ESBA PLAYING RULES: SHETLAND
Play is governed by the Constitution and Bylaws of East Side Baseball Association and by the Official Baseball Rules. The following Playing Rules for spring and fall seasons override any similar provisions of the Official Baseball Rules.
Parents are expected to display exemplary conduct during games and practices, providing a positive example of good sportsmanship for the players. Players, coaches, umpires and other officials are to be treated with respect by all persons attending a game, and any form of harassment toward any individual involved in a game is not permitted. Any coach is subject to suspension for one game if he displays any form of disrespect toward an umpire. (See full Bylaw on Conduct)
In event of a short roster (less than 9 players), a team may use other players from that league. Such fill-in players must bat last and play outfield. There are no automatic outs in Shetland for short roster.
Length of Games:
Games are scheduled for 5 innings, but no inning may start after 1:15. Clocked time starts on the first pitch. Subsequent innings begin on the call of the third out of the previous inning. To permit maximum playing time for all players, games should not be ended prior to the time limit. Exceptions: a game may end when one team cannot tie or win after the time limit has expired; or one team cannot tie or win and the half inning ends within 5 minutes of of time expiring; or both coaches mutually agree to stop play. Home team does not bat when leading in that game's final inning. Regular season games may end in a tie; extra innings are not played, even if time remains.
An adult coach pitches to his team’s players from any distance beyond the 15’ arc and in line with the pitcher’s plate (overhand is recommended). The player playing the pitcher’s position must stand with at least one foot in the pitcher’s circle and behind the rubber until the ball is hit. The adult pitcher must make every effort not to hinder defensive play, moving to foul ground immediately after each hit. If a hit ball touches the adult pitcher, play is stopped (dead ball, no pitch).
The batting order is the entire roster. A half inning ends when 3 outs are made or 5 runs are scored, whichever occurs first.
Batted balls not hit to or beyond the 15' batters arc are considered foul. Bunting is not permitted.
5U: Each batter receives up to 4 pitches; if by the 4th pitch the ball is not hit, a batting tee is then used until the ball is put in play (unless final pitch is fouled). For the spring tournament, the tee is used after the 3rd pitch (unless foul).
6U: Each batter receives up to 5 pitches; if by the 5th pitch the ball is not hit, a batting tee is then used until the ball is put in play (unless final pitch is fouled). Beginning the 3rd week of the season, the tee is used after the 4th pitch (unless foul); by the 5th week of the spring season the tee is used after the 3rd pitch (unless foul).
Batters and runners advance as a result of a hit ball only (no base stealing). To encourage throwing without fear of overthrows and the resulting base runner advances, the infield hit rule is used: no batter or runner may advance more than one base unless the ball is hit beyond the outfield arc; an outfield hit must reach the outfield on its own momentum off the bat (it may glance off a fielder to do so). It is not an outfield hit if overthrown into the outfield. Runners attempting to advance more than one base on an infield hit are subject to being tagged out; but if safe when play is stopped, they must return to their proper base. During an outfield hit, runners may not advance beyond their currently occupied or upcoming (next) base once the ball is returned to the infield and is in control of a defensive player, regardless of subsequent plays or overthrows. A runner who must leave his base is replaced by the last batter out without penalty.
All team members play every defensive inning, with a pitcher, 4 infielders and the remaining players in the outfield; 6U must have a catcher unless fewer than 9 players, and 5U does not use a catcher. Fielders, other than the catcher, may not take positions any closer to the batter than the radius of the pitcher’s rubber to home plate. Outfielders take normal outfield positions, evenly spaced and 20' away from the edge of the infield. The infield fly rule is not used. The defensive team may have two coaches in the outfield to help position and instruct players and one coach behind home plate to help the catcher and speed up the game. Base coaches also umpire: the first base coach calls first and home, and the third base coach calls second and third.
Position changes may not be made during a team's defensive half inning, except for injury or illness.
A runner is out if a collision occurs between a runner who does not slide or attempt to avoid a collision, and a defensive player attempting to tag out that runner, or is immediately receiving the ball. If it is the umpire’s judgment that a runner intentionally collided with the defensive player, that runner is out. A runner is not out for not sliding if no collision occurs or if contact is slight, incidental or a brush.
Base runners failing to touch bases, including fly ball tag-ups, are called out, without appeal, after the play.
Game protests are not recognized, as they are not practical with tight playing and tournament schedules. However, failure to conform to Bylaws may subject a team to retrospective penalties, including forfeiture, upon majority vote of the Board of Directors. Coaches have the right to request game officials to reconsider any ruling if such request is made timely and properly (call time, then quietly and respectfully discuss with the umpire who made the call).
Safety and Equipment:
All players except players at bat, on deck, on bases or in the field defensively must remain in the dugout. All batters, base runners, catchers and non-adult base coaches must wear protective helmets approved by ESBA. Steel cleats are not permitted. Bats longer than 28 inches in length are not permitted, and bats must display the USABat stamp. See bylaw on Uniforms, Equipment and Fields for more informaton.
If a player is injured by being hit with a batted ball in the face, throat or head, time will be called immediately, and all runners will be awarded one base if the injured player is an infielder, or two bases if the injured player was an outfielder. Awards are from the time of the pitch. Any other injury an umpire deems serious enough to stop play will be handled in a similar manner, with umpires determining bases, if any, to be awarded.
Coaches may not sit on buckets or chairs on the field of play. Photographers are not permitted on the field of play unless pre-approved by the Board of Directors.
No Rules have been adopted which prohibit headfirst sliding, accidental bat slinging, and removing helmets. High school rules do not apply.
SHETLAND TOURNAMENT RULES:
Minimum Roster: In end of season tournament games, a short-rostered team may add up to 3 eligible players to reach a roster of 9. If unable to find enough substitutes to reach 9, the team may play with 8 players; if only 7 players, that team loses by forfeit. Fill-in players must bat last and play outfield, be from the same league, not from the opposing team, and must have been drafted in a later round than the player he/she is replacing. For example, if a team has 7 available players and is missing their 2nd, 4th and 10th round players, then it can add a player drafted in the 3rd round or later and a player drafted in the 5th round or later. The spirit of this rule is to allow normal playing conditions while minimizing a competitive advantage. Fill-in players must be approved in advance by the league commissioner, and the league's board representative may make exceptions for highly unusual circumstances.
If a game is forfeited due to short roster, it may be played but will count as a foreit. Teams have 10 minutes after game time to field and continuously maintain a minimum roster.
Any ball hit from the tee will be subject to the Infild Hit Rule (no advance more than one base).
Usual length of game rules and time limits are followed (except ties), but championship games are not subject to a time limit. Seeding for post season tournaments is by random draw. Home team is decided by coin toss, except for first championship game, when winner bracket team is home team. If a second championship team is needed, home team is determined by coin toss.
SHETLAND TIE-BREAKER EXTRA INNING(S):
For Shetland tournament “elimination” games: If the score is tied after a regulation game's final inning or the time limit expires, a special tie-breaker inning will be played. Both teams bat, starting at the top of their original batting order, with one out, a runner on second base (last player in original order), no run limit, and play until either 3 are out or bat their entire roster, whichever occurs first. However, one team may not bat more players than their opponent (if one team has 10 players, the other 12, both teams bat only the first 10). If still tied, repeat the special tie-breaker inning, starting at the top of the original batting order.