Rookie League Rules

Updated Monday April 15, 2019 by Somerset Baseball League.



The purpose of the Rookie Division is to see that the children: 


  • Have fun and are kept involved to combat boredom.

  • Learn the fundamentals of the game of baseball

  • Are taught the concept of being part of a team, cooperation, and making friends 


    The main objective should not be winning games. There are no forfeits in Rookie Division.  Regular season games will not count for division standings or position of team in Round Robin/payoff tournaments. 





  • Each team will have a manager and three coaches. 

  • Each team will be required to have a team mom in the dugout.  This may be substituted for an assistant if necessary. 

  • Home team is responsible for providing two game balls for each game. 

  • A coach from the team playing defense shall position him/herself behind home plate to retrieve balls that have gone past the catcher and place them in a bucket to speed up the game. 





  • Any player who throws a bat, helmet, glove, etc. shall be given a warning.  A second offense will cause the player to be removed from the game.  Repeated violations of this rule will be handled by the Division Director. 

  • The use of inappropriate behavior or language at any ballfield by coaches, players or spectators will not be tolerated.It is the responsibility of team managers to remind parents and spectators of this rule.





    Games are played on a 46/60 diamond.  The pitching distance will be determined by the Director of the Rookie Division 


  • HOME TEAM is responsible for pre-game preparation, including retrieval of bases and rakes from shed, and raking home plate, pitcher’s mound and any bases if necessary. 

  • AWAY TEAM is responsible for post-game field maintenance, including raking home plate, pitcher’s mound and all bases, returning bases and rake to shed, and doing one last sweep through each dug out to make sure nothing left is behind.  It is the responsibility of the Away team manager to ensure shed is secured and locked.





  • Home team has first base dugout 

  • Away team has third base dugout.  

  • It is the responsibility of EACH manager to make sure that all trash is removed from their respective dugouts. 

  • NO FOOD allowed in dugouts. 

  • All players’ equipment shall be stored INSIDE their respective dugouts during games.  Players should be encouraged to keep their equipment organized when they are not at bat, and the area neat.  NO equipment is allowed outside the dugout during the game.  The front of the dugout must be kept clear to avoid injuries. 





  • All regulation games are six innings or two hours.  HOWEVER, if game conditions permit (lighting, weather), the game may complete six innings at the discretion of the managers. 

  • A new inning shall not be started 15 minutes prior to sunset if the field is not artificially lit. 

  • 10-run (Mercy) rule will be observed after four innings. 

  • Coaches will get together during pregame to discuss any potential issues with the weather, if needed.   

  • All games in the Rookie Division will be cancelled due to weather conditions by 4:15pm via League Toolbox division-wide email distribution. 

  • The Director will reschedule make up games during the week of the rainout. 

  • Open dates, team practice times or availability of the Chace St. School field will determine time and date of makeup games. 

  • Inability of the team manager to be present for a make-up game will not be cause for its cancellation. 





  • Parents should be advised that if they know their child will not be at their next game, they should give the team manager at least one day’s notice. 

  • Team Managers must immediately notify the Division Director as soon as they learn they will be below the 9-player requirement to start a game.  The Director will then contact the Instructional Division Director who will assign a player for that game. 

  • If a team starts a game with less than 8 players, the game will be played with outfielders from the other team 

  • If a team does not have enough players, they can borrow the last batter from the opposing team to play outfield.  If that player is required for pitching/catching, then the second to last shall be chosen. 

  • If a player arrives late, then that player is inserted in to the bottom of the order. 





  • All teams will use a continuous batting order.  All managers must present a copy of their batting order to the opposing team and must make every effort to have their lineup and field assignments filled out prior to each game, so that the game may start on time. 

  • A fourth or fifth outfielder may be placed on the field defensively with unlimited defensive substitution. 

  • Players should be rotated ach inning in defensive positions. 

  • Most advanced players should be used at first base, catching and pitching positions. 

  • When a catcher is on base with two outs, they can be substituted so they may have time to get into their gear to be ready for the start of the next inning. 

  • Batting out of order shall be corrected immediately, without penalty. 





    It is our intention to increase the number of innings pitched during a game as the season progresses.  This will be decided by the Division Director, with input from each team manager, depending on the depth of their team’s pitching staff. 


  • Pitchers are given five warm up pitches between each inning. 

  • Any new pitcher entering the game gets eight warm up pitches 

  • Players will pitch the first inning of each game and walks will be issued. 

  • Early in the season, after three walks are recorded in an inning, the pitching machine is required to be used, and WILL be used for the remainder of the game.  This is to maintain the flow of play until pitchers become more experienced as the season progresses. 

  • During the game, the coach of the team at bat will call balls and strikes if no umpire available. 

  • Infield Fly Rule is NOT observed in Rookie Division 

  • Pitch counts/limits 

    • Counts and limits shall be strictly observed and enforced. 

    • All managers will be supplied with a pitch counter.  Pitch counts MUST be recorded in scorebook. 


    • Pitch Limits: 

      • 50 pitches per week per pitcher 

      • 1-20 pitches: 0 days rest 

      • 21-35 pitches: 1 day rest 

      • 36+ pitches: 2 days rest 

  • Pitching Machine 

    • At the beginning of the season, while using the pitching machine, three swinging strikes or five good pitches will be considered an out. 

    • As the season progresses, players will be expected to swing at every good pitch, and each missed pitch, whether swung at or not, will be considered a strike.  Players need to be encouraged and taught to swing at EVERY good pitch from the machine. 

    • There are no walks issued when using the pitching machine. 

    • When using the pitching machine, the catcher will take the normal position in full gear. 

    • The catcher shall NOT throw the ball back to home plate.  The Catcher will place balls in a bucket next to home plate or shall give to the coach catching stray balls at the backstop. 

    • If a batted ball hits any part of the pitching machine without touching any defensive player, the ball is dead.  The batter will be awarded first base.  All other runners will return to the base they last occupied unless they were forced to advance as a result of the batter being awarded first base. 

    • If a batted fair ball is first touched by a defensive player and then touches the pitching machine, as well as any thrown ball, it is a live ball.  

    • If, in the judgment of the umpire or coach calling balls/strikes, the pitching machine delivers a ball outside the strike zone, a no-pitch will be called unless the batter swings.  If the batter swings, the pitch will be called a strike. 





  • Bunting will be allowed.  Each player is only allowed to bunt once per game and each team once per inning.   

  • NO slash bunting is allowed. 

  • Stealing will NOT be permitted in Rookie Division.  There is also no advancement on a pass ball. 

  • LIMITED RUNS: 3-run rule per inning will be observed, with unlimited runs in the last inning.  Regular season games may end in a tie. 

  • No “Must Slide” rule:  Players are NOT required to slide into base, unless there is a play being made on that runner.  If the runner does not slide into base, and makes contact with the defensive player in possession of or in the process of receiving the ball, then the runner shall be called out.   

  • Base Running: 

    • the batter and runners on base can advance on a ball that is hit into fair play up until the ball is thrown into to the pitcher’s mound area.  

    • A player that has already rounded a base may advance while the ball is in the infield but risks being thrown out.   

    • Base runners cannot advance to another base if an infielder has committed to throwing the ball to the pitcher. 

  • Leading is prohibited in the Rookie league. The runner is allowed to come off the base when the ball crosses home plate. The runner will be returned to the base if the runner leaves early. 





    Any game may be halted at the discretion of the umpire (if available) or both managers due to safety concerns.  At the first sound of thunder, managers shall meet and use their discretion as to whether the game shall continue.  However, upon the first sign of lightning, players shall be immediately cleared from the field and the game cancelled. 





  • ***Remember:  Baseballs are the property of Somerset Baseball League and should not be kept by managers during the off-season.  All SBL property shall be returned to the League at the end of each season.*** 

2019 Rookie Division Rules.docx