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Leaside Baseball Association House League Rules
(FINAL Updated: April 25 2018)
1.1. The basic philosophy of Leaside Baseball house leagues is to help the players learn the game and develop their skills in a positive, inclusive and fun environment. Coaches and parents should employ a positive, teaching approach toward all players on all teams.
1.2. The objective is for the players to have fun while they build on the basics they learned throughout the season. Children should not be subjected to fierce competition or intense pressure to perform. House Leagues are intended to provide instruction in the fundamentals of baseball and stress sportsmanship, teamwork and fair play. Having fun is of the utmost importance and should be stressed by coaches and parents always.
1.1. General Rules
The Leaside Baseball Association Rookieball House Leagues shall use the rules found in the most recent Constitution of the Ontario Baseball Association under section Q2: The Approved Playing Rules of Rookie Ball except as modified herein.
For 2018 Ontario Baseball Association Constitution can be found here:
In the case of ambiguity between the OBA rules and these LBA rules, these LBA rules shall preside.
1.2. Game Day
1.2.1. Home Team: The home team bats last in an inning and shall occupy the third base dugout.
1.2.2. Practice: Teams may practice in the 30 minutes before game time. The home team shall have the infield from 30 minutes before a game to 20 minutes before a game. The away team shall have the infield from 20 minutes before a game to 10 minutes before a game. No team shall be on the infield in the 10 minutes immediately prior to the start of a game. While players are using the infield they must respectfully work around the umpires as they set up the field of play.
While not in the infield, teams may be practicing in the outfield.
1.2.3. Start of Game: The head coaches and umpires shall meet at home plate five minutes before game time to discuss ground rules. First pitch shall be at or around 6PM, at the discretion of the umpires.
1.2.4. Duration of Game: Games shall be up to seven innings, however no new inning shall be started more than 90 minutes after the start of the game. If the game is tied after seven innings, and the game time has been less than 90 minutes, a single extra inning shall be played.
1.2.5. Mercy Rules: A half-inning is over when five (5) runs have been scored, regardless of the number of batters or outs. The coaches will inform the teams when five runs have been scored to end an inning. The final play must be completed before the coaches announces that five runs have scored, however only up to 5 runs may count in any half inning.
Notwithstanding the above, there is no restriction on the number of runs the home team may score in the final inning, however should the home team have the lead at any time in the bottom half of the last inning the game is immediately over.
If the home team is leading by 12 or more runs after three-and-a-half innings or any subsequent full inning, or the away team is leading at the end of the fourth inning or at the end of any subsequent full inning then the game is over.
A game is declared over at any point that the visiting team is unable to win or tie the game due to mercy rule restrictions. The head coaches of the teams may mutually elect to keep playing so long as time restrictions have not been exceeded however no further scorekeeping is permitted.
1.2.6. Thunder or Lightning Rule: Should lightning be seen or thunder is heard, teams shall leave the field and seek shelter immediately. After the last thunder or lightning event, teams shall wait 30 minutes before leaving shelter. Each time there is a thunder or lightning event the 30 minute timer restarts.
1.2.7. Weather Rule: Umpires shall determine the playability of the field and conditions (which may also including lighting and other environmental perils). They have the sole discretion to call the end of a game if they consider it to be unsafe to start or continue play.
1.2.8. Official Game: Four innings (or three-and-a-half innings should the home team be leading) shall constitute an official game.
If an umpire ends a game due to weather or darkness, the score shall revert to that of the end of the previous inning, subject to the official game rule above. Notwithstanding this rule, if an umpire ends a game due to weather or darkness and the home team is batting and is leading or tied, the score at that moment shall serve as the final score.
1.2.9. Ties: Ties are permitted.
1.2.10. Scorekeeping: Each team shall assign a scorekeeper at each game (typically a parent of one of the players). The team scorekeeper shall keep an accurate written tally of the score for each inning throughout the game, and shall periodically check with the opposing team’s scorekeeper to confirm accuracy. At the end each game the team’s scorekeeper shall confirm the final score with the opposing team’s scorekeeper and report it to their head coach.
The scorekeeper shall also immediately inform their coaches when five runs have been scored in an inning.
1.2.11. Reporting: Each team’s head coach shall report the final score of the game by emailing the result to firstname.lastname@example.org. The email shall clearly indicate the name of the reporting team and the opposing team, as well as the date of the game.
1.3.1. Players: A team must bat every player at a game in successive order. A team may play a game with as few as 7 players and as many as 15 players, however no more than 10 players may be on the field during defensive play. If a team has more than 10 players at a game, the players held out from playing defense during a defensive half inning must play in field the next defensive half inning. No player may sit out a defensive half inning more than twice in a game.
If a team has less than 7 players are the start of a game they shall be given a 15 minute grace period from the official start of the game (i.e. when the umpire calls for the game’s first pitch). If a 7th player registered on the team does not arrive within 15 minutes of the official start of the game then the offending team shall forfeit the game and the game is over. The final score, regardless of the current game score, shall be 7-0 in favour of the non-offending team. If both teams do not have enough players after the grace period then the game shall also end and the final score shall be 7-7. Forfeiture of a game shall be the call of the umpire only in their sole and absolute discretion.
The players that did arrive for the game are encouraged to play or practice anyhow and the umpires shall stay on the field until 7:30PM to help facilitate. However any scoring does at that point shall not be official.
Only players that have been assigned to the team by the Leaside Baseball Association may play.
1.3.2. Late Arrival: Players who arrive late for the game will be added to the roster without penalty, no matter what inning the game is in. Such players shall bat at the bottom of the lineup.
1.3.3. Missed At Bat: If a player, for whatever reason, refuses or is unable to bat, the player may be removed from the game without penalty, and will be allowed to return to the game. Coaches must encourage players to play and may not elect to remove a player from fielding or batting for competitive reasons.
1.3.4. Team Field Changes: Teams should "hustle" on and off the field.
1.4.1. Umpires: Umpires shall operate the pitching machine, determine if a pitched ball is hittable, and call the game to the rules of baseball. No player, coach or observer shall put pressure upon the umpire to influence any judgement call. Those that do may be removed from the game at the discretion of the umpire. Repeat offenders may be removed from the league at the sole discretion of the Leaside Baseball Association.
1.4.2. Appeals: Coaches may ask, in a calm and non-threatening manner, for the umpire making a judgement or rules-based call to consult their umpiring partner for advice. This request may only occur once per game and any decision made by the umpire in any case is final. If there is only one umpire present at a game then no appeals may be made whatsoever.
1.5. Field of Play
1.5.1. Bases: The bases shall be the lessor of 60 feet apart and the distance permitted by the diamond being used to allow all bases to be on the infield (as determined in the sole discretion of the umpires).
1.5.2. Pitching Rubber: The distance to the "pitching rubber", where the pitching machine is located, from home plate shall be 40 to 44 feet in a direct line between second base and home plate, measured from the front edge of the pitching rubber to the tip of home plate where the base lines converge.
1.5.3. Pitching Circle: The pitching circle shall be an 8 foot radius circle around the centre of the pitching rubber measured from the centre of the pitching rubber.
1.5.4. Pitching Line: The pitching line extends 4 feet on each side of the safety circle and runs parallel to the pitching rubber and even with the release point of the pitching machine. Pitchers must stand with both feet on this line until the ball is hit.
1.5.5. Playing Line: The playing line shall be a real or imaginary 40 foot arc, drawn from the tip of home plate between first base and third base. No fielder may cross the playing line until the ball is hit.
1.5.6. Commitment Line: The commitment line is drawn halfway between third base and home plate and runs parallel to the home plate line.
1.5.7. Dead Ball Line: The dead ball line is a straight line extending from the base of the backstop and runs parallel to the 1st or 3rd baselines of the field.
1.5.8. Fair But Foul Line: The fair but foul line shall be a real or imaginary 8 foot arc, drawn from the tip of home plate between first base and third base.
1.6.1. Uniforms: Uniforms shall consist of a league cap, team jersey, baseball pants and socks. A player must be in full uniform to play. Any sweatshirts or turtlenecks must be worn under the player's jersey. No jackets will be permitted while a player is batting, running or playing in the field. Jerseys must be tucked in at all times.
1.6.2. Balls: A white baseball shall be used for all game and practice sessions. Practice sessions may also use whiffle balls for batting practice. For Senior Rookieball as Rawlings 45CC or comparable baseball is used. For Junior Rookieball a Wilson A1217 Soft Compression or comparable baseball is used.
1.6.3. Bats: Metal bats with safety grips are required. Players are permitted to use personal bats provided these bats comply with the Ontario Baseball Association standards and they are made available to other players. Each team is provided a bat for all kids to use.
1.6.4. Batting Helmets: Each team is provided a minimum of three (3) regulation protective batting helmets on its bench prior to starting a game or practice session. Chin-straps are provided with each helmet and must be worn at all times. If the bases are loaded, a team shall borrow a batting helmet from the opposing team. A helmet must be available for all base runners (3), a batter (1). Players may supply a personal batting helmet. This helmet does not have to be shared in the same manner that bats are.
1.6.5. Baseball Gloves: Any type of baseball glove may be used. It is discouraged to wear large softball gloves. Something 10” to 11.5" is fine. Please avoid the plastic/synthetic kinds of gloves that easily break or bend backwards while catching.
1.6.6. Shoes: Shoes with metal cleats and sandals are prohibited. Non-metal cleats are encouraged, however are not required. Running shoes are acceptable. The use of soccer shoes is discouraged but accepted as they are designed for use on grass and most of the running in baseball will be done on sand, clay or gravel infields. Players wearing prohibited footwear will not be allowed to play until such footwear is changed to be acceptable. This is a safety issue.
1.6.7. Athletic Support and Cup: An athletic support and cup are required for all male players. A Jill is required for all female players.
1.6.8. Pitching Machine: The pitching machine will straddle the pitching rubber so the release point is 35 to 40 feet from home plate (or at a distance that allows the pitched ball to cross the plate such that it is hittable by most players). The pitching machine speed will be set at:
The umpires may adjust the speed of the pitching machine at the start of any new inning in order to ensure that the ball is crossing the plate consistently and hittably.
1.6.9. Safety Bag: The first base shall consist of a double bag, with the orange half in foul territory. This is the one the batter runs to after hitting the ball. The fielders use the white half in the fair territory side of the base line to step on when making an out.
1.7. Offensive Play
1.7.1. Dugout: All offensive players must be behind the safety screen waiting their turn to bat. At the coach’s discretion, there may be an on-deck circle. The batter in the on-deck circle is the only offensive player other than the batter permitted to be holding a bat while waiting for their turn to bat. Every effort should be made to speed up the batting process by having the next batter ready.
1.7.2. At Bat: The batter is allowed five (5) pitches from the pitching machine that are, in the sole discretion of the umpire, hittable. Any pitch shall be considered hittable should a batter elect to swing at it. Foul tips don’t warrant an additional pitch unless it is pitch five (5) or greater. There are no walks.
1.7.3. Pitching Machine: If a batted ball hits the pitching machine or any adult in the playing field, then the ball is declared dead and the batter is awarded first base with the corresponding move of any base runners who may be forced to move.
When a thrown ball hits the pitching machine, then the ball is declared dead and each base runner (including the batter-runner) shall advance one base from the time the ball becomes dead.
1.7.4. Hit Batters (when using pitching machine): Hit batters are not awarded first base.
1.7.5. Foul Ball: Any ball hit into fair territory, but dies before reaching the Fair But Foul Line, shall be declared a foul ball by the umpire. The ball must travel to or past the Fair But Foul Line in order to be in fair territory.
1.7.6. Bat Throwing: There will be an imaginary 12 foot circle (6 foot radius from the centre of home plate) surrounding home plate. If a batter throws, slings, or otherwise tosses their bat in the air, completely outside the circle, the batter will receive a warning on the first occasion. On the second occasion the batter will be declared out and no runners will be allowed to advance. If there is a third occasion, the batter will be removed from the game. If a player carries their bat just outside of the circle, there is no penalty. In all cases of bat throwing, it is the responsibility of the coach to assist the player and attempt to correct the situation.
1.7.7. Bunting: Batters are not allowed to bunt, and may not take a half-swing or swinging bunt.
1.7.8. Base Running: Runners must stay in contact with the base until the ball is hit. There is no leading off or base stealing. If the base runner leaves the base before the ball is hit the team is given a single warning and the baserunner must return to the base left before the ball was hit and the batter must hit again. If a base runner on that team leaves the base before the ball is hit again in the same game the baserunner is called out and the batter must hit again.
Once a base runner has crossed the commitment line between third base and home the runner must proceed home. The runner will be called out if they try to return to third base.
Tagging up and running to the next base after a caught fly ball is not stealing.
1.7.9. Overruns: A base runner that overruns another base runner shall be called out. Only the runner doing the overtaking shall be called out. The base runner that was overtaken shall stop at the closest base to them when they were overtaken.
1.7.10. Advancing: Base runner(s) may only advance, at their own risk, until such time as an infielder in or within the baseline holds the ball above his/her head, calls “time”, and does not attempt to put an advancing runner out. At this point, the play stops and all runners will return to the last base touched. If a runner has advanced more than half way to a base, that runner will be allowed to advance to the next base.
Outfielders may not stop advancing baserunners by calling time, even if they are within the infield.
1.7.11. Overthrow: In the event of an overthrow past the dead ball line, runners will be allowed to go directly to the base to which they were already heading. An overthrow to first base or third base stops play and the ball is “dead”. The runner does not automatically advance to the next base unless they were already attempting to do so. If the ball does not go into dead ball territory and the defensive player can recover the ball and beat the runner to first base before they have touched the base, then the runner is out. The same rule applies at third base on a force play.
1.7.12. Contact: When a defensive player is in possession of the ball, it is the obligation of the base runner to avoid contact. If they do make contact they are called out.
When a defensive player does not have possession of the ball, it is obligation of the defensive player to avoid contact. If contact is made in this case and it results, in the sole discretion of the umpire, in the baserunner getting out then the baserunner is not out and is awarded the base they were targeting.
Sliding is not permitted into first base. A base runner sliding into first base will be called out, whether contact is made or not.
1.7.13. Base Runner Substitution: If there are two outs and the player that has been assigned to be catcher for the next inning is on base, a runner may be substituted for that player. The new runner must be the player that was the last out.
1.8. Defensive Play
1.8.1. Positions: Positions should be rotated such that no player is playing a position more than twice in a row, or three times total in a game. Players will play both infield and outfield positions each game. Coaches are strongly encouraged to equalise the defensive playing time in the infield and outfield for all players on their teams. Every player shall play every position at least once during the season. No player may be held out of the game for disciplinary reasons unless approved by the Leaside Baseball Association.
1.8.2. First Base: The defensive player must touch the white half of the first base safety bag or the runner will be called safe. The offensive runner, upon hitting the ball, must touch the orange half of the first base safety bag when running through the base or the runner will be called out. The runner is permitted to touch the white half of the first base safety bag if they are rounding the bag.
1.8.3. Outfielders: Outfielders will start each play at least ten (10) feet behind the baseline. An outfielder may not stop play by calling time and holding the ball in the air.
1.8.4. Pitcher: The players who occupy the position of pitcher must stand beside the pitching machine outside the safety circle and behind the pitching line until the ball is hit. The pitcher(s) must wear a pitcher’s helmet with a face mask while in the field.
If a pitcher moves in front of the pitching line prior to the batter making contact with the ball, the coach will give a reminder and the pitch will not count if the batter does not get a safe hit and base runners will be allowed to go back to their original base.
Should the same fielder do this a second time, the batter will be awarded first base. All other forced runners will advance one (1) base.
1.8.5. Catcher: A catcher is mandatory. Catchers are required to use complete catcher’s gear provided by the league. They are allowed to use any type of glove. The catcher must be wearing a Jock or a Jill to play the catchers position.
1.8.6. Pitched Ball: All pitched balls that are not hit, will be retrieved by the catcher and placed in a location against the backstop. When an at-bat is complete the catcher shall bring the balls to the umpire. This should also be done between each batter to ensure the game moves as quickly as possible.
1.8.7. Stopping Play: The ball is considered dead and play ends when any infielder within the baseline holds the ball above their head, does not attempt to put an advancing runner out and yells “Time”. A base runner may only advance to the next base to which they were proceeding after “Time” is called when the runner was past the halfway mark at the time the infielder raises the ball.
1.8.8. Infield Fly: The infield fly rule does not apply.
1.9. The Season
1.9.1. Regular Season: The regular season runs weekly from the first week of May through to the second-to-last week of June. Depending on the year this may be a seven week or an eight week regular season, notwithstanding rain-outs. Only one rain-out game per team can be made up each season, and that will occur on a Sunday later in the season (so long as it is not the final week of the regular season). For each win a team is awarded two points, and for each tie a team is awarded one point. Standings are based on points percentage (i.e. number of points earned per game played). Tiebreakers in the standings are first determined by least number of game forfeitures, then by head-to-head records, then by the lower number of defensive runs given up per game, then by highest number of offensive runs scored per game, then by coin flip.
1.9.2. Playoffs: The Saturday before the Canada Day long weekend is the Leaside Baseball Rookieball Championship Festival.
The weekday games immediately prior to the Championship Festival serve as a playoffs, with the first team in the standings playing the eighth, the second playing the seventh, the third playing the sixth and the fourth playing the fifth. The winner of each playoff game proceeds to the Championship Festival.
If there are more than eight teams in a division, the remaining teams shall play each other in a consolation format but shall not proceed to the Championship Festival games.
The four playoff game winning teams play in a semi-finals/finals tournament format at the Championship Festival to determine the Leaside Baseball Champion. Teams shall be seeded based on their regular season record.
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