more than two innings per game. All players must be rotated during the game and cannot play any one position for more than 2 innings in a game.
Managers and coaches are encouraged to “coach” bench players by practicing throwing and catching or by pointing out basic concepts of the game.
Up to two coaches may be present on the field when their team is in the field. They should stand in leftcenter and/or right center, not interfere with the players view and stay out of the play of thegame.
All batters and base runners must wear helmets.
There is no on-deck batter. Only the player at bat may have a bat in his hand. On-deck hitters shouldbe ready to hit, with helmet on, but MAY NOT have a bat, and MAY NOT take practice swings. No do- nuts or other removable weights are permitted on bats at any time.
All players bat whether or not they play the field that inning. The batting order is established at the beginning of the game and should stay the same during the game.
Bunting is prohibited When Coaches Are Pitching:
The coach-pitcher should be in a sitting (eg, on an upturned bucket) or kneeling position not more than 10 feet in front of the mound (as close to the mound as possible). The pitches should be thrown overhand with a full arm motion (not like throwing darts). Every attempt should be made make sure the pitches are not just
lobbed in -- pitches should have as flat a trajectory as possible. Remember, it is the manager’s job to prepare the kids eventually to face live pitching. Coaches should throw harder to the better batters who can handle it, and softer to less skilled batters, but remembering that a slower pitch arcing across the plate is more difficult to hit than a faster pitch traveling on a flatter plane.
Pitch Counts to batters:
Maximum of 5 swings or 7 total pitches
After 5 swings or 7 pitches, the batting tee is used (No strikeouts)
This rule is to be strictly enforced. Do not exceed the number of allotted pitches. The pitcher must do his best to pitch strikes. If the last pitch is fouled off, the batter will continue until he either puts the ball in play, swings and misses, or takes a pitch.
The rules for hitting are designed to strongly encourage the players to swing the bat. There are no walks.
A fair-batted ball, which hits a coach/manager, is in play.
If a coach/manager accidentally fields a fair ball the ball is dead and player is awarded first base. Other runners advance one base.
When a team is on offense the remaining coaches/manager will occupy the first and third base coaching positions. The coach/manager closest to their team’s players should supervise the team.
Each half inning consists of 3 outs or 5 runs scored, whichever comes first.
No advancing on overthrows
There is only one overthrow per play.
The slide or avoid rule is in effect. If a defensive player has the ball in his possession, the base runner must slide or go around the defensive player to avoid a collision. A runner may go into a base standing up but will be called out if they cause a collision with a fielder at the base. This is especially so at home plate. There is no head first sliding.
The coach/pitcher acts as the umpire on all batted balls. Their decision is final however they should defer to a defensive coach when they need help.
In case of injury to a runner, a courtesy runner can be inserted. This runner without exception is always the player who made the last out.