Rule 7.00 – Rules of Play
7.01 Playing Field, Equipment & Safety:
7.01.A The playing field shall be laid out according to the recommended dimensions contained within these rules. (Chart 7.01.A-1)
7.01.B For details on field layout including recommended direction of play, fair and foul territory requirements, infield and outfield grades, pitcher’s mound height and slope, batter’s and catcher’s box
dimensions, and base and home plate size and construction should be referred to the Official Rules of Baseball as published by Major League Baseball on MLB.com.
7.01.C All bats for age divisions 14U and younger must be permanently stamped with the new USSSA 1.15 BPF Mark (Chart 7.01.C), or BBCOR.50 Certified Mark or made of wood and manufactured by a licensed USSSA manufacturer.
7.01.C.1 Effective January 1st, 2020, all 13U players must use a maximum drop 8 (-8) bat with the official USSSA 1.15 BPF Mark permanently stamped.
7.01.C.2 All 14u players must use a maximum drop 5 (-5) bat with the official USSSA 1.15 BPF Mark Permanently stamped.
7.01.C.2.(a) In all Super NIT Events, 14 Majors must Use BBCOR or wood bats only.
7.01.C.3 All bats for scholastic divisions (High School Events) must conform to the National Federation of High School Associations (NFHS) bat standards including a length to weight
ratio no greater than negative three (-3) ounces. These bats must be permanently stamped with the BBCOR.50 Certified Mark or made of wood and manufactured by a licensed USSSA manufacturer.
Rule 7.01.C Penalty: (First Offense) – If the Umpire discovers that a bat does not conform to USSSA Rule 7.01.C until a time during or after which the bat has been used in play, it shall not be grounds for declaring the batter out and/or ejection from the game. If the Umpire discovers that a bat has been used to put a ball in play and before the next legal pitch, the defensive team shall have the choice of the result of play or the batter being called out and all runners returning to the base occupied at the time of the pitch. (Second Offense)–If a team is found in violation of this rule a second time, then the manager shall be ejected in addition to the First Offense penalty.
7.01.D Any bat permanently stamped with the official USA Baseball logo is legal to use in any USSSA baseball event, except were BBCOR is required. Starting January 1st, 2020, in all 13U Events all Players and all Teams must use a max drop of 8 (-8). In all 14U Events all Players and all Teams must use a max drop 5 (-5) bat.
7.01.E Protests on uniforms shall not be allowed. It shall be the League / Tournament Director’s
responsibility regarding uniform legality. Violation of the uniform rules shall result in the violator
being allowed to immediately conform or be removed from the game. Managers and coaches may wear athletic type gear.
7.01.F In age divisions 4U – 12U, non-metal cleats shall be worn. In age divisions 13U and older, traditional metal baseball spikes shall be permitted.
7.01.G The catcher shall wear all appropriate protective gear including a catcher’s helmet with facemask and either a built in extended throat guard or a separately attached throat guard, chest protector, shin and / or leg guards, and protective cup.
Rule 7.01.G Comment: In age divisions 4U – 12U, the catcher’s helmet shall fully cover both ears.
7.01.H All offensive players shall use a double ear-flap batting helmet whenever at bat, on deck, on base or any other time outside of the dugout and the ball is live and in play.
7.01.I Special Protective Gear: USSSA continues its long-standing policy of permitting players to determine the use of the protective equipment when they deem it appropriate.
7.01.J Bat / ball boys / girls under the age of eighteen (18) shall not be permitted.
7.01.K All Playing equipment shall not contain undue commercialization of the product.
7.01.L The Ball. USSSA licensed baseballs must have a USSSA Mark, must weigh between 5 and 5.25 ounces, must have a circumference of between 8.95 and 9.25 inches, have a COR of between .5 and .555 and have an ASTM standard compression of between 200 and 350 pounds. Molded balls without a traditional cover will be allowed in USSSA play but will require at least 6 weeks of field testing by USSSA and written approval of USSSA in advance of applying the USSSA Mark to such balls, which written approval may add additional performance/design requirements not otherwise applicable to other USSSA licensed balls.
7.02 Game Preliminaries:
7.02.A A flip of a coin between the two teams shall determine the home team for each pool play game The highest seeded team shall be the home team for bracket play games in single elimination brackets. In double elimination brackets, the highest seeded team shall be the home team until the championship game. In the championship game, the team in the winner’s bracket shall be the home team and a coin toss shall determine the home team for the “IF” game.
7.02.B In League, Qualifying Tournament and State Championship play, time limits may be used with approval of the League / Tournament / State Director.
7.02.C In World Series play, time limits may be used in pool play and consolation bracket games with approval of the Association’s Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations.
7.02.D Approved Team Line-ups:
7.02.D.1 Teams may bat a nine (9) player line-up, or a nine (9) player line-up with a Designated Hitter (DH), or a ten (10) player line-up with an Extra Hitter (EH), or a 10 player line-up up with a DH and EH, or a continuous line-up of all present, eligible, uniformed players. Such line-up must be declared before the start of the game and used the entire game. A Designated Hitter (DH) can be used for ages 9u thru 14u.
7.02.D.1(a) If a team uses a line-up that contains substitute players, all starting players may be removed and re-enter the game once but must re-enter in their original position in the batting order. Non-starters are not allowed to re-enter. When a starter re-enters, the player in the starter’s batting position in the batting order must be removed from the game and is ineligible for the remainder of the game.
7.02.D.1(b) If a team uses a line-up that contains ten (10) players, the player in the Extra Hitter position has free defensive substitution.
7.02.D.1(c) If a team uses a continuous line-up, all players other than the nine (9) defensive position players are Extra Hitters and may move freely in defensive positions with the exception of the pitching position. Any player(s) arriving after the game has begun, shall be added to the bottom of the batting line-up. When using the continuous lineup and a player has to leave the game for any reason, that position in the line-up becomes an out when that at bat comes around.
7.02.E Designated Hitter playing rules:
7.02.E.1 The DH can bat for any defensive player (not just the pitcher, as in some leagues).
7.02.E.2 The DH would normally bat for one player and any of that player’s substitutes on defense for the original player.
7.02.E.3 The DH must be listed next to or under the player he is batting for in lineup.
7.02.E.4 The DH and the player he is batting for are both locked into the same batting slot; neither of these two players can ever bat in another batting position.
7.02.E.5 If the DH enters the game on defense, the player he was batting for must come out of the game.
7.02.E.6 A replaced DH can re-enter the game one time since he was considered a starter. The defensive player being hit for can also re-enter the game one time if subbed for. Both must always stay in the same batting spot.
7.02.E.7 The DH role for a team is terminated for the rest of the game if:
7.02.E.7(a) A replaced DH re-enters the game on defense (the acting DH is disqualified from further participation.
7.02.E.7(b) The player for whom the DH was batting pinch hits or pinch runs for the DH.
7.02.E.7(c) The DH assumes a defensive position.
7.02.F In Scholastic divisions (15U-18U), if the Extra Hitter (EH) is not be utilized, then the Designated Hitter (DH) may be utilized in accordance with the National Federation of High School Associations (NFHS) rules.
7.02.G Teams may play an official game with an eight (8) player line-up. If a team plays with an eight (8) player line-up, an out shall be declared for the ninth (9th) position in the batting line-up each turn at bat. A ninth (9th) player and all subsequent players may be added to the bottom of the batting line-up as soon as they become available.
7.02.H A team may continue a game with a minimum of eight (8) eligible players.
7.03 Starting and Ending a Game:
7.03.A A regulation game consists of six (6) innings for age divisions 4U – 12U and seven (7) innings for age divisions 13U and older, unless the game is:
7.03.A.1 Extended because the score is tied after the completion of the regulation number of innings, in which case, play shall continue until the visiting team has scored more total runs than the home team at the end of a completed inning, or the home team scores the winning run in an uncompleted inning.
7.03.A.2 Shortened because the home team needs none of its half of the last inning or only a fraction of it to win.
7.03.A.3 Shortened because an imposed Time Limit expires; or
7.03.A.4 Shortened because any applicable part of USSSA Rule 7.03.B has been met.
7.03.A.5 Shortened because any applicable part of USSSA Rule 7.03.C has been met.
7.03.A.6 Pool play games can end in a tie if the time limit is up or a complete game has been played.
7.03.B (Chart 7.03.B-1) An imposed Mercy (run) Rule shall be used to complete a regulation game when one team’s margin of lead is greater than or equal to the listed run differential in the corresponding listed start inning. In enforcing this rule, the home team shall not bat if they are winning and the mercy requirement is met prior to the start of the bottom half of the listed inning. Similarly, if the home team is batting and meets the mercy requirement in the bottom half of a listed inning the home team shall cease batting and the game shall end.
7.03.C If a game is called due to rain, Weather, light failure or other acts of Nature and cannot be resumed it is a regulation game if:
7.03.C.1 For a six (6) inning game, if three (3) innings have been played or if the home team has scored more runs after two and one half (2 1/2) innings the game shall be declared a complete game.
7.03.C.1(a) In bracket play if a game is tied after 4 or more innings, the score will revert back to the previous inning. If still tied, the game will be a suspended game.
7.03.C.2 For a seven (7) inning game, if four (4) innings have been played or if the home team has scored more runs after three and one half (3 1/2) innings the game shall be declared a complete game.
7.03.C.1(a) In bracket play if a game is tied after 5 or more innings, the score will revert back to the previous inning. If still tied, the game will be a suspended game.
7.03.D All games that for any reason cannot be declared a regulation game pursuant to USSSA Rule 7.03.C shall be a suspended game. A suspended game when resumed, shall resume from the exact point of suspension.
7.04 The Batter, Batter Runner & Runner:
7.04.A An Intentional Walk may be issued upon announcement from either the pitcher or catcher without throwing pitches.
7.04.B At any time, the offensive team may use a courtesy runner for the pitcher and catcher of record from the previous inning on defense. The courtesy runner must be a player not presently in the line-up. If no players not presently in the line-up are available, the courtesy runner shall be the player making the last batted out. The re-entry status of the courtesy runner, pitcher, and catcher shall not be affected by this rule. If at any time, a courtesy runner is determined to be ineligible, a proper replacement pursuant to these rules (if available) shall be used without penalty.
7.04.C Whenever a tag play is evident, a runner must slide or seek to avoid contact with the fielder and / or catcher. Malicious contact shall supersede all obstruction penalties. Malicious contact is solely up to the discretion of the Umpire.
Rule 7.04.C Penalty: The runner shall be called out and may be ejected from the game at the discretion of the Umpires.
7.04.D A runner who jumps over a player will be called out whether or not contact is made with the defensive player.
7.05 The Pitcher:
7.05.A A player removed from the pitching position (starting pitcher or subsequent relief pitcher) may not return to the pitching position for the remainder of the game. The defensive team may correct this rules infraction at any time by substituting a legal pitcher without penalty. If an illegal pitcher is permitted to pitch, any pitch or play that results is legal. The rule violation should be caught by the Umpire or the offensive team and immediately corrected. If the violating pitcher has legal innings
remaining, the violation is deemed an improper substitution and is corrected without penalty. If the violating pitcher has no legal innings remaining, it’s deemed a pitching limitations violation pursuant to USSSA Rule 7.05. B.7.
7.05.B (Chart 7.05.B-1) The end of the day for the purpose of this rule shall be the time of day or night when the ballpark is shut down and the teams go home for the night break. Games that for any reason extend past midnight (12:00 AM) or start late at night, past midnight (12:00 AM) and are completed before the teams take the night break, shall count as being played on the scheduled day. A game not completed before the night break pursuant to USSSA Rules 7.03.D shall be a suspended
game. Suspended games, when resumed (the next day or another day), shall count as being played on two different days. The outs recorded during the portion of the game played prior to suspension shall count as being played on the regularly scheduled day and the outs recorded during the portion of the game played once resumed, shall count as being played on the resumed day.
7.05.B.1 ONE DAY MAXIMUM TO PITCH THE NEXT DAY: The maximum number of innings a player can legally pitch in one (1) day and still pitch the next day.
Rule 7.05.B.1 Example: In the 7U – 14U age divisions, a player may legally pitch a maximum of three (3) innings in one (1) day and still legally pitch the next day. If the player pitches three and one-third (3 1/3) or more innings in one (1) day, the player cannot legally pitch the next day.
7.05.B.2 ONE DAY MAXIMUM: The maximum number of innings a player can legally pitch in one (1) day.
Rule 7.05.B.2 Example: In the 7U – 12U age divisions, a player may legally pitch a maximum of six (6) innings in one (1) day. The player would be ineligible to pitch the next day. Similarly, in the 13U – 14U age divisions, a player may legally pitch a maximum of seven (7) innings in one (1) day. The player would be ineligible to legally pitch the next day.
7.05.B.3 THREE DAY MAXIMUM: The maximum number of innings a player can legally pitch in three (3) consecutive days.
Rule 7.05.B.3 Example: In the 7U – 14U age divisions, a player may legally pitch a maximum of eight (8) innings in three (3) consecutive days. This is to be interpreted as a player may legally pitch any combination of innings to equal eight (8) innings in two (2) days as long as the player doesn’t pitch more than three (3) innings the first (1st) day. Similarly, as a player may legally pitch any combination of innings to equal eight (8) innings in three (3) days as long as the player doesn’t pitch more than three (3) innings the first (1st) or second (2nd) days.
7.05.B.4 MANDATORY DAYS OF REST:
7.05.B.4(a) A player that pitches more than three (3) innings in one day MUST rest the next day.
7.05.B.4(b) A player that pitches eight (8) innings in two (2) consecutive days MUST rest the next day.
7.05.B.4(c) A player that pitches three (3) consecutive days (regardless of total quantity of innings pitched) MUST rest the next day.
7.05.B.5 For all cumulative totals in this rule, one (1) out equals one-third (1/3) of an inning, two (2) outs equals twothirds (2/3) of an inning and three (3) outs equals one (1) full inning. A pitcher that pitches in a game and records no outs is not charged with any innings pitched.
7.05.B.6 Outs recorded during a game that ends in forfeit shall count towards a pitchers’ innings limits.
7.05.B.7 For purposes of pitching limitations rules, a pitcher is in violation of the rule if he records any out above the legal pitching limits pursuant to these rules.
Rule 7.05.C.7 Exception: Exceeding the maximum innings allowed in the case of a double or triple play shall not be counted against the pitcher for the purpose of this rule but shall be counted towards the pitcher’s limits with regards to the eligibility to pitch the next day, etc.
7.05.B.8 It shall be the responsibility of each team to challenge pitching violations by notifying the Umpire and then filing a Protest with the League / Tournament Director. A protest may be filed at any point after the pitcher in violation records any out beyond his legal limit AND while the pitcher in violation is in the game as the pitcher of record. If such violation is the last recorded out of the game, the protest MUST be filed prior to the Umpires and the protesting team leaving the field of play.
Rule 7.05.B.1 – 7.05.B.7 Penalty: Any violation shall result in immediate forfeiture of the game. If such violation occurs during Pool Play, the team in violation of the rule may not advance to the Championship bracket regardless of record.
7.05.B.9 Pitch Counts may be used in Major Events with the approval of the Association’s Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations.
7.05.C Pitching mound visits will remain 2 coaches visits per inning, with the second coaches visit to the same pitcher in the same inning resulting in a pitching change.