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SBP Fall Ball Rules

Microsoft Word - Irvine PONY MDT Rules2018 (5-18)

2022 Fall Season Rules

Important Note: It is MANDATORY that every coach carries a copy of these rules at all times.

Rules and Information - Also see below special rules for Pinto Kid Pitch and Parent Code of Conduct

General Information:

Please keep in mind that this is intended to be a FUN Fall Season League for the players and their families. Confrontational actions by coaches, players or family members will not be tolerated and will result in game forfeiture and/or removal from the league. We do have paid umpires, but umpire abuse will not be tolerated in any fashion.

The Fall Season will be governed by the Official Rules of Baseball as published by the Sporting News, as modified by the most current PONY Baseball rulebook and information provided in this document. The Official Rules of Baseball can be purchased online (as well as some sporting goods stores) and the PONY rulebook may be viewed-only at South Bay PONY Baseball has the final decision making power in regards to rule changes for this League.

Roster Size

No less than 9 or more than 15 players may be rostered.

Roster Changes

No roster changes will be allowed unless a team drops below 9 players. Any roster change must be approved by the League Commissioner or President.

Lineup Choices

As this is a fun, developmental program, every team must bat the entire lineup.  The point of Fall Ball is learning new rules, getting bonus reps, having fun, and getting ready for the Spring season.  As such, everyone plays.

Pitchers MAY NEVER reenter in the pitching position once removed from the mound.

Since we bat the whole lineup, there are free defensive substitutions.

Game Limits



No New Inning / Drop Dead

Shetland American


1:15 Drop Dead

 Shetland National
 5 1:30 Drop Dead
 Pinto American
 6 1:30 / 1:45

Pinto National


1:30 / 1:45



1:45 / 2:00

Bronco 11U & 12U


2:00 / 2:15

Pony 14U


2:15 / 2:30


If it appears to the umpire that a team is purposely delaying the game to reach no-new inning or drop-dead status, then the umpire can speed up the game by calling players out or declaring a forfeit after issuing one warning. 

Field Dimensions
Please be sure to double check the distances for bases, pitching mounds, and machines before your game.  The prior game might be a different distance.  The prior game coaches may have made a mistake.  Keep in mind that most of our fields have anchors at multiple distances.




 Shetland American
 N/A 50'

Shetland National

Machine at 38’


 Pinto American
 Machine at 38'

Pinto National









Pony 13U



 Pony 14U
 60'6" 90'



Ready Play Rules

To expedite play, a batter may not step more than one foot out of the batter’s box to take signals. One warning will be given per batter. Thereafter, each infraction will result in the umpire calling time and the batter will be issued a strike.

A courtesy runner will be allowed for the pitcher or the catcher with two outs.  The courtesy runner is the last recorded out on the team.

No more than one offensive time out is allowed per inning per team, other than to check injury or repair equipment.

No more than one defensive time out is allowed per inning, except to check injury or repair equipment. On the second defensive time-out, the pitcher must be changed. While batting, have your catcher getting ready for the next inning. Catchers not being suited up cause most delays.

It should take a maximum of 2 minutes between the 3rd out and the first pitch of the next half inning.  Please move the games along with purpose.  Players should run on and off the diamond, and be ready to play.


No Slide or Avoid Rule

PONY does NOT have a "Slide or Avoid Contact" rule. Players coming into a base in a manner to inflict harm will be ejected from the game. The umpire will make the appropriate call at the base. Standard MLB rules for Interference and Obstruction apply, with consideration for the age of the participants.  There is no automatic out for contact. How malicious a hit is and how the player acts upon ejection will decide when and if they return.


Pitching Rules

Please take care of your pitchers arms and don't over extend them. PONY Baseball follows pitching guidelines set forth by the MLB’s Pitch Smart program.

We offer a modified version of this that follows maximum pitches with inning limits as we typically only play 1 game per week. Remember, one pitch to a batter in an inning constitutes an inning pitched.

Note: There may be instances where teams will play double-headers.  Coaches may exceed the SBP innings limit for a game in order to manage the pitching availability for the doubleheader.  Coaches may not exceed Pitch Smart Guidelines for the day.


Pitching Limits


Per Game Limit

Per Weekend


2 innings* or 50 pitches

Consult Pitch Smart Guidelines


3 innings* or 75 pitches

Consult Pitch Smart Guidelines


3 innings* or 85 pitches

Consult Pitch Smart Guidelines


7 innings* or 95 pitches

Consult Pitch Smart Guidelines


Pitch Smart Guidelines

Mercy Rule

There is no Mercy Rule because these games are all essentially scrimmages for the development and fun of the players.  We expect all Coaches to practice proper etiquette and avoid unnecessarily running up game scores.  If a game is getting out of hand, the coaches and umpires should work together.  We are a Process Over Results league and want each team to have opportunities to get a fair number of reps in during games. Please be respectful of your opponents.


Maximum Runs Per Inning:

Shetland, Pinto, and Mustang Divisions will employ a 5-run maximum run per inning rule, with final inning and any extra innings be played as an “Open Inning” requiring 3-outs to be recorded.

Bronco and Pony 14U divisions will be required to record 3 outs. However, Coaches are encouraged to use proper judgment during innings where excessive runs have been scored. We are a Process Over Results league and want each team to have opportunities to get a fair number of reps in during games. Please be respectful of your opponents.


Please communicate with the league if you are going to miss a game or not have enough players to play a game.  Teams are encouraged to share players to give the kids a chance to play.

Teams who fail to notify the league and miss multiple games may be subject to removal from the league.  Contact your division commissioner at least 2 days before a game to let the league know about any potential issues.

Warm Up

There is limited warmup space at most of the fields.  Some fields have a deep enough outfield to allow warmups, but many do not.  Some fields have cages, but many do not.  Do not interfere with games in progress.  If there is a cage, warmup time must be shared between the two teams.

Infield practice is never allowed and will not be available between games. Grounders in the dirt in foul territory is OK.


There are NO PROTESTS! If you have a concern with a call, an interpretation, or anything what-so-ever, you need to call time and the Head Coach may quietly discuss the issue with the umpire. HIS DECISION IS FINAL...PERIOD!


If a fan becomes unruly the head coach will be warned one time. The second warning will be the removal of the head coach; the next warning will be the removal of the asst. coach. If the problem persists, the game will be forfeited by the team which is causing the problem. Please note that we require all registered families to agree to our Code of Conduct rules and violations and have a Zero Tolerance Policy when it comes to fan behavior. That document is attached here and we expect all Managers and Coaches to follow these rules and enforce them among their teams.



All Player Pitch Divisions (Pinto National, Mustang, Bronco, and Pony divisions) may use USA Bats or USSSA Bats. Any diameter bat allowed within USA and USSSA standard are allowed.  If a Rec team only has USA Bats, a team may be asked to use USA Bats only to keep the game friendly and fair.  Most teams will have USSSA Bats in Fall Ball. 

Pony 14U also allows BBCOR (-3) or (-5) bats. Wood bats are accepted.

Shetland and Pinto American divisions must use USA Bats only. 2 5/8” is the maximum bat diameter allowed in these divisions.  Bats with 2 ¾” diameter barrels are prohibited.

To see a list of illegal bats, go to the USSSA website or click on this link. For illegal USA Bats click on this link. These bats are NOT ALLOWED.

Violations of bat rules will first result in removal of any illegal bats from the dugout with a warning. The bat must leave the dugout and not return. Any subsequent violation will result in game ejection of the team Manager and Player. Ignorance is not an excuse.

Footwear: Metal cleats are ONLY permitted in Pony 14U division.  Metal cleats are not permitted on portable mounds.


Score Reporting Procedures

Each team is responsible for keeping their own score, but the scorekeepers must confer with each other after each half inning to make sure there are no disagreements. The Home Team will be considered the Official scorekeeper and will be responsible for reporting the game score to league management system within 48 hours of game completions. If a disagreement arises, the umpire is the final arbiter. (Score may be kept in a scorebook, iScore, or Gamechanger) Scorebooks are not provided by South Bay PONY.

Important Note: The Home team is responsible for reporting scores. The scores will be reported by via email. Please note that only designated Team Managers have privileges that allow them to enter scores.

Teams are responsible for maintaining their own pitching rosters and pitch count tracking, and are subject to review by league officials at any time.


Game Play

Each team will play approximately 10 regular season games followed by a playoff tournament



Each team is required to have their official Roster of league registered players available with them at all times. If a coach refuses to show their notebook to the opposing coach, that team will be disqualified and take a loss for that game recorded as 1-0. The notebook may also be reviewed after the game if necessary for any reason by the other coach. If either coach is uncomfortable sharing their book on the field, you must notify the League Commissioner or President immediately. NON-REGISTERED PLAYERS ARE PROHIBITED FROM PARTICIPATING IN ANY SOUTH BAY PONY GAME AND VIOLATIONS OF THIS WILL RESULT IN FULL DISQUALIFICATION OF THE TEAM MANAGER AND TEAM FROM FURTHER PARTICIPATION WITHOUT REFUND.


Other Stuff

Parking at some of the parks may be a challenging. Arrive in plenty of time. If you're running late, drop the player off and direct him to his field, and then go park your car. Begg Field parking offers spots immediately adjacent to the field of play. Park at your own risk as errant balls have and can cause damage to vehicles. South Bay PONY is not responsible for any damage to vehicles from game play. There is also a very large church next to our Mira Costa fields and Sunday parking can be difficult. Park at your own risk as errant balls have and can cause damage to vehicles.


Fields and Dugouts

Only players, managers, and coaches will be allowed in the dugout or on the field during play. Maximum of 3 coaches per team are allowed for Mustang, Bronco, and Pony divisions, 4 coaches per team allowed for Pinto, and 5 coaches per team allowed for Shetland.

For Shetland, on offense there should be a coach to pitch, base coaches at 1st & 3rd, and 1-2 coaches handling the dugout and lineup.  On defense, there should be a coach helping the catcher and no more than 2 defensive coaches allowed on the outfield.  Try to play with no coaches in the outfield, if possible.  Additional coaches need to be in or next to the dugout.  

No siblings or parents shall be allowed in dugouts before, during, or after games. Please encourage your players to unpack and pack their own gear. Please no food in the dugouts as well. Teams are responsible for completely removing all trash from their dugouts at the end of games. Sunflower seeds and Gum are prohibited in all game dugouts. Please clean up your trash after each game.

Field Setup & Breakdown
Both teams are expected to properly set up and breakdown fields for game play, including carrying and placing pitching mounds at proper distances, chalking batter’s boxes and lines, and putting bases and returning field equipment to the proper storage sheds. If you are the last game of the day on a particular field, you are responsible for returning bases and pitcher’s mounds to their proper storage places. Put all of the bases away and return the base anchor plugs to the anchors.  If there is a dirt mound, please be sure to replace the circle mound tarp.  Put all equipment away in the equipment shed, lock the shed, and spin the dial. If no teams are warming up for play when your game ends, assume that you are the final game of the day and put everything away and LOCK the sheds.





There are no balks. There is no dropped third strike rule. A third strike is recorded as an out even if the catcher drops the ball. The strike zone will be expanded at the discretion of the umpire.

For the first 3 weeks of the season, we recommend that teams do not allow walks.  After a pitcher throws 4 balls, a coach from the hitting team should come out and throw 3 coach pitches.  If a batter does not get a hit after 3 pitches, the batter strikes out.  There are no walks.  A batter who fouls off the last pitch may receive additional pitches until they get a hit or miss a pitch.  Coaches may pitch however they like (over hand or under hand).

If both coaches unanimously agree to not use Coach Pitch during the first 3 weeks, the teams do not have to use the Coach Pitch option.  If both coaches unanimously agree to use Coach Pitch after the first 3 weeks, the teams are allowed to use this option.

If a pitcher hits three batters in a game, regardless of the inning, that pitcher shall be removed and replaced with a new pitcher.  This rule does not apply to the Coach pitchers.


On a walk - ball is live until ball is returned to the pitcher within a reasonable (10’ radius) distance from the pitching mound. Bunting is prohibited. Nine players on defense, 3 outfielders.



An inning is complete when (a) three outs are recorded or (b) the offensive team has scored 5 runs.  Exception: On homerun over the fence - all runs will count.  During the Fall season, even the last inning has a 5 run limit, unless the coaches and umpire discuss and agree unanimously to an open inning.


Base Running

Stealing is allowed. Base runners are not permitted to lead off and must remain in contact with the base until the ball has crossed home plate.  A player who leaves a base before the ball crosses home when the ball is not put in play will be sent back to the prior base.  A player who leaves a base before the ball crosses home when the ball is put in play shall be called out

Runners may only steal 1 base at a time.

"No Fault Throw Rule-Catcher” If the Catcher overthrows to second or third base in an attempt to catch a base runner stealing, the runner may not take an extra base.  This includes a back-pick attempt to third base.

Home plate is closed for stealing.

Home is closed to passed balls or wild pitches or due to an errant throw by the catcher to third base.  This includes if a catcher throws to second to get a base runner.  The runner from third may not advance home.  Runners may only advance from third to home on a hit ball.

All runners may advance on a hit ball at their own risk.

At the point that the pitcher has possession of the ball within reasonable proximity (5-10 feet - umpire’s judgement) to the pitcher’s mound, and play has stopped, the ball shall be considered dead and the runners must return to the occupied base as determined by the umpire.






All parents/guardians who have children participating within the SBP must abide by a Code of Conduct, which includes but is not limited to the provisions that follow. Any violation of these rules or any SBP rules will result in immediate expulsion from SBP. In addition, you will forfeit your membership for the current season and any other subsequent year.



  1. Player information: I/We agree to furnish proof of Birth of applicant to SBP. (i.e.: Birth Certificate, Passport or Military ID.)
  2. I/We agree to give proof of residence to SBP. (i.e.: Drivers license with the player’s address.)
  3. I/We agree to not smoke on the practice or playing field, or in the presence of a gathering of the team. (i.e.: After a game/practice or team meetings.)
  4. I/We agree to abstain from the possession and drinking of alcoholic beverages and the possession or use of any illegal substance at any SBP function. (i.e.: At games/practice, after a game/practice, team meetings or gatherings.)
  5. I/We agree not to deliberately incite and/or participate in “unsportsmanlike” conduct at any SBP function. (i.e.: Using cheers or chants that would insult or taunt the opposing team or its, fans yelling loudly at your own children and their team’s players or anyone else. This also includes treating the opposing team’s fans with respect.
  6. I/We agree to never protest a game official, judge or Commissioners decision in an aggressive demonstrative manner.
  7. I/We agree not to use abusive or profane language or actions at any time at any SBP function.
  8. I/We agree not to criticize, belittle, antagonize, berate or otherwise incite the opposing team, its players, coaches, fans, officials/judges or Commissioners by word of mouth or by gesture, These rules also apply with your own team.
  9. I/We agree to accept all decisions of the game officials, as being fair and called to the best of their ability.
  10. I/We agree to treat all children and adults at any SBP function with respect. This includes no gossip, or talking bad of league personnel, managers and coaches, players, parents or fans. Any undermining of the league, its personnel or teams will not be tolerated and you will be removed.
  11. I/We agree to follow the proper Chain of Command when filing a complaint or voicing my opinion regarding any possible rule infraction within SBP.


The Chain of Command will be as follows:
You may only advance to the next level in the chain of command providing your situation has not been handled within 72 hours from your initial filing and you need further assistance.

A. The Manager of your team

If your complaint is regarding the Manager (this can not be about playing time or positions; that is up to the Manager) you may go in this order directly to the:

B. Team or Club Representative

C. South Bay PONY Fall Commissioner or President, only in the matters of player abuse or safety.

D. If you go directly to Pony Baseball without permission you will be removed from this league without the right to appeal.


  1. I/We agree to not interfere with practices or games in any way. This includes but is not limited to: you will not go on the field of play for any reason without the Manager’s approval (this includes for injuries.) You can not yell instructions to players that contradict the Coach’s instructions. You can not pull players off the field to talk to them, get them food or for any other reason.
  2. I/We agree to take responsibility for any actions that violate this Code of Conduct by a guest or relative of attending parents/guardians.
  3. I/We agree to not bring in air horns, cowbells, drums or any other noise making device into any field with SBP games.
  4. Any act of disrespect will result in removal from the league. Any negative act from a parent or fan directed towards game officials or SBP officials, creating a disturbance either parent or fan directed towards game officials or SBP officials, creating a disturbance either in the stands or on the playing field will result in an ejection. If you are ejected from the game, practice or event, by a SBP official or game official, the penalty will be handed down to that individual immediately by the league official, and the assessed penalty will not require a hearing to be assessed.
  5. I/We agree if I/We have been ejected or removed from any SBP function. I/We will refrain from attending any practices/games/competitions for the period of my punishment. However, any penalty assessed to any individual may be appealed in writing to the Board within 72 hours from the time the penalty was assessed. The Board’s decisions will be final.
  6. Any player this is disruptive, violent in any way, endangers others, plays dirty, uses foul language, disrespects any players, coaches or fans will be dismissed from the league. All our players will play the right way.



South Bay PONY Baseball
Manhattan Beach, California 90266

Email: [email protected]

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