Welcome to Little League® - Baseball, Softball and Challenger

Partners & Offers

Active Ad All and Snuggle Ad BombPop Ad Ace-177 BBFactory Ad Dudley Easton Ad Eteamz Ad ilead177 Gatorade heinz-ad177 Honda Kelloggs Musco Ad New Era Oakley Russell Ad SKLZ SBFactory Ad Spalding Subway
 > Little League Online > Tournament Resources > Ask the Tournament Director

Ask the Tournament Director

As part of Little League International’s ongoing commitment to communicate directly with volunteers, Patrick W. Wilson, Vice President of Operations and Director of the 2009 Little League International Tournament, will be taking tournament-related questions via e-mail and responding each weekday through Little League International's “Ask the Tournament Director” series.
The series will allow District Administrators and Tournament Directors, to ask Mr. Wilson questions and read his answers to common, and not-so-common, situations that occur annually during the operation of the world’s largest youth sports tournament.
For more information on Little League International Tournament, reference the Little League International Tournament Resource Page, here: http://www.LittleLeague.org/tournamentresources.htm.

To submit a question to Mr. Wilson, click here.

June 30, 2009

Question 25:
From Caroline Moustafa, Little League Cape May, N.J.
In previous years, softball pitchers could not pitch in consecutive games in tournament play if they pitched in more than one inning, even if the games were not on consecutive days. It has now changed to more than two innings for rest to be implemented, but it only specifies consecutive days. Is it my correct understanding that pitchers who pitch in more than two innings may now pitch in consecutive games which are not scheduled on consecutive days? An example would be if Player A pitches the full six innings in Game One on Monday. Game Two is on Wednesday, so Player A is again eligible to pitch.

Tournament Director’s answer:
Beginning with the 2009 season, Little League has changed the rule pertaining to pitching in consecutive games for Little League Softball, 10-11 Softball and 9-10 Softball. A pitcher, in softball, may pitch in consecutive games provided the proper “days of rest” were observed in between games. This change is a direct result of feedback from field personnel and after consultation with medical professionals.

June 29, 2009

Question 24:
From Lisa, Little League Coach, Limerick, Pa.
Is a Little League patch required on the uniforms off all Little League International Tournament teams?

Tournament Director’s answer:
Yes. The Little League patch is required on all Little League International Tournament uniforms.

June 26, 2009

Question 23:
From Bob Sottile, Little League District Administrator, Fairfax, Va.
There appears to be a conflict between the Little League Baseball Pitch Count Data Sheet (pitching record from the tournament affidavit) and the tournament rules. The Pitch Count Data Sheet states that players league-age 13-and-14 need no (0) days rest if they pitch 1 to 20 pitches, one (1) day of rest if they pitch 21 to 45 pitches; and two (2) days rest if they pitch 46 to 95 days rest.

This matches what the Little League International Tournament Pitching rules are for 9-10 year-old, 10-11 year-old and Junior Division, found on Page T-12 (paragraph 4.3) for 14-year-olds pitching in the Junior League.

The disconnect comes if a 14-year-old is playing on a Senior League Tournament team. In the Tournament Pitching rules for Senior League and Big League Baseball on Page T-14 (paragraph 4.e.)  it states that pitchers league-age 14 and above, must have no (0) days rest if they pitch 1 to 35 pitches, one (1) day rest if they pitch 36 to 60 patches, and two (2) days of rest if they pitch 61 or more pitches. For a 14-year-old pitching in the Senior League, do they follow the days of rest required by the Pitch Count Data Sheet, which is part of the affidavit, or the Senior League pitching rules in the rule book?

Tournament Director’s answer:
You have identified a typo. The Little League International Tournament pitching rules as stated in the Little League Baseball Rulebook is correct. A league-age 14-year-old in Junior Baseball must adhere to the pitching benchmarks of 1-20 pitches, 21-45 pitches and 46 or more pitches. While a league-age 14-year-old in Senior Baseball must adhere to the pitching benchmarks of 1-35 pitches, 36-60 pitches and 61 or more pitches. The back of the affidavit is incorrect.

June 25, 2009

Question 22:
From Mike Ray, Little League District Administrator, Vancouver, Wash.
When a special pinch runner enters the game, is he/she tied to the replaced player’s spot in the batting order, and subject to the tournament rule for substitutions/re-entry?

Tournament Director’s answer:
No. Special pinch runners, even those that have appeared in the lineup but are not currently in it, are not obligated to a specific position in the lineup. 
For instance, let’s say a player is inserted into the game as a special pinch runner. That player could at any time after that be entered into the lineup as substitute for any player, even if it is to bat in the same inning (provided, of course, the special pinch runner is removed, scores, or is put out). If such a substitution is made, he/she would then be subject to the mandatory play rule. 
Only when a player enters the game as a “substitute” for another player is he/she obligated to meet the requirements of mandatory play, and “locked in” to the starter’s position in the batting order.

June 24, 2009

Question 21:
From Greg Sinadinos, Little League District Administrator, Tampa, Fla.
Given the recent weather-related tragedy in Virginia, field safety decisions are very important, so what are the roles of the Tournament Director and umpires before and during games?

Tournament Director’s answer:
Little League rules dictate that the Tournament Director has the authority to pick the times and sites where games will be played and the umpire takes control when he/she receives the home team lineup. By rule, when the game begins, the umpire has the ultimate authority at the field, and decides if a game should be suspended because of unsafe conditions such as weather, field conditions or darkness. However, if conditions are questionable prior to the start of the game, then the Tournament Director would decide if the game should be suspended. The Tournament Director should be in contact with the home plate umpire, and advise of any concerns that develop during the game.

1. If a game is suspended for weather or curfew, and the game is resumed at the same or an alternate location, is it the role of the Tournament Director of the Umpire to approve the a field suitable for play and when the game will resume?
The answer to question No. 1 applies to suspended and/or continued games.  It is the role of the Tournament Director to set the site and time of the game and the umpire takes control at the field when he or she receives the home team lineup.  In all situations, the Tournament Director and the umpire should advise the other of any concerns he or she may have regarding playing conditions. 

2. If a Tournament Director feels that conditions on the field during a game are unsafe due to weather or otherwise, do they have the authority to suspend a game if the umpire refuses to do so?
Hopefully this situation will not arise as it is important for all parties to work together for the sake and safety of all participants. However, if a situation arises where there is a disagreement on whether or not a game should be suspended, then the Tournament Director should contact the Tournament Committee in Williamsport, Pa., and relay the facts so a decision can be rendered. 

Keep in mind that any manager or coach can refuse to play if they feel the conditions are unsafe and do not agree with the umpires’ decision to continue play. A manager who takes such action against the umpire would result in the matter again being referred to the Tournament Committee for a decision regarding the refusal to play. Also, please note that only the Tournament Committee can decide if a game will be forfeited and not the Tournament Director or the umpire.

June 23, 2009

Question 20:
From Jay Derby, Little League President, Chicago, Ill.
For Junior Baseball, what is the allowed weight and ratio of the bat?

Tournament Director’s answer:
The Junior Baseball Division uses a bat that shall not be more than 34 inches in length, or more than 2 5/8 inches in diameter. There is no weight-to-length restriction in Junior Baseball division. Therefore, a player in that division may use a bat with any weight-to-length difference.

June 22, 2009

Question 19:
From Alfredo Zamora, Little League President, Cotulla, Texas
In preparing for tournament play, what are the practice rules for teams and players? How often can they practice?
Tournament Director’s answer:

Practice for tournament teams shall not begin before June 15 or two weeks prior to the start of tournament play (whichever is earlier) for the 9-10, 10-11 year-old divisions.As far as practice rules for teams and players, there are no rules regarding limiting practices. We would hope that all involved keep in mind that proper rest is needed in preparation for any sport, especially baseball and specifically throwing. The root of many arm injuries is overuse.

June 19, 2009

Question 18:
From Rey Garcia, Little League Coach, Laredo, Texas
Can a 10-year-old girl that played the entire regular season with an 11-12 year-old team, participate on the 9-10 year-old All-Star team even though she did not play a single game with any of the 9-10 year-old teams?

Tournament Director’s answer:
This is a common question from parents that have children playing in the Minor Division during the regular season. Parents view the 9-10 Tournament as a Minor Division tournament. This is not the case. All league-age 9- and 10-year-old players, whether playing in the Major or Minor Division, are eligible for selection to the 9-10 Tournament team. The reference pages are T-6 in the Little League Baseball rulebook, and T-5/6 in the Little League Softball rulebook.

June 18, 2009

Question 17:
From Chris Hogan, Little League Manager, Singapore
During tournament play, what is the ruling if a few of your non-starters did not enter the game for their required one official at-bat and three defensive outs because the game was called due to the 10-run mercy rule.

Tournament Director’s answer:
If a game is shortened for any reason, the requirements for Mandatory Play are not in effect. This can be referenced on page T-16, Rule 9 of the Little League Baseball rulebook, and on page T-14, Rule 9 in the Little League Softball rulebook. However, a game is not considered shortened if the home team does not bat in its half of the sixth or seventh inning due to winning the game.

June 17, 2009

Question 16:
From Jason Kopp, Little League Coach, Frederick, Md.
Note 1 on Page 35 of the 2009 Little League Baseball playing rules states – “A pitcher who delivers 41 or more pitches in a game cannot play the position of catcher for the remainder of that day” - Would that player be eligible to catch in the next game if you are playing a doubleheader?

Tournament Director’s answer:
The rule in Little League Baseball pertaining to a pitcher playing catcher specifically states that once the pitcher exceeds 40 pitches he/she cannot play catcher for the remainder of the day. This would include the situation where a team has a second game on the same day.

June 16, 2009

Question 15:
From Brad Pate, Tournament Director, Mechanicsburg, Pa.
If a team has 12 players on its roster with a manager and one coach, and the manager cannot make a game due to a prior commitment, can he be replaced for that game by another coach?

Tournament Director’s answer:
As outlined on Page T-7 of the Little League Baseball and Little League Softball rulebooks - Replacement of Player, Manager or Coach - if a manager or coach is unable to attend a game, a Temporary Replacement may be approved by the Tournament Director. This would apply to teams that are limited to two adults by virtue of rostering only 12 players on a tournament team affidavit. 

June 15, 2009

Question 14:
From Dave Kuznicki, Assistant District Administrator, Alpena, Mich.
Can a team list an injured player on its roster as the 13th player, so it can have three coaches? Can an injured player sit on his team’s bench?

Tournament Director’s answer:
An injured player is not considered an eligible player. In accordance with the tournament rule that governs Managers/Coaches in the Dugout on Page T-4, a tournament team must have 13 or more ELIGIBLE players in uniform to have a maximum of three adult manager/coaches in the dugout. In this case the definition of “eligible” is: Players that are eligible to participate in the game subject to mandatory play. An injured player does not meet this requirement.

June 12, 2009

Question 13:
From Melody Lerna, Local League Player Agent
When placing II(d) waivers in the All-Star packet, do I have to put both the proof of the former address ( where they qualified for the league) and the current address? I am not sure about this, and cannot find out the correct answer. I think that I should have to place the signed waiver from my DA, and proof of their current address. The DA has on file the supporting paperwork for the II(d) waiver, or he would not have signed it, and I should have to prove where they currently live.

Tournament Director’s answer:
In preparation for verification of players on tournament teams, the league is required to gather - from the parents or legal guardians of the players - three forms of proof that each of the players reside within the league’s boundaries. When dealing with II(d) forms and IV(h) forms, the league must obtain three forms of proof of residence from the parents or legal guardians identifying the former address. While the DA may have records, it is incumbent upon the league and parents to produce this documentation for verification. The information for the current residence is not needed because the players obviously now live outside of the boundaries.

June 11, 2009

Question 12:
From Steve Callahan, League Director and Coach, South Windsor, Conn.
In preparation for the Major Division All-Star Tournament, what teams are we allowed to scrimmage against? Non-tournament teams from other towns? Out-of-state teams? Are there any age restrictions as well if we practiced against 13/14 year olds?

Tournament Director’s answer:
Little League International Tournament teams are only allowed to scrimmage against other players in the same division of the same league (or regular-season interleague). Teams are not allowed to scrimmage against league-age 13-14 year-old teams, out-of-state teams or non-Little League teams according to Tournament Regulation XVII - Tournament Play.

June 10, 2009

Question 11:
From Jimmy Arbour, Little League President, Houston, Texas
If a player misses multiple practices for non-emergency related matters (i.e., to practice two days a week with a select ball team) can that player be legally removed from the team prior to the start of the tournament?

Tournament Director’s answer:
On Page T-6 of the 2009 Little Baseball and Softball rulebooks, under Note 1 of the Player Eligibility section, it reads: “Consistent with the manager’s ability to conduct the affairs of his or her team, a manager may disqualify a player from the team for the current season, subject to Board of Directors approval, if the player repeatedly misses practice or games.”
One important point to this rule is that the manager may request of the board to have the player released for the remainder of the current season. The board must ultimately decide whether to approve or deny the request for release.

June 9, 2009

Question 10:
From Jeff Krause, Little League Player Agent and Tournament Director, Ashburn, Va.
Our league is scheduled for 14 regular-season games followed by a single-elimination playoff where all teams make the playoffs. To qualify for the tournament, does a player need to play 60 percent of his team’s regular season games, or 60 percent of regular season and playoff games combined?

Tournament Director’s answer:
As outlined on page T-5 in the 2009 Little League Baseball rulebook under League Eligibility, a league is required to schedule and play a minimum of 12 games in the regular season exclusive of playoffs. We would only consider those regular season games for the purposes of calculating 60 percent for a player’s eligibility.

June 8, 2009

Question 9:
From Charles Walker, Little League Coach, Piscataway, N.J.
I have a standout player who turns 11 on 8/11/09. Can he play for the 11/12 town Williamsport team? Our town does not have an 11 or 9/10 team this year.

Tournament Director’s answer:
The Little League International Tournament Committee has received numerous variations of this question. For example, can a league-age 10-year-old play on the 11-12 Tournament team; or can a league-age eight, play on the 9-10 Tournament team? The simple answer is the levels of the International Tournament are age-specific. If a player does not meet the age criteria, they must play at the level dictated by their age.

June 5, 2009

Question 8:
From Jeffrey Ahrens, District Administrator, Palmdale, Calif.
In Big League Softball, if a special pinch runner has already been used in the inning and the pitcher of record reaches first base, can the manager puts in a substitute for the pitcher to run the bases? When the team goes back on defense can that pitcher return to the mound, or is she considered to have been substituted for and is now ineligible to return to the mound?

Tournament Director’s answer:
The Pitcher is not eligible to return to the mound as the action you outlined is deemed a substitution and the pitcher has been removed from the line-up. The player may re-enter under Tournament Rule I0. (i) - Substitution/ Re-entry. As you note, the use of a special pinch runner previously in an inning makes this situation an official substitution.

June 4, 2009

Question 7:
From Rich Janshen, Little League Coach, Woodinville, Wash.
If a coach observes minimum play rules – i.e. three outs and one at-bat, can a coach choose to bat the order vs. substitution? Second question, if a coach does bat the order in the first several games of the tournament can the coach then switch to substitution format in later games?

Tournament Director’s answer:
I have received several questions inquiring if it is permissible to bat the line-up during tournament. During International Tournament play, Playing Rule 3.03 is suspended and all tournament teams must strictly adhere to tournament Rule 10. Substitution/Re-entry (Page, T-16). A local league tournament team may not elect to bat the line-up during tournament.

June 3, 2009

Question No. 6:
From Johnnie Schmidt, Little League Coach, Rockford, Ala.
What is the minimum number of players a team can have on a tournament roster?

Tournament Director’s answer:
By rule, a tournament team is only required to field nine players. Playing Rule - 1.01 clearly states that Baseball/Softball is a game between nine players. Little League would not encourage fielding only nine players because if one player becomes ill or is injured that team is subject to forfeiture by action of the Tournament Committee. From a philosophical perspective, Little League would encourage all local leagues to carry the maximum number of players, to give as many children the opportunity to participate and experience the International Tournament.

June 2, 2009

Question No. 5:
From Thomas Sikina, Little League Coach, Brownstown, Mich.
What is the preferred method of selecting the manager and coaches for your All-Star team?

Tournament Director’s Answer:
First, great question. The local league establishes the method to select players, manager and coaches of the tournament team. Little League recommends this method be established prior to the regular season and that it is communicated to all players, parents, volunteers, and managers and coaches. This helps avoid controversy later on in the season.

To your question, Little League recommends a two-step process - First, allow the players, managers and coaches in the division to select the managers and coaches for the tournament team. Second, the local league board of directors should review these selections. The local league board of directors should review the selection to ensure that individuals selected did not violate any league policies, guidelines or have other concerns with the selection.

June 1, 2009

Question No. 4:
From Ken Fryer, League President, Evergreen Park, Ill.
Our league is hosting the Illinois State tournament this year. I am the tournament director. We will be doing a 5-team, round-robin, with the top two advancing to the championship game. On the tiebreaking process the rule states. NOTE A: If a team only plays part of a half-inning on defense before the game is ended, that partial inning will count as a full half-inning for the purpose of computing run differential. I'm confused. Does that mean if the visiting team loses in the bottom of the sixth, we count that as a half of inning - i.e., 5.5, or would the visiting team get credit for 6 innings played? Also, what if three teams were still tied after head-to-head and run differential?

Tournament Director’s answer:
This question comes up frequently. When calculating the runs-allowed-ratio, you only use actual defensive half-innings played.

In your example, the home team hits a walk-off homerun, with one out, to win the game in the bottom of the sixth. The defensive half-innings played for the visiting team would be six, even though the last two outs were not played. Any part of a defensive half-inning counts as a full half-inning for the purposes of this calculation – even if NO outs are recorded.
If the home team did not need to bat at all in the bottom half of the sixth inning, then the visiting team has only five defensive half-innings for that game.
To answer your second question, after calculating the runs-allowed-ratio for of all defensive half-innings played, and the three teams are still tied, you would then use only the defensive half-innings played for the games those three teams played against each other.

May 29, 2009

Question No. 3:
From Harry Eng, Local League Official and Coach, Middletown, R.I.
Regarding the “Substitution Rule” if Player A is a starter and plays the mandatory minimum (3 outs and 1 at bat), Player B subs for Player A. After Player B has played his mandatory minimum, can Player A be inserted for another player, say Player C (who has played his mandatory minimum), or is Player A tied to Player B for substitution? And depending on that answer, after player A and player B have fulfilled mandatory play can they be substituted in and out with each other without regard to minimum play - i.e.: Player A for defense, and Player B for hitting?

Tournament Director’s answer:
In the scenario you outlined where Player A is the starter and Player B is his/her substitute, Player A cannot re-enter the game in the line-up for Player C. In your terms, Player A and Player B are tied together in the same spot in the line-up. To answer the second part, once Player ‘A’ and Player B have met mandatory play, they can substitute for each other at any time.

May 28, 2009

Question No. 2:
From Ward Benoit, Tournament Director, Bossier City, La.
Bossier City has three different leagues, North, Central, and South. A player has completed a Regulation IV(h) waiver form for the regular season, which was approved, allowing him to play in a different league. Does he have the choice come tournament time, to revert back to the original league he resides in, or is he mandated to play in the league that he has the Regulation IV(h) waiver on file?

Tournament Director’s answer:
If a player meets the requirements to qualify for Regulation IV(h), and the documentation is processed through the district administrator, the player must play tournament in the league where he established eligibility during the regular season. The player is not eligible to go back to another league for tournament play. This also would apply to Regulation II(d).

May 27, 2009

Question No. 1:
What is the proper procedure for entering multiple tournament teams in the same divisions into the Little League International Tournament?

Tournament Director’s answer:
As we move toward the 2009 tournament, I would like to address an issue which came to light last tournament season. Please refer to page T-3 in both the 2009 Baseball and 2009 Softball rulebooks.

Specifically, please note under ‘Teams’ that the rulebook states, “Each chartered league shall be eligible to enter a team.” It goes on to state that, “In the 9-10 Year Old Division and 10-11 Year Old Division, a league may enter more than one tournament team with the District Administrator's approval."

Last season, it came to the attention of the Little League International Tournament Committee in Williamsport, Pa., that some leagues had entered more than one Major Division team in the tournament without first obtaining written approval from the Tournament Committee.

As a committee we acknowledge a lack of oversight regarding enrollment of multiple teams in the Major Division by individual leagues. Please be advised that while the District may authorize multiple tournament teams at the 9-10 and 10-11 year old levels, leagues must obtain written approval from the Tournament Committee in Williamsport, prior to enrolling more than one team at the Major, Junior, Senior and Big League levels of tournament play.

In requesting approval, the leagues must clearly identify how the teams will be formed. While the Tournament Committee has been supportive of leagues entering multiple tournament teams in the past, it has consistently required an equitable distribution of talent on the teams being entered in the tournament. For example, a team of a league’s “best” 14 players (‘A’ team); and a second team (‘B’ team) made up of the league’s next best 15-28 players, would NOT be allowed.

If your league is considering multiple tournament teams for this year at the levels noted above, please be certain written approval is obtained.

To submit a question to Mr. Wilson, click here.