2023 Spring Ball
Bats MUST BE USA stamped.
The following Rules are in addition to the basic baseball rules as contained in the MLB rule book and the Pony League rule book. In the event of a conflict, THESE Rules shall supersede:
- GAME STARTS:
- The Manager or a Coach MUST have the team roster and the medical release forms for all players at each game.
- The home team is responsible for setting up the field and supplying three (3) new approved baseballs for each game.
- There shall be no practice on the infield prior to the game. All practice should take place in the outfield grass. No batting practice is allowed on the game field before the start of the game.
- Each player shall be permanently assigned a uniform number at the beginning of the season.
- No team shall make changes to the league issued uniforms, without approval from the Division Director. If so, the manager and team will face disciplinary action. A player may buy and wear his own fitted cap as long as it has the same logo as the league issued cap, or an approved alternative. A player may also purchase pants as long as they are the same color as the team’s official colors.
- BAT REGULATIONS: An approved and stamped 'USA' bat with a maximum barrel width of 2 5/8", must be used, or an approved BBCOR bat. Violation of this rule will constitute both the player and Manager being ejected.
- BATTING ORDER:
- The batting order shall include all players on the team's roster present at the commencement of the game. No player shall occupy the last batting position in consecutive games.
- A team may play with eight (8) players.
- If a player leaves during the game his team does NOT take an out unless the team goes to 8 players. If a player shows up late to a game (after the official line up has been exchanges he may enter the line up as the last batter, at no time is the player ineligible to enter the game.
- REGULATION GAME:
- Each game shall be six (6) innings in duration. No new inning may be started after one hour and fifty-five minutes (1:55) from the scheduled starting time of the game or 10 minutes before forecasted sunset, whichever is earlier.
- There is a 10 run mercy rule in affect after the losing team has had a minimum of 4 at bats.
- In the event of a tie after 6 innings, additional innings will be played until a winner is declared, unless the 'No new inning' rule comes into play. Managers are encouraged to talk to the umpire when the game is getting close to the “No New Inning” time-limit. If the “Last Inning” is declared by the umpire and agreed upon by the managers in any inning other than the 6th, that WILL be the last inning even if the inning is quick and there is still time to start a new inning prior to the 1:55 “no new inning”. Game is over!
- MANDATORY PLAYING TIME:
- No player shall sit on the bench for consecutive innings.
- No player shall sit two (2) innings in a game until all players have sat out at least one (1) inning.
- There will be free substitutions defensively, with the exception of the pitcher. Pitchers CANNOT re-enter the game again as a pitcher.
- Each and every player MUST play one (1) inning in the infield each game during the entire season and tournament, regardless of how many innings are played.
- THROWING THE BAT: Any player who, after one warning, throws the bat while batting may be ejected from the game as a safety hazard.
- Lead-offs and stealing from any base.
- No trick or decoy plays are allowed.
- Base stealing of 2nd, 3rd and home is allowed. Baserunners can steal home or advance to home on an attempt by the catcher to throw the runner out at 3rd base or any other base or on a steal or pick off attempt at any base.
- A runner can score from third on a non-offensive play (pass ball, wild pitch, throwing error, etc.)
- PLAYER EJECTION: Any player that is ejected from a game will be subjected to a review of the play by the Division Director which could include an additional suspension. If a player is ejected from a game for a second time during the same season, that player shall be suspended from the team's next one (1) to three (3) games (including practices) upon review and ruling of the NHBA President and Division Director. If a player is ejected for a third time in the same season, that player is subject to probable suspension for the remainder of the season upon review and ruling of the NHBA Board.
- PITCHING RESTRICTIONS: See the PONY pitch count chart linked to the NHBA Web Site. Also, a first year Mustang player, or combination of players who are between the ages of 7-9 years old, must pitch a minimum of 21-35 pitches, or 3 outs in the same inning, or 5 runs in the same inning to meet the intent of this rule. Violation of the pitching rule will constitute forfeit of the game. It is the responsibility of the coach to follow this rule even during a game that results in a mercy.
- RUNS PER INNING LIMITS: There shall be a maximum number of five (5) runs per each half inning of play with the exception of the sixth inning (or declared last inning due to darkness) or any extra innings played.
- DROP THIRD STRIKE: The drop third strike rule is in effect, with the exception of the last out of an inning. If there are 2 outs and a player strikes out and there is a drop 3rd strike the batter is out automatically.
- BALKS– There are no balks in Mustang. It is a teachable moment for the kids. However, in no instance can a runner be penalized by being picked off or thrown out stealing if a pitcher has “balked.” The runner is always safe.
- MUST AVOID RULE: There shall be no collisions between base runners and defensive players. In all cases, without exception, the runner shall avoid a collision.
- If the runner makes contact with a defensive player, the runner shall be declared out.
- Should the contact be, in the judgment of the umpire more than incidental unintentional contact, the runner shall be ejected from the game.
- Should the umpire determine, in his judgment, that there was intent to injure on the part of the runner, in addition to the ejection and the automatic one game suspension that accompanies such an ejection, the player shall be indefinitely suspended pending an incident review and determination by the Board of Directors.
- If the runner slides or runs past a base to avoid a collision because the defensive player is blocking access to the base without possession of the ball or without the ball en route to the defensive player, then the runner shall be declared “safe” and awarded advancement of a minimum of one additional base. Additional bases may be awarded if, in the judgment of the umpire, the runner would have attained such bases safely.
- WEEKLY EVENTS: There shall be no more than four (4) events per week. Events are games or practices at which a coach and more than three (3) team members are present.
- MANAGERS CODE OF CONDUCT: The Code of Conduct for Managers are a part of these rules.
- PLAYOFF RULES:
- Each game shall be six (6) innings in duration, subject to the following conditions:
Both the official start time of the game and the sunset time must be agreed-upon by both teams’ head coaches and the umpire, before the game commences.
No new inning may be started after one hour and fifty-five minutes (1:55) from the official start time of the game, even if this means that less than six (6) innings will be played.
In the event that less than six (6) innings are played as a result of the 1:55 “no new inning” time constraint, the leader after completion of the final full inning will be declared the winner.
If the game remains tied after the final full inning, play shall resume until a winner is established, even if this means that more than six (6) innings must be completed, and the game is over the one hour and fifty-five minute (1:55) time rule. In this situation, no new inning may be started after ten (10) minutes prior to the previously agreed sunset time.
The umpire has sole discretion to stop play in the event of darkness. In the event that the umpire determines that the game cannot safely continue due to darkness, the game shall be suspended. There is NO outcome where the score will revert.
The suspended game shall resume the following day, at least thirty (30) minutes prior to the next scheduled playoff game, regardless of whether either team was previously scheduled to play that day.
The final pitcher for each team at the time the game was suspended may return to pitch in continuation of the suspended game. Pitches thrown in continuation of the game will be applied to the pitcher’s daily pitch count for the day that the game originally began. All other daily and weekly pitch rules will remain in effect.
The suspended game shall continue according to the foregoing rules, until a winner is established.
- There is a 10-run mercy rule in effect after the losing team has had a minimum of 4 at bats.