This collection of frequently asked questions is specific to Little League Rule 6.00 – The Batter. If you have a question to add to this FAQ, please email Tom Rawlings, Little League International Director of Umpire Development, at: trawlings@LittleLeague.org.
No. If the batter leaves the batter’s box with both feet prior to the pitch and the pitcher delivers the pitch, play has not been delayed and there is no penalty for violation of Rule 6.02(c). The umpire will call the pitch as it is – a ball or strike [(per Rule 6.02(b)]. Had the pitcher not delivered the pitch, rule 6.02(c) has been violated and if this was the batter’s first offense during that at-bat, the umpire would warn the batter. For a subsequent offense during that same at-bat, the umpire shall call a penalty strike.
Yes. If the batter leaves the batter’s box with both feet when the exceptions don’t apply, beckon the batter back into the box (visually and verbally) to avoid game delays. If a local league has not adopted rule 6.02(c), a penalty strike cannot be called if the batter causes a game delay.
Umpires should familiarize themselves with the batter’s box dimension so they can enforce rules related to the batter’s box just as if the lines were present. Batters sometimes position themselves closer to home plate or further back (toward the catcher) than the batter’s box dimensions allow. This provides them with an advantage not intended under the rules and is also a safety issue. Umpires should call time and correct the batter’s positioning prior to the pitch.
No. If a penalty strike is called on the batter for leaving the batter’s box with both feet and delaying the game when the exceptions don’t apply, no pitch is added to the pitch count at any level of Little League.
The “catch and carry” rule was removed from the Little League Baseball® and Little League softball® rulebooks in 2019. The current rule states that if a fielder steps into a dead ball area after having caught a batted ball, the ball is immediately dead. The batter is out, and all runners are awarded one base from the base occupied at the time of the pitch [(Rules 5.10(f), 6.05 (a), and 7.04 (b)].
No. This is not interference. Even though part of the batter’s box is in fair territory, if a batted ball hits the batter while the batter is still within the batter’s box, guidance is to rule “foul.” This is one of those situations that shows that applying the spirit and intent of the rule is more important than the black and white letter of the law.
There is no rulebook description as to what constitutes a legal slide on a force play in Little League Baseball® or Little League Softball®. A runner is out if they intentionally interfere with a thrown ball [(Rules 7.08(b) & 7.09(j)]. This includes intentionally interfering with the pivot fielder trying to turn a double play (a fielder in the act of catching a thrown ball or a fielder throwing a thrown ball [(Rule 6.05(l)]. It is up the judgment of the umpire whether the actions of a runner on a force play constitute intentional interference, rather than a legitimate attempt to reach and stay on the base to which they are forced.
If the umpire adjudges intentional interference, the ball is dead, the runner is out (Rule 7.09 – Penalty) and the batter-runner is out [(Rule 6.05(l)]. A runner does not have to slide on a force play. The runner may remain standing and, if the umpire adjudges that there was no attempt to intentionally interfere, the runner’s actions are legal. A runner is not out for not sliding directly into the base. At the Major Division and below, a runner may not slide head-first while advancing. The runner would be out for the head-first slide, but that act alone does not constitute interference.
The batter-runner is not out merely for not running to first base in the runner’s lane. The batter-runner would be out if they run outside of the runner’s and lane and, in the judgment of the umpire, interfere with the fielder at first base fielding the throw.
The batter is not out merely for having their foot touching the plate when they hit the ball. A batter is out if they hit the ball (fair, foul, or foul tip) with one or both feet on the ground and completely outside of the batter’s box [(Rule 6.06(a)]. If part of the batter’s foot is touching home plate and part of the foot is touching the line of the batter’s box when the ball is hit, the batter’s actions are legal.
Yes. Although rule 6.08(b) requires the batter to make an attempt to avoid being hit by a pitched ball, a batter “freezing” when a pitch is well inside and hits the batter while inside the batter’s box should not be interpreted as not making an attempt to avoid being hit by the pitch.
No. By rule, the request must come from the defensive manager [(Rule 6.08 (a)(1) NOTE 1)]. If the catcher asks to intentionally walk the batter, the umpire should get verification from the manager prior to granting the request. The non-pitched Intentional walk rule does not apply to the upper divisions of Little League®.
No. If the bat hits the catcher’s glove when the batter swings at the pitch, this is catcher’s interference [(Rule 6.08(c)]. The batter is awarded first base, unless a play follows the catcher’s interference and the batter and all runners advance one base, in which case the catcher’s interference is disregarded.
Being on base does not protect a runner from being ruled out for interference if they are hit by a fair batted ball over fair territory. The runner is not out if the batted ball touches an infielder (including the pitcher) prior to hitting the runner, the batted ball passes through or by an infielder (other than the pitcher) prior to hitting the runner, or the batted ball is ruled an infield fly.
No. The defense is responsible for knowing that the batter is out when there is an uncaught third strike with first base occupied and less than two (2) outs. If the batter attempts to advance it is not interference, but the plate umpire should assertively announce that the batter is out.