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Matthews Athletic & Recreation Association

Matthews Athletic & Recreation Association


Local Rules - AAA Machine Pitch

1.      Continuous Batting 

Will take place in both divisions.  If a player arrives late, they will be placed at the end of the lineup without penalty.

2.      Time Limit 

AAA will have 1 hour and 50 minute time limits for all regular season games. In both leagues, for tied regular season games, extra innings are allowed within the time limit of the game. If the time limit has been exceeded, then a single extra inning is allowed. Playoff games will have no time limit. Playoff games will not end based on weather or darkness; they will be suspended based on the “Suspended Game” rule.

3.      Slaughter and Run Rules

·         Maximum of 5 runs for each team in the 1st inning.

·         For 2nd to 5th innings - if team is behind they can catch up and then go ahead by five runs.  If ahead, team can only go ahead by five additional runs.

·         Sixth inning only there is no run limit. 

·         A 10 run rule applies beginning in the 4th inning for all games.

4.      Bats 

Effective January 1st, 2018 USA Baseball has implemented a rule change effecting the bats that are allowable for use in Babe Ruth Baseball. All bats must be approved USA Baseball bats marked with the new USA Baseball stamp. The bats must also be no larger than 2-5/8" in diameter. Please note that bats marked with 1.15BPF stamp will no longer be allowed to be used.

5.      Bunting and Slashing (fake bunt then swinging) 

Each player is allowed to bunt once per game, meaning if a player bunts for a hit, bunts for a fielded out or bunts for a foul out, they will have been deemed to have utilized their one bunt for the game. Slashing is not allowed.

6.      Substitution 

Free substitution for all players (Cal Ripken rule). No player may sit more than two innings in a six inning game. No player may sit two innings consecutively. In the event of an injury, both coaches must agree to the proper thing to do.

7.      Minimum Players 

Teams in Machine Pitch need a minimum of 8 players to start and finish a game and 9 in the playoffs. There will be no automatic out for the 9th spot in the lineup. If a team does not have the minimum number of players required for a regular season game, a substitute player from the next league down may play during the regular season.  The substitute player must bat last. Teams that are not able to start and finish a game with the minimum number of players forfeit the game. No regular season substitutions are permitted for teams that have the minimum number of players from their own roster. No substitutions are permitted in the playoffs; however, a team may play with eight players, with the ninth spot being automatic out every time it comes up in the order. When a team is playing with the minimum number of players, in the event of an injury and a player is not able to return to the game within 5 minutes of the injury, it is at the discretion of the opposing coach whether the game can be continued or is forced to forfeit. The decision must be made before the next pitch is made. 

8.      Player Positioning 

AA and AAA teams which start a game with less than 10 players must have all infield positions filled, remaining players will play outfield.   Outfielders must be in the outfield grass when the play begins.  No rover (short fielder) or additional infielders will be allowed. Outfielders may come into the infield to back up a play or cover a base vacated by a long play such as a run-down situation. Outfielders may only cover bases on over-throws and other non-force plays.

9.      Base Runner / Fielder Contact 

Must try to avoid contact.  Umpires have full discretion to make the correct interference and obstruction calls when contact occurs that affects the play.

10.  Head First Sliding 

Only allowed when returning to a base.  Sliding into first base is NOT allowed.

11.  Running for Catcher 

Only allowed with two outs and the player who made the last batted out must be the substitute runner.  A player is only deemed the catcher if they played the position in the previous inning. Do NOT call time until the substitute runner is ready to enter the game. Running for the catcher is NOT allowed during the playoffs.

12.  Playoffs 

In the playoffs, the higher seed is always the home team, except when the lower seed team is the winners’ bracket representative in the first championship game of a double elimination tournament.  In the event the losers’ bracket representative wins the first championship game of a double elimination tournament, the home team for the second championship game shall be determined by coin flip.

13.  Ejections

Any coach or player that is ejected from a game for any reason, will be required to leave the facility immediately and will be suspended from the next game regardless of regular season or playoffs. Minimum number of players rule applies (see rule #7).

14.  Overthrows 

AAA – On an overthrow at first, second or third base, runners may advance at their own risk and the defense will be allowed to make a play on the advancing runner.  The umpire will not call “TIME” until the advancing runner safely reaches the base he is advancing to, the advancing runner is tagged out or the advancing runner returns safely to the base the advancing runner was attempting to advance from.  The runner will be able to advance a maximum of one base on the play.  There will be no overthrows at home plate and there can be no more than one overthrow on any given play.

15.  Stopping Play  

AAA – The defensive team must stop the effort of the runners to advance; however, runners may only advance one base on any batted ball that remains in the infield; unless, an overthrow at first, second or third base occurs.  If an overthrow occurs, each runner on base may move up a maximum of one base beyond the base they were advancing toward at the time the overthrow occurred.  The umpire will not call “TIME” until the advancing runners safely take the maximum number of bases they are allowed to take on a given play, the advancing runner is tagged out or the advancing runner returns safely to the base the advancing runner was attempting to advance from. In the event of a batted ball to the outfield, runners may continue to advance at their own risk until such time as an infielder has possession of the ball on the infield.  Once an infielder has possession of the ball on the infield, the advancing runners can advance no further than the base they were attempting to advance to at the time the infielder gained possession of the ball, unless the infielder that took possession of the throw from the outfield attempts to make a play on an advancing runner and an overthrow occurs at first, second or third, in which case each runner on base may move up a maximum of one base beyond the base they were advancing toward at the time the overthrow occurred. The umpire will not call “TIME” until the advancing runners safely reach the bases they are advancing to, the advancing runners are tagged out or the advancing runners return safely to the bases the advancing runners were attempting to advance from.

16.Pitching Machine 

AAA - The front of the pitching machine will be located 46 feet from home plate. Settings on the machine will be 9/4/3.

·         The operator must stand behind the pitching machine.

·         The player must stay behind the front of the pitching machine (on either side) until the pitch is released. 

·         If the operator intentionally touches a hit ball, or a fielder, the batter will be called out and all runners on base will return to the base occupied at the time of the pitch.(*\if the operator touches the ball to protect the child in the pitchers position, the batter will be awarded 1st base).

·          If the operator did not intentionally interfere, the ball will become dead at the time of the interference and the batter will be awarded 1st base.  All runners already on base will be awarded one base.

·         The operator may not act as a coach and must remain quiet when the ball is live.  After one warning, the operator will be removed from the game.

·         A batted ball that hits the pitching machine before touching a fielder will be a dead ball and the batter and any runners will be awarded one base.

·         If a batted ball touches a player before touching the machine or the operator, the ball will remain live.

·         A thrown ball that hits the pitching machine remains live.

17.Batting Rules 

A batter will be allowed a maximum of five pitches per at bat unless a pitch is declared unhittable by the umpire or the batters fouls off the fifth pitch.  Whether a pitch is unhittable is in the discretion of the umpire and the batter must not swing at the pitch in order for the umpire to declare the pitch unhittable.  If the batter swings at the potentially unhittable pitch, it cannot be declared an unhittable pitch.  If the batter fouls off the fifth pitch or successive pitches, they will be allowed another pitch. Intentional walks are not permitted in machine pitch.

18.Team Responsibilities 


·         1st base dugout

·         Warmups - cages then infield

·          Line the field

·          Clean 1st base dugout and bleachers after game.     


·         3rd base dugout

·         Warmups -  infield then cages

·         Rake around bases after game and fill in any wholes around bases (inluding home plate)

·         Clean 3rd base dugout and bleachers after game.

19.Plays at Home Plate 

The catcher must be the primary fielder on plays when the ball is thrown to the plate.  If the catcher is “cutoff” on a throw to the plate, the runner will be called safe (judgment call – no appeals).

20.Coaches on the Field 

Three coaches are allowed on the field at any time.  The manager can be in front or beside the dugout (within reach of the dugout fence).  The base coaches must be in the coaching boxes when the play begins. If the base coach interferes with a live runner the runner can be called out (judgment call – no appeals). The outfield coaches must be located in the outfield grass at all times during the inning.  The scorekeeper must be located in the dugout, at the dugout doorway or outside the fence.     

            AAA – the outfield coaches must remain in foul territory at all times

21.        APPEALS 

A play or game cannot be protested based on an umpire’s judgement call. It can be protested for a rules violation. Any protest must be made to      the umpire prior to the next pitch being delivered. The protest must be made in writing to the commissioner within 24 hours of a game to be considered. If there is a dispute, it should be handled professionally between plays after time is called or between innings or after the game by the head coaches and the umpire. All discussions should be held quietly and away from the players and spectators. We are role models to the players and spectators.

22. Miscellaneous Rules (for players)

•     Holes under fence/gate – “Ground Rule Double”

•     Limit frequency of huddle times and limit duration to only 60 seconds

•     Throws are to be made overhand/”normal” baseball throw. Rolling the ball to the base is not allowed.

23. Miscellaneous Rules (for parents/spectators)

  • No parents in the dugout or on the field that are not scheduled to be there.
  • No siblings or other spectators are allowed in the dugout or on the field.
  • Players should not leave the dugout except for medical needs or to use the restroom.
  • There will be no arguing with the umpires or opposing coaches.
  • No cursing, alcohol, or tobacco products will be tolerated at MARA.


Matthews Athletic & Recreation Association
Kathy Duncan MARA Administrator, PO Box 1023
Matthews, North Carolina 28106

Phone: 704-847-0752
Email: [email protected]

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