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Northwest Little League (NWLL)

Minor 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.

Jump to Umpire Summary Section


  1. NWLL: 2 hour limit—no new inning after 1 hour 45 minutes
  2. If a shorter time limit is necessary, no new inning may start 15 minutes prior to the official end time and will be clearly communicated at the home plate pre-game meeting


All players shall wear the appropriate Little League patches on their uniforms


  1. Each team must field a minimum of eight players for a legal lineup. (Modification of LL Rule 4.16 and 4.17)
  2. Only players on the official league roster provided to the manager by the league commissioner are permitted to play in a league game unless assigned by the player agent. (Summary of Regulation V)
  3. If a team is short players for a game, the manager can make a request to the Softball Commissioner for fill in players (Summary of Regulation V)


  1. 11” Little League Approved Softballs
  2. Face guards are mandatory for pitchers
  3. All other equipment must comply with Little League International Rules and Regulations. (Rule 1.11 Objectives of the Game)


  1. Home Team will occupy the 1st base dugout/bench area
  2. Each team must supply a scorekeeper with the Home Team keeping the official book
  3. Five-Run Rule is in effect. The 5th run scored by a team in their half inning ends the inning but the play is allowed to finish with only five runs counting
  4. Ten-Run Mercy Rule is in effect. If after 4 innings, three and a half innings if the Home Team is ahead, one team has a lead of 10 runs or more, the manager of the team with the least runs shall concede the victory to the opponent. If the Visiting Team has a lead of 10 runs or more, then Home Team must bat in its half inning


  1. A continuous batting order that includes all players on the team roster present for the game shall be used. (Variant of LL Rule 4.04)
  2. Slap hitting and bunting are permitted
  3. When a player is injured, ill, or must leave the game site after the start of the game, the team will skip over the player when that player’s time at bat comes up without penalty. If the player is able to return at a later point in the game, that player is inserted into their original spot in the batting order. If a player arrives late to the game site, the player would be added to the end of the lineup. (Variant of LL Rule 4.04)
  4. The on-deck position is not permitted in Little League Majors Division and below. (LL Rule 1.08 Note 1)
  5. Batters are OUT on a dropped 3rd strike. (LL Rule 6.05.b.2)
  6. Special pinch runners are NOT permitted
  7. Runners may not take a lead and cannot leave the base until the ball has crossed home plate. (LL Rule 7.13)
  8. The following restrictions on stealing apply:
  • There is NO traditional stealing at the Minors level
  • Runners may advance from 1st to 2nd and 2nd to 3rd ONLY on passed balls, defined as balls which get behind the catcher. If the catcher blocks a ball which remains in front or to the side of the catcher, this is NOT considered a passed ball
  • There is NO stealing of Home at the Minors level. Runners on 3rd may only advance home on a batted ball put in play or a defensive play made on the runner at 3rd base
  • Runners may NOT advance on an errant throw back to the pitcher. Overthrows to 1st base are limited to one base unless an attempt is made to get the runner out at 2nd base which subsequently results in a second overthrown


  1. Teams are allowed to use 10 players on defense by adding a fourth outfielder
  2. There is NO infield fly. (Modification LL Rule 2.00)
  3. No one player can play a single position for more than 3 consecutive innings. During the playoffs, this rule is suspended. The exceptions during the regular season are the Pitcher and Catcher
  4. Outfielders must play approximately 20 feet or more beyond the base path which typically means that players must be stationed on the outfield grass (Modification of LL Rule 4.03(c)


  1. The pitcher’s mound is set at 35 feet from home
  2. A pitcher is allowed 8 warm-up pitches between innings or 1 minute, whichever comes first. (LL Rule 8.03)
  3. Managers/Coaches are permitted to warm-up pitchers between innings if the catcher is not ready. Mixer Only: only bench players or the catcher, wearing the proper face mask, are allowed to warm-up pitchers (Modification of Regulation XIV.f)
  4. No pitcher will be allowed to wear long sleeve yellow shirts. Any pitcher doing so will be asked to remove the shirt/sleeve, or will be removed from the pitcher’s position(LL Rule 1.11.a.3)
  5. There are illegal pitches but no balks in the Minors Division(LL Rule 8.05)
  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

Hybrid Player Pitch Format—If Agreed Upon Before Each Game If Pitching Is Not Consistent:

  1. Player will pitch to a batter
  2. If the batter receives 4 balls, a Coach from the team hitting will come in and finish the batter. Any strikes on the batter will remain when the Coach comes in
  3. A maximum of 4 pitches should be delivered unless there is a foul tip on the forth pitch which continues the at-bat at 1-pitch intervals. The player may only advance on a batted ball or strike out with three strikes. Failure to hit the ball after 4 pitches shall be counted as a strike out.
  4. There is no runner advancement on a passed ball when the Coach is pitching
  5. Coach Pitcher is not a play-maker, and should move out of the field of play as much as possible
  6. If the Coach is struck by the batted ball, the ball is live and defensive players should field the ball as such

Umpire Summary for Minor Player Pitch Softball

Game Format

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

Field Rules

  • No Infield Fly Rule
  • Dropped 3rd strike is an OUT
  • Runners may only “steal” on a passed ball that goes behind the catcher
  • Runners may only advance Home on a batted ball
  • No runner advance on a catcher’s return throw to the pitcher
  • Balks are not called but there can be illegal pitches
  • 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
  • Players walk unless Hybrid Player Pitch is requested (see below)
  • One base on an overthrow to first base unless an attempt is made to get the runner out at 2nd which then results in another overthrow

Hybrid Player Pitch

  • Only use Hybrid if the other team has no consistent pitchers
  • After 4 balls the coach comes in to finish off the batter, there are no walks
  • Strikes are carried over
  • Coach can pitch a maximum of 4 additional pitches that results in a batted ball or strike out (unless there is a foul tip, then 1 additional pitch)
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