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Umpire's Corner
8U Key Rules

Parents and Coaches.  This age is where it all begins. Please
show good sportsmanship for your team and opponents to
learn from the start.  Have fun and good luck.

  1. All 8U teams must sanction with USSSA. 

  2. All 8U NC USSSA tournaments will be machine pitch or coach pitch depending on what the teams playing choose.  Both machine pitch and coach pitch tournaments will have a pitcher's circle.  The pitcher's circle shall be a circle which is 16 feet in diameter (8-ft. radius) drawn from the mid-point of the front edge of the pitcher's plate.  The player that is playing the pitcher position must be completely in the circle and must be to the left, right or behind the machine or adult during the pitch.

  3. If it is a machine pitch tournament the pitching machine will be set at 32 mph at the plate at a distance of 35 feet. Both coaches must agree on the set-up of the machine prior to the start of the game.  Once the game begins, only the umpire may give permission for adjustments to be made to the machine.  If the machine starts to throw consistently bad, the coaches may adjust the machine at that moment for their batters.  We are here for the kids and we will not penalize any batter if the machine needs to be adjusted.  When it is a machine pitch tournament and the batter swings at a bad pitch it will be called a strike, otherwise it will be up to the umpire whether a "no pitch" will be called.  If it is a coach pitch tournament and the adult pitching throws a bad pitch, it will count as one of the 5 pitches to the batter.      

  4. A coach or an adult will feed the machine or pitch to their batters from the 35' pitching rubber. 

  5. Each batter must wear a helmet with a face mask. 

  6. Each team may have an unlimited number of players on the roster. Coaches may bat all of their players or may only choose to bat their starters.  If a team bats a continuous line-up and a player gets injured or sick, the coach may remove her from the batting order with no penalty as long as they can still bat at least 10 players.  Any player ejected from the game will result in an out when that spot in the line-up comes up, unless there is a substitute player available to go in that spot. 

  7. Each team will get 3 outs or 10 batters per half inning.

  8. Each batter will get 5 pitches or 3 swings.  If the batter fouls the last pitch they will receive another pitch and will continue to bat as long as they make some contact with the ball.  There will not be any intentional walks to any batter during the game.  If the batter bunts the last pitch foul then they will be out the same as bunting the 3rd strike foul. 

  9. The defense will consist of 10 players, to include 4 outfielders. One player, as the defensive pitcher, will be placed to the right or left of the pitching machine within a normal distance and must be behind the front of the pitching machine at the time the coach releases the pitch.  There will be one player as catcher and the others in regular defensive positions.  The outfielders must play on the grass or a minimum of 12 feet behind the base paths.  A team may play with as few as 8 players, but all infield positions including pitcher and catcher must be filled prior to filling any outfield positions.  If a team plays with less than 10 players, then an out for each spot in the line-up will be charged when these spots are due to bat.

  10. Time will be called only by the umpire when the lead runner is stopped or the runner abandons their effort to advance.  Bringing the ball to the pitcher's mound, home plate, or a player calling time does not constitute time.  If the defense makes a play on any other runner, then the lead runner is free to run.  This will be up to the judgment of the umpire. 

  11. There will be no stealing, and runners may leave the base when the ball reaches the plate.

  12. Bunting is allowed, but for the safety of all players if the batter shows bunt, they can only bunt or pull back.  The batter will not be allowed to show bunt then pull back to slap or hit away.

  13. All defensive players (including the pitcher) must stay behind the machine until the ball is released out of the pitching machine. 

  14. If a batted ball hits any part of the pitching machine, cord, or coach, it will be declared dead and the batter will be awarded 1st base and any other runners will advance one base only if forced.

  15. In the event of an overthrow at first base, a runner may advance only one base with the risk of being thrown out at second base.  If the defensive team makes an attempt to throw the runner out at second base, the play opens up and runners may advance until stopped or the runner(s) score.  The throw to first base may come from an outfielder.  If the overthrow at first is the second part of a double play, then the overthrow at first is treated as the second part of the double play and the play becomes open, thus allowing the runner(s) to continue at their own risk.  This rule applies to overthrows at first base.  All other overthrows at any other base are the same as older age divisions. 

  16. The rulebook will govern overthrows that go into dead ball areas, which is the base they are going to plus one at the time of the throw.

  17. Each game will be a time limit or 6 innings, whichever comes first. The run rule for 8U is 12 runs after 3 innings, 10 runs after 4 innings, or 8 runs after 5 innings.

  18. If a thrown ball hits the pitching machine, the ball will remain a live ball unless the umpire has called time.  The pitching machine, when hit by a thrown ball, is considered part of the umpire and is governed by the rulebook.

  19. The umpire will also call time or dead ball when it is a safety concern such as the ball coming to rest under or near the pitching machine where it is dangerous to retrieve.

  20. To help speed the game along, if a coach from the defensive team chooses to stand behind their catcher to retrieve past balls, they may do so.  If they choose to do so NO coaching will be done from this position. 

  21. In the judgment of the umpire if a runner leaves the base before the ball reaches the plate, the runner will be sent back to the base and "no pitch" will be called.  A team warning will be issued to the whole team and any runners leaving the base early, in the umpire's judgment, the rest of that game the umpire will call "no pitch" and the runner will be called out.  

  22. This age group is designed to help the players learn the game and also have fun.  Therefore, each batter will receive their turn at bat and NO intentional walks will be given during their time at bat. 

  23. When the lead runner has been stopped and the umpire has called time, if the trailing runners have not passed the half-way line between the bases, they must return to the prior base touched.

  24. There is no infield fly.

  25. When a runner retreats to a base with the ball on the infield, time will be called unless a play is being made on a runner. 

  26. Two officials will be used.