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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.



1.    TEAM SIZE.  Ten (10) players will play in the field at a time.  There will be 4 outfielders, 5 infielders (including a pitcher’s helper) and 1 catcher.  No player shall 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.  If a team can only field nine (9) players, then both teams will play 9 in the field.

2.    BATTING.  The batting order is continuous and includes all players who are at the game.  Players bat even if they did not play in the field that inning (provided there are not already 3 outs). The batting order should not be changed once it is set at the start of play.  

3.    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 is not to touch the batted ball.  If it is touched by the coach, “Interference” is called and the play is repeated.   In addition, if the batted ball is hit into any on field equipment (pitching machine etc.) “Interference” should be called and the play is repeated.  

4.   PITCH COUNT.  Any one player may not receive more than six pitches during a single at bat.  In an instance where a player fouls the sixth pitch they may be pitched a 7th pitch.  A player is retired after three swinging strikes (four strikes before April 30) or when six pitches are pitched (except for the last fouled ball exception previously noted).  A players retired by swinging does not count as an out.

5.    CATCHING.  A player is out at home plate if the ball arrives and the catcher could have given ordinary effort to catch the the ball before the runner crosses home plate.  In these instances the catcher is deemed to have given ordinary effort if the catcher could take one step and reach to catch the ball whether the player actually catches the ball or not.  All plays at home plate are force outs.  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. 

As a safety issue, the catcher needs to be alert to the fact that the ball and the player are frequently in the same vicinity.  If the player is in danger of being hit, the catcher must 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.   Catcher’s must wear a mask, chest protector, shin guards, and a cup (both male and female) at all times.  Parents or coaches are not allowed to catch. 

The goal with all of these catcher rules is to avoid runner-catcher collisions. 

6.    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.  If teams have different numbers of players, the managers must agree before the game starts on the number of players to bat in an inning.  

7.    MERCY RULE.  When 5 runners cross home plate, the inning is over (regardless of outs).  No exceptions.

8.    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).

9.    BASE 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.  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 loose sight of the end goal of fun and sportsmanship. 

10.    BASE RUNNING.  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.  A runner can not leave the base until the batter has hit the ball.  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.

10.    OTHER.  Walks, bunting, stealing, leading off a base, and the infield fly rule are not allowed. 

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, Tobin Van Pelt at [email protected]

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