The District Administrator (D.A.) serves as director of the district tournament within the Little League International Tournament. To efficiently and effectively organize, manage, and operate the district tournament, it is imperative that the D.A. host a mandatory meeting for tournament managers and coaches where pertinent information is shared, expectations are explained, and questions can be answered.
The Coaches Meeting should highlight the following topics:
Tournament Eligibility Materials
Each team is responsible for carrying a packet of information that confirms the eligibility of each player on the roster. This packet includes a completed and verified tournament affidavit, signed by the District Administrator; and other required player documentation (e.g. – tournament verification forms and eligibility information for each player, boundary map, and waivers) to be carried with the team to each game. This packet should also include a medical release form for each player on the roster.
New and Tournament-specific Playing Rules
All new tournament-specific rules are to be reviewed by the district Umpire-In-Chief. The U-I-C is to also remind the managers and coaches about mandatory play, pitch count, and the number of coaches permitted in the dugout.
Pitch Count (for baseball) and Official Scorer Responsibilities
Once at the game site, the appointed Assistant District Administrator will flip a coin to determine home team. The designated home team is responsible for having a volunteer keeping the official scorebook, while the visiting team will provide a volunteer to tally the official pitch count for baseball tournaments for both teams.
Mandatory Play Requirements Based on Roster Size
Mandatory play is a tournament requirement. The number of players listed on a team’s lineup card that is handed by the manager to the home plate umpire, must be the same as the players in uniform. That number of players determines the mandatory play guidelines that will apply to that team, for that game. Any team lineup with 12 or fewer players must have each player participate for six consecutive defensive outs and receive one at-bat to satisfy mandatory play. A roster with 13 or more players is required to provide each player with one at-bat per game. A manager’s failure/refusal to insert players into the line-up as outlined in the new rule shall result in immediate ejection of the manager and removal for the remainder of the International Tournament, without replacement. The umpire-in-chief or other individual designated by the game Tournament Director in consultation with the official scorekeeper, shall advise both team managers, at the appropriate time as outlined in the new rule, of their obligation to insert all players who have not completed their mandatory play requirement. For tournament, there is no mandatory play in Senior League Baseball or Senior League Softball.
Equipment and Player Safety
Prior to each tournament game, the playing equipment (bats, batting helmets, and catcher’s equipment) for each team will be checked by the umpires. At the plate meeting with the umpire and A.D.A., each manager will be asked if each player is properly equipped. This question requires a verbal answer and covers each player’s personal safety equipment and playing equipment.
Pregame Procedures at Game Site
Each team is to report to the game site at least one hour prior to the first pitch. In that hour preceding the start of the game, the first 15 minutes are reserved for both teams to warm up. During the second 15 minutes, the home team will have the field for infield-outfield practice; and the third 15 minutes are for the visiting team to conduct infield-outfield practice. If there are batting cages at the game site, teams are allowed to use them during the time that the other team is on the field for infield-outfield practice. The final 15 minutes prior to the first pitch is when the final field preparations are made, and the Game Director gathers the team managers and umpires for the plate meeting.
With the game under way, managers and coaches are responsible for their team, both on the field and in the dugout.
During “dead ball” situations, any player substitution(s) is to be communicated by the manager to the home plate umpire at the time when the changes will be in effect. For example, a defensive substitution is to be announced at the time when the team is taking its defensive positions, and before the ball is put in play by the home plate umpire.
A manager must ask and be granted “time” by the home plate umpire before he/she is permitted to walk on to the playing field.
It is the manager’s responsibility to assure that all players bat in the order outlined on the lineup card, remain in the dugout when the ball is in play, and are respectful and display proper sportsmanship toward the other team, game volunteers, and fans.
Coaches in Dugout
Regardless of roster size, only three adults are allowed in the dugout during a game. If a team has a pitch counter, scorekeeper, team parent, etc., in addition to the three-person coaching staff, they are not permitted in the dugout at any time during a game.
Tournament Coach Replacement
If a team requires a replacement for one of the three approved coaches listed on the team affidavit, the change is permitted, but once a coach is removed, he/she may not return as an official coach.
A coach may protest the application or interpretation of a playing rule, but the protest must be brought to the attention of the home plate umpire and Game Director (Assistant District Administrator) before the next pitch is thrown. If the protest cannot be resolved at the game site, it is the responsibility of the Game Director to contact the regional headquarters for guidance.