American League Ground Rules

Video surveillance on BLL fields is for entertainment purposes only!  Never should or will video recordings or live feeds be used for game time management, pitch counts or score verification or validation.  Video review is not to be used for calls made by umpires. The BLL Board does have the right to utilize recordings in investigating disciplinary actions of participating players and adults.

Game Day Procedures

Pregame and Warmups

  • Home team is responsible for getting the field ready for play and supplying game balls. Home team will occupy the 3rd base dugout and visiting team will occupy the 1st base dugout.
  • Home and visiting teams split the batting cages during pregame at Weston and Tiras fields.
  • Home team uses field for warm-ups from 45 minutes before game to 25 minutes before game. Visiting team uses field for warm-ups from 25 minutes before game to 5 minutes before game. Home and visiting teams may agree to their own pre-game sharing arrangement at their discretion.
  • Pregame conference with umpires will take place 5 minutes before game. Managers shall exchange batting orders prior to the pre-game conference with the umpire. The batting order shall list the players’ jersey number and first and last names.
  • When there are successive games, teams should allocate 5 minutes to umpire pregame conference and then evenly divide the remaining time before the game before the game starts for infield warm-ups for both teams, with the home team using the field first. The umpires may prohibit infield warm-ups if there are time constraints.

During Game

  • Maximum of three coaches allowed in dugout area: one manager and two assistant coaches. Coaches should be behind the dugout fence or in the coach’s box.
  • Home team shall provide scorekeeper responsible for keeping official scorebook via the GameChanger app and such scorekeeper shall keep the official pitch count. In addition, the visiting team and the home team each shall have an additional person from each team keep the pitch count.
  • Visiting team shall be responsible for operating the scoreboard.


  • Home team is responsible for reporting the results to the League Representative (scores, names of pitchers, pitches thrown by each pitcher, home runs, and no hitters pitched) within 24 hours of the completion of the game.
  • Visiting team is responsible for ensuring that concessions workers have departed safely, locking up all equipment, fields and restrooms, and turning off lights.


  • All batters and base runners must wear protective helmets with full face masks or helmets with a properly installed C-flap covering the side of the face exposed to the pitcher.
  • All catchers must use a catcher’s mitt and wear a catcher’s helmet with dangling throat protector. Male catchers must also wear a cup.
  • Batters are not allowed to show bunt then swing away. If a batter "shows" bunt, their options are: (a) bunt, (b) offer or not offer at the bunt attempt, or (c) pull the bat back taking the pitch. Penalty: the ball becomes dead at the moment of the infraction and the batter shall be warned if the ball was missed or the batter is out if the ball was hit. No runner may advance.
  • If a batter throws or wildly slings the bat after hitting (or attempting to hit) the ball to the extent that the manager and/or umpire believes other players are endangered, time-out will be called and the manager will discuss the infraction with the batter. If it happens again, in the same game, the batter may be called out, prohibited from batting further in the game, or ejected (umpire’s discretion).
  • The batter should not throw the bat toward the dugout after the batter completes the at bat (i.e. after the batter is walked).

Local Ground Rules

American League games are governed by the Official Regulations and Playing Rules of Little League Baseball (the “Little League Rulebook”) Majors Division. Managers and assistant coaches are strongly encouraged to familiarize themselves with the Little League Rulebook.  Bellaire Little League has supplemented the Little League Rulebook with the following additional rules.

Time Limits

  • No new innings will start after 1 hour and 40 minutes from the start of the game. An official game requires at least 4 innings be played (3.5 innings if the home team is ahead) or the completion of game time, unless Rule 4.10(e) of the Little League Rulebook (mercy rule) applies.
  • A game may not go more than 6 innings unless the game is tied AND the 1 hour and 40 minutes has not elapsed. A game may continue to a 7th inning if tied at the end of the 6th inning and the time limit has not elapsed.
  • The game clock is kept by the umpire and may be adjusted as needed for play stoppage or other



Regulation VI of the Little League Rulebook governs pitcher eligibility, including maximum pitches per day, minimum days of rest following pitching and limitations on playing catcher after pitching or vice versa.  As a supplement to Regulation VI, Bellaire Little League applies the following additional rules:

  • Before HISD Spring Break, pitchers are limited to a maximum of 65 pitches per day. If a pitcher reaches the limit while facing a batter, the pitcher may continue to pitch until any one of the following conditions occurs: 1. That batter reaches base; 2. That batter is put out; 3. The third out is made to complete the half-inning. After HISD Spring Break, daily maximum pitches set forth in Regulation VI(c) apply.
  • Players that have exceeded 25% of their team’s season total pitches following the completion of a game are ineligible to pitch in their team’s next game.
  • Team season total pitches shall be calculated at the end of each game. The League Representative will maintain a joint spreadsheet documenting all pitching percentages for every player.  All managers will have access to each team’s percentage totals. Pitch count totals will start at the beginning of the season and will include all exhibition games played at Bellaire Little League fields.
  • Players that are eligible to pitch under this rule are eligible to start and complete a game at pitcher, subject to maximum pitches per game, regardless if 25% threshold is crossed from pitches thrown during such game.

Courtesy Runners

  • If the catcher for the next half inning is on base and there are two (2) outs, the catcher may be replaced with a courtesy runner (the player that made the last out).

Mandatory Play Rules

  • Each player must start and finish each defensive inning played (subject to injuries or disciplinary action).
  • No player may sit two (2) consecutive defensive innings. No Player may sit more than two (2+) defensive innings until all players on the game roster have sat one (1) defensive inning.

Player Pool

  • In the event a team has fewer than 9 players, the team may request a pool player from the League Representative and Player Agent.  The Player Agent and League Representative will attempt to replace the missing player(s) with a player of comparable skill. League participants shall not serve as a pool player multiple times until all other comparable players have been contacted. Pool players shall bat last and may only play in an outfield position.
  • If a team has fewer than 9 players because of player pool limitations, the team with fewer than 9 players will be required to take an automatic out in the 9th batting spot.  When in the field, the team with fewer than 9 players may, if the managers agree, borrow the opposing team’s last batter of prior inning to play in an outfield position.

League Administration

Manager Conduct

  • Causing players to intentionally perform poorly (including intentionally striking out, intentionally being put out, intentionally failing to record an out, or intentionally making wild pitches or throws) for the purpose of extending or shortening a game, or otherwise engaging in any action whose purpose is to manipulate the time or duration of the game (including repeated and unwarranted timeouts or replacement of players (including catchers), shall be considered making a travesty of the game.
  • Willfully and knowingly disregarding the requirements of the Local Ground Rules and other applicable rules also shall be considered making a travesty of the game. In addition to ejection, additional penalties (up to and including forfeiture of a game and/or disqualification of the team, managers or coaches from further league or tournament participation) may be imposed if, in the opinion of the Disciplinary Committee of the Board of Directors of BLL, such additional penalties are warranted in light of the offending conduct.

Season Champions

  • Regular season champions will be determined by winning percentage, with a tie counting as half of a win.
  • In the event of a tie in winning percentage, regular season champion will be determined based on the following tiebreakers: (a) head-to-head results, (b) runs against over the entire regular season, then (c) runs for over the entire regular season. If teams are still tied after exhausting these tiebreakers, they will be co-champions.

Playoff Tournaments

The following additional regulations shall apply to any post-season playoff tournament, unless otherwise amended by the League Representative or the Vice President of Operations of the Board of Directors of the League, who shall be the Tournament Official.

  • Except as reflected below, all games shall be played based on the American League ground rules and applicable Little League Rules (regular season), with no exceptions or changes.
  • The first game of the day will start when the schedule indicates; subsequent games will start 20 minutes after the conclusion of the preceding game or at the time the schedule indicates, whichever is earlier.
  • Seeding will be based on regular season records, with the same tiebreakers as for determining season champions above. Seeding of teams that are tied after all tiebreakers are exhausted will be settled by coin toss.
  • Highest seed will be home team (descending order with the top seed #1, next #2, #3, #4, etc.)
  • For double-elimination tournaments: the team undefeated in tournament play will be the home team regardless of regular season seeding for game one of the championship.  Should the Visiting team win game one of the championship, they will be home team for if necessary second game.
  • For tournament games, no new inning will start after 1:40. For the championship and if-necessary championship games, there shall be no time limits. All games shall be considered final if it has become an official game under Little League Rule 4.10(c); provided that no game shall end in a tie. Tie games shall be continued until a winner is determined in accordance with the Rules.
  • The same “mandatory play rules” exist as in the regular season ground rules.
  • Player pool – In the event a team has fewer than 9 players for post-season play, the team may request a pool player in accordance with regular season ground rules.  If team advances and still needs a player to field 9, pool will be limited to players whose teams have been eliminated from tournament.

Fall Ball Provisions

  • No new innings will start after 1 hour and 30 minutes from the start of the game during regular season play.
  • 3 run limit per inning during regular season play, unless last batter hits an over the fence home run, in which case all runs will be counted.
  • Pitchers must be removed after the earlier of 35 pitches (subject to continuation) or two innings pitched.
  • By the end of the 4th inning, each player shall have played at least one (1) inning of infield. The Executive Committee of the League will consider written requests from parents that their child not be required to play an infield position each game.
  • Catchers for the next half inning may be replaced for courtesy runner if two runs have already been scored in an inning.
  • Standings are not kept for Fall ball but there may be an end of season tournament.