The Little League World Series has a rule known as the ‘Run Rule’ which brings a game to an end if a team is leading by 10 or more runs. This rule is commonly known as the ‘Ten Run Rule’.
Essentially, if a team is leading by more than ten runs until the pre-determined innings, the trailing team must accept defeat.
This rule is enforced by the committee to avoid large score differences and to finish the games within a reasonable time frame.
This is particularly important in the little league, which consists of young athletes of different ages and abilities, as it doesn’t have any restrictions on player placements during the game.
In addition to the Ten Run Rule, there are also 8-Run and 15-Run rules which are applied based on the division and season of the game.
For example, the 8-Run rule comes into effect after the completion of the 5th inning in all league divisions.
From 2023 onwards, the Little League has decided to apply the 8-Run rule only during the regular season games.
On the other hand, the 10-Run and 15-Run rules are mandatory in both national and international tournaments. If the home team is ahead as per the specified run rule, then a winner will be declared for the game.
Is There A 10 Run Rule In LLWS?
The Little League World Series has incorporated a 10-run rule for the 2023 season. This rule is usually put into effect after three innings.
If a team is ahead by at least ten runs, the game is concluded.
This rule was established by the Little League to manage the duration of the game after a certain number of innings, typically after the third inning, as there is no fixed time limit.
Since children have varying playing speeds and skills at a young age, they are not restricted by a time limit, unlike the senior leagues. Therefore, the League uses the run rule to keep the total game duration in check.
In contrast, college baseball and professional leagues generally enforce the rule before the last two innings commence. The players in these leagues are experienced and can effectively handle the time frame.
The 10-run rule in Little League can be summarized as follows:
- The game ends if the home team is ahead by at least 10 runs after three innings, and the team with fewer runs must admit defeat.
- If the visiting team is ahead by 10 or more runs, the home team should still complete their half of the inning.
- This rule is followed by all teams registered with Little League Baseball to properly regulate the games during the season. However, mandatory play rules are not affected by this rule.
- Little League Softball games also apply the same rule after three innings.
- The application of the Run rule is optional in local league games but is mandatory in official Little League International games and tournaments.
- The Board of Directors (BOD) of the local league must decide whether the division teams will adhere to this rule throughout the season.
- The run threshold specified in the rule cannot be altered by any other local league rules, and local leagues do not have the authority to change the priority of the Run rule.
Little League Mercy Rule
In the Little League World Series, the Mercy Rule is equivalent to the Run Rule, with specific restrictions. It is commonly referred to as the Run Rule.
It is incorrect to use the term ‘NCAA Mercy Rule’ for little league regulations, despite the similarities in purpose.
The rule helps in saving time and maintaining player morale by avoiding demotivation caused by a significant run difference.
Additionally, it allows pitchers to conserve their energy for upcoming matches instead of exhausting themselves in prolonged games.
Little League Baseball Pitching Rules
The rules of the Little League World Series include a specific cap on the number of pitches a player can throw. This rule mandates a period of rest for a player once they reach the maximum number of pitches allowed.
This regulation was established by the World Series and league authorities to prevent players from harming themselves by overexertion.
The maximum pitch count is determined according to the player’s age, which ranges from 8 to 16 years across different divisions.
Once a pitcher hits the specified pitch count, the team’s manager must replace them. However, the player can stay in the game by switching to a different position on the field.
The below-mentioned guidelines outline the pitch count regulations for the World Series and other similar competitions:
- Eligibility for Pitching
In a game, any player is allowed to take on the role of a pitcher. However, once a pitcher is taken off the mound, they are not permitted to return to the game for a specified duration.
Such players can still participate in the game but are restricted from pitching. They can play in any other position on the field.
Additionally, during a regular season game, any field player can assume the role of a pitcher, except for catchers who have already completed four innings.
Conversely, if a catcher has played for three innings or fewer, they are eligible to become a pitcher. In such cases, they are allowed to throw between 21 to 31 pitches, depending on the age group.
Nonetheless, after performing as a pitcher, they are not allowed to resume their role as a catcher on the same day.
- Pitch Count allowed by Age
Managers must switch the player out of the pitcher role once they have reached the designated pitch count for their age group. However, players can still participate in other roles on the field.
The league has set the following pitch count limits for different age brackets:
- Ages 6 to 8: 50 pitches daily
- Ages 9 to 10: 75 pitches daily
- Ages 11 to 12: 85 pitches daily
- Ages 13 to 16: 95 pitches daily
- Confronting a Batter
A pitcher is permitted to keep pitching to a batter even after hitting the predetermined limit, and they may also qualify for the catcher role unless other circumstances occur.
Here are some instances that could affect their ability to pitch further or to take up the catcher’s role again:
- The batter making it to the base,
- The batter getting out during the play,
- The completion of the half-inning or the game by the third out, and
- The pitcher being taken off the mound before the batter finishes their at-bat.
If the pitcher is moved and taken out of the game, and the game is decided before the next pitch, they can resume as a catcher.
However, if they throw over 41 pitches, which exceeds the set limit, they are not allowed to assume the catcher’s role for the rest of the day.
- Rest Requirements for Pitchers Aged 14 and Under
Pitchers who are 14 years old or younger must adhere to the following rest periods before resuming their position:
- 4 days rest after throwing 66 or more pitches in a single day.
- 3 days rest after throwing between 51 and 65 pitches in a day.
- 2 days rest after throwing between 36 and 50 pitches in a day.
- 1 day rest after throwing between 21 and 35 pitches in a day.
- No rest is required after throwing less than 20 pitches in a day.
It is important to note that no pitcher should pitch consecutively for three days in a row, as it increases the risk of fatigue and potential injuries.
The rest period will start from the moment the first pitch is thrown to the batter.
- Rest Requirements for 15-16 Year-Old Pitchers
Pitchers aged between 15 and 16 must adhere to the following rest periods:
- A 4-day rest is mandatory after pitching over 76 times in a single day.
- A 3-day rest is required after throwing between 61 to 75 pitches in a day.
- A 2-day rest is necessary after making 46 to 60 pitches in a day.
- A 1-day rest is essential after delivering 31 to 45 pitches in a day.
- No rest is needed if the pitch count is below 30 in a day.
- Recording the Number of Pitches
Each league is required to appoint an individual who will be in charge of officially noting down the pitch counts. This person should always have the current count accessible when needed.
In addition, team managers must be aware of their pitchers’ limitations and the appropriate time to substitute them. Meanwhile, the Head Umpire is informed about the pitch count by the assigned individual.
Little League Pitch Count Chart in World Series
The Little League has a pitch count chart that outlines the limits for different age groups, ranging from 6 to 16 years. Notably, pitchers who are older than 14 years are allowed a higher number of pitches.
This specific chart is intended for Little League athletes of all age groups:
|Maximum Number of Pitches Daily
The chart indicates the recommended number of days off after surpassing a certain count of pitches, categorizing athletes into two distinct brackets.
This includes players aged 14 and under, as well as those who are 15 and 16, participating in the Little League.
Pitchers who are under the age of fourteen must adhere to the following rest guidelines:
- A rest period of four days is mandatory for those who throw more than 66 pitches.
- A three-day rest is required for pitchers who throw between 51 and 65 pitches.
- A two-day rest is necessary for those throwing between 36 and 50 pitches.
- A single day of rest is needed for pitchers who throw between 21 and 35 pitches.
- No rest is needed for pitchers who throw fewer than 20 pitches.
In addition to the existing regulations, there is another limitation which specifies that under no circumstances can a pitcher perform consecutively for three days in a row.
This is because the league takes into account the tiredness and potential injury risks faced by pitchers during their performance.
Similarly, pitchers who are 15 and 16 years old are required to take more rest days compared to those in the 14 years age group. The guidelines for rest days based on the number of pitches thrown are as follows:
- A four-day rest is mandatory if a pitcher throws more than 76 pitches.
- A three-day rest is required if the pitcher throws between 61 and 75 pitches.
- A two-day rest is needed if the number of pitches is between 46 and 60.
- A one-day rest is necessary if the pitcher throws between 31 and 45 pitches.
- No rest is needed if the pitcher throws fewer than 30 pitches.