Operating using Interleague Play and Combined Teams provides leagues an opportunity to come together to offer the Little League® program where a single league cannot offer a complete program at a given level of play. When playing with and/or combining with other leagues, consideration must be given to local options that may be implemented as well as scheduling games between leagues.
Implementing Local Options
Most Little League programs have a number of local rule options that are implanted during the season. Some frequently implemented local rules and options include ages participating in a given division of play, limiting the number of bases runners can advance on a passed ball, requiring more than the minimum amount of mandatory play, using a continuous batting order at the Major Division and above, etc.
When participating in interleague play, it is important that all participating leagues are in agreement with the rules to be used and have a clear understanding of what local options will be in place throughout the season. When implementing local options for interleague play, keep these best practices in mind:
- The district interleague committee and/or all leagues involved should hold a meeting prior to the start of the season to draft proposed interleague rules. All leagues involved should have an opportunity to review and approve the rules prior to the start of the season. Local options may vary by division of play.
- Distribute a final copy of the rules to all leagues involved for distribution to coaches.
- Publish a list of local options to be implemented for each level of play on the district’s website.
- Make interleague rules and options readily available to all parents
- Ground rules may vary by field/facility. Have all leagues compile a list of ground rules at the start of the season and provide a summary of ground rules for each facility to all leagues involved interleague play.
Depending on the geographic makeup of leagues participating in interleague play and combined teams, there are various scheduling considerations that need to be taken into consideration. When scheduling, keep these best practices in mind:
- For leagues operating under combined teams, make sure practices are scheduled at a time and location that makes it possible for participants from all leagues involved to attend.
- Provide addresses for all field locations to be used to all leagues in advance of the season.
- Provide an equal number of home and away games to all leagues/teams involved in interleague play.
- Consider traffic/commute times when scheduling games.
- Have a method in place to quickly contact all parents in the event of a schedule change or postponement.
Addressing rules and scheduling considerations in advance of the season will provide maximum benefits to all leagues involved in operating an interleague schedule or combined teams agreement.