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Play is governed by the Constitution and Bylaws of East Side Baseball Association and by the Official Baseball Rules for all leagues. The following Playing Rules 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 will be subject to suspension for one game if he displays any form of disrespect toward an umpire. (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.  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 1:15. Clocked time starts on the umpire’s call of "play" just prior to the first pitch. Subsequent innings officially 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. Exeptions: 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 mutually agree to stop play.  Home team does not bat when leading in the 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 5 runs are scored, 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 Bylaw on Participation)




An adult coach pitches to his team’s players, pitching overhand and standing, in a line with the pitcher’s plate, and must release the ball while behind the 10’ pitcher’s line/rubber. The player playing the pitcher’s position must stand with at least 1 foot in the pitcher’s arc 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).




No balls or non-swinging strikes are called. The batter is out on the 5th swinging strike or 8th pitch (unless foul). Beginning the 3rd week of the season the batter is out after 4 strikes or 7 pitches (unless foul), and beginning the 5th week, 3 strikes or 6 pitches (unless foul). For fall season the pitch count is not reduced to 3 strikes or 6 pitches.  Batted balls not hit to or beyond the 20’ batter’s arc are considered foul. Bunting is permitted but only one player per inning may bunt (violation considered a strike).  A fouled bunt on the last strike is an out.




Batters and runners advance as a result of a hit ball only (no base stealing). A runner is out if he leaves his base before the pitched ball reaches the batter and the ball is hit fair. No batter or runner may advance more than one base following an infield hit, regardless of overthrows. After an outfield hit, time is called when runners are no longer advancing and the ball is controlled in the infield.




Fielders, other than the catcher, may not take positions any closer to the batter than the radius of pitcher’s rubber to home plate. The infield fly rule is not used. A team may not use more than 10 defensive players (4 outfielders) and must have a pitcher, a catcher and 4 infielders. Outfielders must be positioned in traditional areas (no unusaul, dramatic shifts or short-fielders), approximately 20 feet or more into the outfield.

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 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.


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 and one defensive time out is permitted each half inning to allow a coach to confer with a player. Batters are not permitted to advance to first base when a last 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 Coaches:


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 29 inches are not permitted, and all bats must display the USABat stamp. See bylaw on Umiforms, Equipment and Fields for more information on bats.


If a player is injured by being hit by 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 (not sit) outside the dugout, in arm's reach of the gate.  A second coach may stand behind home plate to assist with loose baseballs.  Photographers are not permitted on the field of play unless pre-approved by the Board of Directors.




Teams must keep a player record (score sheet) on each game, recording each player’s defensive participation and times at bat. 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 games 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 headfirst sliding, accidental bat slinging, and removing helmets. High school rules do not apply.


Note: See Tournament Rules