Photo credit: Sharon Gaietto, M. Zimmerman, Jayne Hansen, Nancy Cantrell, Jennifer Stillerman

BFA Nationals 2021 Rules

Unless otherwise stated in this handbook, the rules shall be those of Major League Baseball.


Age Cut-Off

April 30, 2021 is the age cut-off date. That is, whatever age your daughter is by April 30 will determine what her age is for the tournament.


Bat Restrictions

All BFA Nationals participants must adhere to USA Baseball bat standards (USABat).

12u and 10u divisions: Must use bats that bear the USA Baseball mark. Wood bats must be a single piece and can be used with or without the USA Baseball Certification Mark.

14U, 16U, and 19U divisions: Only bats with the USABat seal, BBCOR certified, or solid wood bats are allowed.

More details on USABat standards: usabaseball.com/bats

 

Pitching Restrictions

Coaches are strongly advised to follow USA Baseball’s Pitch Smart guidelines. See chart on page 9.


Pitching Distances

10u: 60-foot base paths, 46-foot pitching distance

12u: Division A: 70-foot base paths, 50-foot pitching distance

12U Division B: 60-foot base paths, 46-foot pitching distance

14u: Division A: 90-foot base paths, 60’6’’ feet pitching distance

14U Division B: 80-foot base paths, 54-foot pitching distance

16u: 90-foot base paths, 60’6’’ foot pitching distance

19u: 90-foot base paths, 60’6’’ foot pitching distance

 

Coach Visits to the Mound

The pitcher must be removed when the manager makes their second trip to the mound in the same inning (three in a game). Umpire discretion on trips for injury.

 

Player Contact/Sliding

All runners must attempt to avoid contact with a fielder on ALL plays.  Failure to do so will result in the player being called out and could result in an ejection from the game.  The umpire has final say as to whether the runner made sufficient effort to avoid a collision.  When in doubt, players should slide.

Headfirst slides into all bases/home are allowed ONLY in 14u-19u.

 

Substitutions/Extra Hitter

Teams can bat 9, 10(EH) or bat the entire lineup.  If teams bat the entire lineup, free substitutions are permitted.  The Extra Hitter (EH) can play anywhere on the field.

Players re-entering the game must go back in the same spot in the batting order that they left.  Subs cannot re-enter the game.

 

Scorekeeping

Ripken Baseball will serve as the Official Scorekeeper for each game.

 

Protests

No game will be played under protest.  The umpires on the field will decide all questions of rule interpretations, with final judgment made by Tournament Official or delegate.

 

Pre-game

No infield practice before the game is permitted. Teams must be ready to play 15 minutes after completion of previous game.  Games are subject to start early to make up time.

UNIFORMS & EQUIPMENT

Players Uniforms

Hats
Baseball For All hats will be provided for each coach and player, and are to be worn on the field and during off-field activities that require players to be in uniform.

 

Patches
BFA patches should be worn on the left sleeve of each jersey.

 

Shoes

Metal cleats are NOT ALLOWED at any time. All players, all ages must wear molded cleats or sneakers on the field, in the cages, or in other practice areas..

 

Catcher’s Helmet

Players 12 and under must wear a helmet that meets NOCSAE standard. Helmet/mask must cover both ears and include a throat protector.

Players 14 and older must meet MLB standards for catcher’s helmet and mask.

Players without required equipment will not be allowed to participate in the game.

Penalty: Failure by a player to wear proper equipment after being so ordered by the umpire, shall result in an ejection of the team’s coach.

Coach Uniform

Coaches may be in full uniform or in matching athletic gear (i.e. collared shirts with logo, team t-shirts, etc.). No jeans or open-toed shoes. Coaches must wear BFA hat provided when on the field.

Penalty: Coach may not be eligible to compete until in compliance. Whether a coach’s attire is appropriate is solely a judgement call by the Tournament Official and may not be appealed.

HOME TEAM, GAME TIME, SEEDING, PACE OF PLAY, AND MERCY RULES

 

Home Team

Home team will be pre-determined in the schedule in pool play, in bracket games the better seeded team will be given choice of home/visitor.

 

Complete Game

10u-12u: Six innings (5 ½ if home team is ahead)

14u-19u: Seven Innings (6 ½ if home team is ahead)

 

Time Limits

Pool Play
10u-12u: No new inning shall begin after 1 hour and 45 min.

14u-19u: No new inning shall begin after 2 hours.

Games can end in a tie.

 

Playoff Game
10u-12u: No new inning shall begin after 1 hour and 45 min.

14u-19u: No new inning shall begin after 2 hours.

If the score is tied at the end of regulation or reaches its time limit, one extra inning will be played using the international tie breaker.  See below.

 

International Tie-Breaker: Extra-Inning Rule

If the game remains tied after the completion of six (10u-12u) or seven innings (14u-19u), the following procedures will be implemented during extra innings:

  1. Each team will begin their extra inning (and any subsequent necessary extra innings) with a player on first and second, no outs.
  2. The lineup will continue as in any other inning. For example, if the 7th inning ends with the #8 hitter having the last plate appearance (PA), the 8th inning begins with the #9 hitter at bat and the runner at 2B is the #7 hitter, and 1B runner is the #8 hitter in the lineup.
  3. With the exception of beginning the inning with runners on 1B and 2B with no one out, all other Baseball For All rules and regulations will remain in effect during the extra innings required to determine a winner.
  4. The traditional system of the visiting team hitting in the top of the inning and the home team hitting in the bottom of the inning (if needed) will remain in effect until a winner is determined.

 

Medal Game
If the score is tied at the end of regulation or reaches its time limit, extra innings will be played using the international tie breaker.

 

Pace of Play

Batter’s Box Rule

Hitters must keep one foot in the box during their time at bat.

 

Pitches Between Innings

19u/16u/14u: 8 pitches for the 1st time pitching and 5 pitches for every consecutive warm-up.
10u/12u: 5 pitches for the 1st time pitching and 3 pitches for every consecutive warm-up.

 

Courtesy Runner: Catchers & Pitchers

When on the base paths, catchers, coming in to start the next half inning, must have a courtesy runner when there are 2 outs. Catchers may choose to have a courtesy runner with no outs or one out. Pitchers may have a courtesy runner with 2 outs. Courtesy runner is the last out.

 

Mercy Rules

Inning Mercy Rule: Pool Play & Playoffs

10u-14u: 5 runs per half inning, plus the runs that finish the play. Last inning no limit.

16u-19u: 8 runs per half inning, plus the runs that finish the play. Last inning no limit.

 

Inning Mercy Rule: Medal Games

10u-14u: No mercy rule

16u-19u: No mercy rule

 

All Divisions: All Games

10-run rule shall apply after 5 innings (4 ½ innings if the home team is winning).

15-run rule shall apply after 4 innings (3 ½ if the home team is ahead.

Mercy rules apply in all games (pool play, playoffs, and medal games).

 

Seeding

Playoff seeding will be based on the following in the order listed below:

Best Record

Head to Head

Least runs given up (runs allowed)

Coin Flip

RAIN/LIGHTNING POLICY

If rain and/or lightening occurs during a game, the game will be suspended at the discretion of the Umpire and/or Tournament Director and picked up from that point if the game has not reached official status.

If game has reached official status, see Official Status (Regulation Game) and note below:

  1. Official Status (Regulation Game)

For 10u-12u, four full innings have been played or the home team has scored an equal or greater number of runs in three, or three and a fraction, turns at bat than the visiting team has scored in four turns at bat.

For 14u-19u, five full innings have been played or the home team has scored an equal or greater number of runs in four, or four and a fraction, turns at bat than the visiting team has scored in five turns at bat.

If the game is suspended when the teams have not had an equal number of completed times at bat, the score shall be the same as it was at the end of the last completed inning; except that if the home team in its half of the incomplete inning, scores a run (or runs) which equals or exceeds the opponent’s score, the final score shall be as recorded when the game is called.

For all divisions, the umpire may suspend a game, but not declare the game complete, in order to hold discussions with BFA tournament officials.

  1. In the event of extended inclement weather, at its sole discretion the Tournament Official may deem it necessary to alter the tournament format by shortening either the time limit for games and/or reducing the number of innings that will constitute an official game, or any means necessary to complete the tournament within the published dates.
  2. No refund will be given on account of rain or other inclement weather.
  3. In the event that bracket play cannot continue due to inclement weather (as determined solely by the Tournament Official), final tournament standings will be determined by taking the remaining non-eliminated teams and choosing final standings based on the seeds prior to the beginning of bracket play.

CONDUCT & RESPONSIBILITIES

Coach Responsibilities

Managers are responsible for the conduct of their team and parents.

Minors who are coaching on the base paths MUST wear a helmet. (Helmets are optional for adult coaches.)

All coaches must agree to the Baseball For All Coach Pledge (see addendum), submit a background check, and complete USA Baseball’s online course, Abuse Awareness for Adults.

 

Participant and Spectator Conduct

Any player, coach, manager, or spectator who acts in an unsportsmanlike manner will be warned once by the umpire or a tournament official.  The second time, that person will be removed from the field.  If in the judgment of the umpire or tournament official, the offense is of a more serious nature, that person may be ejected from a game without being issued a warning and may be suspended from all further tournament play or participation, subject to the Tournament Official’s discretion. In the event of illegal activity, law enforcement will be called.

Any individual who was warned, ejected, or suspended by a tournament official may be subject to additional corrective actions by Baseball For All, and/or law enforcement.

 

Alcohol & Tobacco Policy

Alcohol is not allowed at tournament events. Violators will be asked to leave the park. A coach, player, participant, or spectator may not use tobacco or tobacco-like products or e-cigarettes within the confines of the field.


Music Policy

Only event personnel can play music during games at Baseball For All sites.


Coach Ejections

The first occurrence results in suspension for the rest of the game (removal from game site), as well as the next scheduled game.

The second occurrence results in suspension for the remainder of the tournament, as well as possible further sanctions subject to the review of Baseball For All.

If all coaches listed on the team’s tournament roster are ejected during a game, then the team may continue if the players decide to take charge of their team.

DIVISION SPECIFIC RULES

10u Division

  1. Players may step off the base when the ball crosses home plate.
  2. Stealing of any base is allowed only after the ball crosses the plate or on a passed ball. If a player leaves the base early, it will be a dead ball and the runner will be called out.
  3. Runner may not steal home plate.
  4. Dropped third strike is not in effect.
  5. Infield Fly Rule is not in effect.
  6. Runner may not advance to home on a passed ball or wild pitch.
  7. If 9 players are not available, teams may play with as few as 7 players.
  8. If teams run out of pitching, BFA staff can be consulted about using coach-pitch.
  9. Teams may choose to play with 4 outfielders.

 


12u A Division: 50/70

  1. Baserunners can leadoff and steal a base (including home) at any time the umpire has placed the ball in play.
  2. Dropped third strike is in effect.
  3. Infield Fly Rule is in effect.
  4. To intentionally walk a batter, a coach simply needs to inform the umpire and point to first base. No pitches are to be thrown.
  5. Under the discretion of the umpires, balk rules will be enforced, there will be ONE warning given to EACH pitcher. Umpire can send out catchers to give balk warnings.

 


12u B Division: 46/60

  1. Players may step off the base when the ball crosses home plate.
  2. Stealing is allowed only after the ball crosses the plate or on a passed ball. If a player leaves the base early, it will be a dead ball and the runner will be called out.
  3. Dropped third strike is not in effect.
  4. Infield Fly Rule is not in effect.
  5. Runner may not advance to home on a passed ball or wild pitch.

 


14u Division A&B

  1. Baserunners can leadoff and steal a base any time the umpire has placed the ball in play.
  2. Dropped third strike is in effect.
  3. Infield Fly Rule is in effect.
  4. To intentionally walk a batter, a coach simply needs to inform the umpire and point to first base. No pitches are to be thrown.
  5. Under the discretion of the umpires, balk rules will be enforced, there will be ONE warning given to EACH pitcher. Umpire can send out catchers to give balk warnings.

 


16u -19u Division

  1. To intentionally walk a batter, a coach simply needs to inform the umpire and point to first base. No pitches are to be thrown.
  2. Balk rules will be enforced.