League-Age 12-Year-Old Softball Players Are Permitted to Play in Two Divisions
Several questions, along with some confusion and uncertainty has arisen concerning league-age 12-year-olds playing Little League Major Division and Junior League Softball simultaneously during the season. With a change to Regulation IV for 2011, 12-year-old softball players are eligible to play Little League Majors or Junior League Softball if drafted at the same time. If a player participates in sixty (60) percent of the regular season games in each division by June 15, she will be eligible to participate on either tournament team. A player may only be selected and participate on one (1) tournament team; so if she meets the requirements she can choose which tournament team she will participate with.
Most of the questions received by Little League International concern a league-age 12-year-old player who is pitching in both divisions during the same week. The rule reference is Regulation VI (b) on page 39. The pitching rules and regulations regarding days of rest and total numbers of innings are pertinent to the division which the pitcher is used will apply to that game or division. A pitcher throwing in the Little League Major division is limited to a total of nine innings in a game and a total of eighteen innings per calendar week, Sunday through Saturday, while pitching in the Little League Division. A pitcher throwinf in the Junior League Division is limited to a total of ten (10) innings in a day and 30 per calendar week. Delivery of a single pitch constitutes an inning pitched.
A pitcher who pitches more than one (1) inning in the Little League Major Division must have one calendar day of rest; while a pitcher in the Junior League Division who pitches less than 5 innings will require no days rest, but if she pitches five (5) or more innings then one (1) calendar day of rest must be observed.
The most prevalent question that people are having is when and how much a player can pitch in each division. The easiest and simplest way to interpret this rule is when and how long she pitched and in what division; and then when and what division she is pitching in next and on what day. The most calendar days rest required in either division is one (1) calendar day so we only have to concern ourselves with games scheduled on back-to-back days and when a pitcher is scheduled to pitch in the two divisions on the same day.
If a 12-year-old pitches in four innings or less on Monday in a Little League game, she would be eligible to pitch in up to ten (10) innings in the Junior League on Tuesday. If a 12-year-old pitches in more than one (1) inning on Monday in a Junior League game, she would be ineligible to pitch in a Little League game scheduled for Tuesday.
If a 12-year-old is scheduled to pitch in a Little League and Junior League game on the same day, it will depend on how many innings she pitches in what division in the first game in what division in the first game as to how many innings she will be eligible to pitch in the second game. If she pitched six (6) innings in a Little League game in the first game, she would be eligible to pitch up to a total of four (4) innings in the Junior League game for a maximum of ten (10) innings for the Junior League Division.
The last concern is the total number of innings that a 12-year-old is eligible to pitch in a week between two divisions. The ultimate total of innings that she can pitch in a week, Sunday through Saturday, is thirty (30) innings. A pitcher that pitches in both divisions can reach this total of thirty (30) innings in any combination of innings, but she cannot pitch in more than a total of eighteen (18) innings in a week while pitching in the Little League Division.
So a pitcher could pitch in twelve (12) innings in the Little League Major Division and observing the proper rest periods, pitch in up to a maximum of eighteen (18) innings in the Junior Division for a combined total of thirty (30) innings. People have tried to add the totals of the two divisions together to allow a pitcher to pitch up to a total of (48) innings in a week and this is totally wrong.
It is not the umpire’s job to keep track of the pitcher’s innings, but we need to know and understand the rule for when situations occur.
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