NFHS Baseball Rules Revisions
Including Interpretations: 2007-2014

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Rules Revisions 1999 - 2006
2013 Revisions | 2012 Revisions | 2011 Revisions | 2010 Revisions | 2009 Revisions | 2008 Revisions | 2007 Revisions

NOTE: The change in the 3rd to 1st MLB balk rule from the rubber does NOT apply to the NFHS.

Warning about the Inherent Dangers of Baseball

 Student athletes and parents should be aware that Baseball, like all sports, will always have inherent dangers. Death or catastrophic injury can result from participation in this sport, and care should be taken by all concerned to minimize such dangers through the use of appropriate equipment, proper training methods and common sense. Although rare, death or catastrophic injury resulting in paralysisis is possible from participation in this sport. In the event of an incident of this magnitude and after a conference call between NFHS officials and effected and interested parties there may be grounds for rule changes put in place for the purpose of the safety of the student atheletes invoved in the game. Care should be taken by all concerned.........The NFHS encourages student athletes in all sports, and their parents, to discuss risks and risk minimization with coaches, school administrators and state high school association officials.
Baseball is the fourth-most popular sport for boys at the high school level, according to the 2011-12 NFHS Athletics Participation Survey, with 474,219 participants nationwide. The sport ranks third in school sponsorship with 15,838 schools offering the sport.

Baseball Field Layout

NFHS 2014 Baseball Rules Changes

6-1-3 ART. 3 . . . For the set position the pitcher shall have the ball in either his gloved hand or pitching hand. His pitching hand shall be down at his side or behind his back. Before starting the delivery, he shall stand with his entire non-pivot foot in front of a line extending through the front edge of the pitcher’s plate and with his entire pivot foot in contact with or directly in front of and parallel to the pitcher’s plate…any other infielder.
Rationale: To eliminate any confusion or circumvention of the set position pitching rule by a pitcher or coach. Also, to emphasize the pivot foot requirement to be in a legal set position.

7-3-5c ART. 5 . . .Interfere with the catcher’s fielding or throwing by:
a. Unchanged language.
b. Unchanged language.
c. Making any other movement, including backswing interference, which hinders action at home plate or the catcher’s attempt to play on a runner, or
d. Unchanged language.
Rationale: Current rule does not address this specific type of interference.

POINTS OF EMPHASIS

1. Malicious Contact
2. Coaching Attire
3. Umpire Authority and Enforcement

Baseball Rules Committee Addresses Batter Interference with Catcher

Changes to high school baseball rules will include an additional example of how a batter can interfere with the catcher’s ability to field or throw. This year’s rules changes were approved by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Baseball Rules Committee at its June 2-4 meeting in Indianapolis. The rules changes were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

The committee voted to added “including backswing interference” to Rule 7-3-5c to address that specific type of batter interference. The rule now reads, “A batter shall not interfere with the catcher’s fielding or throwing by making any other movement, including backswing interference, which hinders action at home plate or the catcher’s attempt to play on a runner.

The committee also revised Rule 6-1-3 to state that the pitcher’s entire pivot foot must be in contact with or directly in front of and parallel to the pitcher’s plate.

The committee also established several points of emphasis for the 2014 season, including malicious contact, coaching attire and umpire authority and enforcement.

“These are topics that I get calls and e-mails about during the course of a season,” Hopkins said. “I share those with the committee and if they are seeing the same types of problems, then the red flag goes up.”

Contact or a collision is considered to be malicious if:

The contact is the result of intentional excessive force;

The contact occurs close to the bag or home plate or above the waist of the receiving player; or

There was intent to injure.

Malicious contact can occur without these conditions if determined by the umpire, but these provide a starting point.

Even with cutbacks for uniform funds, coaches should still be dressed in a similar fashion to the players as a means of helping umpires recognize members of the coaching staff.

The final point of emphasis deals with umpires’ authority. The committee noted that coaches must set the example of appropriate behavior so the team and its fans can follow.

Disputing the umpire’s calls, failing to comply with an umpire’s command, exaggerating the time for offensive conferences, gamesmanship and challenging the umpire’s authority cannot be tolerated, the committee stated. “We want coaches to be role models for civility,” Hopkins said. “The umpire has to make a final decision and the coach has to handle it with class and character.”

2014 NFHS Baseball Rules Interpretations

SITUATION 1: With the bases empty, the batter’s backswing causes his bat to contact the catcher, thereby dislodging the baseball from the catcher. RULING: Since there was no play that could be made, there is no interference. Play will continue. (7-3-5c)

SITUATION 2: With the runner from third attempting to steal home, the batter swings and misses and his backswing contacts the catcher, causing him to drop the ball. The action occurs with a) one out or b) two outs. RULING: This is backswing interference. In a), the runner from third is out; in b), the batter is out. (7-3-5c Penalty)

SITUATION 3: R1 on first base gets a great jump on the pitcher's move and is sliding into second base when B2 swings and misses the pitch for strike three. B2's follow-through strikes the catcher. RULING: B2 is declared out for his interference and R1 is returned to first base. (7-3-5c Penalty)

SITUATION 4: R1 on first base attempts to steal second base and is about halfway to second when B2 swings and misses the pitch for strike three. B2's follow-through strikes the catcher causing him to drop the baseball. RULING: B2 is guilty of interference. Since the pitch was a third strike and B2's interference prevented a possible double play, both B2 and R1 are declared out. (7-3-5c Penalty)

SITUATION 5: The pitcher places his pivot foot on the pitching plate with the toe of the pivot foot in front of a line through the front edge of the plate and the heel of his pivot foot behind the back edge. His non-pivot foot is in front of the line extending through the front edge of the pitching plate. The pitcher attempted to pick-off the runner at second base. RULING: This is an illegal pitching position. When the pitcher moved in his pick-off attempt, he made an illegal pitch and a balk would be enforced. (6-1-2 Penalty)

SITUATION 6: The pitcher places his entire pivot foot on top of and parallel to the pitching plate. No part of his pivot foot is on or in front of the front edge of the pitching plate. His entire non-pivot foot is in a line with the pivot foot, on top of the pitching plate with no part of the non-pivot on or in front of the line of the front edge of the pitching plate. RULING: While this appears to be an unusual and a non-functional pitching stance, it is a legal wind-up position. (6-1-2)

SITUATION 7: The pitcher places his non-pivot foot on top of the pitching plate at a 45-degree angle with one-third of his pivot foot in front of the front edge of the pitching plate and the heel of his pivot foot behind the back edge of the pitching plate. His non-pivot foot is entirely in front of the front edge of the pitching plate. Without making any other movement, the pitcher places his pivot foot entirely behind the pitching plate. RULING: The pitcher initially assumed an illegal pitching position. Since he made no other movement, he is allowed to step back off of the pitching plate with his pivot foot and correct his illegal position. (6-1-2, 3)

SITUATION 8: The head coach appears at the game dressed in sweatpants and a sweatshirt. This combination is not an approved team uniform for a coach by the state association. RULING: The coach is restricted to the dugout for the balance of the game. He may coach his team from the dugout and provide instruction to his players. (3-2-1)

SITUATION 9: The home plate umpire, while positioned to make a call on a runner attempting to score, is hit by the ball in the mouth. His uniform shirt and pants become soaked with blood. RULING: The NFHS Sports Medicine Advisory Committee re-affirmed that if blood is on an umpire’s uniform, he will need to have it cleaned with the proper solution by a trainer, or change his uniform/ gear. If he is unable to do so and he does not have spare clothing, and his partner does not have any gear or uniform pieces that will fit, it is permissible to wear what is needed to be able to finish the game. (3-1-6)

SITUATION 10: With runners on third and first, the pitcher legally steps and feints to third and then legally turns and picks off the runner at first base. RULING: Provided all the aspects of the pick-off moves are legal, the out will stand. The “31” move is legal in high school baseball. (6-2-4)

SITUATION 11: As the head coach moves to the pitching mound for a defensive conference, he tosses a baseball to his third baseman and has him take warm-up throws with another player to get ready to pitch. RULING: A team cannot have a fielder, in the game, throw a baseball for the purpose of warming up as a pitcher, during a defensive conference or a pitching change. If a team desires to warm up a player in the game to prepare him to pitch, it would need to take him out of the game to warm up and then later re-enter him under the substitution rule. (3-4-1)

SITUATION 12: The visiting team has developed an orchestrated team action to cheer on a teammate to get a rally going. The action consists of a rhythmic series of hand claps and foot stomps. RULING: As long as the action is within the spirit of fair play, and not intended to induce a balk, create a distraction for the opposing team or intimidate/demean them, this action is acceptable. There have been some instances where a team, for example, begins to pound bats in the dugout only when the opposing pitcher begins to deliver a pitch. That action is clearly intended to gain an advantage and is not to be allowed. (3-3-1)

SITUATION 13: The home team has scheduled a game against Team A followed by a game against Team B. During the first game, a soft mist fell and the plate umpire believes he has the responsibility to determine if the field conditions are suitable for the second game. RULING: While the home team has scheduled two games on the same day, this should not be considered a doubleheader (two games between the same teams during the same day). The home coach has the responsibility to determine whether the grounds and other conditions are suitable for starting the game against Team B. (4-1-1)

SITUATION 14: In the fifth inning, the starting pitcher is removed for the first time in the game and goes to the bench. In the seventh inning, the original starting pitcher is re-entered to face the last batter. The opposing coach argues that the player cannot return to pitch, saying “once removed, he cannot come back to pitch.” RULING: If a starting pitcher was removed to the bench, he may return to pitch in a game provided a) he has re-entry eligibility; b) he faced the first batter of the game, or faced the first batter as a relief pitcher until that batter was on base or out or the third out of the inning occurred; c) his departure was not due to a violation of the defensive charged conference rule (fourth defensive conference in a seven-inning game); and d) his relief did not take more than eight warm-up throws. If those conditions are met, a pitcher may return to the mound. If a pitcher is removed and goes to another defensive position, he may be removed and return to pitch once an inning, provided the above requirements are met. (3-1-2, 3; 3-4-1 Penalty)

SITUATION 15: One of the players for the visiting team has beads in his hair. The home coach complains to the plate umpire that this is jewelry and the player may not participate in the game. RULING: Hair styles are as varied as players. One is not preferred over another with regard to baseball rules. A player with cornrows is as compliant as one with a flattop. Beads that are in the cornrows are considered to be a “hair adornment,” not jewelry. High school baseball rules have not concerned themselves with players’ hair styles or adornment. The beads are legal and the player may participate. (1-5-12)

SITUATION 16: Following a home run, the catcher picks up the bat, shakes it and hands it to the home plate umpire stating that the bat rattles. The home plate umpire verifies that the bat does rattle. The defensive coach wants the bat declared to be illegal and the appropriate penalties imposed. RULING: Per Rule 1-3-2a-3, “Each legal wood, aluminum or composite bat shall be free of rattles, dents, burrs, cracks and sharp edges.” A bat that has a rattle is an illegal bat. A player who uses one is subject to Rule 7-4-1 and his head coach will be subject to Rule 4-1-3b. The batter would be out and the head coach restricted/ejected. If the plate umpire did not notice the bat having a rattle prior to the at-bat, it should be assumed that the bat became illegal during the contact with the pitch and should not impose the penalties. The home run will count and the bat will be removed from further use in the game. (1-3-2-2a-3; 4-1-3b; 7-4-1)

SITUATION 17: The starting pitcher comes to the mound to take his warm-up throws to start the game. He is wearing a compression sleeve only on his throwing arm. The opposing coach demands that the sleeve be taken off before the pitcher may pitch. RULING: A pitcher may wear a compression or medical sleeve on one or both arms that is any color, including one that is white or gray, provided it does not extend below the elbow. A doctor’s signed permission slip is not required. If the pitcher wears a sleeve that extends below the elbow, it can be worn on either arm, provided it is not white or gray or have white/gray on it. It also cannot be of a color or color combination that would be deemed distracting by the plate umpire. (1-4-2; 6-2-1i)

SITUATION 18: B1 hits a home with an illegal bat. The bat was left not far from the plate area. B2 has taken his position in the batter's box and has received the first pitch for a ball. The plate umpire, noticing the bat used in the home run, walks over to get it back to the respective team's dugout. When he picks it up, he notices it is one of the bats that has been decertified by the NFHS. RULING: Since a pitch has been thrown to the next batter, B1's home run stands. B1's head coach, however, is still restricted to the dugout for his use of the illegal bat. (7-4-1a; 4-1-3b Penalty)

SITUATION 19: F7 makes a diving catch. As he slides over the line designating dead-ball territory, his feet remain in live-ball territory. Is the ball dead? RULING: The ball remains live and in play. F7 must be entirely in dead-ball territory before the ball shall be declared dead. As long as any part of F7's body is touching the designated dead-ball line, the ball remains live. (5-1-1i)

SITUATION 20: In the second inning, the field umpire ejects the first baseman of Team A from the game for objecting to a call. In the seventh inning, one of Team A’s players is injured, leaving it with only eight eligible players. The coach of Team A appeals to both umpires to allow his team’s ejected player to re-enter. RULING: The player may not be allowed to re-enter the game. An ejection is not retractable. (10-1-6)

SITUATION 21: As the home team prepares to take the field on defense, F2 pulls on his one-piece catcher’s mask/helmet as he sets up in the catcher’s box. Both the offensive team and umpire-in-chief notice that the catcher’s mask/helmet is one of the new ACME shiny-chrome, reflective-paint models. RULING: The umpire-in-chief instructs F2 to put on a compliant catcher’s mask/helmet, the outer cover of which shall have a non-glare surface. F2 explains that there is no other mask available; however, adding dull/matte black tape over the helmet would make the helmet less reflective, which would meet the criteria of the rule. There would be no penalty unless F2 does not comply with the umpire’s direction, then he would be ejected from the contest. (1-5-5)

SITUATION 22: R1 leads off the inning wearing a highly polished reflective batting helmet. The opposing coach inquires as to the legality of R1 wearing such a helmet as it would be distracting to his pitcher and the infielders. R1 and his coach explain that, a) the helmet meets the current NOCSAE performance standard for batting helmets; b) there is no rule prohibiting such product for use; and c) the player has a right to own and use the helmet when there is no rule preventing such use. RULING: The umpire explains that the use of such helmet presents a risk minimization issue for the team playing defense. The bright reflection of the sun off the helmet poses a dangerous situation for the defense. In a) and b), the fact that the helmet meets the NOCSAE performance standard for batting helmets is admirable and is compliant to NOCSAE standards; unfortunately, it is judged by the umpire to be unreasonably dangerous and is illegal for use. There are several rules references prohibiting the use of such equipment. (1-5-9,10) Regarding c), the player does have the right to own and use the helmet, just not for high school baseball competition. COMMENT: If the offensive team would like to use the batting helmet, it could make it less reflective by adding dull/matte black tape over the helmet in order to meet the intent of the rule.

Publisher’s Note: The National Federation of State High School Associations is the only source of official high school interpretations. They do not set aside nor modify any rule. They are made and published by the NFHS in response to situations presented.
Robert B. Gardner, Publisher, NFHS Publications © 2014

NFHS 2013 Baseball Rules Changes

1-3-2 NOTE: Clarifies and places additional emphasis on the importance and legal repercussions of altering non-wood baseball bats.

3-3-1f: Restricts the use of any video monitoring or replay equipment for coaching purposes during the course of the game.

3-3-1i: Restricts the use of any electronic devices in the coach's box.

6-2-2c Exception: Clarifies that an incoming pitcher be treated equally. If a pitcher is ejected, an incoming pitcher should be afforded the same warm-up criteria as if he were replacing an injured player.

POINTS OF EMPHASIS

1. Pace of Play
2. Compliant Bats
3. Pitcher's Stance
4. Risk Minimization
5. Good Sporting Behavior

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (July 19, 2012) — New language has been added to the high school baseball rules to re-emphasize that non-wood bats cannot be altered.
This additional note in Rule 1-3-2 was one of four rules changes approved by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Baseball Rules Committee at its June 3-5 meeting in Indianapolis. All rules changes were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

The new note in Rule 1-3-2 is as follows: “The NFHS has been advised that certain manufacturers consider alteration, modification and ‘doctoring’ of their bats to be unlawful and subject to civil and, under certain circumstances, criminal action.” “Not only is it a violation of NFHS baseball rules to alter a non-wood bat, this new language emphasizes that an individual could be subjected to a civil or criminal lawsuit for tampering with a bat,” said Elliot Hopkins, NFHS director of sports and educational services and staff liaison to the NFHS Baseball Rules Committee.

Two other changes deal with the use of new technology. Rule 3-3-1f prohibits the use of video monitoring equipment for coaching purposes during the game, and Rule 3-3-1i prohibits the use of any electronic devices in the coach’s box.
“Technology has improved to the level that mobile devices can accurately video different aspects of the game, which provides an unfair advantage to a coach by replaying the footage in the dugout during the contest,” Hopkins said. “The committee also agreed that there was no reason to have any electronic devices in the coach's box.”

The final change approved by the Baseball Rules Committee deals with the warm-up criteria for a pitcher who replaces an ejected player during an inning. If a pitcher is ejected, an incoming pitcher will be afforded the same warm-up criteria as a replacement for an injured player.
Under normal circumstances, a relief pitcher is allowed eight warm-up throws; however, the umpire may allow additional pitches because of an injury, ejection or inclement weather.

Decertification of 32-inch Reebok Vector TLS Non-Wood Baseball Bat

8/12/12 - Please be advised that the BBCOR decertification process has been implemented for the Reebok Vector TLS 32-inch model.
Effective immediately and until further notice, this bat (Reebok Vector TLS 32 length) should be considered a non-compliant bat and subject to NFHS Baseball Rules 4-1-3b and 7-4-1a.

NFHS 2012 Baseball Rules Changes

NFHS 2011 Composite Bat Lists are no longer needed.  All bats must be BBCOR certified and stamped.
The two exceptions which are stamped are the
Reebok Vector-TLS bat, 33 inch only and the Marucci CAT5 33-inch model, which have both been decertified.
See photos of the Vector-TLS and the Marrucci CAT5.

High School Baseball Rules Changes Emphasize Responsibility of Coaches 

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (July 6, 2011) — Rules changes approved by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Baseball Rules Committee will place more responsibility on coaches for rules-compliant player equipment, effective with the 2012 high school baseball season.

At its June 5-7 meeting in Indianapolis, the committee also took steps to define a new tamper-evident protocol for non-wood bats. All changes were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

Prior to the start of each game, each head coach must now verify to the umpire in-chief that all participants are legally equipped and equipment is in accordance with NFHS rules. Such rules include “compliant bats that are unaltered from the manufacturer’s original design and production and helmets that are free of cracks and damage.”

Another rule was added to address unsportsmanlike conduct toward umpires after a game has ended and after the umpires have departed the game site. It calls for state associations to determine appropriate action when dealing with these situations.

In addition, umpires no longer will be required to perform pregame equipment checks, as that responsibility will fall to coaches beginning next year. Coaches can still ask umpires at the pregame conference to confirm that equipment is compliant.

“The committee is placing a great importance on increased coach responsibility,” said Elliot Hopkins, NFHS assistant director and liaison to the Baseball Rules Committee. “It is one of our top priorities.”

Prior to the June 2012 meeting of the Baseball Rules Committee, the NFHS will work with appropriate parties to research and develop a baseball bat tamper-evident protocol for non-wood bats and present the recommendations to the committee for its consideration. The goal for implementation is for non-wood bats manufactured after January 1, 2015.

“Bat tampering is illegal and a major problem in high schools,” Hopkins said. “Everyone is looking for a competitive edge. With this note, we want to make sure that the state associations, coaches, teams and the public are aware that we are committed to minimizing any risk for players with bat tampering.”

In addition, a minor change to Rule 1-3-5 states that “No artificial or intentional means shall be used to control the temperature of the bat,” based on scientific research that altering the bat damages the bat and poses an unnecessary risk of injury.

Changes to Rules 1-5-8 and 3-1-6 deal with players’ equipment on the field. State associations may now authorize exceptions to NFHS rules to provide “reasonable accommodations to individual participants with disabilities and/or special needs and unique and extenuating circumstances,” so long as they do not fundamentally interfere with the sport. Players and coaches must also clean or remove “any” (formerly “excessive”) amount of blood from a uniform or piece of equipment before being allowed back into the game.

Other rules changes approved by the committee include:

2012 NFHS Baseball Rules Interpretations

SITUATION 1: B1 walks to the batter’s box with a bat that has (a) a BBCOR certification mark on the barrel; (b) both a BBCOR and a BESR certification mark on the barrel; or (c) only a BESR certification mark on the barrel. RULING: In both (a) and (b), the bat is legal and may be used. In (c), a bat without a BBCOR certification is an illegal bat. Had B1 entered the batter’s box with this bat, he would be declared out. (1-3-2d, 7-4-1a)

SITUATION 2: B1 enters the batter’s box with a bat that has a BBCOR certification mark that measures 1¼ inch by ½ inch. The catcher sees that the certification mark does not meet the rule book requirement and wants the bat declared illegal. RULING: The bat is legal. While the certification mark is not 1 inch-by-1 inch, the key point is that the bat is a legal BBCOR bat and does have a certification mark. B1 may use the bat. (1-3-2d)

SITUATION 3: It is a cold, blustery day and the plate umpire looks into the home team’s dugout and observes two players warming their bats over a space heater. RULING: The plate umpire shall inform the head coach that the two bats in question are now illegal because of the use of the space heater and cannot be used for the remainder of the game.  (1-3-5)

SITUATION 4: The home team’s third baseman takes his position on the infield. The visiting team’s head coach notices his glove and protests to the plate umpire that the glove is illegal. The home team’s head coach comes out and voices his belief that the glove is legal for play. RULING: The umpire-in-chief shall rule on the legality of the glove. Any questions regarding the legal use of a player’s equipment shall be resolved by the umpire-in-chief. (1-5-10)

SITUATION 5: As the catcher is receiving warm-up throws from the pitcher, the plate umpire notices that he has some blood on his jersey. The catcher’s coach argues that the amount of blood is insignificant. RULING: If there is any amount of blood on the uniform, it shall be changed or cleaned before that individual participates again. (3-1-6)

SITUATION 6: The second baseman has a cut on his arm and some blood has soaked into his jersey. The team does not have a means to clean the uniform and the player does not have a backup jersey with him. RULING: The player must change the jersey before he can participate again. He may borrow another player’s jersey (and inform the opposing team of the number change), use a jersey from a player on the junior varsity or freshman team, or even obtain a T-shirt and place his jersey number on it. While the player must change to another jersey, he does not have to wear the identical style uniform he had to start the game. (3-1-6)

SITUATION 7: S1 has been in the game for several innings, playing for the shortstop. On a play at second, he scrapes his knee and there is some blood on his uniform pants. The team does not have another pair of pants that he may use and has no means to clean them. RULING: S1 must change or clean the pants before he may participate again in the game. Since he must leave the game, and the re-entry rule applies, S1 cannot return. (3-1-6, 3-1-3)

SITUATION 8: U1 and U2 have just cleared the confines of the field with the game having ended, and look back to the field to see several players and coaches engaged in a shoving confrontation. RULING: While their jurisdiction over the contest ended when they left the playing field at the conclusion of the game, both officials retain authority to provide a report on what they observed to their state association. (10-1-2)

SITUATION 9: It was a close, tumultuous, emotion-filled rivalry game between two competitively close teams. The game ended on a controversial play at the plate with the home team losing by one run. As the umpires leave the field and are walking to their cars in the parking lot, an assistant coach and some parents follow them wanting to discuss the play and offer their opinions on the umpires’ ability to officiate. RULING: Game personnel shall not confront or direct unsportsmanlike conduct to game officials after the game has concluded. Since the umpires have left the playing field, they cannot eject the coach, but do retain the authority to provide a report to their state association. The state association shall determine appropriate action. (3-1-7 Penalty, 10-1-2)

SITUATION 10: With a hard slide at second base, R1 and F6 exchange words that leads to a fight. Several players leave the dugout and advance to near the foul line, where they stop. They do not engage in any confrontational activity. RULING: The players are ejected. Players who leave their positions on the field or the bench during a fight or physical confrontation are to be ejected. (3-3-1q)

SITUATION #11: At the pre-game conference, the head coaches of both teams verify that their respective teams are properly equipped and are using legal equipment. In the third inning, B1 hits a single and the plate umpire notices before the next pitch that the bat has only a BESR certification mark. RULING: The bat is illegal and B1 is declared out. The head coach is restricted to the dugout for the balance of the game. (4-1-3b Penalty, 7-4-1a)

SITUATION #12: At the pre-game conference the visiting head coach verified that his team was properly equipped and was using legal equipment. In the third inning, his lead-off batter entered the batter’s box with a bat that was determined to have been altered. The batter was declared out and the head coach was restricted to the bench. In the sixth inning, B2 enters the batter’s box with a bat that he had artificially kept warm. The opposing team brings that action to the attention of the plate umpire.RULING: Any bat that has been altered from the manufacturer's original design or has used artificial or intentional means to control its temperature is an illegal bat. The lead-off batter and B2 are both declared out, and the head coach is ejected from the game because this is his second offense in the game. (1-3-5, 4-1-3b Penalty, 7-4-1a)

SITUATION 13: At the pregame conference, the home team’s head coach verifies that his team is properly equipped and is using legal equipment. In the second inning, with two outs, B4 takes his position in the batter’s box with a batting helmet that is cracked on the side of the helmet. RULING: The helmet shall be immediately removed from play and B4 shall obtain a legal helmet. (4-1-3b Penalty)

SITUATION 14: How many pitches and with how much time do pitchers have to complete their warm-up throws? RULING: The starting pitcher and any relief pitcher may warm up by using not more than eight throws completed in one minute timed from the first throw. A pitcher who was the pitcher in the prior inning may warm up by using not more than five throws completed in one minute timed from the third out of the previous half-inning. (6-2-2c Exception)

SITUATION 15: Runch, who was the starting pitcher, takes the mound in the fifth inning and takes his five warm-up throws. After getting B1 out, he changes positions with the first baseman, Lewis, who takes his eight warm-up throws. Lewis gets B2 to pop out and Runch now returns to pitch. How many warm-up throws is Runch allowed? RULING: When Runch became a first baseman, he obviously no longer was the pitcher in the game. When he legally returns to pitch later in the same inning, he is considered to be a relief pitcher. Accordingly, Runch is allowed up to eight warm-up throws to be completed in one minute timed from the first throw. (6-2-2c)

SITUATION 16: As the umpires enter the field prior to the game, the home team’s head coach tells them that his bats are ready for inspection. RULING: The umpire-in-chief’s duties are to inspect the condition of the field, receive the batting order of both teams, announce any special ground rules, designate the official scorer and see that each player properly takes care of his glove and loose equipment. It is no longer mandatory for the umpires to inspect the bats and helmets of each team. Prior to the start of the game, both head coaches are to verify to the umpire-in-chief that their players are properly equipped and are using only legal equipment. (4-1-3b, 10-2-3a)

SITUATION 17: With one out and R1 on third base, the head coach puts on a squeeze play. B3, a left-handed batter, steps with his left foot on home plate and pops up to the pitcher, who catches the ball and throws to third base for an apparent inning-ending double play. RULING: B3 has illegally batted the ball and the ball becomes immediately dead. R1 is returned to third base and B3 is declared out for the second out of the inning. (5-1-1b, 7-3-2 Penalty)

SITUATION 18: In the bottom of the eighth inning, the score is tied, with the bases loaded and two outs. B6 draws a walk and runs and touches first base. B1 trots in from third and touches home plate. B2, however, begins celebrating and never touches third base. RULING: All runners must legally touch the next base in advancing. If the defense legally appeals while at least one umpire is still on the field of play, B2 is declared out for the third out. Since this out would be a “force” out, no runs would score and the game would continue into the ninth inning. (8-2-1, 8-2-6j, 9-1-1a and d)

SITUATION 19: Having already had an offensive conference, the head coach asks for time to talk with the new batter. U1 informs the coach that he is allowed only one charged conference per inning while on offense. The head coach ignores U1 and attempts to talk with the batter. RULING: U1 should do his best to professionally prevent the offensive conference from taking place. If the conference is taking place before the plate umpire realizes the infraction, he should stop the conference and warn the coach. If the head coach ignores the umpire and holds his conference to completion, he shall be restricted to the bench. Depending upon his subsequent behavior, the coach may be subject to ejection. Upon being notified by the plate umpire that the conference is not allowed, the head coach should stop his conference and he and his player return to their positions. (3-4-2, 10-1-1)

SITUATION 20: With runners on first and second and no outs, B3 has a 1-2 count. The next pitch is swung at and missed. The ball skips underneath the catcher’s glove, bounces up and lodges in the plate umpire’s clothing. While everyone is looking for the ball, R1 scores, R2 advances to third base and B3 obtains first base. RULING: Once the ball is found in the umpire’s clothing, the ball is declared to be dead immediately. R1 will be awarded third base and R2 will be awarded second base. B3 is declared out. (5-1-1g4, 7-4-1b, 8-3-3d)

NFHS 2011 Baseball Rules Changes

1-1-2
Addition: The umpire shall not accept the lineup card until all substitutes are listed. There is no penalty assessed.
Rationale: Having all known substitutes listed will speed up substitution and player changes. A coach will still be able to add a substitute to the game with no penalty.

1-3-2 through 5
Effective beginning the 2010-11 school year, composite bats shall be illegal until meeting the standards of 1-3-2(e). ART. 2 . . . The bat shall have the following characteristics and components.

a. Each legal wood, aluminum or composite bat shall:
1. Be one piece, multi-pieces and permanently assembled, or two pieces with interchangeable barrel construction.
2. Not have exposed rivets, pins, rough or sharp edges or any form of exterior fastener that would present a hazard.
3. Be free of rattles, dents, burrs, cracks and sharp edges. Bats that are broken, altered or that deface the ball are illegal. Materials inside the bat or treatments/devices used to alter the bat specifications and/or enhance performance are prohibited and render the bat illegal.

b. Each legal wood, aluminum or composite bat shall have the following components:
1. Knob. The bat knob shall protrude from the handle. The knob may be molded, lathed, welded or permanently fastened. Devices, attachments or wrappings are permitted except those that cause the knob to become flush with the handle. A one-piece rubber knob and bat grip combination is illegal.
2. Handle. The bat handle is the area of the bat that begins at, but does not include, the knob and ends where the taper begins.
3. Barrel. The barrel is the area intended for contact with the pitch. The barrel shall be round, cylindrically symmetric and smooth. The barrel may be aluminum, wood or composite (made of two or more materials). The type of bat (wood, aluminum or composite) shall be determined by the composition of the barrel.
4. Taper. The taper is an optional transition area which connects the narrower handle to the wider barrel portion of the bat. Its length and material may vary but may not extend more than 18 inches from the base of the knob.
5. End Cap. The end cap is made of rubber, vinyl, plastic or other approved material. It shall be firmly secured and permanently affixed to the end of the bat so that it cannot be removed by anyone other than the manufacturer, without damaging or destroying it. By definition, a one-piece construction bat does not have an end cap.

c. Each bat not made of a single piece of wood shall:
1. Have a safety grip made of cork, tape (no smooth, plastic tape) or commercially manufactured composition material. The grip must extend a minimum of 10 inches, but not more than 18 inches, from the base of the knob. Slippery tape or similar material shall be prohibited. Resin, pine tar or any drying agent to enhance the hold are permitted only on the grip. Molded grips are illegal.
2. Be 2 5/8” or less in diameter at thickest part and 36 inches or less in length.
3. Not weigh, numerically, more than three ounces less than the length of the bat (e.g., a 33-inch-long bat cannot be less than 30 ounces).

d. Through December 31, 2011, each aluminum bat shall meet the Ball Exit-Speed Ratio (BESR) performance standard, and such bats shall be labeled with a silkscreen or other permanent certification mark. No BESR label, sticker or decal will be accepted on any non-wood bat.

e. Beginning January 1, 2012, all bats not made of a single piece of wood shall meet the Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution (BBCOR) performance standard, and such bats shall be labeled with a silkscreen or other permanent certification mark. The certification mark shall be rectangular, a minimum of a half-inch on each side and located on the barrel of the bat in any contrasting color. Aluminum and composite bats shall be labeled as approved tamper evident, and be marked as to being aluminum or composite. This marking shall be silkscreen or other permanent certification mark, a minimum of one-half-inch on each side and located on the barrel of the bat in any contrasting color.

f. An aluminum bat meeting the standards of 1-3-2(e) is legal immediately.

g. A composite bat shall be illegal until meeting the standards of 1-3-2(e).
ART. 3 . . . A bat made of a single piece of wood may be roughened or wound with tape not more than 18 inches from the handle end of the bat. No foreign substance may be added to the surface of the bat beyond 18 inches from the end of the handle. Each bat made of a single piece of wood shall be:
a. 2¾ inches or less in diameter at the thickest part
b. 36 inches or less in length

ART. 4 . . . Only bats may be used in warming up (including weighted bats used for this purpose) at any location. Only bats and items designed to remain part of the bat, such as weighted bats, batting donuts, and wind-resistant devices are legal at any location.

ART. 5 . . . Bats that are altered from the manufacturer’s original design and production, or that do not meet the rule specifications, are illegal (See 7-4-1a). No foreign substance may be inserted into the bat. Bats that are broken, cracked or dented or that deface the ball, i.e., tear the ball, shall be removed without penalty. A bat that continually discolors the ball may be removed from the game with no penalty at the discretion of the umpire.
Rationale: Recent bat products have circumvented the intent and spirit of the current rule. Improvements in science and technology now allow this change that will require bats to be within performance limits during the life of the bat. In addition, this change will minimize the ability for the bat to be tampered with or altered.

1-5-8
Change: Hard and unyielding items (guards, casts, braces, splints, etc.) must be padded with a closed-cell, slow-recovery foam padding no less than 1/2" thick. Knee and ankle braces which are unaltered from the manufacturer's original design/production do not require any additional padding.
Rationale: Risk minimization and clarification from the NFHS Sports Medicine Advisory Committee.

2-16-2
Change: A foul tip is a batted ball that goes directly to the catcher's hands and
is legally caught by the catcher. It is a strike and the ball is in play.
Rationale: Clarification and ease of application for the umpires and coaches.

3-1-5
New: Any player who exhibits signs, symptoms or behaviors consistent with a concussion (such as loss of consciousness, headache, dizziness, confusion or balance problems) shall be immediately removed from the game and shall not return to play until cleared by an appropriate health-care professional. (See NFHS Suggested Guidelines for Management of Concussions)
Rationale: Clarification from the NFHS Sports Medicine Advisory Committee

8-2-6l
New: Last Time By. If a runner correctly touches a base that was missed (either in advancing or returning), the last time he was by the base, that last touch corrects any previous base running-infraction.

The BBCOR Standard

Approved BESR-ABI Composite Baseball Bats

Composite bats that meet the Ball Exit Speed Ratio (BESR) and the Accelerated Break In (ABI) Procedure and approved for the 2010-11 academic year:

NFHS Approved BESR-ABI Composite Baseball Bats

Composite bat BBCOR standard requires compliance with Accelerated Break In (ABI) testing; i.e., the bat remains within the performance limits throughout its life. Current composite bats exceed the top performance limit with use.

Waivers for Composite Bat Ban to be Considered

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (July 16, 2010) — The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), in a ruling by its Board of Directors, announced today that waivers or modifications of the recent ban on composite bats in high school baseball may be considered in certain circumstances.

Earlier this month, the NFHS Baseball Rules Committee approved a new rule that bans composite bats, effective with the 2010-11 school year, until they can meet the Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution (BBCOR) performance standard.

The NFHS enacted the ban on composite bats because of a concern about the increased performance of the bats after the initial “break-in” that would lead the bats to exceed the current Ball Exit Speed Ratio (BESR) standard or the BBCOR standard take takes effect in the 2011-12 school year.

After reviewing information from Dr. James Sherwood, director of the Baseball Research Center at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell; Dr. Alan Nathan, University of Illinois; and the NCAA, as well as consulting with manufacturers, the NFHS Board of Directors has agreed that if certain types or models of composite bats can produce consistent results through the life of the bat and remain within the applicable test standard, a waiver or modification of the rule may be considered.

The NFHS is the recognized national playing-rules maker for high school sports and publishes playing rules in 17 sports for the more than 7.5 million young people involved in interscholastic athletic programs.

“The NFHS is concerned about minimizing the inherent participation risks faced by student-athletes in high school sports, which is why standards have been placed on baseball bats,” said Bob Gardner, NFHS executive director. “At the same time, our Board is open to discussion with bat manufacturers regarding a waiver for composite bats that can meet the current BESR standard or the new BBCOR standard. We have advised the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association in this regard.”

In addition to manufacturers, the NFHS welcomes input from other interested parties.

Baseball Rules Change Puts Moratorium on Composite Bats

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (July 7, 2010) — One of six new rules changes by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Baseball Rules Committee forbids the use of composite bats until they can meet the Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution (BBCOR) performance standard. The changes, which were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors, will take effect with the 2010-11 school year.

After thorough testing by the Baseball Research Center at the University of Massachusetts–Lowell, the NFHS Baseball Rules Committee voted to outlaw composite bats until they can produce consistent results through the life of the bat, be made tamper-evident and be labeled as a composite product.

Elliot Hopkins, NFHS liaison to the Baseball Rules Committee, visited with James Sherwood, director of the Baseball Research Center, and spent several hours witnessing composite bat testing. “Rolling the bat gives it a higher performance,” Hopkins said. “It can significantly increase the performance and that’s huge in our game.”

Rolling the bat isn’t the only problem. Rolling only speeds up the performance enhancement that would occur over time after normal use. Even composite bats that were not altered will eventually see this increase in performance, and the rules committee views that as a major concern.

Rule 1-3-2 through 5 was completely rewritten with the intention of creating a rule that preserves the intent and spirit of the old rule, but is better suited to products resulting from new technology.

Under the new rule, bats with composite handles and tapers would still be legal. The stricter language applies primarily to the barrel of the bat.

“While the handles and taper are important components of the bat,” Hopkins said, “the area that we recognized as more susceptible to abuse is the barrel.”

Other rules changes this year aim at increasing convenience for coaches and umpires by simplifying the substitution policy and clarifying several rules.

Rule 1-1-2 now requires coaches to list all known substitutes on the lineup card before the umpire accepts it. Coaches will still be able to add a substitute without a penalty, but this should speed up substitutions and player changes during the game.

A change to Rule 2-16-2 was also made to clarify an existing rule and ease its application for coaches and players. The rule now reads: “A foul tip is a batted ball that goes directly to the catcher’s hands and is legally caught by the catcher. It is a strike and the ball is in play.”

Similarly, a “last-time-by” rule has been instituted. The new rule states that if a runner correctly touches a base that was missed the last time he was by the base, that last touch corrects any previous base-running infraction. This last-time-by practice is commonly accepted, but is now legally Rule 8-2-6l.

The last two rules changes were approved on recommendation from the NFHS Sports Medicine Advisory Committee. First, in a change to Rule 1-5-8, all hard and unyielding items such as braces, casts, etc., must be padded with a closed-cell, slow-recovery foam padding no less than one-half-inch thick. Knee and ankle braces that are unaltered from the manufacturer’s original design/production do not require additional padding.

Second is an update to concussion language that has been added to the rules for all high school sports. The new rule, 3-1-5, puts strict constraints on players who may have suffered a concussion. The rule states that any player who exhibits signs, symptoms or behaviors consistent with a concussion, including but not limited to loss of consciousness, headache, dizziness, confusion of balance problems, must be removed from the contest immediately and shall not return to play before being cleared by an appropriate health-care professional.

A complete listing of all rules changes approved by the committee is available on the NFHS Web site at www.nfhs.org. Click on “Athletics & Fine Arts Activities” on the home page, and select “Baseball.”

Baseball is the fourth-most popular sport for boys at the high school level, according to the 2008-09 NFHS Athletics Participation Survey, with 473,184 participants nationwide. The sport ranks third in school sponsorship with 15,699 schools sponsoring the sport.

2011 NFHS Baseball Rules Interpretations

SITUATION 1: With R1 on first base and no outs, the scoreboard shows one out. B2 hits a ground ball that the shortstop turns into a 6-4-3 double play. The first baseman rolls the ball to the mound and all the defensive players go to their dugout. The team that was on offense comes on the field, taking their defensive positions. The umpires go to their respective positions between innings. RULING: The official scorer should inform the officials of the error. Both teams will retake their respective positions with the bases empty and two outs. (9-2-2)

SITUATION 2: In the bottom of the fourth inning, Jones comes to the plate to pinch-hit for Smith. The plate umpire checks the lineup card and finds that Jones was not listed as a possible substitute. The opposing coach argues that since Jones was not listed as a substitute at the start of the game, he cannot pinch-hit. RULING: The plate umpire shall accept the substitution, make the appropriate change on the lineup card and notify the opposing team and official scorer. Jones may pinch-hit for Smith. There is no penalty. (1-1-2)

SITUATION 3: The plate umpire is reviewing the submitted lineup cards at the pre-game conference. He asks both head coaches if they have listed all known substitutes on their respective lineup card. Team A’s head coach states he will not list any substitutes on his lineup. RULING: The umpire shall not accept the lineup card until all substitutes are listed. The game cannot begin until the umpire has received lineup cards from both teams. (1-1-2, 4-1-3)

SITUATION 4: With R2 on first base and one out, B3 swings and misses on a 1-2 fastball for strike three. R2 was stealing on the pitch and B3’s follow-through interferes with the catcher’s ability to throw to second base. At the time of the interference, R2 was just over half way to second from first. RULING: In the umpire’s judgment, B3’s interference prevented the catcher from possibly throwing out R2 at second base. B3 is out for strike three and R2 is declared out because of B3’s interference. The half-inning is over. (7-3-5c Penalty)

SITUATION 5: With one out, R2 gets a great jump at first base and is just a couple of feet from second base when B3 strikes out. B3’s follow-through interferes with the catcher, who drops the ball and cannot throw to second base. RULING: The ball is declared dead when play is no longer possible. B3 is out on strikes for out No. 2. Since the catcher had no possible play on R2 (being so close to second base at the time of the interference), R2 is returned to first base. (7-3-5c Penalty)

SITUATION 6: Smith enters the batter’s box with a BESR aluminum bat. The opposing coach protests that since the handle of the bat is not round and that the taper is not smooth, it is an illegal bat. RULING: There are no restrictions on the shape of the handle, and the taper of the bat is not required to be smooth or round. Only the barrel of the bat shall be round, cylindrically symmetric and smooth. The bat is legal for play. (1-3-2b)

SITUATION 7: The batter enters the batter’s box with a BBCOR composite bat. The opposing coach wants him declared out for having an illegal bat. RULING: All BBCOR bats, aluminum or composite, are legal for play in 2011. The batter will be allowed to use the bat. (1-3-2e, f)

SITUATION 8: B3 enters the batter’s box with a bamboo bat and hits a bases-clearing triple. The opposing coach protests stating that a bamboo bat is not legal for play. RULING: The plate umpire will inspect the bat. If it has a BESR or BBCOR certification mark, it is legal for play in 2011. In the 2012 high school season, only non-wood bats that meet the BBCOR performance standard are legal for use. (1-3-2d, e, f)

SITUATION 9: During the pre-game inspection of the team’s bats, the umpires notice a hollow, composite BESR bat in the bat rack. RULING: If the hollow composite BESR bat has been granted a waiver and is listed on the “Approved Bats List,” it is legal for play. If the bat has not been granted a waiver, the umpires shall inform the coach that the bat is illegal and must be removed. (1-3-2g)

SITUATION 10: With the bases loaded and no outs, B4 hits a ground ball to the shortstop. The defense is able to get the out at third base on R2 and at second base on R3, but R1 scores and B4 is safe at first. The plate umpire picks up the bat used by B4 and notices that it is a hollow composite bat that is not on the approved waiver list. RULING: B4 is guilty of using an illegal bat. The defense has the option of taking the play or the penalty for using an illegal bat. The play will result in two outs, a runner at first and one run scored. The penalty will have B4 declared out and all runners will be returned to their respective bases at the time of the pitch – bases loaded, one out, no run scored. (7-4-1a)

SITUATION 11: The pitcher has a hard cast on his non-pitching forearm. The coach asks what must be done for him to pitch in the game. RULING: The cast must be padded with a closed-cell, slow-recovery foam pad-ding no less than ½-inch thick. Since the player is to pitch, the padding cannot be white, gray or deemed to be a color distracting to the batter by the plate umpire. (1-4-2, 1-5-8)

SITUATION 12: The short stop is wearing an unpadded ankle brace and his coach asks if it is legal for play. RULING: If the ankle brace is unaltered from the manufacturer’s original design and production, it does not require any additional padding. (1-5-8)

SITUATION 13: With a runner on first stealing on the pitch, B2 hits a ball directly to the catcher’s hands which rebounds high in the air and is caught by the pitcher. The pitcher turns and throws the runner out at second base. RULING: The ball is dead and treated as a foul ball since it was not caught by the catcher. Had the catcher caught the batted ball, it would be a foul tip and would have remained in play. (2-16-2)

SITUATION 14: Jones, the center fielder, and Brown, the right fielder, collide going after a fly ball. Brown never loses consciousness and tells his coach he is OK. Brown finishes the half-inning. As Brown heads for the dugout, he has some balance problems and stops running, complaining of dizziness. RULING: Brown shall be immediately removed from the game and shall not return to play until he is cleared by an appropriate health-care professional. (3-1-5)

SITUATION 15: R1 misses second base as he advances to third, but touches it as he safely returns to first base. The defense appeals his missing second as he advanced. RULING: The appeal is denied. The last time R1 went by second base, he properly touched the base and thus corrected the previous base running error. (8-2-6l)

SITUATION 16: As R1 attempts to score from second base, he misses third base by cutting well inside the infield. With the fly ball being caught, Brown attempts to return, touching third as he goes back to second base. RULING: Brown will be declared out on the appeal because a runner who misses a base in a manner to gain an unfair advantage is still vulnerable to appeal. (8-2-6l)

SITUATION 17: R1 is moving on the pitch as the batter hits a fly ball to left center field. R1 touches second base and heads for third when the ball is caught. R1 stops and returns to first base, missing second base. The ball is thrown into the dugout and R1 is awarded third. He touched first, second and third base on the award. The defense appeals his miss of second base as he attempted to return to first. RULING: R1’s actions are legal and the defensive appeal will be denied. R1 satisfied his base running obligations when he touched second on his last time by the base. (8-2-6l)

SITUATION 18: R1 leaves first base too soon on a caught fly ball. He touches second and nears third when his coach instructs him to return. R1 does so by running directly across the diamond toward first base. The ball gets by the first baseman, and R1 retouches first and makes it safely to second base. RULING: R1 would be declared out upon proper appeal by the defense as the principle of “Last Time By” would not apply. (8-2-6l)

SITUATION 19: Bases loaded with one out. B5 hits a fly ball into the gap between center field and right field. He is thrown out trying for second base. R2, advancing from second base, misses third base and scores. The defense properly appeals R2’s miss of third. RULING: R2’s out is the third out and the half-inning is over. No runs score since R2 was forced when he missed third base. (9-1-1b)

SITUATION 20: With R1 on third base, the pitcher is in the windup position. At the top of his motion, he pauses for two or three seconds and then delivers. RULING: The umpire shall declare a balk and score R1 from third base. After a pitcher starts his motion to pitch, he must continue the motion without interruption or alteration. (6-1-2)

2010 Baseball Rule Revisions

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (July 6, 2009) - The clarification of baseball bat specifications was among four rules adjusted by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Baseball Rules Committee at its annual meeting June 7-9 in Indianapolis. The rules changes subsequently were approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

A change to Rule 1-3-2 regarding bat specifications was made in the hope it will clarify bat compliance. The rule, which will be effective January 1, 2012, specifies that the bat should be a "smooth cylinder implement from the top of the cap to the top of the knob."

"The committee was looking to clarify the rule and make the purchase of bats an easier process," said Elliot Hopkins, NFHS director of educational services and liaison to the Baseball Rules Committee. "We want to make sure that kids and parents know what is permissible."

The change will also require that all non-wood bats meet the Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution (BBCOR) performance standard, which is the standard used by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Formerly, non-wood bats had to meet the Ball Exit Speed Ratio (BESR) standard.

The new rule also states that non-wood bats must be labeled with a rectangular certification mark "a minimum of a half-inch on each side and located on the barrel of the bat in any contrasting color." The new standard ensures that performances by non-wood bats are more comparable to those of wood bats. It's also expected to minimize risk, improve play and increase teaching opportunities.

"After working with the NCAA and having access to its research, we've concluded it's in our best interest to make this change," Hopkins said. "BBCOR includes the BESR standard, so we're actually expanding upon our current standard, which will be more appropriate for our age and skill level."

Another major rule addition applies to assistant coaches and their behavior during the game. Rule 3-3-1g6 prohibits any member of the coaching staff who is not the head coach from leaving "the vicinity of the dugout or coaching box to dispute a judgment call by an umpire." The penalty for this infraction is that both the head coach and the offending coach will be restricted to the dugout for the remainder of the game. If severe enough, the umpire also has the authority to eject the offending coach and/or the head coach.

The intention of this change is to cut down on the disruptive and counterproductive behavior of assistant coaches. It also reinforces to head coaches that they are responsible for their staff and players.

"The committee found that assistant coaches were taking license with their roles and becoming disruptive," Hopkins said. "By doing that, they're sending the wrong message to their players. It's one thing to ask the official for a clarification, but it's another to challenge and charge an umpire. We cannot and will not allow that."

A clarification was made to Rule 1-2-4 concerning the temporary extension of dugouts. The modified rule explains that when the dugout is to be temporarily extended, it shall be extended toward the outfield and not toward home plate.

The final adjustment was made to Rule 7-4-1f, concerning the instances when a batter will be declared out. The change reads that the batter is out if "any member of the offensive team or coach other than the runnerinterferes with a fielder who is attempting to field a foul fly ball." The addition of the phrase "other than the runner" clarifies the responsibility of the runner and that the runner - not the batter - will be declared out for the runner's interference.

"Previously, it just wasn't fair to the batter," Hopkins explained. "If the runner interferes with the defense, it's not the batter's fault. It was the runner who created the infraction, so the runner will be called out.

Additional 2010 Baseball Rule Revision

If the runner interferes with a foul fly ball, the RUNNER will now be out, rather than the batter, as had been the rule in the past. This brings it in line with the pro and college rules on the play. The final adjustment was made to Rule 7-4-1f, concerning the instances when a batter will be declared out. The change reads that the batter is out if “any member of the offensive team or coach other than the runner interferes with a fielder who is attempting to field a foul fly ball.” The addition of the phrase “other than the runner” clarifies the responsibility of the runner and that the runner — not the batter — will be declared out for the runner’s interference. “Previously, it just wasn’t fair to the batter,” Hopkins explained. “If the runner interferes with the defense, it’s not the batter’s fault. It was the runner who created the infraction, so the runner will be called out.”

2010 NFHS Baseball Rules Interpretations

Publisher’s Note: The National Federation of State High School Associations is the only source of official high school interpretations. They do not set aside nor modify any rule. They are made and published by the NFHS in response to situations presented. Robert F. Kanaby, Publisher, NFHS Publications © 2010

SITUATION 1: While in the set position, F1 has his pitching hand hanging straight down in front of his body, stationary, as he gets the sign from the catcher. RULING: The use of the “gorilla” stance in the set position is legal provided the arm is not moving. The batter, runner(s) on base, and coaches are able to view the pitcher and the ball and are not placed at a disadvantage. (6-1-3)

SITUATION 2:
While in the set position, F1 has his pitching hand hanging straight down in front of his body, swinging back and forth, as he gets the sign from the catcher. RULING: This is not legal and is an illegal pitch or a balk if there are runners on base. While this “gorilla” stance is legal if the pitching hand is stationary, it is illegal if the arm is swinging back and forth. (6-1-3)

SITUATION 3:
While in the set position, F1 has his pitching arm resting on his thigh and his pitching hand is at rest in his lower abdominal area. RULING: This is illegal. Having his pitching hand at rest in this area gives the offense little to no visibility of the baseball and action by the pitcher. (6-1-3)

SITUATION 4:
R1 is at third base and is taking his lead a few feet down the line in foul ground. B2 hits a sharp ground ball that hits third base and caroms off the base and (a) hits R1 accidentally, or (b) R1 intentionally moves so that he is hit by the fair ball. RULING: In (a), the ball remains live and in play. In (b), the ball is dead, R1 is out for his interference and other runner(s) are returned to the base they occupied at the time of the interference. B2 is awarded first base. (8-4-2k, 2-5-1e)

SITUATION 5:
R1, with one out, is on second base and is off with the pitch as B2 hits a high foul fly ball near third base. As F5 moves in foul territory in an attempt to catch the foul fly, (a) R1 runs into him or (b) the head coach does not vacate his position in the coaching box and F5 contacts him in his attempt. RULING: In both situations this is interference and the ball is immediately dead. In (a), R1 is declared out and in (b), B2 is declared out and R1 is returned to second base. (7-4-1f)

SITUATION 6:
R1, on second base, rounds third and runs into F5 as he attempts to field a foul fly ball. This action occurred with (a) a count of 1-1; (b) a count of 1-2; or (c) two outs. RULING: In all three instances, R1 is out for his interference. In (a), the batter returns to bat with a count of 1-2 and in (b), the batter returns to bat with a count of 1-2 as the pitch is treated as a foul for the batter’s count. In (c), B4 will lead off in his team’s next offensive half-inning. (7-4-1f)

SITUATION 7:
B1 lays down a bunt that is fielded by F2 in fair territory a few feet in front of home plate. As B1 is 60 feet from home base, he is running outside the running lane with one foot completely in fair ground and not touching the lines of the running lane. F2 fields the ball and (a) attempts to throw to first but throws high into right field as he tries not to hit B1, or (b) does not attempt a throw. RULING: B1 is required to be in the running lane the last 45 feet to first base when the ball is fielded and thrown from an area behind him. In (a), this is interference and B1 is out and the ball is declared dead. In (b), since there was no throw, there is no interference. F2 is not required to hit B1 to demonstrate that B1 is out of the running lane, but a throw must be made for the interference to be declared. (8-4-1g

SITUATION 8: F1, while on the pitcher’s plate in either the windup or set position, (a) adjusts his cap, or (b) shakes off the signal with his glove, or (c) shakes off the signal with his head. RULING: In (a), (b) and (c) these are legal actions, provided these movements of the arms and legs were not associated with the pitch. (6-1-1, 6.1.2D case book)

SITUATION 9:
R1, on third base, attempts to score on a squeeze play. B4 attempts to bunt, but misses the pitch and F2 comes up with the ball and gets R1 in a rundown between third and home. F2 eventually attempts to throw R1 out at third, but makes a bad throw into left field. R1 steps on third, but his momentum takes him several steps down the foul line behind third base. R1, seeing the bad throw, turns, misses third base as he advances to home. After R1 has touched home plate and enters the dugout, the defense calls “Time” and verbally appeals R1 missing third. RULING: R1 is out on the valid defensive appeal. R1 must touch third base again on his way to home plate. (8-2-1, 8-2-6c)

SITUATION 10:
The visiting team is wearing “quarterback-style” wristbands that have defensive plays listed under a Velcro flap. The pitcher is wearing a black wristband down near his fielding glove. The home coach claims that the wristbands are illegal, and all players must take them off. RULING: Provided the wristbands are not dangerous, they are legal. If the plate umpire judges the wristband worn by the pitcher to be distracting, he would need to remove it. Otherwise, it is legal for the pitcher as well. (1-5-9, 6-2-1f, penalty)

SITUATION 11:
R1 is on third and R2 on first with one out. B4 hits a sinking line drive to center field. R1 tags properly and goes home, while R2 is off with the hit. F8 makes a great catch. R2 is beyond second base as F8 throws back to first in an attempt to double up R2. The ball goes into the dugout with R2 still between second base and third base. R2 touches second base and goes back to touch first base. RULING: The ball is dead and R1’s run will count. R2 will be awarded two bases from the base he had at the time of the pitch (first base), so he will be awarded third base. If the defense properly appeals R2 being beyond second base at the time the ball went dead, R2 will be declared out. R1’s run would still count. (5-1-1g-3, 8-2-5, 8-2-6d-1, 8-4-2q)

SITUATION 12:
With no outs, B1 has a 2-1 count when his nose begins to bleed. He is not able to get it stopped and as a result cannot finish his at-bat. The team has no substitutes available. His coach believes that the batter next up in the order can assume his count. RULING: B2 cannot assume B1’s count. With no substitutes available, B1 is declared out and B2 will come to bat with one out. An out will be called each time that spot in the batting order comes to bat. When an eligible substitute becomes available, the team may return to playing with nine players. (4-4-1f, Note 1, Note 2)

SITUATION 13:
R1 is on third and R2 is on second with no outs. Both runners attempt a double steal. As R1 gets into a rundown between home and third, R2 advances and stays on third base. With R2 on third base, R1 commits interference during the rundown. RULING: The ball is dead immediately. R1 is declared out for the interference. R2 will be kept at third base since he had legally reached third at the time of the interference. (8-2-9, 8-2-8)

SITUATION 14:
With R1 on third base and no outs, B2 hits a pop fly in fair territory in front of home plate. The catcher misses the ball completely, never touching it, and the backspin on the ball causes it to move back toward home where it strikes R1 in fair territory. The ball continues to move into foul ground, where it comes to rest. The offensive head coach claims R1 is not out since the batted ball “passed” an infielder. RULING: The ball is dead immediately and R1 is declared out for being contacted by a fair batted ball. B2 is awarded first base. The action of the ball in this situation is not considered to be “passing” an infielder. Had the ball contacted R1 in foul ground, the ball would be dead immediately, R1 would be returned to third and B2 would remain at bat. (8-4-2k, 5-1-1f-1)

SITUATION 15:
With one out, R1 is on third base and R2 is at second base when B4 misses the sign for the squeeze bunt. B4 hits a high chopper near first base as R1 touches home plate. F3 fields the ball, touches first to retire B4 and sets to throw to third in an attempt to put out R2 who got a late start going to third base. As F3 releases the throw, B4 intentionally reaches out and hits his arm for obvious interference. RULING: R2 is declared out for the third out due to B4’s interference. R1’s run will count as he had legally acquired home before the interference occurred. (8-4-2g, 8-2-9, 5-1-1e)

SITUATION 16:
The head coach requests “Time” and goes to the mound for a visit. He removes F1 and brings in S1 to pitch from the bullpen. The coach remains at the mound talking with S1 as he takes his eight warm-up throws. The opposing head coach claims that this is a charged conference because the defensive coach stayed at the mound until S1 had completed his warm-up throws. RULING: There is no charged conference to be recorded on the defensive team since F1 was removed as the pitcher. As long as the head coach leaves when S1 completes his warm-up throws and does not delay the game, no defensive conference will be charged. (3-4-1)

SITUATION 17:
With R1 on first attempting to steal second base, B2 swings and misses as the ball hits the catcher’s mitt and pops up in the air. B2’s follow-through hits the ball to the backstop. RULING: This is batter interference and the ball is declared dead. B2 is out and R1 is returned to first base. (7-3-5c penalty)

SITUATION 18:
With R1 on first, a pitch hits the catcher’s shin guards and is deflected toward the dugout. R1 had left first base headed for second as F1 released the pitch and is standing on second base when the deflected pitch rolls into the dugout. R1’s head coach argues that R1 should be awarded third base. RULING: R1 is awarded one base from where he was at the time of the pitch. R1’s award is second base and he will remain at second, and not be advanced to third base. (8-3-3d, 8-3-5b)

SITUATION 19: Bases are loaded with two outs and a 1-1 count on B6. The scoreboard has a 0-2 count. The plate umpire gives the correct count and verbally states “1-1.” B6 swings and misses the next pitch to make the count 1-2, but F2, thinking it is strike three, tosses the ball toward the mound as the infield players begin to leave the diamond. The third-base coach has his runners running and all of them cross home plate. The visiting defensive head coach protests that
the runs should not score since the scoreboard was in error and it put them at a disadvantage. RULING: The umpires did not err on the play and both teams are responsible to know the count and the number of outs. The play stands and all three runs count. (10-2-3g)

SITUATION 20: Two outs, R3 at second base. On a 1-2 pitch, R3 attempts to steal third base as the batter attempts to check his swing. R3 is thrown out at third base for the third out. The defense now wants to appeal the check-swing on B4 so that if he went around, he struck out and would not come back to bat in the next half-inning. U1 checks with the base umpire and U2 confirms that B4 did indeed swing at strike three. RULING: Since B4’s out is a “fourth” out, the defense may select the out which is most to its advantage. B4 is out for out No. 3 and the batter following him in the lineup will bat first in the next half-inning. (2-20-2, 9-1-1d)

2009 Baseball Rule Revisions

1-2-2: Change: All non-permanent lines on the playing field shall be marked white with a material not injurious to the eyes or skin.  Lime or caustic material of any kind is prohibited.
Rationale: Clarification for proper lining instructions for grass and turf fields.

6-2-3: Change: Intentionallypitch close to a batter.
Rationale: To reinforce the responsibility of the pitcher while he has engaged the pitcher's plate.

7-3-4 Penalty: Change: Penalty: The batter remains at bat (pitch is a ball or strike) unless the pitch was a third strike orball four.
Rationale: Clarification.

10-1-9 & Umpires' Manual: Delete: ... word "heather" gray
Rationale: Heather gray slacks are slowing becoming difficult to acquire. Equipment dealers are transitioning into charcoal gray slacks. This rule change will provide umpires the opportunity to purchase any shade of dark shade and be in compliance.

Revisions Made to Four Baseball Rules

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (June 30, 2008) - The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Baseball Rules Committee adjusted four rules at its annual meeting June 8-10 in Indianapolis. The rules changes subsequently were approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

A revision was made to Rule 6-2-3 regarding infractions by a pitcher. The rule states it is illegal for a pitcher to intentionally pitch close to a batter, replacing the prior phrasing of to "throw" close to a batter. The change was necessary for clarification and in order to be consistent with other pitching rules.

"This rule is violated while the pitcher is pitching, and not just throwing the ball," said Elliot Hopkins, NFHS director of educational services and liaison to the Baseball Rules Committee.

Infractions by a batter were also addressed. The committee is concerned that batters are still attempting to be hit by pitches and earn an undeserved awarded base by "taking one for the team." Rule 7-3-4 clearly prohibits a batter allowing himself to be hit by a pitch.

In such a situation, the pitched ball is deemed either a strike or a ball and the player who permitted the ball to touch him remains at bat unless the pitch results in a third strike or ball four. The phrase "or ball four" was added to the rule to clarify the pitch needed to be called a strike or ball.

Revisions were also made to Rule 1-2-2 regarding painted field lines. All non-permanent lines on the playing field shall be marked white with a material not injurious to the eyes or skin.

Non-permanent refers to all lines that must be painted on the field. Only permanent lines, such as on artificial turf, may be a color other than white.

Lastly, umpires will be given more flexibility with their uniforms beginning in 2009. An adjustment to Rule 10-1-9 eliminated the need for umpires to specifically wear heather gray pants.

"Equipment dealers are transitioning to charcoal gray slacks," Hopkins said. "This rule change will provide umpires the opportunity to purchase any shade of dark gray and be in compliance."

In addition to the four rules changes, the committee identified four points of emphasis: 1) simplifying illegal pitch penalty administration, 2) re-emphasizing that team personnel remain in dugouts, 3) keeping the pace of play steady and 4) having all coaching staff members display professional behavior.

Baseball is the fourth-most popular sport among boys at the high school level with 477,430 participants during the 2006-07 season, according to the High School Athletics Participation Survey conducted by the NFHS. It also ranks third in school sponsorship across the nation with 15,458 participating schools.

2009 NFHS Baseball Rules Interpretations

SITUATION 1: The visiting team is wearing a vest-style jersey top over a white shirt with sleeves that end at the elbow. The coach of the home team complains that the pitcher's uniform is illegal since the shirt under the vest is white. RULING: The pitcher's uniform is legal. The shirt under the vest is considered to be part of the uniform and not an undergarment. If the shirt worn with the vest top is white, it is legal provided the sleeves do not extend below the elbow. (1-4-2)

SITUATION 2: The pitcher is wearing a vest top over (a) a long-sleeve black shirt or, (b) a long-sleeve white shirt. RULING: The pitcher's uniform in (a) is legal. In (b), the long-sleeve white shirt is not legal and must be replaced with either a long-sleeve shirt that is not white or gray, or a short-sleeve shirt, white or any non-distracting color, before the next pitch. (1-4-2)

SITUATION 3: The home team is wearing a vest-style top over a long-sleeve white shirt. The visiting coach complains that this is not legal for the pitcher, but the home team's coach says the pitcher is simply dressed like the rest of his team. RULING: The pitcher may not wear a long-sleeve shirt with the vest top that is white or gray. He may wear a short-sleeve white shirt or a long-sleeve shirt that is not white, gray or distracting. It is permissible, if his team is wearing a long-sleeve white shirt with the vest, for the pitcher to wear a short-sleeve white shirt or a long-sleeve shirt that is a different color from the rest of the team. (1-4-2)

SITUATION 4: The pitcher is wearing a white compression type-sleeve on his pitching arm. The opposing coach states that he cannot wear it and, therefore, must remove it. RULING: A compression or medical-type sleeve may be worn by any player, including the pitcher. If it is white and worn on the pitching arm, it cannot extend below the elbow.  (1-4-2)

SITUATION 5: The pitcher is wearing a white compression sleeve on his pitching arm that extends below the elbow. RULING: This is not allowed. While a pitcher may wear a compression sleeve, if it is white and worn on his pitching arm, it may not extend below his elbow. A compression sleeve of any length that is neither white nor gray, or deemed to be distracting, may be worn by the pitcher on either arm.  (1-4-2)

SITUATION 6: The pitcher is wearing (a) a white compression sleeve that extends from his bicep to his wrist on his non-throwing arm or (b) a compression sleeve that has a light-blue spider-web design. RULING: In (a), provided this is not deemed to be distracting, it is allowed. In (b), provided it is not distracting, it may be worn on either arm.  (1-4-2)


SITUATION 7: With a count of 3-2, the batter permits a pitch that is a ball to hit him. RULING: Although the batter did permit the pitch to hit him, he will be awarded first base since it was ball four.  (7-3-4 Penalty)


SITUATION 8: With runners on first base and third base and one out, the runner from first base attempts to steal second base. The catcher, despite batter interference, throws out the runner from first at second as the runner from third scores. The defensive coach states he wants the penalty for batter interference and not the result of the play. RULING: The defensive coach does not have the option to take the penalty for the batter interference or the result of the play. Since the runner was tagged out, the ball remains live and the interference is ignored. The run scores.  (7-3-5 Penalty)


SITUATION 9: The home team is using a DH for its pitcher. The DH is listed to hit in the No. four spot in the lineup. On the lineup card posted in the dugout, the coach places the DH in the No. four spot and the pitcher in the No. 10 spot. The pitcher misunderstands the lineup and comes to bat after the ninth player. With the pitcher at bat and a 2-2 count, the opposing team brings the infraction to the attention of the umpire. RULING: This is illegal substitution, not batting out of order. The pitcher is declared out and restricted to the bench for the remainder of the game. The role of the DH is terminated and the player who batted in the No. 1 spot is considered to have been substituted for in the game and may return only if he has re-entry eligibility. (2-36-3d, 3-1-1, 3-1-3, 3-1-4a)


SITUATION 10: The batter squares to bunt with both feet in the batter's box, but his knee is touching home plate when he bunts the pitch foul. RULING: The batter is out because he was touching home plate when he hit the ball. (7-3-2)


SITUATION 11: With runners on first base and second base, the batter hits a clean single to left center field. As the runner from second is rounding third base, the catcher picks up the bat and places it in front of home plate in the base line from third base. The runner must alter his stride to avoid the bat. RULING: This is obstruction by the catcher. If the runner does not score on the play, he will be awarded home. The catcher could additionally be warned or ejected for his behavior that is not in accordance with the spirit of fair play. (2-22-1, 8-3-2, 3-3-1g-4 penalty)


SITUATION 12: No outs, runners on first base and third base. A ground ball is hit to the second baseman, who throws home in an attempt to put out the runner advancing from third. The throw is late and wide of the plate and the runner easily slides across the plate. The catcher receives the throw and is preparing to throw to first when he is contacted (not maliciously) by the runner after he has slid across home. The throw to first is wild. The batter-runner had not yet made it to first base. RULING: This is interference by the runner from third. The ball is dead at the time of the interference. Since this is not a force-play slide situation, the run will count, the batter will be declared out for the interference, and the runner from first base will be placed at the base he occupied at the time of the interference. (2-21-1a, 2-32-2c, 8-4-2f)


SITUATION 13: Runner on third with two outs. The batter swings at a pitch in the dirt for strike three and begins to advance to first base. The runner from third scores before the catcher, in an attempt to record the out at first, throws and hits the batter-runner who is out of the running lane. The offensive team's coach says the run should count since the runner scored prior to the interference. RULING: The run does not count. A run is not scored if the runner advances to home plate during action in which the third out is made by the batter-runner before he touches first base.  (9-1-1a)


SITUATION 14: One out with runners at second base and third base. The batter hits a fly ball deep to center field. The runner at second base goes halfway, but the runner at third begins to advance to home. The coach grabs him and pushes him back to tag third base. The ball bounces and goes over the fence for a ground-rule double. RULING: The ball is dead when it bounces over the fence. The runner at third is declared out due to the coach's interference. The runner at second is returned to second due to the interference. The batter-runner will be awarded second base for the ground-rule double, which will advance the runner from second base to third base.  (3-2-2 Penalty, 8-3-3c)


SITUATION 15: With runners at first and second and one out, the batter hits a bounding ball to left field. The runner from second touches third and is obstructed advancing to home. The obstructed runner then interferes with the catcher attempting to make a play on the runner from first advancing to third base. RULING: The penalties are enforced in the order in which the infractions occurred. The runner advancing from second is awarded home. Following the enforcement for the obstruction, the interference is penalized. The runner from first is declared out and the batter-runner is returned to the base he legally occupied at the time of the interference. Had the interference been malicious in nature, the obstructed runner would be declared out in addition to the out on the runner from first. (2-22-1, 2-21-1a, 3-3-1n Penalty, 8-4-2e, 8-4-2g)


SITUATION 16: The batter-runner hits a ground ball to the shortstop who goes deep into the hole to field the ball. As the shortstop makes the throw, the batter veers into the first baseman in an attempt to disrupt the play. RULING: While this is not a violation of the runner's lane, the batter is out for intentionally interfering with the throw. The ball is dead when the interference occurs. (8-4-2g, 8-4-1g)


SITUATION 17: As the batter-runner nears first base, attempting to beat out a ground ball to third, he intentionally steps on the first baseman's foot to disrupt the play. RULING: The batter is out and ejected for malicious contact. Other runners on base would be returned to the base occupied at the time of the interference. (2-21-1b, 3-3-1n Penalty)


SITUATION 18: On a batted ball down the right-field line, the ball bounces over the right fielder's head, and ricochets off the foul pole above the fence and back onto the field. The right fielder retrieves the ball and throws out the batter-runner at second base. The defensive coach says the play should stand since the ball never left the field, while the offensive coach says the out should not stand. RULING: The out will not stand. The hit is considered to be a ground-rule double, since the ball would have bounced over the fence. The ball is dead when it struck the foul pole over the fence. (8-3-3c, 5-1-1f-4)


SITUATION 19: Having scouted the opposing team, the defensive coach brings the left fielder in to assume an infield position between the second baseman and the first baseman. The batter hits a ground ball to the "additional" infielder who throws the ball into the dugout on the first play. RULING: Two bases will be awarded to runners on base from the time of the pitch. The left fielder is considered at the time of the play to be an infielder. (8-3-5, 2-13-3)


SITUATION 20: Having scouted the player coming to bat, the defensive coach moves the second baseman to the outfield, thereby having four fielders equally spaced in the outfield. The second baseman, now playing in the outfield, takes a batted ball on the bounce and throws it into a dead-ball area. RULING: Two bases will be awarded to the runners from the time of the throw. The second baseman is considered at the time of this play to be an outfielder. (8-3-5, 2-13-3)

Publisher's Note: The National Federation of State High School Associations is the only source of official high school interpretations. They do not set aside nor modify any rule. They are made and published by the NFHS in response to situations presented.

Obstruction to Bases Prohibited in 2008 Baseball Rules

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (July 9, 2007) -- Beginning with the 2008 high school baseball season, fielders without possession of the ball will not be allowed to deny access to the base that a runner is attempting to achieve.

This change in Rule 2-22-3 is one of numerous rules revisions approved by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Baseball Rules Committee at its annual meeting June 12-14 in Indianapolis. The rules changes subsequently were approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

"This rules revision will be very beneficial because it will minimize the risk of injury for both offensive and defensive players," said Elliot Hopkins, NFHS director of educational services and liaison to the Baseball Rules Committee.
A revision to Rule 3-2-1 rescinds the previous rule that stated a coach or player occupying the coaches'' boxes shall remain there upon the batter entering the batter's box until the release of the ball by the pitcher if requested by the opposing coach. Beginning with the 2008 season, one player or coach may occupy each coach's box while his or her team is at bat.

"This rule was virtually impossible to enforce in the past," Hopkins said. "The umpire does not normally focus on the coach in the box, and shouldn't have to split his or her focus between the coach and the game. In addition, a lot of fields are not properly lined with coaches'' boxes, and it's tough to say where the coach should be if the marks are not clear."

Along with the previous rule, multiple rules changes were made regarding head coaches. Rule 3-2-4 requires the head coach to be in attendance at the pre-game conference if available. If he or she is not present, the head coach will be restricted to the dugout for the remainder of the game unless he or she must attend to a sick or injured player.

Another rule, Rule 1-1-2, suggests the importance of both the captain and the head coach being in communication with the umpires. Both must be present at the pre-game conference, and the head coach is responsible for ensuring that his or her team is in compliance and will adhere to good sportsmanship. The rule also requires the name, shirt number, position and batting order of each starter to be placed on the lineup card. The name and shirt number of each eligible substitute should also be placed on the card, but are not required.

"It is important and necessary to require lineup cards to be filled out correctly," Hopkins said. "We looked at the vocabulary for the requirements for substitutions and changed "shall'' to "should'' in the section concerning eligible substitutions because there is no violation or penalty outlined if the eligible substitute's name is not listed on the card."

Two final rules changes deal with equipment and apparel. Rule 1-3-6 will require a pitcher's glove to be removed from the game if it includes the colors of white and/or gray and is noticed by the umpire or opposing team.

"It is the coach's responsibility to make sure his team is properly equipped, and it is the umpire's responsibility to enforce the rules," Hopkins said. "Instead of penalizing the opposing team with a multi-base award, the glove will only be required to be removed."

According to Rule 10-1-9, it is necessary that umpires dress alike in heather gray slacks and either a navy pullover shirt or a state association-adopted shirt. They are not required to supply a wide variety of shirts beyond what is necessary.

Baseball is the fourth-most popular sport among boys at the high school level with 470,671 participants during the 2005-06 season, according to the High School Athletics Participation Survey conducted by the NFHS. It also ranks third in school sponsorship across the nation with 15,290 schools.

2008 NFHS Baseball Rules Interpretations

SITUATION 1: With runners on first and second and no outs, the batter bunts a slow roller down the third-base line. The third baseman, seeing that he has no play on any of the runners, starts blowing on the ball from his hands and knees, trying to make the ball go foul. The ball eventually rolls into foul territory where it comes to rest. RULING: This is a fair ball. The fielder is using artificial means to induce the ball to become foul. As soon as a fielder blew on the ball, it would be judged to be the same as if he had touched it. So, if the ball was on fair ground when he blew on it, the ball is fair; if the ball was over foul ground when he blew on it, it would be foul. (2-5-1, 2-16-1)

SITUATION 2: A sharp line drive is hit to the second baseman. The impact of the ball takes the glove off the second baseman's hand, and the glove lands on the ground with the ball still in the pocket of the glove. The second baseman retrieves the glove and takes the ball out of the pocket. Is this a catch or must the ball be thrown to first base in an attempt to record the out? RULING: This is not a catch. To record the out on the batter-runner, the second baseman would need to throw the ball to first in an attempt to obtain the force out. A catch is an act of a fielder gaining secure possession in his hand or glove of a live ball in flight and firmly holding it. (2-9-1)

SITUATION 3: A fly ball hit deep to right field along the foul line hits the right fielder on the head. The ball then bounces off his head and, in flight, goes over the outfield fence, but does so on the foul side of the foul pole. Is this a home run? RULING: No, this is a ground-rule double. A home run is a fair ball that goes over a fence in flight in fair territory. (8-3-4a)

SITUATION 4: With the bases loaded and two outs and a 3-2 count, the runners are off with the pitch. The pitch is ball four, but the runner from first slides into second and his momentum carries him over and past the base. The catcher makes a quick throw to second base and the tag is applied for the third out before the runner from third trots home and touches the plate. Does the run count? RULING: Yes, the run does count. Each runner may, without liability to be put out, advance one base when he is forced to vacate his position on the bases due to the batter being awarded a base-on-balls. The runners advance past the bases to which they are entitled at their own risk. All runners are awarded one base, and as long as all the bases are touched appropriately, the run would count. (8-1-2a, 8-1-1c, Awards Table)

SITUATION 5: With runners on second and third, the batter receives ball four on a pitch that bounces in the dirt. The ball caroms off the catcher's shin guards and goes into the visiting team's dugout. What bases are to be awarded? RULING: The batter is awarded first base due to the base-on-balls, and the runners are awarded one base due to the pitch entering a dead-ball area. At the end of the awards, the batter-runner will be on first base, the runner from second will be on third, and the runner from third will have scored. (8-1-2a, 8-1-1c, 8-3-3d)

SITUATION 6: While on the pitcher's plate in the windup position, the pitcher has both hands at his side or both hands together in front of his body. He brings his pitching hand to his mouth and then distinctly wipes it off. RULING: This is an illegal pitch. Each runner on base would be awarded one base. If the bases were empty, a ball would be awarded to the batter. (6-1-2 Penalty)

SITUATION 7: While on the pitching plate in the stretch position, the pitcher has the ball in his glove hand and his pitching hand is at his side or has hands together in front of his body. He brings his pitching hand to his mouth, distinctly wipes it off and returns it to his side. RULING: This is an illegal pitch by the pitcher. A balk will be called if there are runners on base. If the bases are empty, a ball will be awarded to the batter. (6-1-3 Penalty)

SITUATION 8: While off the pitcher's plate, the pitcher goes to his mouth with his pitching hand, distinctly wipes it off and then legally engages the pitcher's plate. RULING: This is legal. (6-1, 6-2-1e)

SITUATION 9: With (a) the bases empty, or (b) runners on first base and second base, the pitcher goes to his mouth with his pitching hand while off the pitcher's plate, but does not wipe it off. He next places his pitching hand on the ball. RULING: In both (a) and (b), while off the pitching plate, the pitcher may request to have a new ball from the plate umpire with no penalty. If the pitcher, without having received a new ball from the plate umpire subsequently engages the pitcher's plate, a ball would be awarded to the batter. (6-2-1e Penalty)

SITUATION 10: The lineup submitted by the visiting team does not have any substitutes listed. In the second inning, the visiting team coach attempts to substitute for the center fielder. The coach of the home team complains that there were no substitutes listed, this is illegal. RULING: This is legal. While it is encouraged and a benefit to both teams to have all substitutes listed on the line-up card, it is not mandatory. There is no penalty. The umpire-in-chief will allow the substitution and notify the opposing team and the official scorekeeper. (1-1-2, 10-2-3d, j) SITUATION 11: Baker, who is not listed on the lineup card as a starter or as a substitute, comes in to play left field but does not report. When he comes to bat in the next half-inning, the opposing team argues that since he was not listed on the lineup and that since he did not report, he is an illegal substitute and cannot participate. RULING: There is no penalty for not listing the substitutes and Baker may participate. As an unreported substitute, the umpire-in-chief will enter him on his lineup card and notify both teams and the official scorer. (1-1-2, 2-36-2, 3-1-1)

SITUATION 12: As the pitcher moves to attempt a pickoff at first base, the first baseman drops his knee and entirely blocks the runner from getting back to first base. RULING: This is obstruction. A fielder who is not in possession of the ball must provide the runner access to the base he is attempting to reach. The runner will be awarded second base for the obstruction. (2-22-3, 8-3-2)

SITUATION 13: Without the ball in possession, the catcher sets up in the base path, but does allow access to part of home plate. As the ball and the runner converge at home simultaneously, the runner contacts the catcher. RULING: As long as the umpire judges that the catcher provided access to the plate for the runner, this is not obstruction. With the play in motion and the timing such that it is about to occur, a fielder may be in the base path without the ball, provided he allows the runner access to the base or home plate. (2-22-3)

SITUATION 14: With a lazy, one-hop single to the right fielder, the batter rounds first base with no intention or action of advancing to second base. As he takes a few easy strides past first base, he contacts the first baseman who is partially in his path. RULING: Since the batter was making no attempt to advance to second base, the first baseman did not hinder him or change the pattern of the play. As a result, obstruction would not be called. Any benefit of the doubt would be given to the batter-runner if there was a question in the covering umpire's mind. (3-22-1)

SITUATION 15: With the pregame conference ready to begin, the home team head coach is in the bullpen and refuses to attend. He sends his assistant coach and a captain to be present. The assistant coach provides his team's lineup and verifies to the umpire-in-chief that his team is properly equipped. RULING: The umpire-in-chief will accept the assistant coach's verification and conclude all needed activity at the pregame conference. The head coach will be restricted to the dugout for the remainder of the game. (3-2-4 Penalty, 4-1-3a)

SITUATION 16: With the game time at hand, the head coach of the visiting team is caught in traffic and is not present at the field. The assistant coach represents the team at the pregame conference. RULING: This is permissible. When the head coach arrives at the game, he may resume normal coaching activity. (3-2-4)

SITUATION 17: In the third inning, a substitute pitcher comes to relieve the starting pitcher. After a couple of pitches have been delivered, the umpire-in-chief notices that the reliever's glove has white on it. RULING: The umpire shall have the pitcher remove the glove and obtain a legal one before he continues to pitch. (1-3-6)

SITUATION 18: With runners on second and third, the pitcher makes a great catch of a line drive hit back up the middle. The opposing coach notices that his glove has a large manufacturer's logo that is white. He complains to the umpire-in-chief. RULING: Upon discovery, the glove used by the pitcher that includes the colors white and/or gray shall be removed. The out stands and there are no subsequent base awards. (1-3-6)

SITUATION 19: The umpire-in-chief notices that the head coach coaching at third base is not in the coach's box. The coach is not gaining an advantage or causing any problems. RULING: There is no violation. If the umpire believes that the coach was gaining an advantage for his team, he would require the coach to be within the confines of the coach's box. (3-2-1) SITUATION 20: With the bases empty, the visiting team is at bat and the assistant coach in the first base coach's box is wearing a dual flap helmet while the head coach in the third base coach's box is wearing a hard liner under his team cap. The home team coach complains to the umpire-in-chief that both coaches must wear the same type of protective helmet in accordance with MLB rules. RULING: The NFHS has not mandated that adult coaches shall wear protective head gear while occupying a coach's box. It is the prerogative of the respective coach to wear such protective equipment. The NFHS is conducting research to determine if protective head gear should be required and, if so, which type (hard liner, flapless, one-flap, dual flap) would be most effective. However, it is mandatory that when occupying a coach's box, a coach shall wear the team cap and that players/students wear a batting helmet that meets the NOCSAE standard and has dual ear flaps. (3-2-1, 1-5-1, 1-4-1)

Robert F. Kanaby, Publisher, NFHS Publications © 2008

2007 NFHS Baseball Rule Revisions

INDIANAPOLIS (July 18, 2006) — Effective with the 2007 high school baseball season, a team playing with fewer than nine players may return to nine players. In addition to this change, 12 other rules revisions were approved by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Baseball Rules Committee at its June 16-17 meeting in Indianapolis. These rules changes subsequently were approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

Rule 4-4-1f allows a team that had to drop down to eight players to return to nine later during the game,” said Greg Brewer, assistant director of the Alabama High School Athletic Association and chairperson of the NFHS Baseball Rules Committee. “This will also help promote participation.”

Rule 3-3-1n addresses revised penalties for initiating malicious contact on offense or defense. Transgressions will now result in the ball being immediately dead, and if on offense, the player is ejected and declared out, unless he has already scored. If the defense commits the malicious contact, the player is ejected; the umpire shall rule either safe or out on the play and award the runner(s) the appropriate base(s) he felt they would have obtained if the malicious contact had not occurred.

Other rules pertaining to malicious contact were also revised, as were their corresponding entries in the base-running table and dead-ball table.

“With these changes, we hope to be more definitive on offensive and defensive malicious contact,” said Elliot Hopkins, NFHS assistant director and liaison to the Baseball Rules Committee.

In another change, Rule 6-2-1 now states that a ball will be called each time a pitcher brings his pitching hand in contact with his mouth, either without distinctly wiping off the pitching hand before it touches the ball or while in contact with the pitcher’s plate.

Rule 3-2-1 was revised to state that one player or coach may occupy each coach’s box while his team is at bat. A coach or player occupying the coach’s box shall remain in the box from the time the batter enters the batter’s box until the release of the ball by the pitcher. If the coach or player steps out of the box during this time, regardless of who violates the rule, the head coach will be restricted to the bench/dugout.

“A player or coach standing outside the box gains an unfair advantage as to where the opposing pitcher intends to pitch the ball,” Hopkins said. “The box-bound player or coach does not have the same angle or disadvantage. This rule seeks to correct these unfair advantages and prevent distractions the pitcher may experience during his delivery.”

Another rule change (Rule 3-3-4) stipulates that whenever team members are loosening up in an area that is not protected by a fence or other structure, another member of the team with a glove must be positioned between them and the batter to protect them from a batted or thrown ball.

“This is a risk minimization initiative to protect individuals who are not watching the activity in the field,” Hopkins said.

In another effort to minimize risk, Rule 10-2-1 was revised to specify that when behind the plate, the umpire-in-chief shall wear proper safety equipment including, but not limited to chest protector, face mask, throat guard, plate shoes, shin guards and protective cup (if male).

A new signal was adopted that uses the point motion for the start of the game. This will align NFHS officials with other rules codes to begin a contest and put a ball back in play.

In an effort to make baseball compatible with other NFHS sport rules, Rule 1-4-4 now states that a commemorative or memorial patch, not to exceed 4 square inches, may be worn on jerseys without compromising the integrity of the uniform.

In addition to the rules changes, the committee identified Points of Emphasis for the 2007 season. Among those are malicious contact, concussions, good sporting behavior, face protection, umpire’s professionalism, non-adult bat/ball shaggers and game management.

2007 NFHS Baseball Interpretations


SITUATION 1: In the top of the seventh inning, the home team leads 3-2. With a runner on third base, the visiting coach puts on a squeeze play. R1 breaks for home on the pitcher's motion. The first baseman, aware of the situation, races toward home plate, and catches the pitch in front of the plate and tags the sliding runner before he can reach the plate. RULING: This is obstruction on the batter by the first baseman. The ball will be declared dead, R1 will be awarded home and the batter will be awarded first base. (8-1-1e-1)


SITUATION 2: With R1 on first base, B2 hits a ground ball to F4. While running to second base, R1's batting helmet falls off (a) and makes contact with the batted ball, deflecting it away from F4, or (b) in front of F4, which distracts him and results in his misplaying the ball. RULING: If R1's helmet accidentally fell off, there would be no penalty in either (a) or (b). Had the helmet been deliberately removed, and interference occurred, then R1 would have declared out for interference. The umpire could also rule out B2 if he judged the interference prevented a double play. (8-4-2g, 8-4-1h)

SITUATION 3: With no outs and R1 on first base, B2 hits a hard ground ball to F6. F6 fields the ball and steps on second base and then throws to first base in an attempt to double up B2. R1 is running standing up in a straight line to second and is hit by F6's throw. R1 was not even half way to second base and did not intentionally interfere with the throw. The defensive coach states that B2 should also be out since R1 violated the force-play slide rule. RULING: This is not a violation of the force play slide rule. R1 cannot be expected to slide at that point in the base path. The play stands. R1 would be out only if he intentionally interfered. (8-4-2b penalty)

SITUATION 4: In the fifth inning, having had one defensive charged conference, the defensive head coach requests time and goes to the pitching mound to talk with his pitcher. While he is at the mound, the assistant coach runs over and talks with F3. Is this considered one conference, two separate conferences, or should the umpire not allow the assistant coach on the field while his head coach is having a charged conference? RULING: It is legal for the assistant coach to be having a conference with another defensive player while the head coach is also having a charged conference. This would be considered to be one charged conference. When the head coach's charged conference is completed, the assistant coach must end his meeting with F3. If the assistant coach delays the game by not ending his conference, the team could be assessed another charged conference. (3-4-1)

SITUATION 5: With (a) one out or (b) two outs, the visiting team has a runner on third in the top of the seventh. The game is tied 2-2. R1, on third, gets a great jump and easily scores on a suicide bunt. After R1 has scored, F2 picks up the ball and throws to first in an attempt to get B3 out. B3 is out of the running lane and is hit by F2's throw. Does the run by R1 count? RULING: B3 is out for interference. In (a), R1's run counts because he scored prior to the interference by B3. Had the interference by B3 occurred before R1 crossed the plate, R1 would be returned to third base, the base he occupied at the time of the interference. In (b), R1's run would not count as the third out occurred by B3 before he touched first base. (8-4-1g, 9-1-1a)

SITUATION 6: In the top of the seventh in the last game of the season, the visiting team's shortstop is one stolen base short of the record for stolen bases. With one out, he is hit by a pitch and is awarded first base. The pitcher, trying to keep him close to first base, throws over several times. On the last attempted pick-off, the pitcher throws the ball into the dugout. The umpire properly awards the runner second base on the dead ball. The runner and his coach tell the umpire that they will decline the award since they believe he will have a better chance of stealing second base vs. stealing third base. Is the award to a runner optional? RULING: The runner must advance. The award of a base is not optional and cannot be declined by the offense. (8-3-3d)

SITUATION 7: While off the pitching plate, F1 goes to his mouth with his pitching hand. He distinctly wipes it off on his pants and then assumes a pitching position on the pitching plate. RULING: This is legal. There has been no violation by the pitcher. (6-2-1e)

SITUATION 8: While off the pitching plate, F1 goes to his mouth with his pitching hand. Without wiping his pitching hand, he gets on the pitching plate and assumes the windup position with his hands together in front of his body. RULING: A ball shall be called and added to the batter's count. (6-2-1e penalty)

SITUATION 9: While on the pitching plate in the windup position, the pitcher has both hands at his side. He brings his pitching hand to his mouth and then distinctly wipes it. RULING: This is legal and there has been no violation by the pitcher. (6-2-1e)

SITUATION 10: While on the pitching plate in the windup position, the pitcher has his glove hand in front of his body. He brings his pitching hand to his mouth and, without wiping it, brings his pitching hand to the ball, which is in the glove. RULING: This is a violation by the pitcher and a ball shall be called and added to the batter's count. (6-2-1e penalty)

SITUATION 11: While on the pitching plate in the windup position, the pitcher has his hands together in front of his body. He then brings his pitching hand to his mouth and returns it to his glove. RULING: This is an illegal pitch by the pitcher. A balk will be called if there are runners on base. If the bases are empty, a ball will be added to the batter's count. (6-1-2 penalty)

SITUATION 12: While on the pitching plate in the stretch position, the pitcher has the ball in his glove hand and his pitching hand is at his side. He brings his pitching hand to his mouth, distinctly wipes it and returns it to his side. RULING: This is legal and there has been no violation by the pitcher. (6-2-1e)

SITUATION 13: While on the pitching plate in the stretch position, the pitcher has the ball in his glove and his pitching hand at his side. He brings his pitching hand to his mouth and then becomes set with both hands together. RULING: This is a violation as the pitcher did not distinctly wipe his pitching hand after going with it to his mouth. A ball shall be added to the batter's count. (6-2-1e penalty)

SITUATION 14: While on the pitching plate in the stretch position, the pitcher becomes legally set with his hands together in front of his body. He then brings his hand to his mouth and returns it to his gloved hand. RULING: This is an illegal pitch by the pitcher. A balk will be called if there are runners on base. If the bases are empty, a ball will be added to the batter's count. (6-1-3 penalty)

SITUATION 15: With no substitutes available, the center fielder collides with the wall and cannot continue playing. An inning later, another player arrives. Can the coach enter the player? RULING: Once the game has begun, a team may continue to play if it loses a player and has only eight players. It is legal for the coach to enter the arriving player in the vacated spot in the lineup, substitute the player for another player still in the game, or to continue to play with eight players. (4-41f, note 2)

SITUATION 16: The shortstop, trying to stop a ground ball, scrapes his elbow which, despite the trainer's best effort, continues to bleed. The team has no available substitutes. Two innings later, the trainer has the bleeding stopped and the elbow properly bandaged. RULING: It is legal for a team to continue play with only eight players. The shortstop may now re-enter the game in his vacated spot in the lineup provided he has re-entry eligibility left as a starting player. (4-4-1f, note 2)

SITUATION 17: With only nine players, the second baseman twists his ankle jumping for a line drive and cannot continue to play. An inning later, a player who had been taking a test arrives at the game. The coach decides to continue the game with only eight players and hold the newly arrived player as insurance in case another player is injured. RULING: This is legal. It is not mandatory for a coach to return to playing with nine players when another player becomes available. (4-4-1f, note 2)

SITUATION 18: R1 at first base is off and running as the pitcher delivers the pitch. B2 hits a fly ball to deep center field. R1 misses second base and is between second and third when F8 catches the ball at the fence. R1 sees the catch, touches second base returning and beats the throw back to first base. The defense is granted "time" and verbally appeals that R1 missed second as he attempted to advance on the fly ball. RULING: When R1 touched second base as he returned to first, he corrected his base running infraction because he touched the base the last time he went by it. The appeal is denied. (8-2-2, 8-2-6)

SITUATION 19: With R1 on first and no outs in a close game, the first baseman is playing about 20 feet in front of first base in case of a bunt attempt by B2. The pitcher, in the stretch position, throws to F3 in a pick-off attempt on R1. RULING: This is a balk. The first baseman is not in proximity of first base and is not close enough to legitimately make a play on the runner. The ball is dead and R1 is awarded second base. (6-2-4b)

SITUATION 20:With R1 on first base, the right-handed batter B2 swings hard and misses the pitch. The catcher, seeing R1 slow in returning to first, attempts to pick him off. B2's follow-through by the bat hits the catcher and causes his throw to sail into right field. RULING: The ball is dead and the B2 is declared out for batter interference. R1 is returned to first base. A batter is responsible for the follow-through of a bat when he swings. (7-3-5c)

Publisher's Note: The National Federation of State High School Associations is the only source of official high school interpretations. They do not set aside nor modify any rule. They are made and published by the NFHS in response to situations presented.
Robert F. Kanaby, Publisher, NFHS Publications © 2007-2011

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