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Bronco Rules

Bronco Rules
2020 Spring Ball

Bats MUST BE USA stamped.

The following Rules are in addition to the basic MLB baseball rules and as contained in the Pony League Rulebook. In the event of a conflict,THESE Rules shall supersede:

    • 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 including portable fencing and supplying four (4) new approved baseballs for each game.
    • No team shall practice on the infield prior to the start of the game.
    • NO batting practice is allowed on the game field before the start of the game.
    • The home team is responsible to drag the infield areas and water down the field after each game.
    • The visiting team is responsible for the portable scoreboard operation and setup.
    • The last visiting team of the day is responsible for storing the scoreboard.
    • Each player shall be permanently assigned a uniform number at the beginning of the season.  Names of the players may be affixed to the uniform shirt.
    • No team shall make changes to the league issued uniforms.  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.
    • Metal cleats are permitted in the Bronco division.
    • The batting order shall include all players on the team’s roster present at the commencement of the game.
    • A team may play with eight (8) players, but must take an out at the 9th batter’s spot without forfeiting the game.
    • If a player leaves during the game he will NOT be considered out unless he takes his team to 8 players. If a player shows up late to a game (after the official line up has been exchanged he may enter the line up as the last batter, at no time is the player ineligible to enter the game.
    • Each game shall be seven (7) innings in duration, unless the game is tied, and subject to time and darkness restrictions, then the game will continue until a winner is decided. 
    • There is a 10-run mercy rule.  If a team is up by 10 or more runs after the losing team has had five (5) at bats then the game shall end (4.5 innings for a visiting team and 5 complete innings for a home team).
    • No new inning may be started after two (2) hours and fifteen (15) minutes from the starting time of the game. There is no “drop dead” rule.  All innings that are started must be completed.  At the beginning of each game, each manager and the umpire should agree upon the time at which the game commences. In case of questions as to that time, the umpire’s ruling shall govern. The two (2) hour and fifteen (15) minute period shall not include game delays (as determined by the umpire). If a game is stopped due to rain and lighting, it is a suspended game.
    • If a game is tied and the next inning would start after the (2) hour and fifteen (15 minutes or it is too dark to continue, the game shall be treated as a tie.
    • An official game is defined in the National Pony League Rules - The losing team must have had five at bats. Games stopped due to rain and/or lighting are suspended games. When suspended games are resumed, all players on the rosters from that game may be used (pitchers may not re-enter as a pitcher if previously used in the suspended game as a pitcher). Players not at the suspended game must bat after all players in the suspended game bat once in the resumed game.
    • Postponed games and suspended games must take place as soon as the schedule permits.
    • The game schedule is not final and may be changed by the Bronco Director or League President for rain-outs, other makeups, etc. as he determines.
    • Each player must play a MINIMUM of three (3) innings on defense.
    • There will be free substitutions defensively, with the exception of the pitcher.
    • There will be no sitting on the bench for consecutive innings
    • No player shall sit more than two (2) innings in a game until all of the players have sat out at least one (inning).
    • Each player must play one (1) inning of infield per game for the entire season, Playoffs included!!  Exceptions need to be discussed and approved by the Division Director.
    • Bats MUST BE USA stamped.
    • 2-5/8” barrel bats are LEGAL, if a 2-5/8” bat is a -3, it must be BBCOR certified.
    • 2-3/4” barrel bats are ILLEGAL
    • 2-1/4” bats are LEGAL, if they are manufactured to a Bat Performance Factor of 1.15 or less. In addition the bat must be labeled “approved for play in PONY Baseball” and stamped “BPF 1.15” and the year manufactured. Recognizing that some bats may not have the year manufactured on the bat it still must have BPF 1.15 stamped on the bat.
    • Wood bats are LEGAL with a barrel no larger than 2-5/8”
  •  THROWING THE BAT: Any player who, after one warning, throws the bat while batting may be ejected from the game as a safety hazard.
  • STEALING: Stealing is permitted.

  • 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.

    • A week is defined as Sunday to Saturday. 
    • Prior to Spring Break, three (3) innings max per game, seven (7) innings max per week
    • After Spring Break, four (4) innings max per game, eight (8) innings max per week.
    • At 3 innings the forty (40) hour rule goes into effect.  One warm-up pitch in an inning is considered a full inning.  Forty (40) hours is calculated from the start to start time of scheduled games.
    • For double headers – four (4) innings max per day.  However, if a player pitches three (3) innings in the first game they cannot pitch in the second game.
  • DROP THIRD STRIKE: The drop third strike rule shall apply.

    • 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 any contact with a defensive player, the runner shall be declared out. Should the contact be, in the judgment of the umpire, more than incidental or deemed intentional 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 there will be an automatic one (1) game suspension that accompanies 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 (1) 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 team members are present.

  • Tie-Break Rules shall be as follows:
  •         Win-loss Record
  •         Head-to-Head Play
  •         Fewest Points Allowed in Head-to-Head Play
  •         Fewest Points Allowed overall
  •         Coin Toss


  • REGULATION GAME: Each game shall be seven (7) innings in duration; there is NO time restriction.  If there is tie after seven (7) innings, the game will continue until there is a winner.  However, the 10 run mercy rule will be in effect.

  • PITCHING RESTRICTIONS: A week is defined as Sunday to Saturday. A player shall pitch a maximum of four (4) innings per game. A player shall pitch a maximum of nine (9) innings per week. If a player pitches three (3) innings in any one game, he shall be required to rest for forty (40) hours from the scheduled start of the game before being able to pitch again. For this purpose, a pitcher is deemed to have pitched an inning if he pitches one pitch in that inning. 

  • MANAGERS CODE OF CONDUCT: All Managers and Coaches, as a condition to their selection and continued service as Managers and Coaches, are expected to adhere to the following Code of Conduct:
    • Managers are to recognize that they are role models and examples for the players and conduct themselves accordingly: Show good sportsmanship at all times;
    • No swearing or abusive language;
    • No ridicule or harassment of umpires - if a manager wishes to question the interpretation of a rule (not balls or strikes, safe or out) or needs to discuss a situation with the umpire, he must first ask for time out and, if granted, then discuss or question in a courteous manner;
    • No throwing or kicking of bats, gloves, helmets or any other items in anger;
    • No verbal abuse or ridicule of any player on his or her team or on the opposing team;
    • No threats of physical abuse or pushing, shoving or grabbing of shoulders or similar acts of "discipline";
    • No use of alcohol or tobacco at any games, practices, trips to the batting cages or any other team or league function;
    • The Manager is responsible for any and all prohibited activity, such as described above, on the part of his or her coaches, players and parents of players. All players, coaches and parents of players are to be advised that the Manager can be ejected or suspended for their conduct.
  • The Manager must recognize that he is representing the NHBA at all times. The statements and conduct of our Managers significantly determine the reputation of our baseball program in the eyes of parents, players, spectators and visitors. Therefore, it is the responsibility of each Manager to maintain the best interests of the NHBA at all times. Complaints and concerns about the management of the program and the NHBA should be addressed in private with the executive committee of the Association only! Failure to abide by this rule can be cause for immediate removal of a Manager or Coach.

  • Once the game begins the Manager is to remain in the dugout at all times (unless permission is given by the umpire prior to the game), except when coaching a base or when time out is requested and granted for a conference with a pitcher or umpire, or for an injury. Conferences with batters are to be limited and not used more than 1 per inning-discussions with batters should occur in the on-deck circle or in the dugout. There shall be NO food in the dugout at any time before, during or after the games. Beverages, however, are permitted.

  • Roster adjustments can be made solely by the Player Agent or the President. Managers cannot solicit prospective replacement players.

  • No solicitation of funds from team sponsors is permitted, except when specifically endorsed by the league. All sponsor funds are to be turned over to the League. Managers must advise parents of players and others who wish to purchase items for the team's use (such as batting cage time) that such contribution is NOT tax deductible.

  • Each Manager must know the rules for his or her division, including the baseball rules, the PONY league rules and our own house Rule adjustments. Protests are not allowed at lower age levels and Managers at the upper age levels should work to avoid any protests. Each Manager is responsible to know his or her division rules regarding pitching limitation, mandatory playing time and batting order rules. Violation of these rules can result in warnings, suspensions or expulsions from the manager position.

  • Only the Manager and two (2) coaches can be in the dugout. No non-players are allowed in the dugout or standing behind the dugout.

  • The Manager is responsible for his or her player's parents and supporters. The Manager must keep the crowd under control; verbal comments behind the backstop to batters, the umpire or the catcher are not to be tolerated. No spectators, players, player's parents or coaches are permitted behind the backstop during the game.

  • The Manager is responsible for the players on his or her team. No ridicule of each other or the other team's players is tolerated. Constructive criticism is the responsibility of the Manager, not the players. Conduct in the dugout during the game is the responsibility of the Manager. While baseball "chatter" is encouraged, loud and obnoxious noises or screaming, the intent of which is to" rattle" the opposing pitcher, is prohibited. Intentional distractions, such as banging or rattling the dugout fences, shall not be tolerated.

  • In the event a player should require more than minor disciplinary action (calisthenics, etc.), such action should be taken in private with the player. Players should not be disciplined in front of their teammates. Should the Manager "bench" a player during a game as a disciplinary measure, the Division Director must be notified of the disciplinary action taken.

  • The Association's goal is to have all games be competitively played, without losing sight of the primary goal of the program, i.e. the development of our children into responsible young adults by providing a healthy and enjoyable baseball program. In keeping with that spirit both "blow-out" scores and non-competitive "dream" games are to be avoided (see #19).

  • Cooperation is necessary between both teams for:
    • field maintenance;
    • filling in umpiring responsibilities if the umpire is not present;
    • scorekeeping and;
    • field clean up
  • All of our Managers will be held responsible to assist in maintaining the fields. This includes the chalking of the baselines before each game as well as the clean-up of the field after the games is over. The Division Director shall evaluate each Manager's contribution in this regard.

  • Be on time for games and practices. Do not leave players unattended after practices or games.

  • Have line-up cards prepared before the game to assure timely start and proper attention to warm-up.

  • Manager is responsible for all equipment. Do not allow players to throw or otherwise abuse equipment. Turn in equipment promptly at the end of the season.

  • Be certain a responsible coach is available at any and all times that the Manager cannot be present for any reason.

  • The Manager is responsible to bring the medical release forms to all practices, games, trips to batting cages, and any other team events.

  • The Manager should create a positive team attitude toward field maintenance, preservation of equipment, league events, and fundraising events.

  • The Manager should schedule a reasonable number of practices to assure the proper education of your players, but do not work them excessively to the point of frustration or burn-out. No more than 4 "events" (practices, games, organized trips to batting cages) will be permitted per week (Sunday through Saturday) whether or not the manager deems such events to be "voluntary" or "mandatory" (some division rules stipulate less than four in which case the division rules are controlling).
  • The Manager should encourage participation by all the players, especially the weaker players. Never ridicule players or discourage their involvement. It is important that each player feel that they are an important part of the team and it is the Manager's responsibility to create that feeling. The Association encourages each Manager to try to play his or her players in positions that they would like to try. However, these efforts should be mitigated by the overall desire to maintain a balanced game environment. While each player can be allowed their "dream" game or inning, "dream" games in which all players play positions to which they are inexperienced or unaccustomed at the same time which results in lopsided scores are prohibited. It is important to remember that in the Shetland and Pinto Divisions, no score is kept and no standings are maintained. The goal of these Divisions is to train the players in the fundamental baseball skills and the principles of team play. The Manager, at these levels, must emphasize the goals of these Divisions in his or her own conduct toward the players, both individually and in the aggregate. For the Mustang, Bronco and Pony Divisions, while statistics can be maintained and standings are kept, it is important that the display of such statistics be limited to a manner that is not critical toward the weaker players. If there are questions about the display of such statistics, please discuss your presentation with your Division Director.

  • Please direct all items of conflict or concern to your Division Director, who will be responsible for the resolution of all Division issues.

  • The NHBA has developed a "curriculum" by Division that denotes what each Manager at each level is responsible to teach to the players on his or her team. This curriculum addresses the fundamental baseball skills to be taught at each level of play. You will be evaluated by the League on the number and degree of your players that retain the specific elements of this curriculum at the conclusion of the season. This evaluation will be the primary determinant of your future managing or coaching positions in the NHBA program.

  • If a Manager/Coach is ejected from a game by an umpire, that Manager/Coach shall be suspended from the following game (cannot attend). If a Manager/Coach is ejected for a 2nd time, that Manager/Coach will be suspended for three games (including no practices). If a Manager/Coach is ejected for a 3rd time, that Manager/Coach will be suspended for the remainder of the season (including practices) and will not be allowed to Manage/Coach the following season.

  • Managers and/or coaches can and will be relieved from participation in the NHBA Program if it is determined that their conduct violated either the letter or the spirit of the Code of Conduct or the Rules and Regulations to which this Code is 
    a part.


Newport Harbor Baseball Association (NHBA)
PMB 320 1048 Irvine Avenue 
Newport Beach, California 92660

Email: [email protected]

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