Texas League rules

Texas 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. See “Pitching Machine Setup and Tips” below for more information.
  • Games at Kindle Field: Home and visiting teams split the batting cages during pregame. 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.
  • Games at Fox Field: Home team uses field for warm-ups for 65 minutes before game to 35 minutes before game and visiting team uses cage during that time. From 35 minutes before game to 5 minutes before game, home team uses cage and visiting team uses field.
  • 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 four coaches allowed in dugout area: one manager and three assistant coaches. Coaches should be behind the dugout fence or in the coach’s box. No food or beverage will be allowed in the dugout except for water or sports drinks (except in cases of medical necessity).
  • 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 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 and restrooms, and placing tarps over home plate and pitching mound areas. Pitching machines from the field should be placed securely onto the hooks in the sheds, not thrown on the ground.


  • All batters and base runners must wear protective helmets with full face masks.
  • Pitchers must wear a protective helmet with full facemask. All male pitchers must also wear a cup.
  • 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. Dugout coaches should ensure that catchers are replaced with courtesy runners when appropriate as noted below under “Local Ground Rules” and should assist players with putting on catcher gear to save time.
  • 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).
  • Bats of all-wood construction are not allowed.

Local Ground Rules

Texas League games are governed by the Official Regulations and Playing Rules of Little League Baseball (the “Little League Rulebook”) Minors 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 and Run Limits

  • No new innings will start after 1 hour and 20 minutes from the start of the game. The game will end at the earlier of 1 hour and 40 minutes from the start of the game or 9:30 p.m. curfew. If a game is not completed by 9:30 p.m. and both managers agree, the unfinished game would be allowed to end in a tie, unless the home team is ahead at that time, in which case the home team wins. If both managers do not agree to a tie, the remainder and finish of the game will be scheduled with the BLL Scheduler.
  • A game may not go more than 6 innings. If tied at the end of the 6th inning, or the last completed inning according to the 1 hour and 20 minute time limit, the game ends in a tie.
  • The game clock is kept by the umpire and may be adjusted as needed for play stoppage or other


  • Runs will be limited to five (5) per half-inning for all innings in regular season play. If the home team is mathematically eliminated during their last at bat, the game will conclude after 1 hour and 20 minutes has expired.
  • The mercy rule defined in Rule 4.10(e) of the Little League Rulebook does not apply for the regular season.

Pitches to a Batter

  • Batters will receive four (4) hittable pitches from a pitching machine set at 38 mph.
  • Wild pitches, unless offered at or hit by the batter, will be called a "no pitch" and will not count in the batter’s pitch count; provided, however, in recognition of the instruction which batters may receive that they must swing at the last pitch, the umpire may call a "no pitch" on the last pitch for a batter even though the batter swung at the pitch if the pitch otherwise would have been called a "no pitch."
  • A “no pitch” is an immediate dead ball; therefore no runner may advance on a “no pitch” call by the umpire.
  • The batter will be called out on the earlier of the third strike (swinging) or the fourth hittable pitch (if not fouled off or hit in play).

Pitching Machine and Pitcher-Coach

  • Only a coach or manager of the offensive team may feed the machine. The pitcher-coach shall not intentionally manipulate the pitching machine to cause wild pitches, including situations in which base runners are in position to steal bases. Any violation of this rule will be cause for ejection from the game.
  • The pitcher-coach may request “time” from the umpire to adjust the pitching machine at any time during an at-bat (pitch count remains) or between batters.  This request should be made sparingly and may be rejected by the umpire. The pitcher-coach should attempt several pitches before the first batter of each half-inning to ensure accuracy. See below pitching machine tips in the "Tips for Texas League Managers."
  • The pitcher-coach shall not instruct base runners. The first instance of a pitcher-coach instructing base runners in any capacity will result in a warning from the umpire.  The second instance will result in the base runner being sent back to the previous base if a runner advanced.  The third instance will result in the removal of the pitcher-coach from the machine. For batters, quick instructions from the pitcher-coach such as "get closer to plate" or "back up toward catcher" are fine as long as there is not a delay in the game.
  • The pitcher-coach must make every effort to avoid interfering with the ball in play and attempted plays by the defense.  Interference may be called at the umpire's discretion if the pitcher-coach hinders the defense, and the batter or runners, as appropriate, may be called out for pitcher-coach interference at the umpire’s discretion.

Ball Strikes Pitching Machine or Pitcher-Coach

  • If a battedball strikes the pitching machine or the electrical cord prior to striking or being touched by any person on the field (including the pitcher-coach), the ball is dead; batter-runner advances to first base and runners advance only if they are forced.
  • If a battedball is caught by the pitcher-coach, the batter is out and the ball is dead.
  • If a thrownball strikes the pitcher-coach or the pitching machine or the electrical cord (other than in a situation where the umpire has determined the pitching coach has interfered with the throw), the ball is alive and in play.
  • If a thrownball is caught by the pitcher-coach or lodged in the pitcher-coach’s clothing, the ball is dead.

Runners – Courtesy Runners, Stealing Bases

  • If the catcher for the next half inning is on base and there are two (2) outs or the hitting team may only score one more run in the inning per the applicable run limit, the catcher must be replaced with a courtesy runner (the player that made the last out).
  • On any pitch after the first pitch, players are allowed to steal 2nd and 3rd bases only. Runners are not to leave a base on a steal until the ball reaches the batter. Players CANNOT steal home or advance past any base stolen on any overthrow on a steal or any continuation of a play after a steal.
  • Any runner who attempts a steal before they are entitled to steal (i.e., on the first pitch) or on a continuation of a play (i.e., attempting to steal more than one base), is at risk of being put out. Runners not put out on an improper attempted steal or continuation of play who safely achieve and hold the next base will be returned to the base occupied at the start of such play.
  • On an overthrow, runners may advance only one base at their own risk. "Overthrow" is defined as a ball thrown past its intended target. Runners may only advance for the first overthrow after a batted ball.  For example, a batter who hits a ground ball to shortstop may advance to second base at his or her own risk if the shortstop makes an overthrow on the play.  The batter may not advance to third base if the first baseman subsequently makes an overthrow in attempting to throw the batter out at second base and remains at risk of being put out per the preceding bullet.

Continuation/Termination of a Play

  • After a ball has been put into play from the machine, the ball shall be live until the point at which the umpire calls "time" or declares "dead ball."
  • The umpire will stop play when, in his or her judgment, (1) any defensive infield player (including catcher) has possession and control of the ball on the infield and (2) the lead runner has stopped. Runners advanced past the half-way marks will advance, unless that base is occupied in which case they will be returned to the last obtained base.
  • Once play is stopped, the ball shall be returned to the pitcher-coach.

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 two (2) defensive innings until all players on the game roster have sat one (1) defensive inning.
  • By the end of the 4th inning, each player shall have played at least one (1) inning of infield and one (1) inning of outfield, with catcher counting as an outfield position for purpose of this player rotation rule. The Executive Committee of the League will only consider written requests from parents that their child not be required to play an infield position each game.
  • In the event one team starts the game with more players than the other team, the team with fewer players must rotate all players into an outfield position (including catcher) or bench at least two (2) times in a six (6) inning game. This rule applies if the same game is postponed to a future date due to rain or other issues.
  • Opposing managers must object to rotation infractions at the time they occur so that these mandatory play rules can be complied with before the game continues. Rotation violations will not be the basis for formal protest or change of any game result; however, failure to abide by mandatory play rules may result in manager discipline.

Player Pool

  • In the event a team has 9 or fewer 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 10 players because of player pool limitations, the team with fewer than 10 players will be required to take an automatic out in the 10th batting spot. If a team has fewer than 9 players because of player pool limitations, the team with fewer players will be required to take automatic outs in the 9th and 10th batting spots. In each case, if both teams have the same number of players, no automatic out(s) will be required, and if one team has 8 players and the other has 9 players, the team with 8 players will be required to take one automatic out in the 9th batting spot and the team with 9 players will not be required to take an automatic out.
  • When in the field, a 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.


  • A maximum of 10 players shall be permitted in the field on defense. Defensive players may be placed anywhere within the field of play, except as follows: one player shall be placed at the catcher's position, one player shall be placed at the pitcher's position, not more than four additional players may be placed at infield positions, and the remainder of the defensive players shall be stationed anywhere in the outfield.
  • Pitchers must have at least one foot inside the pitching circle and behind the front legs of the pitching machine until the pitch is released.
  • Infielders may not position themselves or advance toward home plate beyond the front legs of the machine until the pitch is released.
  • Outfielders must begin and remain in the outfield at least 30 feet back from the infield during play.  An outfielder may not make an unassisted out on the infield.  If so, an immediate dead ball will be ruled, runner is safe.

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 Texas 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 tournament games, no new inning will start after 1:30, with no drop dead time limit. For the championship game, there shall be no time limits and the game will go 6 innings. All games shall be completed before 10:00 p.m. and 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.
  • For tournament games, runs will be limited to five (5) per half-inning for the first three (3) innings, with no limit thereafter.
  • The mercy rule defined in Rule 4.10(e) of the Little League Rulebook is in effect for the tournament.
  • The “player rotation rule” shall be amended as follows: Each player must play at least one full inning in the infield (does not include catcher) prior to the completion of the fourth (4th) inning. There are no outfield rotation requirements. In the event one team starts the game with more players than the other team, the team with fewer players must rotate all players into an outfield position (including catcher) or bench at least once in a six (6) inning game.
  • Player pool – In the event a team has fewer than 10 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 10 players, pool will be limited to players whose teams have been eliminated from tournament.

Fall Ball Provisions

  • 3 run limit per inning during regular season play.
  • No new innings will start after 1 hour from start of game. Game will end after 1 hr and 10 minutes from start of game.
  • Catchers for the next half inning must 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.

Pitching Machine Setup and Tips

  • Hold the machine upside down on the ground and slide in the poles. Tighten the Tbar by turning it clockwise until the poles do not move. If too loose the machine will be unstable and may collapse so be sure it is tight.
  • Turn the machine over and put the wheel over the pitcher’s rubber. Line up the machine wheel with home plate by looking through the ball chute. Plug the machine in and turn it on. If the machine doesn't turn on at Fox - hit the reset button on the outlet in the 3rd base dugout.
  • Wait for the machine to beep after setting the speed before delivering a pitch. Have a coach behind home plate helping get the machine lineup by pitching 10-20 balls until there are consistent strikes.
  • Adjust the height of the pitches by loosening the smaller Tbar on the left of the machine and pulling up or down on the machine very gently. Too much of an adjustment completely throws off the height.  Be sure the smaller Tbar on the left is completely tight or the machine will move. Adjustments should be made between innings and not during at bats whenever possible to speed up the game. If during an at bat the machine is consistently high or low, ask for time out to make an adjustment.
  • Once the machine is tuned for the game, you should still do some practice balls before every inning. The pitching coaches for each team are encouraged to coordinate on whether they are going to release with a two-seam positioning or a four-seam positioning for consistency.
  • Do not adjust the speed. Coaches who adjust the speed will be subject to ejection.
  • New baseballs with new seams will often come in higher. In later innings the balls may start to pitch lower as a result and you may need to adjust the machine.
  • If the field is wet, have a towel to dry off the balls and the wheel. Wet machines will not work and the balls will slip on the wheel when putting them in the chute.