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Northwest Little League (NWLL)

Major Player Pitch Local Rules
Approved by NWLL Board, April 2, 2023

NWLL will be governed by the official Little League Softball Rules unless noted and modified below. Please be familiar with the official Little League International rules. The rules below clarify common areas of confusion, emphasize safety rules or set a local rule that varies from a Little League rule. Rules related to safety, good sportsmanship and the proper teaching of fundamental softball skills should receive the highest priority.

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Team Composition:

  1. Each team must field a minimum of eight (8) players (including player pool players) for a legal lineup. (LLS Rules 1.01, 4.16 and 4.17)
  2. Players of League Age 10 through 12 may play Majors. Players of League Age 9 may play Majors if the player’s skill level is deemed appropriate for that division. (Regulation I(a))
  3. If a team knows it will be short players for a game the manager can make a request to the League Commissioner for fill-in players. The League Commissioner maintains a list of eligible pool players from which the fill-in players will be drawn. (Summary of Regulation V)
  4. A team low on players may “borrow” a player from the opposing team if coaches and player(s) agree, in which case the borrowed player is considered to have been re-rostered to the new team and will be rostered back to the original team at the conclusion of the game. (This rule is for the purpose of the umpire’s own regulations)


  1. 12-inch softballs are used
  2. A dual/safety base at first base is used whenever possible (LLS Rule 7.15)
  3. Batting helmets must have a face mask/cage securely attached
  4. Defensive face masks are required for pitchers
  5. Bats must be no longer than 34 inches long
  6. Traditional Batting donuts are not allowed to be used. (LLS Rule 1.10)
  7. Any non-adult personnel occupying a coach’s box must wear a helmet. (LL Rule 1.16)
  8. Shoes with molded cleats are allowed. (LLS Rule 1.11(h))
  9. While the wearing of jewelry is generally prohibited, hard items in the hair (e.g., beads) are permitted
  10. Religious necklaces and medical bracelets and may be worn if taped down so they are not dangling


  1. Home team will occupy the 1st base dugout and bench area, when practicable
  2. Each game shall consist of six (6) innings. (LL Rule 4.10a)
  3. Five (5) run limit per inning per team unless otherwise negotiated
  4. An official game shall consist of at least four (4) innings, (3-1⁄2 innings if the home team is ahead), unless the time limit rules shorten the game. (LL Rule 4.10c)
  5. A 10-run mercy rule is in effect. If after 4 innings (3-1/2 innings if the home team is ahead), one team has a lead of ten (10) runs or more, the manager of the team with the least runs shall concede the victory to the opponent. NOTE: Although the score of the game becomes official upon victory being conceded, in order to provide more opportunities for players (including at different positions), teams may continue playing even after victory is conceded. (LL Rule 4.10e)
  6. The Mandatory Play rule is in effect for majors, and requires each player to have at least one time at bat and play at least six (6) defensive outs in the field every game
  7. NOTE: The defensive outs need not be consecutive. Players need to play at least one inning in the infield. (LLS Regulation IV(i))

Time Limits

  1. Time Limits are a Local Rule and necessary due to time restrictions on field permits. The following are all Local Rule modifications of LLS Regulation VII
  2. Due to time restrictions on field permits, it is imperative that games start on time, with the coaches’ pre-game conference with the umpire taking place before the start time and the home team in position on the field with the pitcher warmed up with practice pitches completed and ready to make the first pitch at the scheduled start time
  3. If a game is not completed within the time limit, the determination of the winner follows the same rules as a game called for weather, except that:
    A. the game is a regulation game regardless of the number of innings played;
    B. a regular season game that is tied when stopped shall be recorded as a tied, completed game and will not be continued. (Modification of LLS Rule 4.11)
  4. No new full inning shall begin 1 hour and 45 minutes after the first pitch of the game, and the game shall not extend beyond 2 hours 00 minutes in total
  5. If a shorter time limit is necessary, no new inning will start 15 minutes before the official end time and will be clearly communicated at the home plate pre-game meeting. (Modification of LLS Regulation VII(h)
  6. If the “drop-dead” time limit of 2 hours has been reached the game will be called immediately. If an at bat is in process, the game will end upon completion of the current at bat. (Modification of LLS Regulation VII(h))
  7. For purposes of determining whether or not there is enough time to start a new inning, the actual start of a new inning shall be deemed the time at which the third out to end the prior inning occurs. In other words, the third out for the home team immediately triggers the next inning. (Modification of LLS Regulation VII(h))
  8. Teams shall not attempt to exploit the time limit rules or try to “run out the clock” by employing any delaying tactics, such as unneeded or excessive timeouts with the time limits approaching, even if such tactics are otherwise permitted


  1. A continuous batting order that includes all players on the team roster present for the game batting in order may be used, and is considered typical for regular season games. (LLS Rule 4.04 variation)
  2. There will not be any penalty for the “9th” position in the lineup if a team is playing with eight (8) players (including players assigned from the player pool). (LLS Rule 4.04 NOTE 3 variation)
  3. If a player is injured, becomes ill, or must leave the game site after the start of the game, the team will skip over the player without penalty when the time at bat comes up. If the player returns, the player is merely inserted into their original spot in the batting order and the game continues. Also, if a player arrives late to a game site, if the manager chooses to enter them in the lineup (LLS Rule 4.01 NOTE 2), the player would be added to the end of the current lineup. (Variant of LLS Rule 4.04) 
  4. On-deck batters are not permitted. (LLS Rule 1.08 NOTE 1)
  5. Runners cannot leave the base (e.g., to lead or steal) on a pitch until the ball has left the pitcher’s hand. (LL Rule 7.13)
  6. When the pitcher has the ball within the 8-foot pitcher’s circle, a runner must immediately either attempt to advance to the next base or return to the previous base, otherwise the runner is out. (LLS Rule 7.08(a)(5), NOTE 2). This rule will be in effect automatically whenever a circle is drawn on the field. If there is no circle on the field, the rule may be enforced at a coach’s request if the umpire agrees during the pre-game meeting.
  7. There is no “must slide” rule. (LLS Rule 7.08(a)(3))
  8. Infield fly is in effect. (Rule 6.05(d) and 2.00)
  9. Drop 3rd strike is in effect. (6.05(b)(2) and 6.09(b)


  1. Infielders must start play behind the pitcher
  2. Outfielders must start play in the grass  


  1. There are pitching limits at the majors. No more than 12 innings in a day with one day of rest. (LLS Regulation VI(b)
  2. Between innings, in order to maximize playing time and avoid time limits, pitchers should limit warm-up throws to two pitches (and in any event, pitcher is limited to one minute of warmups)
  3. A new pitcher entering the game may have up to eight pitches (but is still limited to one minute of warmups (LLS Rule 8.03)
  4. A coach may warm up a player until the catcher is ready (Updated rule. Previously coaches were not allowed to warm up pitchers)
  5. Pitching distance is 40 ft
  6. If a pitcher hits 3 batters above the waist in the same inning, that pitcher must be removed from the game and is not eligible to return to the pitcher position for the remainder of the game

Umpire Summary for Major Player Pitch

Game Format

  • 6 Innings
  • 5-run limit per inning
  • 10 run mercy rule after 4 innings
  • No new inning after 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Hard stop at 2 hours

Field Rules

  • Pitching rubber is 40ft from home. Bases are 60’ apart.
  • Infield Fly in effect
  • Dropped 3rd strike in effect
  • Runners may not take a lead and cannot leave the base until the pitcher has released the ball
  • Stealing permitted, including home.
  • One offensive timeout per inning.
  • If a pitcher hits three (3) batters above the waist in the same inning, that pitcher must be removed from the game and is not eligible to return to the pitcher position for the remainder of the game.
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