2023 Tournament Rule Adjustments Focus on Enhancing Player Experience

Each year, the Little League® International Tournament remains focused on providing its players and volunteers with a fun and memorable experience that is unique to the Little League Baseball and Softball program. To assist its leagues and volunteers, Little League International has made a number of rule and regulation changes that will take effect starting with the 2023 season in an effort to provide more opportunities, make administration of the events more streamlined, and ultimately enhance the overall experience for all involved.

Learn more about these rule adjustments and other updates by watching this helpful video:

While the full rule and regulation updates can be found at LittleLeague.org/Rules, as well as in the FREE Little League Rulebook App, below is an overview of what you need to know for the 2023 tournament season:

Continuous Batting Order

Starting with the 2023 season, the previous Tournament Mandatory Play regulation has been replaced by Continuous Batting Order (CBO) at all levels of play (excluding the Senior League Baseball and Senior League Softball Divisions). Use of CBO will allow managers to have free substitutions, whereby players can go in and out of the game more freely and have more opportunities to play defense and bat.

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Managers and Coaches in the Dugout

Each tournament team will be required to have a minimum 12-player roster, and any team with fewer than 12 players will require a waiver from the District Administrator. Regardless of the roster size, each team is permitted to have up to three eligible managers and coaches in the dugout.

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Courtesy Runner and Special Pinch Runner

Utilizing Continuous Batting Order identifies each player as a starter in the batting order and therefore eliminates the option to use a Special Pinch Runner. Instead, a Courtesy Runner may be used anytime there are two outs and the pitcher and/or catcher are on base. The Courtesy Runner must be the player in the batting order who made the last out. NOTE: Previous Tournament Special Pinch Runner rules will continue to apply at the Senior League divisions.

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Reduction in Tournament Entry Fee

In an effort to minimize some of the barriers of entry at the younger levels of play, Little League International has lowered the tournament entry fee for all minor league baseball and softball levels (8-10 and 9-11 age divisions) to $150 per team.

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Senior League Division Participation

To assist the players at the oldest division of play, there is no longer a regular-season games-played requirement for Senior League Baseball or Softball teams. As long as a player meets the eligibility requirements to participate in a local league, the league’s Senior Division team(s) will not have to play any regular season games to be eligible to enter a team into the Little League International Tournament. The team(s) are to be chartered with Little League International by June 1.

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Diamond Leader Program Certification

Little League remains focused on providing education and resources to its coaches in order to support the wellbeing of all Little Leaguers®. Focused on ensuring children have a positive, well-rounded experience on and off the field, the Little League Diamond Leader Training Program is a FREE educational resource that provides coaches with an understanding of the impact that mental, social, and emotional well-being has in youth sports through detailed information, interactive scenarios, and a variety of additional resources. Starting with the 2023 season, completion of the Little League Diamond Leader Program is required for any coach and/or manager to be eligible to participate at any level of the Little League International Tournament. The District Administrator has the ability to request proof of completion.

For further access and additional explanation of all of the current tournament rules, download the free Little League Rules App. In addition, be sure to visit LittleLeague.org/Tournament and check out the 2023 Little League Official Regulations, Playing Rules, and Operating Policies page on LittleLeague.org for more information.