MLBa Rules

January 20, 2020

Metro Louisville Baseball Alliance (MLBA) Rules

Team Key Dates / Deadlines

1.       Before February 15:

·         Register online at and submit full payment (by February 15)

·         Proof of insurance and team roster due (by March 1)

·         Schedule published (by March 10)


General Rules, ALL Age Groups

  1. Age eligibility determined based on age as of April 30, 2020.
  2. No alcohol, coolers or pets allowed in the parks.
  3. No tobacco of any kind is allowed in the dugout or on the field of play.
  4. No full infield before games – each team can conduct half field warm-ups prior to the start of each game.
  5. Swinging of bats only allowed in the batting cages or on the fields.
  6. On-deck batters will be allowed but must be positioned on the side of the field behind the batter.
  7. Warming up pitchers:  this may be done inside the fence in foul territory down the right field or left field line as appropriate.  

·         Note: The catcher must wear a helmet; a safety player must stand behind the pitcher with a helmet and glove to protect the pitcher.

  1. Maximum two (2) coaches allowed outside the dugout at any time.  

·         Note: 9U and above – one (1) coach is allowed outside the dugout while on defense to call pitches.

  1. No hitting of baseballs into any fence (soft toss).  Waffle-type balls are allowed.
  2. Players and coaches only in the dug-outs – no bat boys/girls.
  3. Fifty-dollar ($50) protest fee (payable to Metro Louisville Baseball), non-refundable unless the protest is upheld.  Let’s avoid protests, set good examples for the kids and just Play Ball!
  4. All teams are responsible for removing trash from the dugout and stands at the conclusion of each game.

·         A $25 fee will be imposed for teams that leave dugouts and/or stands with trash visible.  This fee must be paid before their next game.  If fee is unpaid the game will be a forfeit.

  1. Coaches must report game scores to

·         Winning coach reports game score to Age Division Coordinator within 24 hours of game.

·         Losing Coach verifies score posted on website within 48 hours of game.  Any discrepancies must be reported within 48 hours of game.

  1. USSSA rules with the local modifications.
  2. Player safety is priority ONE for MLBa. The cancellation of games will be taken into consideration in instances of extreme heat (air temperatures > 103 degrees) or cold (air temperature < 38 degrees). Decisions will be made relative to this policy by 4pm for weekday games based on forecast temperatures of game start times.

Time Limit/Game Duration

  • 7U & 8U – six (6) innings or one hour fifteen minutes (1:15).
  • 9U – six (6) innings or one hour thirty minutes (1:30).
  • 10U, 11U, 12U – six (6) innings or one hour forty-five minutes (1:45).
  • 13U – seven (7) innings or one hour forty-five minutes (1:45).  
  • Tie Games – a tie can be declared due to time constraints during regular season play.  
  • Suspended Games – games called due to rain, weather, light failure, or other acts of God and cannot be resumed will be considered complete after four (4) innings (6 inning game) or after five (5) innings (7 inning game).  Note:  Suspended games will be at the discretion of MLBa.
  • Mercy Rules:

Length of Game

Run Differential

Start Inning


6 innings

15 runs

3rd inning


6 innings

8 runs

4th inning


7 innings

15 runs

3rd inning


7 innings

12 runs

4th inning


7 innings

8 runs

5th inning

  • In enforcing this mercy rule, the home team shall not bat if they are winning and the mercy requirement is met prior to the bottom half of the listed inning.  Likewise, if the home team is batting and meets the mercy requirement in the bottom half of a listed inning the home team shall cease batting at that moment and the game will end.
  • For the 9U division, there is a 7 run maximum per team, per inning.

Playing Rules (USSSA rules with the following local modifications and clarifications)

  1. Batting Order/Substitutions (coaches choice):

·         Bat entire roster and free defensive substitutions.  If batting lineup and player is injured during the game that player can be removed (cannot re-enter during game) without an out (including if injured during at-bat or future at-bats).

·         Bat nine (9) and report substitutions.  Subs can only enter the game one time, starters can only re-enter once in the same spot in the batting order where they were previously removed.  All subs must be reported to the head umpire and the opposing team.

·         Bat ten (10) with nine fielders plus an EH.  All subs must be handled the same as batting nine players.  A DH may be utilized in any of the above situations.

  1. Current USSSA Bat Rules apply.
  2. Speed-Up Rule

·         A courtesy runner may be used for a catcher or pitcher at any time.  Note:  You may replace your catcher or pitcher with either the last player to be called out defensively or a player not currently in the batting order.  The player you are replacing must be the same player who plays as the defensive catcher or pitcher the next defensive half inning.  It does NOT have to be the same defensive catcher or pitcher from the previous inning.

  1. No metal cleats except for 13U or older. Molded cleats or turf shoes must be used on all portable mounds.
  2. Ejection of a player or coach requires that they leave the ballpark and they become ineligible for their teams next scheduled game.
  3. Field Dimensions:

·         7U and 8U – 46/60

·         9U and 10U – 46-65

·         11U and 12U – 50/70

·         13U – 54/80

·         14U - 60/90

Pitching Rules - Regular Season

  • Regular Season:  Given the nature of MLBa as primarily hosting weekday games, with NO or minimal regular season double-headers or games in consecutive days, there is NOT a need to restrict pitching innings during the regular season.  Coaches should know their players and manage pitchers in a way that is best to protect the arms of our young players.
  • In addition, there is NO restriction on ability of a manager to bring a pitcher BACK into a game if needed.

7U & 8U Machine Pitch Specific Rules of Play

  • Pitching Circle:  There will be a ten (10) foot diameter circle around the pitching machine.  The defensive pitcher must be inside the circle to the side of the machine until the pitch reaches the batter.  Penalty:  Pitcher obstruction, delayed dead ball, will be called.
  • Machine Speed/Distance:  The machine will be set at 42 MPH (8U) and 40 MPH (7U). The pitching machine will be set at a distance of 46 feet.
  • Ten (10) defensive players will play in the field with four (4) outfielders.  The fourth (4th) outfielder may not assume an infield position.  All outfielders must stay behind the baselines. Defensive coaches are not allowed on the field of play and shall coach from the dugout.
  • Teams may start a game with eight (8) players.  The ninth (9th) position in the batting order will be declared an out each time at bat.  A ninth (9th) player and all subsequent players may be added to the bottom of the batting line-up as soon as they become available.
  • An offensive coach will operate the machine.  The offensive coach shall not intentionally force a passed ball or wild pitch.  

·         Penalty:  If it is deemed by the umpire that the coach intentionally forced a passed ball or wild pitch, said coach shall be warned.  If a second attempt to intentionally force a passed ball or wild pitch, said coach shall be removed from the playing field and the batter will be called out.

  • The batter shall receive five (5) hittable pitches.  Un-hittable pitches will not count against the batters pitch count.  If a batter swings at an un-hittable pitch and does not make contact, the pitch will still be ruled un-hittable.  If the batter makes contact with the un-hittable pitch the result of the play will be official.  The 5th pitch will be the last pitch unless fouled or deemed un-hittable by the home plate umpire.  There will be no called balls or strikes.  The batter may be called out by any applicable USSSA League rule.  Example:  Three strikes and you are out.  An attempt to bunt on the fifth pitch and the ball goes foul, the batter is out.  There will be no walks.  Un-hittable pitches will be called at the Umpires discretion.
  • Bunting:  A team may bunt only two (2) times per inning.  No fake bunts are allowed.  A batter that “shows” bunt is committed to an attempt to bunt or to pull back and take the pitch; he cannot pull back and swing.  If he pulls back, the pitch will NOT be ruled a strike but the pitch DOES count as one of the five hittable pitches (so long as the pitch was deemed hittable by the umpire).

·         Penalty:  If a batter swings after “showing” bunt, the batter is called out and no runners shall advance.

  • There are no intentional walks.
  • The Infield Fly Rule shall not be in affect at any time.
  • There is no stealing.
  • A courtesy runner may be used for a catcher at any time.  

·         Note:  You may replace your catcher with either the last player to be called out defensively or a player not currently in the batting order.  The player you are replacing must be the same player who plays as the defensive catcher the next defensive half inning.

  • Umpires shall call “Time” after every play and declare the ball dead. “Time” shall be called as soon as the lead runner is not attempting to advance for 8U. “Time” does not have to be called by the defense for the purpose of this rule.  Note:  When a runner stands off a base and “jukes” or “feints” back and forth, this is to be interpreted as “not attempting to advance” and “Time” shall be called. “Time” shall be called as soon as the defense controls the ball inside the pitching circle (7U).  Note: 8U is “stop the lead runner” and 7U is “circle ball”.
  • A team may score a maximum of seven (7) runs per inning, including the last inning or record three (3) outs.
  • A batted ball which strikes the pitching machine or machine operator without first touching a defensive player, or in the opinion of the umpire comes to rest to close to the pitching machine to be safely fielded, shall become instantly dead.  The batter shall be awarded first base.  Other runners shall advance only if forced to advance due to the batter being awarded first base.
  • A thrown ball which strikes the pitching machine during an attempted play is a live ball and remains in play.
  • Adjustments to the pitching machine can be made only at the beginning of an inning and with the agreement of both managers, unless at other times it becomes obvious that an adjustment is necessary in order for the machine to throw strikes.