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Western Springs Little League Baseball & Softball


Minor League Player Pitch Softball (3rd, 4th and 5th grade)

League Philosophy:

Our Player Pitch Level is divided into two Divisions (Majors and Minors). The Minors Division is for 3rd,4th and 5th grade players who are still developing the skills of the game. All coaches and parents should remember that the primary objectives are to teach the children how to play the game, to develop their softball skills, to instill a sense of teamwork, and to create an environment that allows them to enjoy the game.

Sportsmanship and respect for others is essential. Any coach, parent, fan or player behaving in a hostile or threatening manner towards another coach, player, fan or umpire shall be brought to the attention of the Board of Directors, which may respond with the appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including expulsion from the league.

All little league playing rules apply, except where modified here.

Safety:  At minimum, pitcher, first and third base position must wear a protective face mask.  More are encouraged.

Catcher’s are required to wear full protective gear including catcher’s helmet, chest protection and chin guards.  Any player warming up pitcher between innings must wear at least a catcher’s helmet

Batters must wear a batting helmet with a protective face guard

Game Length: 6 innings or 1 hour 40 minutes, finish the inning.  No new inning shall start after 1 hour and 40 minutes. A new inning officially starts once the 3rd out is recorded at the bottom of the previous inning.  In the event of a tie after regulations, extra innings may be played but are still subject to the maximum time limit above. Play-off games are played to full completion and until a winner is determined.

Keeping Score: Bench coaches should confirm runs scored at the end of each inning.  The final score should be reported by the home team via email to the league General Manager and will be posted online.  If there is a discrepancy on a score that has been posted, please raise that to opposing coach and General Manager via email.

Ball Size: Each team has been supplied a bucket of correctly sized softballs for practice.  This level uses the 11inch Little League approved yellow softballs.

Field Size: Base path shall be set at 60ft.

Pitching Rubber distance shall be 35ft. 

Minimum Players: For league play, teams must field 8 players for the game to count.  Playing with less than 8 players constitutes a forfeit but coaches are encouraged to play the game regardless.  During playoff games only, an “out” shall be taken for teams fielding less than 9 players in the batting order.

Batting Lineup: All players shall be included in the batting line up, and teams shall use a continuous batting order. Coaches are encouraged to rotate the line up throughout the season so that players have the experience of batting in different spots in the order. There is no limit to the number of batters per inning.

Maximum of 5 runs per half inning (3 runs maximum for the leading team if leading by more than 10 runs).

Defensive Positions: 9 Players in normal positions on defense, including a Catcher.  Each player must play a minimum of ½ the game on defense (more is encouraged). Players are only allowed to play the same position for 2 innings in a row. No player shall sit for 2 innings in a row.

Players must fill all other normal fielding positions and are not allowed to shift or overload their defense based on the hitter.

Infielders must start no closer to the batter than the base path.

Outfielders must start in the outfield which is defined as both feet in the grass.

Coaches are NOT allowed on the field while their team is on defense.  1 Coach is allowed to be 1-2 steps from the dugout is acceptable but coaching between plays should be limited so as not to cause a delay. 

Dugout Rule: All players and team equipment MUST be kept in the dugout during the game.  At no time should the field of play, including the foul area, have equipment, bats, balls, etc.  This is a safety-first rule and should be always adhered to.  Be mindful of the play on the field as foul balls and thrown bats occur from time to time. 

On Deck Circle:  There will be no one allowed in an on deck circle warming up prior to hitting.  This is a Little League safety rule and must be followed.

Playing the game:

Pitching Rules: Players shall pitch in all 6 innings. Coaches shall never start any at bats as Pitchers.

No Player may pitch more than 2 inning per game in the Regular Season. In the Play-offs, a player may pitch up to 3 innings per game. Keep in mind, 1 pitch in an inning counts as an inning. Once a player is replaced from pitching, they cannot return as a pitcher in the same game.  Coaches must emphasize the “Spirit of the Game” when deciding positions. 

Pitchers should observe the little league rules of pitching with at least one foot on the rubber.  At no time will it be allowed for a player to begin a pitch without at least one foot on the rubber.  It is a Little League safety rule to not allow players pitching in front of mound.

For the first 8 games, the division will adhere to the coach pitch rules outlined below. 

For the remaining regular season games and playoffs, the division will move to an entirely player pitched format, calling balls and strikes.  Players may walk during the player only pitching games.

Coach Pitch Rule: A Player pitches until the batter either (1) puts the ball in play, (2) strikes out (either by swinging or called), or (3) four balls are called. (4) If a Pitcher hits a batter with a pitch, the batter is awarded first base.  Other than HBP, no walks are issued. If the count reaches four balls, a coach steps in and delivers 5 pitches.  When the Coach steps in, the count resets to 0-0.  Coaches will pitch from within the conceptual circle of the mound or 2-3 steps in front of the pitching rubber.  The Coach delivers a maximum of 5 pitches (or more if the batter fouls off the last pitch. An at bat cannot end on a foul ball unless caught) or a total of 3 swings by the batter, whichever occurs first. Once the maximum coach pitches has been reached, the batter is out if they have not put the ball in play by then.

When a Coach is pitching, the defensive pitcher must occupy the pitchers circle (within a couple steps of the mound). She cannot be a rover infielder and should not be any closer to the plate that the pitchers mound extended.

No Bunts: Players may NOT square to bunt.  Encourage your players to swing the bat, they are going to see a lot of good pitches to hit. If a “swinging bunt” occurs, it is played as normal, if in fair territory.

Lead-Offs are NOT allowed: Baserunners may not leave base until the ball crosses the plate.


For the first 8 games, stealing is NOT allowed.  This rule is meant to encourage more situational awareness and the keep the force outs in play

For the remaining regular season games and playoffs, Stealing is allowed ONLY from 1st to 2nd, and from 2nd to 3rd.  Stealing of home plate is NOT allowed, even on a wild pitch/passed ball. A runner at third may only advance on a ball put in play by a hit or bases loaded ball 4 walk. Any player that leaves a base is at risk of being tagged out.

You may only steal a total of 4 bases per inning

No Dropped 3rd Strike – The batter is out after three strikes regardless of whether the catchers catches the ball or not.


In Play – Runners may attempt to advance on an overthrow that remains in play, at their own risk. The defense is encouraged to hustle to retrieve the ball and can still make a play on a runner trying to advance.  Any runner that leaves a base (even momentarily) as a move to advance is subject to being tagged out.

Out of Play – runners may advance ONLY ONE BASE on an overthrow that goes out of play (over or beyond the fence line).

Overthrows from an outfielder to an infielder or from a catcher to a pitcher are not considered “overthrows”, and runners may advance at their own risk.

Runner for your Catcher: With 2 outs (and only once there are 2 outs), if the planned catcher for the next inning is on base, the coach MUST use a courtesy runner, who shall be the player who made the last out.  This is a “speed up rule” so that the catcher is prepared with gear on for the next half inning.

Umpires: There is never a good reason to argue with an Umpire.  Managers, coaches, players, parents or other fans should never argue with an umpire or make any derogatory comments in regards to the umpire’s performance.  As a manager you must demonstrate respect to the umpires. Umpires calls are final.

Umpires will get calls incorrect; consider it part of the game.

Strike Zone: The Strike zone is the shoulders to the knees in height, and 1 ball on either side of the plate in width.

Player Safety

“Must Avoid Contact” Rule:

Any runner is out when the runner does not slide or attempt to avoid a fielder who has the ball and is waiting to make a tag. This rule is often misinterpreted as a “must slide rule”. The purpose of the rule is to prevent collisions and injuries.  The runner does not have to slide, they have 3 choices: (1) slide, (2) go around the fielder while still staying within the base path, or (3) retreat to the previous base.

Also remember a fielder without the ball has no right to block the base path. On a thrown ball, the runner has the right of way. This does not give the runner the right to charge into or violently collide with a fielder.  Unsportsmanlike conduct covers this action. On a play at the plate, catchers should be taught to defend the inside of the diamond, while allowing a clear path to the base.

No Headfirst Sliding: A runner may not slide headfirst into a base on a dead run.  They may dive back into a base if they are nearby.  “Diving” is defined from a stationary or a position relatively close to the base.

Spirit of Play:

  1. All players should get an opportunity to play both infield and outfield positions
  2. All players should get an opportunity to bat in different positions in the batting order.  At the end of the season, the number of plate appearances should be equal for all players.
  3. This is an ALL-INCLUSIVE league. Everyone pays the same registration fee
  4. Every team makes the play-offs. There is no regular season champion
  5. During the Play-offs, it becomes more acceptable to shorten your pitching rotation and place players in the batting order and at fielding positions that will best help the team be more competitive, while still meeting the minimum play requirements.
  6. While rotating players into different defensive positions is a rule, do not put a player in a position to where there is a high likelihood of getting hurt. 

These rules are meant to serve as guidelines for the league.  There are endless scenarios that will challenge interpretations that cannot be explicit covered in the summary.  At the end of the day, common sense, safety and sportsmanship should prevail on all issues. These rules are not meant to be argued to make a play go your way. Disagreements can be discussed between Head Coaches and conducted in a reasonable manner. Coaches cannot overturn a judgment call by an Umpire.  At any point during the season, the WSLL Board reserves the right to alter, add or eliminate certain rules that it determines will better serve the league.

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