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Main Rules

The Buckeye Baseball League will use the same Rules as OHSAA in order to prepare our players for High School play.  A complete set of Rules can be downloaded and printed at  The Rules here are to be used for Game play NOT in regard to Coach certification, player limitations, etc.  

The Director has reviewed these Rules and they seem fine as a guide.  However, if something was overlooked and does not reflect the manner in which games should be played in the Buckeye Baseball League, the Director reserves the right to make a modification at any time.

Buckeye Baseball League Rules

Field dimensions are:
9U - 10U: 46 x 65
11U - 12U: 50 x 70
13U: 54 x 80

Games are 6 innings for 9U---11U; 12U and up last 7 innings; no inning begins after 2 hours; there are NO TIES in the Buckeye League and that is the only case that a game continues beyond 6 or 7 innings. If the game is tied after 6 or 7 innings and the Teams can continue to play because it is still light out, please continue! Please continue the contest as long as necessary in order to crown a victor (weather conditions permitting).

If weather interrupts a game, the game will be continued from the point of interruption IF 1 full inning has been completed; A game is Official if interrupted and ended due to weather or darkness after 4 complete innings or 3.5 innings if the Home Team is winning for 9U and up. However, every effort should be made to play every game in its entirety if the game is not official by lasting 3 or 4 full innings accordingly. When a game is interrupted and not complete, if the Teams are scheduled to play later in the season (2nd game as a Division Game), the Teams should arrange to finish that game prior to the game that is scheduled. Generally, Teams have to arrange to start those events earlier than what had been initially scheduled so that they can get both contests in.

Pitching: At 9U---11U, Pitchers may pitch 3 innings maximum a game (9 outs); 8 innings per week max (24 outs); if a pitcher pitches MORE than 3 outs, there is a MANDATORY 1 day rest period. At 12U and up, Pitchers may pitch 4 innings maximum a game (12 outs); 9 innings per week max (27 outs); At 9U--12U, if a Pitcher pitches more than 3 outs, there is a mandatory one day rest period.  At 13U and up, if a Pitcher pitches more than 4 outs, there is a mandatory 1 day rest period.  Please keep in mind that non-League Games or Tournament play do NOT count toward Buckeye Baseball League totals.

The Infield Fly Rule is in effect for all Age Divisions except 9U.

 A Courtesy Runner may be used with 2 outs only for the Pitcher and/or Cather.  The Runner will be the last person who made an out in the line-up.  The Courtesy Runner cannot be arbitrarily assigned by the Coach.  It must be the person who made the last out in the line-up.

The Dropped Third Strike Rule is in effect for all Age Divisions with 0, 1 or 2 outs EXCEPT 9U.

There is a 2 hour and 5 minute time limit on all games.  This time element does not include the time during a delay due to weather.  In an inning, once a third out is achieved, that time is the start of the new inning.  Any Team that purposely tries to drag out the game to win the game by achieving the time limit may have their Head Coach suspended for 1 game. If a Team or a Coach is obviously trying to take up time by replacing Pitchers and using visits to the mound in order to delay the game or delaying in any other manner intentionally, this should be brought to the attention of the Umpire and the Umpire should add time onto the Time Limit in this event.

A Coach is permitted to visit a Pitcher once an Inning without the Pitcher having to be removed.  If a Coach visits a Pitcher twice (not related to an injury) in one inning, the Pitcher must be removed.  If a Coach visits a Pitcher for third time overall throughout a Game, the Pitcher must be removed.

No player is permitted to play for 2 Buckeye Baseball League teams.  This Rule also means that no player can play at multiple levels for 2 Teams within the League.  For Example, John Smith cannot play for the 12U Miami Hurricanes and also the 13U Boca Raton Dragons if they both play in the League.  The only compromise to this Rule is in the event of mass injuries.  If this occurs, the League Director MUST be informed of the need and "OK" the player participating on EVERY occasion.

PLAYER SUBSTITUTION: if a Team Roster bats, players may be moved freely in the Field, but must remain in the same batting position throughout the entire game.  If a Team does not Roster bat and substitutes for a player or players, the Starter or Starters may re-enter the game for that Substitute.  Once a player re-enters, the person who was the original sub and now is out of the game CANNOT return in any capacity.

If one Pitcher hits two batters in an inning he must be removed as a safety precaution. That Pitcher may return in a later inning, but if that Pitcher hits another Batter (#3), that Pitcher must be permanently removed (as a Pitcher). In any case where a Pitcher hits 3 batters throughout the course of a game, after the 3rd batter HBP, the Pitcher must be permanently removed. Further, if a second game is going to be played between the 2 Teams, the League's strongest suggestion is that the offending Team is discouraged from pitching that player in that future contest out of fairness to their opponent's batters. A guideline of a "drop 5" is in effect for 14U. Moving forward, in 2017, a "drop 5" is a concrete Rule.

In abbreviated games that are being resumed, the Pitching Rules pertaining to the original contest are still in effect meaning that if Pitcher had already pitched 2 innings (6 outs) in the abbreviated contest, he only can pitch 1 more inning when the contest resumes at 9U---11U and 2 more innings at 12U and up. In situations such as these, a Pitcher may total 4 innings on that second day at 9U—11U and 5 innings at 12U and up (for the abbreviated game and the new game). If a Pitcher pitches more than 1 inning (3 outs) in the game that is being resumed, he may not pitch in the 2nd game. However, the totals in regard to Pitching Limits per week will not count toward the current week for games that are being resumed.

Doubleheaders: As a result of rainouts, you may find your Team with the need to play doubleheaders. The Pitching Rule for Doubleheaders is as follows: a Pitcher who you are planning to pitch in both games may pitch 1 inning in the first game and 3 innings in the 2nd game at 9U---11U. At 12U and up, a Pitcher may throw 1 inning in the abbreviated game and 4 innings in the second. (You are NOT permitted to go 2 and 2, 3 and 1, 0 and 4 or 4 and 0; you can do 1 and 3 only for 9U—11U and only 1 and 4 innings at 12U and up) The reason for this Rule is to keep Coaches from over-using a Pitcher and/or potentially injuring a Pitcher.

Batting: 9 players that play in the Field must bat; a Team can bat with 10 players with a DH; a Team may also Roster Bat; If a Team Roster Bats, they must do so throughout the entire game. If a player is injured an cannot continue, the Team will skip that player's spot in the order without penalty. However, if a player is ejected or has to leave the contest for any other reason, the Team must take an out in that player's spot in the order. (If one Team Roster Bats, that is their choice, but that does not mean that both Teams have to Roster Bat).

Bats: there is no 'drop,' but a bat may not exceed 2 and 3/4 inches in diameter.

Stealing: At 9U, we use 'Little League' Rules in that base runners may not leave the base until after the ball reaches the plate. Base runners are permitted to attempt to steal Home. At 9U, delayed steals or delayed stealing is NOT permitted.  At 9U, a base runner either steals immediately after the ball passes the plate or immediately after he realizes that the ball has passed the Catcher.  A base runner may NOT attempt to steal when the Catcher is returning the ball to the Pitcher.  Once a Pitcher has received the ball from the Catcher after a pitch, the runner must immediately return to the base.  A batter who is walked after 4 balls is awarded 1st base.  That walked batter may not simply run to 2nd Base.  In order to "steal," the runner must wait until the ball crosses the plate when the next pitch is thrown.  A runner that violates any of these stealing rules at 9U will receive a warning and all base runners must return to their base of origin.  If a 2nd and future violation of any runner on that same team occurs, that runner and future runners will be called out. 

No lead-offs in 9U. Once the ball crosses the plate, a baserunner may move off of the base.  In order for the baserunner to steal, the baserunner must overtly commit to running and attempt to achieve the next base. The runner should not be going halfway in order to confuse the Catcher in order to create an unnecssary throw.  The runner basically has one-and-a-half seconds to decide if he's stealing.  If he hasn't committed to the next base by that time, he is to remain at that base.  If it takes the runner 2 seconds to recognize that there is a passed ball, that is fine.  However, there is no delayed stealing.  Baserunners are not playing "cat and mouse" games with the Pitcher and the Catcher. If the Catcher makes a poor throw to the Pitcher and the ball gets away from the Pitcher, runners are free to attempt to advance on the throwing or receiving error.  However, because Pitchers are generally taught to step forward to receive the ball ealy on, the errors in exchange are rare or infrequent.

At 10U and up, we play with lead-offs and stealing.

Mercy Rule: For 9U, the 'Mercy Rule' is 13 runs after 4 innings and 9 runs after 5 innings. At 10u and up, the 'Mercy Rule' is 12 Runs after 4 innings; 8 runs after 5 innings.

Each Pitcher should receive 1 warning before a balk is called and bases awarded. This should be mentioned to the Umpire when the Managers review the Ground Rules prior to the Game. As the Teams advance to older Age groups, the Managers are permitted to agree (prior to the Game when reviewing Ground Rules) that no warnings are necessary and that balk infractions should be enforced without warning.

If a player or a Coach is ejected, they are NOT permitted to play or Coach in the next game including Playoffs and Championship. If a player or a Coach is ejected in 2 contests in one season, that player or Coach is suspended for the next 2 games and must meet with the League Director before they are permitted to participate again in League play. If it happens a third time, the Coach or player is likely to be suspended for the remainder of the season and possibly for the next season dependent on the circumstances. All ejections must be reported directly to the League Director (T.C. Murphy) within 24 hours of the completion of the contest.

Player Injury: If a player is injured during a game and there is not a replacement for him due to lack of players or roster batting, that injured player is NOT an out in the batting order.

If a player is ejected or leaves a game/the field due to a non-injury and there is no replacement for the player due to lack of bench players or roster batting, that player is an out in the batting border when his turn comes up.

Molded spikes are to be worn exclusively through 12U. Cleats can be worn at 13U and up, but players are not encouraged to wear them because of the possibility of injury.

Certified, adult Umpires must be used for every League Game. 2 Umpires are necessary for 11U games and older. At 10U, it is strongly encouraged to have 2 Umpires for known very competitive and critical games. At 10U and older, 2 Umpires are absolutely required for all Post Season play. If a problem arises with a specific Umpire, please bring that to the League Director’s attention. The League Director will call the UIC and request that the Umpire in question is not assigned to a game with the Team who registered the complaint if the that Team feels that strongly it. Teams are not permitted to have the same Umpire or Umpire Team for their Home Schedule. Umpires who assign the Umpires are responsible for NOT assigning the same Umpires for the same Teams and Age Divisions.

Coaches are required to control their fellow Coaches, their Team and the fans. Please make sure that everyone understands what is appropriate behavior, and what is not. In Games, it is encouraged that one Head Coach interact with the other Head Coach only (especially if a question or a conflict arises). Coaches should not interact with the fans of the opposing Team. It is thought of as undesirable for a Coach to presume to educate the fans of their opponent or debate with the opposing fans. Forget about the fans...and coach your Team.

Change in Reporting Scores: The WINNING TEAM post the Final Score of each Game on ScoreBooth. The reason for this is because the Winning Team is more motivated to post that information. Please enter and post Game scores within 24 hours of the completion of that contest. However, it is still the Home Team's responsibility to report Pitching totals and keep an accurate Scorebook during the game. The Home Book is the Official Record of the Game.

Head First Sliding is only permitted at 15U in the Buckeye Baseball League.  The reason for this is to reduce hand, arm, head and neck injuries.  If a player is attempting to achieve a base and the player slides head first, the player is to be called out.  While it is understand that a player may instinctively slide head first in the heat of the moment, it is still not permitted.  However, when a player is returning to a base as in a lead-off situation and does so head first by diving back, that is permitted and the runner is not out.

9U Stealing: we use a form of the "Little League" stealing rule.  At 9U, a player may steal once the ball passes the plate.  In the Buckeye League, the Runner either goes in an attempt to steal or the Runner does not.  Obviously, a secondary lead once the ball passes the plate is fine, but if they are not stealing, the Runner MUST return to the base immediately.  We do NOT play "cat and mouse" games with the Catcher by forcing the Catcher to walk the Runner back to the base nor do we advocate "delayed stealing" when the catcher throws the ball back to the Pitcher.  Now if the ball is thrown astray away from the Pitcher, a 9U Runner is free to attempt a steal at that point.  However, the reason that we have this Rule is to allow the players to learn actual Baseball.  If a Team employs a "delayed steal" or plays a "cat and mouse" game with the Catcher, a warning is in order, but NOT mandatory.  If a warning is given, the Runner MUST return.  If the Umpire chooses not to give a warning or a Runner/Team tries this after a warning is given, the Runner is OUT!

Protests---According to memory, we have NEVER had a Protest since the League began.  However, having a Rule in the event that it does occur, is necessary.  First of all, an Umpire's judgment call can NEVER be formally protested.  If you feel the need to protest a game based on the procedure during a game or a Rule misapplied during a game, you may do so (although I hope that you will not).  In order to protest, you should inform the Umpire and the opposing Coach that you are playing under protest.  In a League Game, you need to continue to play the game out.  During or immediately after the game, you need to inform the League Director that you are protesting.  You, then, need to put in writing the nature of the Protest with a full description of the occurrence.  That written description along with $75 cash need to be delivered to the League Director within 48 hours of the start time of the protested contest.  If your Protest is denied, the League will NOT return your $75.  If your Protest is upheld, your $75 will be returned and all parties will be notified as to how the protested game will continue.