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Play is governed by the Constitution and Bylaws of East Side Baseball Association and by the Official Baseball Rules. The following Playing Rules override any similar provisions of the Official Baseball Rules. Note: These rules govern in-park play, not games with other associations (interlocking, travel, post-season).




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.  Coaches and players are not permitted to comment to umpires on balls and strikes.  (See full Bylaw on Conduct)


Minimum Roster:


In event of a short roster (less than 9 players), a team may use other players from that league (American may not use National players). Such fill-in players must bat last and play outfield.  A team loses by forfeit if unable to field and continuously maintain 8 eligible players within 10 minutes after game time. If a team has only 8 players, the unoccupied 9th spot is an automatic out each time the order reaches that spot. If a game is forfeited due to short roster, it may be played using a short roster but will count as a forfeit.


Length of Games:


Games are scheduled for 6 innings, but no inning may start after 1:30 for Mustang and 1:45 for Bronco. Clocked time starts on the umpire’s call of "play" just prior to 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 time has expired; or one team cannot tie or win and the half inning ends within 5 minutes of time expiring; or if both coaches mututally 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 allows.


Run Limit:


Each half inning ends after 3 outs are made or the run limit is reached (5 in spring, 4 in fall), whichever occurs first.


Participation and Substitution:


To maximize participation, continuous batting order is used, and no player may sit out 2 consecutive innings defensively.  Free defensive substitution is permitted, but the batting order may not change.  If a player must be removed from the lineup due to illness, injury, etc., there is no penalty (subject to league rule regarding minimum roster), and he may return to the same place in the batting order if physically able.  A baserunner who must be removed due to illness, injury, etc. may be replaced by the last batter out.

Additionally, every player must play at least 2 complete games during the season.


(See full Participation Bylaw) 





Delivery of one pitch to a batter constitutes having pitched an inning. A player removed as a pitcher may not pitch again in that game. Innings pitched in games declared no contest are charged against that pitcher’s eligibility. Use of an ineligible pitcher results in automatic game forfeiture and possible loss of future pitching eligibility. Pitching rules may change for tournaments.


Pitch Limit:


For any calendar day, players may not pitch in more than 3 innings (2 innings for fall season and 3 innings for fall tournament), nor throw more than 75 pitches for Mustang or more than 85 pitches for Bronco.

Continuation Provision:  A pitcher may complete pitching to a batter when the maximum pitch limit occurs during that at-bat. Also, if a pitcher reaches any day-of-rest threshold in the middle of an
at-bat, the pitcher will be permitted to complete that at-bat; the pitcher will be recorded as having pitched the maximum number of pitches allowed at the threshold met during the at-bat and will not be required to rest an additional day.

Example: If a pitcher throws his 20th pitch during an at-bat, he may complete pitching to that same batter without being charged more than 20, avoiding the one day of rest required for more than 20 pitches.


Rest Rule:

Mustang and Bronco players may not pitch during these rest periods (full calendar days off without pitching) based on the following number of pitches:

      More than 20:  1 day
      More than 35:  2 days
      More than 50:  3 days
      More than 65:  4 days

Example:  If a player throws 51 pitches on Monday, he may not pitch again until Friday (after 3 complete calendar days, Tue/Wed/Thu, without pitching).


If a double header, a player may pitch in the second game of the day only if he did not exceed 20 pitches in the first game (but is allowed the usual continuation provision past 20 to the same batter without penalty).  All pitches thrown in the first game count toward the usual daily limit.  That player may pitch in 3 innings per game, subject to pitch limits for the first game and for the day.



A second coach visit to the same pitcher in the same inning causes that player’s removal as a pitcher. A coach may not confer with any defensive players other than the pitcher and catcher.




Balks are not called in Mustang. Major balks are called in Bronco after spring break (October 1 for fall). In Mustang and Bronco, a runner cannot be called out on a play caused by a balk.




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 and may be ejected. A runner is not out for not sliding if no collision occurs or if contact is slight, incidental or a brush.


Return to Bases/Leaving Base Early (Mustang):


After each play or pitch, runners must return to their bases when all runners’ progress has stopped (no longer advancing) and the pitcher is in control of the ball. A runner is out if he leaves his base before the pitched ball reaches the batter and the ball is hit fair. Unless a pitch or return throw is not caught, runners may not steal home, nor may batter-runners advance beyond first base during a base on balls award.


Intentional Base on Balls: 


No automatic or intentional walks. Pitcher must pitch to batter with catcher in normal crouching positioin.


Speed-up Rules:


Base runners failing to touch bases, including fly ball tag-ups, are called out, without appeal, after the play. Pre-game infield warm-up is limited to 5 minutes per team, unless additional time is available; visitors take infield first. One offensive time out is permitted each half inning to allow a coach to confer with a player. Mustang batters are not permitted to advance when a third strike is not caught.




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/Equipment/Defensive Coach:


All players except players at bat, on deck, on base 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 must display the USABat stamp.  See bylaw on Uniforms, Equipment and Fields for more information on bats.


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 was 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.

One defensive coach may stand outside the dugout, at own risk, within arm's length of the dugout doorway.




Teams must keep a player record (score sheet) on each game, recording each player’s defensive participation, times at bat and innings pitched. Team score sheets must be made available to the Commissioner for review. Standings are determined by awarding 2 points for each win, 1 point for each tie or game not played, and no points for each loss or forfeit. Standings are not maintained for fall season.  Distribution of player statistics to players is not permitted.


No Rules have been adopted which prohibit head-first sliding, accidental bat slinging, removing helmets, nor are there rules allowing courtesy runners for pitchers or catchers, or automatic base on balls. High school rules do not apply.

Note: See Tournament Rules.