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Content

2018

Bat Rules

Rule 1.10 – Baseball

The bat must be a baseball bat which meets the USA Baseball Bat standard (USABat) as adopted by Little League. It shall be a smooth, rounded stick, and made of wood or of material and color tested and proved acceptable to the USA Baseball Bat standard (USABat).

Beginning with the 2018 season, non-wood and laminated bats used in the Little League (Majors) and below, Intermediate (50-70) Division, Junior League divisions, and Challenger division shall bear the USA Baseball logo signifying that the bat meets the USABat – USA Baseball’s Youth Bat Performance Standard. All BPF – 1.15 bats will be prohibited beginning with the 2018 season. Additionally, starting in 2018, the bat diameter shall not exceed 2⅝ inches for these divisions of play. Additional information is available at LittleLeague.org/batinfo.

Tee Ball:

Under the USABat standard, certified Tee Ball bats (26″ and shorter) will feature the USA Baseball mark and text which reads ONLY FOR USE WITH APPROVED TEE BALLS. All Tee Ball bats must feature the USA Baseball mark and accompanying text. Tee Ball bats that were produced and/or purchased prior to the implementation of the new standard can be certified using an Approved Tee Ball Sticker via the USA Baseball Tee Ball Sticker Program (USABaseballShop.com) beginning September 1, 2017.

Minor/Major Divisions:

It shall not be more than 33 inches in length; nor more than 2⅝ inches in diameter, and if wood, not less than fifteen-sixteenths (15/16) inches in diameter (7/8 inch for bats less than 30″) at its smallest part. Wood bats taped or fitted with a sleeve may not exceed sixteen (16) inches from the small end.

NOTE: Solid one-piece wood barrel bats do not require a USA Baseball logo.

Intermediate (50-70) Division and Junior League:

It shall not be more than 34″ inches in length; nor more than 2⅝ inches in diameter, and if wood, not less than fifteen-sixteenths (15/16) inches in diameter (7/8 inch for bats less than 30″) at its smallest part. Wood bats taped or fitted with a sleeve may not exceed eighteen (18) inches from the small end.

NOTE: Solid one-piece wood barrel bats do not require a USA Baseball logo.

Senior League:

It shall not be more than 36 inches in length, nor more than 2⅝ inches in diameter, and if wood, not less than fifteen-sixteenths (15/16) inches in diameter (7/8 inch for bats less than 30″) at its smallest part. Wood bats taped or fitted with a sleeve may not exceed eighteen (18) inches from the small end. The bat shall not weigh, numerically, more than three ounces less than the length of the bat (e.g., a 33-inch-long bat cannot weigh less than 30 ounces). All bats not made of a single piece of wood shall meet the Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution (BBCOR) performance standard, and such bats shall be so labeled with a silkscreen or other permanent certification mark. The certification mark shall be rectangular, a minimum of a half-inch on each side and located on the barrel of the bat in any contrasting color. Aluminum/alloy and composite bats shall be marked as to their material makeup being aluminum/alloy or composite. This marking shall be silkscreen or other permanent certification mark, a minimum of one-half-inch on each side, and located on the barrel of the bat in any contrasting color.

Little League Challenger Division:

It shall not be more than 33 inches in length; nor more than 2⅝ inches in diameter, and if wood, not less than fifteen-sixteenths (15/16) inches in diameter (7/8 inch for bats less than 30”) at its smallest part. Wood bats taped or fitted with a sleeve may not exceed sixteen (16) inches from the small end.

NOTE: Solid one-piece wood barrel bats do not require a USA Baseball logo.

Senior League Challenger Division:

It shall not be more than 36 inches in length, nor more than 2⅝ inches in diameter, and if wood, not less than fifteen-sixteenths (15/16) inches in diameter (7/8 inch for bats less than 30”) at its smallest part. Wood bats taped or fitted with a sleeve may not exceed eighteen (18) inches from the small end. The bat shall not weigh, numerically, more than three ounces less than the length of the bat (e.g., a 33-inch-long bat cannot weigh less than 30 ounces). All bats not made of a single piece of wood shall meet either 1) the Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution (BBCOR) performance standard, and such bats shall be so labeled with a silkscreen or other permanent certification mark which shall be rectangular, a minimum of a half-inch on each side, and located on the barrel of the bat in any contrasting color, or 2) the USA Bat standard and shall bear the USA Baseball logo signifying that the bat meets the USABat – USA Baseball’s Youth Bat Performance Standard. Aluminum/alloy and composite bats shall be marked as to their material makeup being aluminum/alloy or composite. This marking shall be silkscreen or other permanent certification mark, a minimum of one-half-inch on each side, and located on the barrel of the bat in any contrasting color.

In all divisions, a non-wood bat must have a grip of cork, tape, or composition material, and must extend a minimum of 10 inches from the small end. Slippery tape or similar material is prohibited.

NOTE 1: Whiffle ball type bats are permissible in all Challenger Divisions.

NOTE 2: The traditional batting donut is not permissible.

NOTE 3: Tee Ball bats maybe used in the Challenger Divisions. Under the USABat standard, certified Tee Ball bats (26” and shorter) will feature the USA Baseball mark and text which reads ONLY FOR USE WITH APPROVED TEE BALLS. All Tee Ball bats must feature the USA Baseball mark and accompanying text. Tee Ball bats that were produced and/or purchased prior to the implementation of the new standard can be certified using an Approved Tee Ball Sticker via the USA Baseball Tee Ball Sticker Program (USABaseballShop.com) beginning September 1, 2017.

NOTE 4: Non-wood bats may develop dents from time to time. Bats that have cracks or sharp edges, or that cannot pass through the approved Little League bat ring for the appropriate division must be removed from play. The 2¼-inch bat ring must be used for bats labeled 2¼. The 2⅝-inch bat ring must be used for bats labeled for 2⅝.

NOTE 5: An illegal bat must be removed. Any bat that has been altered shall be removed from play.

Rule 1.10 – Softball

The bat must be a softball bat which meets Little League specifications and standards as noted in this rule. It shall be a smooth, rounded stick and made of wood or a material tested and proved acceptable to Little League standards. The bat shall be no more than 33 inches (34 inches for Junior/Senior League) in length, not more than two and one-quarter (2¼) inches in diameter, and if wood, not less than fifteen-sixteenth (15/16) inches in diameter (7/8 inch for bats less than 30 inches) at its smallest part. Non-wood bats shall be printed with a BPF (bat performance factor) of 1.20. Bats may be taped or fitted with a sleeve for a distance not exceeding 16 inches from the small end. Colored bats are acceptable. A non-wood bat must have a grip of cork, tape or composition material, and must extend a minimum of 10 inches from the small end. Slippery tape or similar material is prohibited.

An illegal or altered bat must be removed.


In all divisions, non-wood bat must have a grip of cork, tape, or composition material, and must extend a minimum of 10 inches from the small end. Slippery tape or similar material is prohibited.

NOTE 1: The traditional batting donut is not permissible.

NOTE 2: The use of pine tar or any other similar adhesive substance is prohibited at all levels of Little League Baseball and Softball. Use of these substances will result in the bat being declared illegal and removed from play.

NOTE 3: Non-wood bats may develop dents from time to time. Bats that have cracks or sharp edges, or that cannot pass through the approved Little League bat ring for the appropriate division must be removed from play. The 2¼-inch bat ring must be used for bats labeled 2¼. The 2⅝-inch bat ring must be used for bats labeled for 2⅝.

NOTE 4: An illegal bat must be removed. Any bat that has been altered shall be removed from play. PENALTY – See Rule – 6.06(d).

Content

2017 

Keep One Foot In Batter's Box

Starting in 2017, local leagues will have the option to mandate batters keep one foot in the batter's box throughout their at-bat, barring eight exceptions provided in the rule book, during regular season games. If the batter leaves the batter's box or delays play and none of the exceptions apply, the umpire shall warn the batter. After one warning on a batter, the umpire shall call a strike. Any number of strikes can be called on each batter. During tournament play, the rule is no longer an option and all batters will be mandated to keep one foot in the batter's box throughout their at-bat, barring the eight exceptions provided in the rule book.
Exceptions:

  1. On a swing, slap, or check swing. 
  2. When forced out of the box by a pitch. 
  3. When the batter attempts a “drag bunt” in Baseball [or attempts a “slap” or “slap bunt” in Softball] 
  4. When the catcher does not catch the pitched ball. 
  5. When a play has been attempted. 
  6. When time has been called. 
  7. BASEBALL: When the pitcher leaves the dirt area of the pitching mound or takes a position more than five feet from the pitcher’s plate after receiving the ball or the catcher leaves the catcher’s box. SOFTBALL: When the pitcher leaves the eight foot circle or the catcher leaves the catcher’s box.
  8. On a three ball count pitch that is a strike that the batter thinks is a ball.

Intentional Walk [Baseball Only]

For Minor and Major Divisions of Baseball, defensive teams will now be able to elect to intentionally walk a batter by announcing the decision to the plate umpire. After appropriate notification is made by the defensive manager, the ball is ruled dead and no other runners may advance unless forced by the batter's award of first base. Once the award is granted, four pitches will be added to the defensive pitcher's official pitch count.

Special Pinch Runner Rules

During tournament play starting in 2017, a team may utilize a player who is not in the batting order as a special pinch-runner for any offensive player twice a game, but not more than one time per inning. A player may only be removed for a special pinch-runner one time during a game. The player for whom the pinch-runner runs is not subject to removal from the lineup. If the pinch-runner remains in the game as a substitute defensive or offensive player, the player may not be used again as a pinch-runner while in the batting order. However, if removed for another substitute that player or any player not in the line-up, is again eligible to be used as a pinch-runner.


Along with the efforts for increased pace of play, additional rules and regulations were created to help promote sportsmanship within the Little League program:

Stealing and Relaying of Pitch Selection and Location

Starting in 2017, local league umpires will have the option to adopt the rule that the stealing and relaying of signs to alert the batter of pitch selection and/or location is unsportsmanlike behavior. If, in the judgment of the umpire, this behavior is occurring, both the player and the manager may be ejected from the game. The same rule will be mandated during tournament play.

Language Regarding On-Field Altercations

In an effort to assist umpires, language has been created in the 2017 rulebooks to provide umpires with guidance regarding fights and physical altercations. A manager, coach, or player shall not leave their position in the field or bench area during a fight or physical confrontation; a manager or coach who attempts to prevent a fight or restore order, in the umpire's judgment, is not in violation of this rule. The umpire shall eject the offender(s) from the game immediately. Failure to comply with the ejection may result in the umpire suspending the game and referring it to the Board of Directors for further action.


Little League International Board of Directors also made the decision on the following rule changes in regards to the administrative roles of local leagues:

Mandatory Criminal Background Checks

Starting in 2017, a local league within the United States must conduct a nationwide background check utilizing First Advantage or another provider that is comparable to First Advantage in accessing background check records for sex offender registry data and other criminal records. Each year, Little League International provides each local league located within the United States one hundred twenty-five (125) free criminal background checks administered through First Advantage. Local leagues located outside the United States must conduct a comprehensive criminal background check, including checks in the relevant country, as well as that country's provinces/states and municipalities unless otherwise prohibited by the laws of the country of which the local league is located. No local league shall permit any person to participate in any manner whose background check reveals a conviction, guilty plea, no contest plea, or admission to any crime involving or against a minor or minors. All local leagues must take into consideration criminal records when making the determination whether the individual is unfit to participate in any manner in the league. Details are here.

Updated Residency Registration Process

As part of the new rule changes, Little League has modified the residency document requirements into three categories in order to prove "residence." Beginning immediately, residence shall be established and supported by documents containing the full residence which includes parent(s) or guardian(s) name, street address, city, state and zip code information, dated or in force between February 1, 2016 (previous year) and February 1, 2017 (current year), from one or more documents from each of the three Groups outlined in the 2017 Rulebook. Also, a school report card or progress report may no longer be used as a School Enrollment Eligibility document. Players who established "residence" or "school attendance" for regular season and/or tournament prior to the 2016-2017 season using the Player Verification Form, and can produce the form with proper proofs and signatures, will be grandfathered and will NOT need to complete a new Player Verification Form. Details are here.

More details on all rule updates and clarifications here.

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