2017 New Trier Feeder House League Rules

Background


Because the vast majority of players in the New Trier Feeder Pony A House League (the “Feeder House League”) also will go on to play in the Lake Shore Feeder Baseball League (the “LSFBL”) during the summer, the intent of these rules is to closely match the rules that will be played under in the LSFBL.  Indeed, it would be fair to say that in almost cases these rules are essentially a slightly relaxed version of the LSFBL rules, minus many of the forfeit/suspension/ejection rules we deem too harsh for a house league and with certain changes regarding schedules and in recognition of the fact that the Feeder House League includes both 13U and 14U players.  Therefore, in the event these rules are silent on any issue, as is true in the LSFBL the Official Rules of the IHSA, as supplemented by the Supplemental Rules of the LSFBL, willgovern play in the Feeder House League.

Rosters

            1.         Roster Size.  As of the start of the season, teams should have a minimum of 11 and a maximum of 15 players.  Rosters posted on the New Trier Feeder Baseball website as of Opening Day shall be fixed, and, except as set forth in Paragraph 2 below, can only be modified or supplemented with the consent of the Feeder House League.

            2.         Roster Substitutions.  In the event that a manager believes he or she will not have nine rostered players available from a game, he or she may call up players from either that community’s B teams or its 12A travel team.  Such players may not pitch or catch, and must bat at the bottom of the batting order.

            3.        Use Of Ineligible Players.  Use of an ineligible player shall result in forfeit of the game in which the player was used.  No exceptions. 

            4.         Minimum Player Rule.  Teams must have at least 8 players at all times (for avoidance of doubt—it does not have to be the same 8 players).  If any team does not have 8 players at any time, it must forfeit the game.  However, in such event, the other team should provide additional players to the forfeiting team, and the teams should play the game as an exhibition game, with umpires (who will be required to stay under such circumstances).  No exceptions to these rules.
 
Scheduling And Related Issues 

            1.         Scheduling.  Once posted on the New Trier Feeder Baseball web site, the initial schedule will be final.  Thereafter, managers may agree to change regular season game times and field locations only, but all such changes must occur at least 10 days prior to the game’s scheduled date.  All such changes should be communicated to Bob Henner of the New Trier Feeder Board.  For avoidance of doubt, team managers must mutually agree on all schedule changes; if they do not, absent weather-related issues the game must be played as, when and where scheduled.


            2.         Fields/Umpires/Equipment.  NTF will provide all fields and umpires.  It is the home team’s responsibility to set up the field and provide 2 game balls. 

            3.         Weather-Related Issues.  Given that the Feeder House League is playing a significant number of games in a short period of time, every attempt should be made to play all games as and when scheduled.  That said, at no point may a regular season game be started if, among other things: (a) the temperature is less than 42 degrees; or (b) the weather makes playing conditions unsafe by virtue of (i) the field being too wet to play, (ii) there being lightning or thunder in the area, or (iii) it being too dark to play.   Decisions shall be made as follows:

                        --Up to 2 Hours Prior to Game Time – The Feeder House League shall make global decisions on whether scheduled games should be played.
                        --In the 2 Hours Preceding Game Time – Team managers shall make the decision regarding whether individual scheduled games should be played.  In the unlikely event the team managers cannot agree on a decision, the game will be played as scheduled.
                        --Once a Game Begins – All decisions as to whether a game should continue after it begins shall be made by the umpires.


            Further, at no point may a game be started or continued if there is lightning or thunder has been detected in the area of the field within the prior 30 minutes.

            4         Makeup Games.  Because New Trier Feeder travel players will be playing baseball 5 days a week, there is a significant chance that regular season games that are not played or completed for weather-related reasons cannot be made up.  That said, Feeder House League will retain flexibility on this point, and the New Trier Feeder Baseball Board will make all decisions on rescheduling based on how the season plays out.  It is expected that, if makeup games do occur, they will occur on regular game days (Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays only), and priority will be given to completing games that were started but suspended.


            5.         Score Reporting.  The home team shall report all scores to Bob Henner of the New Trier Feeder Board within 72 hours of the game’s completion.  Unlike in the LSFBL, there will not be any penalties for failure to do so, but we ask that all managers please do their best comply so that the players (many of whom do look regularly) have access to the correct standings on a timely basis.


Equipment

            1.         Bat Rules.  All bats with a maximum barrel of 2 5/8” diameter, a maximum length of 34”, and a stamped BPF of 1.15 will be allowed, except that: (a) for 14U players, bats must have a maximum differential of minus 5; and (b) for 13U players, bats must have a maximum differential of minus 8.  For avoidance of doubt, all BBCOR bats with the requisite differential meet the foregoing standards.

            In the event an illegal bat is mistakenly used and such mistake is discovered before any pitches are thrown to the next batter, at the option of the defense, the result of the play shall apply or the player that used the illegal bat shall be declared out and all baserunners shall be returned to the bases they occupied prior to such at bat.  Generally speaking, the honor code will apply, and no forfeits, suspensions, or ejections will be required as a result of the use of an illegal bat.  However, if the use of an illegal bat becomes a repeat problem involving the same manager or same team, Feeder House League reserves the right to take action with respect thereto.

            2.        Cleats.  Metal cleats are permitted on grass fields only.  On turf fields, plastic cleats must be used.

            3.         Protective Equipment.  Helmets are required for all batters, baserunners, and on-deck batters, but facemasks are not required.  Cups are required for all male players.  Catchers must use a complete set of catchers’ equipment at all times (including a catchers’ mitt, shin guards, cup, chest protectors, and masks)--throat protectors are suggested but not required.

            4.         Equipment Checks.  The LSFBL rule on Equipment Checks shall apply, except that no forfeits, ejections, or suspensions shall occur or be imposed.


Playing Rules

            1.         Length of Games/Suspended Games.  Regulation games shall be 7 innings (and, in the event of ties, extra innings shall be played until a winner is determined).  No new inning may start after 2 hours, 15 minutes.  If a game is called for any reason after four innings (3 ½ innings if the home team is ahead), it shall be considered a complete game.  The IHSA rule on stalling shall apply.  In the event a suspended game is made up: (a) a team can play with different players, and should insert the new players at the bottom of the batting order; and (b) a pitcher may pitch to the extent of his or her eligibility on that day (as opposed to his or her eligibility on the day on which the game was started).

            2.         Minimum Play.  Each player that is present at the start of the game must play at least 9 outs in the field in that game.  With the exception of the pitcher, teams are otherwise allowed free substitution on defense.  Each player that is present at the start of the game is part of the lineup, and must bat.  Late arriving players must also bat and be entered at the end of the batting order, and players who leave during the game should be skipped in the batting order.  Again, this is house league, so we encourage managers not to play “gotcha” and instead cooperate in this regard.  Thus, failure to comply with these minimum play rules in a material way shall result in a forfeiture of the game, but only if the error is pointed out to the offending manager in time to be, and is not, rectified prior to the conclusion of the game.


            3.        Pinch Runners.  A team may pinch run for the pitcher or catcher that is scheduled to start the next inning at any time with two outs, but only with the player who made the last batted out.  Again, this is house league so managers should use their good faith in announcing and determining who the pitcher and catcher that are scheduled to start the next inning are.

            4.         Intentional Walks.  Intentional walks are permitted, and shall be automatic (i.e.  shall not require four balls to be thrown).

            5.         Mercy Rule.  If a team is leading by at least 15 runs after 4 innings (or after 3 ½ innings if the home team is leading), the leading team shall be declared the winner.  In such circumstances, the teams shall play the remainder of the game for exhibition purposes only.

            6.         Baserunning Rules.  Bases shall be 80 feet.  Players may not fake tag a baserunner; the runner shall be declared safe in such instance.  An out at first base is the base and the safety base, if present.  First baseman holding on a runner may not straddle the base—each team gets one warning, after which the baserunner (and any runners forced thereby) shall advance one base.  Headfirst slides are allowed at every base but home plate (except that if a baserunner misses home plate the first time, he may slide headfirst into it the second time)—an illegal head first slide will result in the baserunner being called out.  Finally, runners shall slide into all bases or otherwise make reasonable efforts to avoid contacts with the fielder (and shall in no event “bowl over” a fielder), with failure to do so result in the baserunner being called out.  Similarly, fielders may not obstruct the access of a baserunner to a base in a manner that, in the umpire’s judgment, forces the runner to change or alter direction to access that base—in the event of such obstruction, the runner is awarded that base.


            7.         Bunting/Fake Bunting.  Bunting, including any bunt which constitutes a suicide squeeze, is permitted.  Fake bunting and swinging away is not permitted—any occurrence shall result in the batter being declared out and all runners being returned to their original bases.

            8.         Dugout Rules.  Other than the head coach, base coaches, and players playing the field defensively, all coaches and players must remain in the dugout, except to talk to the umpire or to attend to an injured player.  Managers/coaches may, in the aggregate, make two mound visits per pitcher per inning.  Upon the second mound visit to the same pitcher in the same inning, the pitcher must be removed.  For avoidance of doubt, a mound visit shall be deemed to have occurred if a manager/coach crosses the base line and enters onto the field for any reason other than to talk to an umpire or to attend to an injured pitcher or other player.

            9.         Pitching Rules.  The proposed LSFBL pitch count rules (which are based on Official Little League rules) shall apply during the regular season and in the playoffs.  Those rules eschew weekly and daily innings limits for prescribed rest based on pitch count.  Pitchers are not permitted to throw more than 45 pitches in any game in April.  Thereafter, pitchers are not permitted to throw more than 95 pitches in any game (provided that if a pitcher reaches the limit while facing a batter, he or she may continue to pitch but only until the batter is retired or reaches base or the inning otherwise ends).  As for rest: (a) if a pitcher has thrown 66 or more pitches in a game, the pitcher must rest 4 calendar days before pitching again; (b) if a pitcher has thrown 51-65 pitches, the pitcher must rest 3 calendar days before pitching again; (c) if a pitcher has thrown 36-50 pitches, the pitcher must rest 2 calendar days before pitching again; and (d) if a pitcher has thrown 21-35 pitches, the pitcher must rest 1 calendar day before pitching again.  There is no calendar rest requirement if a pitcher throws 20 pitches or less in a game.


            For avoidance of doubt, no pitcher may pitch in more than one game (suspended or otherwise) in a calendar day.  For all purposes, a calendar day is a full calendar day, not 24 hours.  Thus, for example, a pitcher who throws 30 pitches during a 5:00 P.M. game may not pitch in a game the next day, even if starts after 5:00 P.M.

            Finally, a pitcher who throws 41 or more pitches in a game may not thereafter catch for the remainder of the game, and any player who has caught at least 1 pitch in 4 or more innings may not pitch for the remainder of the day.


            10.       Pitching Distance.  All games should be played from the 13U (54 foot) rubber.

            11.       Balks.  One balk warning per pitcher, per game.
            12.       Protests.  In the hopefully exceedingly unlikely event of a protest for violation of these rules, such protest must be announced at the time of play and before the next play occurs.  All protests shall be communicated to NTF within 24 hours of the end of the game.  All protests shall be decided by vote of the NTF Board. 

Playoffs


After the regular season concludes, teams will be seeded, based on winning percentage (with ties counting as ½ a win), into a single elimination playoff tournament.  All ties in winning percentage will be broken based on: (a) head to head results among the tied teams; (b) average runs allowed in games among the tied teams; (c) average runs allowed in all games; and (d) a coin flip.  (If more than 2 teams are tied, the tiebreakers will be applied until one time is placed ahead of the others, and then the remaining teams will o back to the first tiebreaker among each other, and so on.  There will be no reseeding in any round.


Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained herein, all playoff games shall be played as, when, and where scheduled by NTF, and NTF will make all weather-related decisions related thereto.  All playing rules set forth above, including the pitching rules, shall apply in the playoffs.


Sportsmanship

Finally, we ask that, in this community-based house league, managers use common sense and serve as examples of good sportsmanship and exhibit proper conduct at all times, in particular by refraining from abusive language or displaying excessive temper.  Managers should also endeavor to make sure their players (and, to the extent feasible, spectators) cheer for one’s own team (and not against the opposing team), and otherwise exhibit similar sportsmanship and appropriate conduct.  Because this is house league, the umpires will be instructed to give managers, players, and spectators wide berths before ejecting anyone for failing to comply with the above sportsmanship policy, but ultimately that decision will be up to the umpires in their discretion.