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1. Bat Rules - Ponys/Seniors 

Boys In House Baseball has new bat rules for 2014 for Ponys and Seniors. With new rules being instituted at these age groups at Minnesota State High School League, we review the rules and adjusted them to fit our league.
At Ponys, we will use a -5 maximum drop for 2 ¾” barrel bats. Players can use 2 ¼” diameter barrel bats with unlimited drop. Please note that these bats will NOT be eligible for use if your team makes it to the State Rec Tournament. We felt that allowing unlimited drop small barrel bats would help the smaller players by allowing a lighter bat.
At Seniors, we will use a -3 maximum drop for 2 ¾” barrel bats. Small barrel 2 ¼” bats are NOT allowed.
These bat rules will closer align our league with governing associations, but allow some flexibility. BBCOR bats will NOT be required, as well as the USSSA stamp on the barrel – NOT required.
If there is any questions regarding bats that would be eligible for State Rec Tournament, please go to the MYAS website.
At Squirts, NO BIG BARREL BATS are allowed.
2. 'No Steal' Rule (Minor 4) 

The proper call on this rule is that any ball that is not fouled off and enters the Passed ball zone is a passed ball, and the runner may attempt to advance without returning to the base. This does include balls that are touched by the catcher.
Potential Situations You May Encounter:
Q: The ball hits the catchers glove and bounces into the passed ball zone, can the runner advance?
A: Yes, as long as the ball goes past the line, it is a passed ball and the runner can advance.
Q: The ball bounces in front of the catcher, who partially blocks it but does not stop it from going past the line drawn behind the umpire, can the runner advance?
A: Yes, as long as the ball goes past the line, it is a passed ball and the runner can advance.
Q: The ball is dropped by the catcher, but does not go past the line and stays under his feet. Can the runner advance?
A: No, the ball did not pass the line, thus the runner cannot advance. He must return to the base when the ball is controlled by the pitcher.
Q: The ball is blocked by the catcher and rolls down the 3rd base line. Can the runner advance?
A: No, the ball did not enter the passed ball zone, thus the runner cannot advance.
Q: The runner advances to the next base on a ball that does not enter the passed ball zone. Can the defense make a play on the runner?
A: Yes, it will be a tag play. If he is tagged out before returning to the base, he is out. If the defense does not make a play before throwing the next pitch, the runner stays at the advanced base.
Q: A runner leading off too far after the ball passes the plate is thrown out by the catcher to 1st baseman, who tags the runner before he returns to the base. Is he out?
A: Yes, the defense can make plays on any runner leading off.
Q: The catcher throws a ball back to the pitcher, but overthrows him and the ball goes into centerfield. Can the runner attempt to advance?
A: Yes, after returning to the original base, the runner may advance on an infield overthrow. The ball is a live ball.
Q: The pitcher attempts to throw out a runner leading off after the ball is returned to him by the catcher. The pitcher throws the ball over the 1st baseman, and the ball goes out of play. What's the call?
A: The runner advances one base on a ball thrown out of play.
Q: The pitcher attempts to throw out a runner leading off after the ball is returned to him by the catcher. The pitcher throws the ball over the 1st baseman, and the ball stays in play. What's the call?
A: The runner can tag up the original base, then advance on the live ball still in play.
Q: The runner leads off prior to the ball crossing the plate, what's the call?
A: The runner is out for leaving the base too early.
3. When is a foul tip a strike? 

Q: On the first or second strike, how high must a batted foul ball that is caught by the catcher go before it is called a strike?
A: Rule 2 - 16 Art. 2 defines a foul tip as..."a batted ball that goes directly to the catcher's hands and is legally caught by any fielder. It shall be called a strike and the ball is in play." If dropped, it's just a foul ball. "AND THE BALL IS DEAD".
4. Location of feet when fielding ball near foul line 

Q: If a player's feet are in fair territory when the ball is touched, is it a fair ball?
A: The position of the player's feet or any other part of the body is irrelevant. A ball is judged fair or foul based on the relationship between the ball and the ground at the time the ball is touched by the fielder.
5. Batted ball hits home plate - foul? 

Q: If a batted ball hits the plate first, is it a foul ball?
A: No. The plate is in fair territory. There is nothing special about it. If a batted ball hits it, it is treated like any other batted ball.
6. Number of players at the start of a game 

A team may start a game with only 7 players as of 2008.
Coaches have 15 minutes after the game's starting time to get the 8th player.
If a coach knows that the player is going to be late, that player must be inserted as the last player to batting lineup.
If a player's time at bat is missed because he has not shown up or a player is injured, (and you have at least 8 players within the 15 minutes of the game's starting time) the time at bat is just skipped without any penalty.
Teams must finish the game with 8 players.

7. Losing a Player During a Game 

If a player has to leave a game for any reason (including injury) and the team still has 8 players to finish the game, that player's turn at bat is skipped without penalty.
The penalty for not having 8 players within 15 minutes of the game's starting time or less than 8 players at the end of the game is a forfeit.
8. Runner Interference? 

The Play:
Runner on 1st, batter hits a grounder to 2nd, second baseman is charging the ball, runner on 1st is running to 2nd, they collide and the ball squirts through. The runner going to 2nd gets up and makes it to second safely.
Should the runner be out for interference?
The Call:
The Runner Is Out.
The runner must allow and avoid a defensive player making a play on a hit ball. The runner in this case is allowed to run outside the base path to avoid contact without penalty.
9. Dropped 3rd Strike in Majors-Seniors 

The Play:
Two strikes, two outs, runner on 1st. The pitcher throws the 3rd strike, but the catcher drops the pitch. Is the play live?
The Call:
Yes, the play is live. The batter-runner must be tagged out or thrown out at first.
If there are less than two outs and a runner on first, on a dropped 3rd strike the batter is automatically out. However, the runner can still advance on his own from first.
With regards to the batter giving himself up not realizing the dropped third strike, the batter is considered to have given himself up on leaving the dirt circle around home plate (Pony and Senior fields) which has a radius of 26’ officially or at Majors a distance of 13’ in any direction from home plate in foul territory. At Majors playing on fields without a dirt circle, judgment will be required by the coaches and umpires.
10. Steal Home? (Minor 5) 

Q: If there is no stealing home, and the catcher tries to make a play on a steal from 1st to 2nd is that a live ball so the runner on 3rd can go home?
A: Runners cannot lead off until the ball crosses the plate. If the catcher makes a play on a runner trying to steal, all runners may advance at their own risk, this is a live ball.
11. Home Plate Ump - You are in Charge! 

SITUATION -- Runner on first base, one out
Batter hit the ball toward first base and the runner took off for second
First baseman fielded the ball and touched first for out #2
First baseman then threw the ball to second and the second baseman caught the ball and touched the base before the runner arrived
Field umpire called the runner out and ruled it a force out (#3, ending the inning)
The first base coach and I went to the field umpire and tried to explain why it wasn’t a force out situation at second
The home plate umpire joined the discussion and seemed to agree with our statements, but he said it was the field umpires call to make.
Plate ump should have overruled the field ump, Batter at first is out, and runner at second is safe. Two outs.
12. Fair or Foul Ball?

A ground ball that bounces over the bag at first or third is a FAIR ball even if it goes foul once it is past the base.
A fly ball that goes over the bag and lands foul in the outfield is a FOUL ball. It does not matter if the defensive player fielding the ball is in fair or foul territory when and if he touches the ball, it is where (in the umps judgement) the ball would have landed.
The judgment of each of these is not reviewable and should not be overturned. If the umpire does not understand the rule and agrees that the ground ball bounced over the bag should be called a fair ball and the batter should be awarded the base hit with all runners advancing accordingly.
13. Umpire/Coach Discussions (Squirts):

What is the intent of a coach discussing calls with an ump during the game?
The intent of the rule allowing coaches to conference with the umpire to discuss a call was to allow obviously incorrect calls to be corrected during the course of a game, recognizing that the umpires at Squirt level are beginning umpires. This would allow the coaches to help with teaching some of the basic calls and rules. It is not intended to discuss or overturn judgment calls – balls and strikes, calls at the bases, fair/foul calls, and it is not intended for the coaches to take over the umpiring of the game.
If the play involves an obviously incorrect interpretation of the rules or lack of knowledge of the rules by the umpire, both coaches can conference with the umpire, both coaches must be in agreement that the call should be changed. Coaches are encouraged to do the right thing even if it goes against your team if you know the call should be changed. Coaches should NOT to take advantage of this new rule in order to sway a call your way.
14. Bunting: Ball or Strike?

A batter may square up to a pitch with the bat over the plate, if the pitch is not in the strike zone and the batter does not attempt to hit the ball, the correct call is a ball.
If the pitch is in the strike zone or the batter makes any attempt to hit the ball, the correct call is a strike.
15. Hit by Pitch - When to award First Base:

When a Batter Should Not be Awarded First Base
It may seem obvious when a batter is hit by a pitch and awarded first base, but there are some cases where a base may not be awarded.
If the ball touches the batter as the batter swings at the ball. This basically means that if the batter is swinging at the ball and the act of swinging has caused the ball to hit the batter, then the ball is a strike. Example: Batter swings and the ball hits him on the forearm as he's swinging. The ball is dead and it is a strike. If the hitter has two strikes, it is strike 3 not a foul ball. This isn't called often as most of the time the player will stop the swing and be hit by the ball. In that case most umpires will determine that the player is attempting to get out of the way by not continuing the swing. So, even though the act of swinging has caused the ball to hit the batter, the umpire may determine that player attempted to get out of the way and award the batter first base.
The ball touches the batter in the strike zone. Example: Batter is fooled by a curve ball and ducks. He is hit in the head, but his head is over the plate and in the strike zone. The correct call is a strike.
If the batter makes no attempt to get out of the way of the ball. This normally occurs at higher levels of baseball where a player may "take one for the team". Make sure to check your rule book as some leagues will allow this. What is not allowed is for a player to intentionally get in the way of the ball. For example a player cannot turn his shoulder in towards the plate for the purpose of getting hit by the ball.
If the ball hits the bat in the act of swinging and then touches the batter. The correct ruling is a foul ball and the batter should not be awarded first base.
When a Batter Should be Awarded First Base
In addition to a batter being hit out of the strike zone while attempting to get out of the way, there are a couple of misconceptions about being hit by the pitch where people will think the batter should not be awarded first and in fact they should be.
The hand is not part of the bat. Many people think that the hand is part of the bat and that a player shouldn't be awarded first if hit in the hand. This is incorrect. As long as the batter is attempting to get out of the way and is hit in the hand, then the correct call is to award the player first base.
A pitched ball that hits the batter after bouncing is not a dead ball. Some people believe that once a pitched ball has hit the dirt and then hits the batter, it is a dead ball and should be called a ball. This is incorrect and the batter should be awarded first base.
A pitched ball that touches the players clothing but not the player. As long as the uniform is properly fitting, the batter should be awarded first base.
A pitched ball hits a batter and then hits the bat. Once the ball hits the batter, the ball is dead and the batter should be awarded first base.
16. Participation Rule Majors 6/7 

BAC In House Baseball Participation Rule for Majors 6/7 states that a player needs to be scheduled to play 4 innings out of a 7 inning game. In addition, there is no participation requirement for infield play.
A quick note on the participation rule and the “spirit of the game”:
We tried to limit rosters to 12 in order to limit the amount of time that any particular player would sit to no more than two innings per game. This was to keep players interested in the game, particularly at the ages 12-13 when player participation starts to drop off dramatically.
To revisit the playing time rule, we would strongly suggest that all coaches review their player rotations to make sure that the playing time for the lowest player is not out of whack with the highest player. It is NOT acceptable for any player to be sitting 3 innings in a row, especially when games are going only 5-6 innings. If a competitive Traveling program can require that all players be within 5% from top to bottom, then there is no excuse for us as an in house program.
As for infield play, it is NOT acceptable to put a player in the outfield all season and give them no infield or limited infield. While there is no requirement for infield play, it is our responsibility as coaches to do our best to involve all of our players to give them the best experience that they can have this summer regardless of their talent level. I personally take it as my challenge to improve my least talented player so that he has the chance to make an important play or base hit at a critical time if he is in a position to do so.
Lastly, I asked at the coaches meeting that any coach who is reducing the players playing time beyond our rules that the coach needs to notify the League Director as to why he is doing it. This is so that the coach will can be held accountable for his reasoning, and as well as giving the organization a “heads up” so when the parent complains it is not the first time we have heard about it.