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Mill Valley Little League

Farm

The goal of Farm League is to encourage fundamentals, sportsmanship, safety and fun.  We are trying to teach our players much more than how to win. Therefore, we intentionally do not keep score or keep any written standings of win-loss records.  Values are taught by example as well as words.  You are all very important role models at the field and at home.  In addition, please be considerate of all the players present on both teams.  These guidelines are set forth for managers, coaches, players, and parents.


FARM LEAGUE RULES -- 2022 SEASON

 

OVERVIEW - This level of play is for second graders, generally league age 8.  It is an instructional league where coaches pitch using a pitching machine.  As in the Star League, teams do not keep score and there is no standing.  However, at this level, outs begin to count!  Coaches should continue to work on and improve the player’s throwing, catching, and hitting, but also begin to emphasize making plays and a general knowledge of the rules (strikes/balls, strike zone, general base running rules).

GAME LENGTH - Games are six (6) innings long and three (3) outs per team per inning.  No new innings can be started after 90 minutes of play.  If three outs are not reached before the first batter of the inning returns to bat, the inning ends.

DUGOUTS - Home teams as designated by the schedule shall occupy the 1st base dugout, visitors the 3rd base dugout.

SCOREKEEPING - No score is kept in Farm.  Managers should discourage players and parents from keeping score as well.

UMPIRES - The coach who is pitching makes the calls at 2nd base and home.  Close calls on 1st and 3rd bases should be made by the batting team’s base coaches.  Close plays should benefit the hitter, with words of encouragement given to the fielders for an outstanding play.  All calls are final unless there is a rule infraction.  If discussion of a contested rule infraction occurs, then the two head coaches will discuss and finalize a ruling on the call.  All decisions should be made in a calm and timely manner.  Please do not lose sight of the end goal of fun and sportsmanship.

COACHES IN THE FIELD - Two (2) defensive (fielding team) coaches are allowed on the field with their players (typically 10-20 feet behind the 2nd baseman and shortstop).

FIELDING POSITIONS – At the start of a game, (10) players should play in the field at a time (1 pitcher’s helper, 1 catcher, 4 infielders and 4 outfielders).  As the game progresses, managers can insert additional outfielders (but not infielders) after discussion and agreement from the opposing manager.  No player should sit out more than 2 innings per game.  Players should rotate positions each inning (except for the catcher position) and minimally, no player should play the same position more than 2 consecutive innings per game.  The goal is that players be taught to play all positions.  

PLAYS AT HOME - A baserunner is out at home plate if the ball arrives at home and the catcher fields it (or should have) before the player crosses the plate.  The catcher needs to have been able to reasonably field the throw.  All plays at home plate are force outs.

As a safety issue, the catcher needs to be alert to the fact that the ball and the baserunner may frequently in the same vicinity.  If the baserunner is in danger of being hit, the catcher should try to catch/deflect the ball to avoid contact.  Likewise, the runners need to be taught that they must slide (feet first) at home plate whenever the play is close.  The goal with all these catcher rules is to avoid runner-catcher collisions. 

All catchers must wear a mask, chest protector, and shin guards.  Male catchers must also wear a protective cup.  Parents or coaches are not allowed to catch.

PITCHING - A coach of the batting team pitches to his/her own team using the MVLL approved pitching machine. Prior to the beginning of the game, the pitching machine will be set at a speed that meets the approval of both coaches.  The speed of the machine will not be altered during the game unless, both coaches agree.  The coach who is pitching should not intentionally touch the batted ball.  If a batted ball hits the pitching machine or pitching coach, the ball is still in play and the fielding team should play the ball.

BATTING / PITCH COUNT -

Only one player is allowed to have a bat in their hands and that is the batter.  No on-deck swings are permitted.  All hitters and runners must wear a helmet.  NO EXCEPTIONS.

The batting order is continuous and includes all players who are at the game.  The batting order should not be changed once it is set at the start of the game.  Players bat even if they did not play in the field that inning.  

Each batter should not receive more than six hittable pitches during a single at bat.  In an instance where a batter fouls the last pitch, the batter should get additional pitches.  

Through April 30, the following rules apply for the first two innings:

·       Each team will bat through their entire line up one time during the first two innings.

·       Each batter is given four strikes.  After four strikes, the batter will hit off a tee.

·       The goals are to enable at least 2 at-bats per game and more opportunity for additional fielding plays when players hit off the tee.

Through April 30, the following rules apply for the third inning and beyond:

·       The hitting team’s at-bat ends once 3 fielding outs are made or once the hitting team scores 5 runs or once the hitting team has batted through its line-up.

·       Each batter is given four swinging strikes (or six hittable pitches).  After four strikes (or six hittable pitches), the batter is retired but the strike out does not count as an out.

Starting May 1, the following rules apply for the entire game:

·       The hitting team’s at-bat ends once 3 fielding outs are made or once the hitting team scores 5 runs or once the hitting team has batted through its line-up.

·       Each batter is given three swinging strikes (or six hittable pitches).  After three strikes (or six hittable pitches), the batter is retired but the strike out does not count as an out.

BATS – USABat Standard bats must be used in the Little League Major Baseball Division and below.

BASE RUNNING - 

·       A base runner cannot leave the base until the batter has hit the ball.  

·       There is no stealing in Farm League.  

·       A runner cannot move more than three (3) feet out of the baselines to avoid being tagged.  If this occurs, the runner is called out.  

·       Sliding is permitted feet first only.  

·       On any play at a base, the runner(s) advance at their own risk, but not more than one base on an overthrow even when the subsequent throw is also an overthrow.  One base is awarded if the ball goes into a dead ball area (like a dugout). 

·       A base runner is “out” if the runner is hit by a batted ball or grossly interferes with a player attempting to make a defensive play.   

·       There will be a half-way point between 3rd base and home plate designated and displayed before the game begins.  Once a player crosses that line, the player has committed to go home.  If the player does not go past the half-way point, the player may return to 3rd Base. 

OTHER - Walks, bunting, stealing, leading off a base, and the infield fly rule are not allowed in Farm League.

CLEAN UP - The home team is responsible for dragging the field after the game.  Each team is responsible for cleaning up litter in the dugout before vacating the field. Managers should have a team parent encourage families to clean up the stands area before leaving.

SPORTSMANSHIP - Good sportsmanship should be emphasized among players, coaches, and parents. 

Please remember that the Farm League is an instructional league.  We are trying to teach the players much more than how to win. We intentionally do not keep score or keep any written standings of win-loss records.

For questions, please contact the MVLL Farm Commissioner, Bill Bindeman at [email protected]



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