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NWCBA Minor League - Official Rules

Updated – 04/13/2010

1.      The league is established to provide a wholesome learning experience, including learning to play the game of baseball and learning to play as a team. Winning and losing is part of the game, but must never be the controlling aspect of the league. Good sportsmanship from all players, coaches, and parents must be exhibited.

2.      Major League Baseball Rules and Official Cal Ripken Baseball Rules and Regulations will be followed except where explicitly modified by these local (NWCBA) rules.

3.      It is a FELONY for anyone to strike an umpire in the state of North Carolina!

4.      NO SMOKING: The use or consumption of any forms of alcoholic beverages or tobacco products by any player, coach or parent/fan on the field, in the dugouts or in the stands is strictly prohibited.

5.      Minor League players must be either nine (9) or ten (10) years old on or before April 30th of the calendar year. Each player must present to the League Secretary a copy of his/her birth certificate before the start of league play.

6.      There will be periodic maintenance details to repair or maintain the playing fields. Any team that fails to support these efforts will forfeit the use of the fields for practices. The length of the penalty is at the discretion of the League Commissioner.

7.      Each team will consist of no less than twelve (12) or more than fifteen (15) players, a head coach, two (2) assistant coaches, a scorekeeper and a batboy/batgirl (optional). These are the only individuals permitted in the dugout during a game. Coaches need not be in uniform.

8.      Each team will have adult supervision at every game. No game will be allowed to start without adult supervision.

9.      The home team, after talking with the umpire, decides whether to start a game if rain is threatening. If the game is interrupted by rain, a fifteen (15) minute delay will be allowed, except by mutual agreement of the coaches to postpone or end the game. Following the delay, the game may be resumed or terminated in the discretion of the umpire. If the game is terminated in the middle of an inning by rain and it has become a regulation game, the final score will be the score that existed at the end of the last completed inning of play. If the game fails to become a regulation game (i.e., 4 innings or 3 ½ innings if the home team is ahead), it is a "no game" and must be replayed as a new game. Warning, protect your pitcher! The innings pitched by a player will count, even if the game is declared a "no game".

10.  The HOME team is responsible for preparing the field, including the mound, foul lines, coaches' and batter's boxes and turning any necessary lights on prior to the start of each game. The VISITING team is also responsible for turning the scoreboard and the field lights on before the game and off after the game, as well as locking up the equipment storage areas at the end of the day.

11.  The home team takes the third base dugout.

12.  The home team is responsible for providing the field umpire. While the league will arrange to have a plate umpire present for regularly scheduled games, the home team is responsible for notifying the umpire's booking agent in case of a rainout or cancellation and is responsible for arranging for a plate umpire for make-up games. The home team coach is responsible for signing the umpire's worksheet thereby indicating that the umpire worked the game.

13.  The visiting team is responsible for field clean up after the game. This includes cleaning out the trash from both dugouts after the game, as well as picking up any pieces of trash in the immediate vicinity of the dugout or backstop areas.

14.  The coaches will exchange lineup cards prior to the start of every game. Each pitcher must be designated and the number of innings pitched in the current week must be reported. The date of the last game must also be reported for the pitchers pitching in this game. The game is not official until the first pitch is thrown. Games in which an ineligible pitcher is used shall be declared forfeited by the offending team.

15.  Each coach shall provide the umpire with one (1) new baseball and one (1) good used baseball prior to the start of the game.

16.  All players must be in full uniform during the course of the game. This includes a team cap, a team jersey (always tucked into pants) and baseball pants. Baseball stirrup socks are optional. Rubber cleats on shoes are suggested; metal cleats on shoes are not allowed.

17.  A minimum of eight (8) players will be required to start and continue a game. Less than eight players will constitute a forfeiture of the game. Each team will have no more than fifteen (15) minutes past the game starting time to field a team. After that time, the offending team will forfeit the game by a 6-0 score. If both teams forfeit, the game may be rescheduled at the discretion of the league commissioner.

18.  Game Duration: Minor
 League regulation game will last for six (6) innings of play, or two (2) hours, whichever comes first. If the home team is ahead entering the bottom of the sixth inning, the game is complete. The game will also be considered complete after four (4) innings, or three and one half (3) innings if the home team is ahead, and the time limit has expired or environmental conditions have halted the game. Extra innings in case of a tie will be allowed as long as the time limit rule is not exceeded.

No inning may start after 1 hour and 50 minutes from the official starting time of the game. The official starting time shall be the originally scheduled start time or 15 minutes after the end of the preceding game, whichever is later. Any inning started must be played to completion, even if the two-hour time limit is exceeded, unless the umpire due to environmental conditions has called the game.

In innings 1-5, a team's turn at bat ends when five (5) runs have been scored or three (3) putouts have been made by the defense, whichever comes first UNLESS the top of the inning has not been completed by the 1 hour 50 minute time limit. In that event the inning will be treated like innings 6+. In innings 6+, there is no limit on the number of runs scored and a team's turn at bat ends when the defense has made three (3) putouts.

19.  Ten Run Rule: A game may be terminated once it becomes a regulation game if one team is ahead by 10 or more runs and each team has had equal turns at bat or the home team is leading. Termination is solely at the option of the trailing team's head coach.

20.  Tie Games: In order for a game to be declared a tie game by the umpire, it must be a regulation game (at least four (4) complete innings must have been played). Extra innings may be played as long as the time limit rule is not violated. 

21.  The defensive fielding positions will include the regular six (6) infielders plus three (3) outfield positions (a total of nine (9) players on the field).

22.  Each player may not sit out more than three (3) innings per game in the field defensively and will not sit out more than two (2) consecutive innings in a game. A player may NOT occupy the same defensive position on the field for more than 4 innings. Each player must play at least one inning at an infield position. Exceptions would be for disciplinary reasons or injury.

23.  The re-entry rule will be used for all defensive field positions except the pitcher. A non-pitching player may be entered into, removed from, or removed to, any defensive position at any time during the game, and as often as the coach chooses.

24.  Special Pitching Rules:

a)      No pitcher may pitch more than six (6) innings per week. The week begins at midnight Sunday night (12:00 am Monday).

b)      No pitcher may pitch more than two (2) innings per day.

c)      If a player pitches two (2) innings in a game, that player may not pitch again for 40 hours (calculated from the time of the pitchers first pitch of that game), even if the next day begins a new week.

d)     One (1) pitch thrown in an inning counts as one (1) inning pitched.

e)      A pitcher may not re-enter the same game at the pitcher position.

f)       No pitcher my throw any type of pitch other than a Fast ball or change up.  

25.  A coach may make one trip to the mound per inning per pitcher. On the second trip to the mound in the same inning for the same pitcher, the pitcher must be removed from the game as a pitcher. At that point he/she becomes a non-pitching player and may occupy any other defensive position on the field. When a coach goes to the mound, all players must remain at their positions unless summoned to the mound by the coach. Only the players summoned may come to the mound.

26.  Any game in which an ineligible pitcher is used (throws one (1) pitch) shall be declared forfeited to the non-offending team. The opposing coach must make appeal to the umpire during the game or to the League Commissioner within 48 hours of the conclusion of the game.

27.  Any player warming up a pitcher at home plate or anywhere else on the field shall wear a mask, including a throat protector. Pitchers may not warm up on the field mound prior to game time.

28.  All catchers must wear a protective genital cup while playing behind the plate or warming up a pitcher. All other players are strongly encouraged to also wear a protective cup.

29.  Batting:

a)      No intentional walks are allowed.

b)      The batter is not out on a foul tip unless the catcher catches the foul tip for a third strike.

c)      The batter may NOT advance to first base on a dropped third strike.

d)     Throwing or slinging the bat is prohibited and the batter is out. However, the umpire may first issue one (1) warning per team, in which case the play stands. If the batter is called out, no base runner may advance.

e)      A continuous batting order will be used and all players must take their regular turn at bat during a game. The batting order will remain fixed during the game with defensive fielding assignments having no effect on the batting order. Late arrivals will enter the batting order at the bottom of the lineup card. Should a player leave the game (e.g., due to injury), all players below that player in the batting order will move up one slot and maintain their same batting order. If the player who left the game returns and is re-inserted into the game, he/she must enter into the same batting position as he/she originally occupied, with the players below him/her in the batting order moving down one slot into their original positions in the batting order. If a batter leaves the game due to injury, the next batter in the lineup starts with a 0-0 count.


30.    Lead-offs/Stealing

The leagues goal is to develop more high quality catchers and pitchers and the rules below are in place to help facilitate that goal.

B League:

a)      No runner lead-offs are allowed until the ball has passed home plate

b)      Delayed Stealing is allowed, base runners must remain on base until the ball crosses home plate.

c)    A player may steal 2nd  or 3rd base only, straight steal or on a passed ball.

d)    Players may not steal or advance to home plate on a passed ball or an over throw by the catcher to any base.

e)    Runners may only advance 1 base on a delayed steal even if the ball thrown by the catcher goes into the outfield on the attempted pick-off.

f)      If there is a player on 1st and 3rd and the player on 1st steals, the player on 3rd may not advance under any circumstances ( unless batter hits the ball)  including bad throws by the catcher into the outfield.

g)  Runners may not advance to the next base on an attempted pick-off, of a leading runner,  by the catcher, even if the throw goes into the outfield. The runner must try to get back to the bag they were leading from safely. (This implies no Pickles)

h)  Throw back to the Pitcher is live and runners can advance 1 base (including to Home plate) at their own risk on a bad throw to the pitcher. If there are multiple bad throws as part of the same play, runners cant advance an additional base.  The runners cannot advance if the throw is to the pitcher and he just drops the ball.


A League:

i)      No runner lead-offs are allowed until the ball has passed home plate

j)      Delayed Stealing is allowed, base runners must remain on base until the ball crosses home plate.


31.  No player may change positions in the batting order during a game. Any player bats out of turn (receives one pitch) are automatically out and all base runners must return to the bases they occupied before the offending batter came to the plate. However, a defensive coach or player must call time out and appeal the player batting out of turn prior to the next batter receiving one pitch or the play stands.

32.  Protective headgear must be worn by all players while at bat, while a base runner and while standing in the on-deck circle. Any player who removes his/her helmet before reaching the dugout may, at the discretion of the home plate umpire, be called out. All batboys/batgirls must wear protective headgear at all times.

33.  If the catcher for the next inning is on base with two (2) outs, the last player to have been put out shall be substituted as a runner to allow the catcher to get on the catcher's equipment. If the pitcher for the next inning is on base with two (2) outs, a pinch runner may be used, in which case the last player to have been put out would be substituted as a runner.

34.  The "must slide feet first" rule will be in force for any play at HOME plate involving potential contact by a base runner with a defensive player covering the plate. Runners must slide at 2nd and 3rd base if there is a play to avoid contact with the defensive player. Failure to slide in these situations constitutes a put out of the runner. Defensive players shall not be in the base path without the ball unless: in the act of fielding a batted ball OR fielding a thrown ball where the defensive player has an opportunity to catch the ball prior to potential contact with the runner. The home plate umpire may eject any defensive player who stands in the base path without the ball.  

35.  Unnecessary roughness by a player as judged by the home plate umpire will result in automatic ejection from the game.

36.  A ball caught in the screen behind home plate is a dead ball and the runners are entitled to the base to which they are advancing. Any ball that goes through the fence in an area where the fence is in need of repair is a dead ball and the runners may advance one (1) base.

37.  A batted ball that bounces over the outfield fence or lands in an outfield area declared out of bounds is a ground rule double. Base runners may advance two (2) bases.

38.  To be valid, any protest must be announced to the umpire and opposing coach immediately at the time of the dispute. Written notice and detailed explanation of the protest must be turned in to the League Commissioner within 24 hours. No protest shall ever be permitted on judgment calls by the umpire.

39.  All chatter is to be directed towards each team's own players and not to any opposing player. Each team may receive one warning; subsequent violations will result in the ejection of all offending players, coaches or parents/fans.

40.  Scorebooks must be accurate and complete. The home team is responsible for keeping the official scorebook and for securing the home plate umpire's signature on the scorebook. Scorekeepers should confer with each other during the game to ensure compatibility of records. Coaches are to check the scorebook after each game.

41.  A player may be withheld from a game for team discipline reasons if the League Commissioner is notified and agrees as to the reason. Parents must be notified in advance of the game.

42.  The League Commissioner, with approval from the NWCBA VP of Baseball Operations-12 & under, may impose a suspension on any head coach, assistant coach, player or parent/fan for unsportsmanlike-like conduct or the failure to abide by the rules above. The suspension for the first violation is two (2) games; for the second violation, ten (10) games; and for the third violation, permanent expulsion from the league. Additionally, any player or coach ejected from a game will be subject to the following penalties:

Coach-   First offense: Disqualified from that game and his/her team's next game.

Second offense: Disqualified for the remainder of the season.

Player-   First offense: DQ from that game and his/her team's next game.

                                Subsequent offenses: DQ from that game and his/her team's next three (3) games

43.  If a player moves from the area or is injured, he/she may be replaced. The Commissioner's decision to choose replacement players is final. An injured player, upon recovery, may rejoin the team provided that the total number of players does not exceed the player limit.

44.  Following the completion of the regular spring season games, there may be an intra-league tournament in both leagues in which all teams will compete. There will not be a season ending tournament at the end of the regular Fall season games.

Date of Revision

Description of Changes


Updated #30 with new stealing rules for B league.  Promotes catcher development