2023 Pony Playing Rules
Playing rules conform to the 2023 Official Pony Baseball Rules and Regulations with the following additions and exceptions. If a rule is not found in Local Playing Rules or Official Pony Rules, then the default will be MLB Official Playing Rules:
- Eligibility: All players must be league age 13 or 14 as outlined in Official Pony Baseball Rules and Regulations. Please note the age is now based on a 8/31 cutoff date. Players league age 15, but in the 8th grade are eligible to play regular season and playoffs but may not be a pitcher or a catcher. Players league age 14 and in the 9th grade are eligible with the following restrictions. If the player is a member of a High School Frosh team and completes the H.S. season, he cannot join the Pony League. However, if the player is cut or leaves the H.S. team prior to April 15th, he may join the Pony League, if the league board allows it.
- Composition of Conference: The Conference will be comprised teams Costa Mesa, Newport Harbor and from Corona Del Mar. These leagues will be referred to as the Costa Mesa Division and the Newport Harbor/Corona del Mar Division, respectively.
- Schedule: Official schedule for all games will be posted at www.cmpony.com
Each team will play each other team in accordance with a distributed schedule. There will be no games scheduled for the weekend preceding and following Spring Break and for Memorial Day Weekend. The weekday games will commence at 4:30 pm until Daylight Savings Time. After Daylight Savings time they will commence at 6pm. Saturday games will be at 10:00 am, 1:00 pm noon and 4:00 pm.
- Umpires: Each league will employ an umpire service for HOME GAMES ONLY and be responsible for scheduling and payment thereof. One umpire per regular season game is adequate but TWO umpires will be required for playoffs. The home team is responsible for verifying that the umpires show and reporting any no-shows to either the Division Director or a designated umpire coordinator. If the event umpires are not present the game will be played. The managers will agree on an umpire or failing to agree will each designate an umpire. The designated umpires will split time between field and plate duties.
- Post Season Tournament: The Conference will sponsor a Post Season Double Elimination Tournament commencing and ending before the Memorial Day Weekend. The teams will be seeded in the Post Season Tournament based upon a method agreed upon by the Presidents of the three divisions. The pitching rules for post season will be the same rules as those used during the regular season.
- The Standings and Official Schedule will be kept by Costa Mesa at www.cmpony.com.
- Score Keeping and Pitching Eligibility Form: Each manager has the responsibility to maintain and have signed and certified by the official scorekeeper or the opposing manager, a Pitching Eligibility Form containing the date of the game, the names of each pitcher and the number of innings pitched by each respective pitcher. The opposing manager has the right to examine the Pitching Eligibility Form of the opposing team before the game to determine how many eligible innings each player has remaining for the game in question.
- Pre-Game: Before the 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.Both home and away teams are responsible for supplying two-new approved baseballs for each game. Each manager will make out three copies of his team’s lineup before the game starts and give one copy to the opposing Manager, one copy to the Official Scorer and one copy to the Umpire. The home team must supply the Official Scorer.
- Uniform: Each player shall be permanently assigned a uniform number at the beginning of the Season. Metal cleats are allowed.
- Length of Games: Pony games shall be seven innings in duration. If a game is called for any reason it shall be complete game if five innings have been completed or if the home team has scored more runs in four innings or four and a fraction innings than the visiting team has scored in five completed innings. (Note: The words “five” and “four” shall be changed to “four” and “three”, respectively, for games played prior to Daylight Savings Time at non-lighted fields.) If a game is called for any reason before it is a completed game, or when the score is tied, it shall be considered as a suspended game. It shall be resumed from the point of curtailment at the time scheduled by League officials.There is no time limit (except due to umpire availability) unless there is a game scheduled later on the field being used. When there is a following game, games will not be any longer than two hours and thirty minutes (2:30) in duration with no new inning starting after two hours and fifteen minutes (2:15). The umpire will have the final decision with respect to calling a game for darkness or rain.
- Each team may choose to bat entire roster or bat 9 and substitute. The substitute must bat at least once in the game. A starter or substitute can return to the lineup only in their original place in the batting order (unlimited times).
- A team may play with a minimum of 8 players without forfeiting a game but must take an “out” at the 9th batter spot. Should a batter for any reason have to vacate his spot in the order it will not be an out and the batting order will proceed (Unless there are only eight players remaining, in which case everyone moves up and the ninth spot is an out). There is no penalty (“out”) if the reason for leaving is an injury. The vacating batter may not return to the lineup unless the reason for leaving was an injury.
- A player arriving late for a game may play provided that they are added to the final spot in the batting order. A game being played under (a) above must expand the players present if he is a member of the team with the least amount of players or substitute in for the final spot in the batting order if he is a member of the team with the greater amount of players.
- EH Rule: Extra Hitter- Bat ten players, the EH can go into the field for any of the other nine players in the game and that player will then become the EH. The batting order does not change.
- Mandatory Play and Substitution: Each player must ply defensively for 3 complete innings and no player can sit out for more than 1 consecutive defensive inning. A combination of outs in different innings cannot be utilized to satisfy the 3 complete defensive innings rule. In the event a team has 13 players, any player may sit 2 consecutive innings but must play defensively for 3 complete innings.
- PLAYER EJECTION: Players shall be ejected from the game and receive an additional game suspension for the following conduct:
- Forearming or tripping runners;
- Intentionally running into fielders; or
- Bad sportsmanship, such as taunting or ridiculing other players.
- If a parent, family member/friend or coach are ejected from a game, that person will not be permitted to attend the following scheduled game and the associated player will also be ineligible to attend.
- 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.
The following are important Official Rules:
- Ten (10) Run Rule: If a team is leading an opponent by at least 10 runs after 5 or more complete innings have been played or after 4 and one-half innings if the home team shall have a 10 run lead at the end of its fourth inning or before the completion of its fifth inning the game shall be terminated and the team in the lead shall be declared the winner.
- Pitching Rules: Per MLB Pitch Smart http://m.mlb.com/pitchsmart/pitching-guidelines/. The starting pitcher may not re-enter as a pitcher once removed.
REQUIRED REST (PITCHES)
(Pitches in Game)
- Courtesy Runner: When batting the roster, a courtesy runner may be used after the second out is recorded for a pitcher or catcher ONLY. The courtesy runner must be the last recorded out of the inning. If batting 9 with substitutes, a courtesy runner may be any player not currently in the lineup.
- No Must slide Rule: There is no “must slide” rule in Pony. A runner must make an attempt to avoid contact. The fact that contact is made is not determinative, if the player tried to avoid it. Players not attempting to avoid contact should be called out. A flagrant violation or attempt to injury should result in an ejection.