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Areas of Focus

Hit and Run Baseball offers a number of rule changes to create a more engaging game. These game modifications offer a variety of new and exciting ways to play baseball, while promoting a faster paced, development-based gameplay experience. Learn more about the Hit and Run Baseball suggested modifications in each recommended area, and their benefits for youth players.


Recommended Changes

  • Reduce number of innings in game
  • Specific number of hitters per inning (e.g. five batters per inning)
  • Specific number of hitters per inning or three outs, whatever comes first

Benefits

Limiting the number of hitters per inning can keep the game moving by avoiding long innings that contribute to slow pace of play.

Recommended Changes

  • If defensive players (or pitcher and catcher) are in position no more than 20 seconds after last out recorded in previous inning, team will receive an extra batter in next offensive inning
  • Batters must keep one foot in box at all times
  • Catcher from previous inning will warm up next pitcher until current defensive catcher arrives

Benefits

Giving players incentives for improved pace of play encourages a more fun, rapid game and avoids unnecessary delays between pitches or innings.


Recommended Changes

Adjust the starting ball/strike count

  • No count, three swings per hitter (no walks)
  • Start with a count other than 0‐0 (e.g. 1‐1, 2‐2, 3‐2)
  • If batter is walked or hit by the pitch, batter receives new at‐bat and starts with a modified count (e.g. 2‐1)
  • Called strikes are automatic strikeouts

Benefits

Adjusting the starting count encourages pitchers to throw strikes (to avoid walks) and encourages batters to swing at hittable pitches (to avoid strikeouts); adjusting the starting count also reduces the overall number of pitches thrown per player, promoting the goals of Pitch Smart.

Recommended Changes

Defensive positions

  • Younger players: Six players with no outfielders
  • Older players: Nine players must rotate positions every inning
  • Defensive bonuses: Teams receive bonuses for successfully fielding ground balls, pop‐ups and assists and for proper technique

Benefits

  • Rotating positions gives players opportunities to try new positions and have more involvement defensively
  • Giving players incentives for defensive performance helps to reinforce the important non‐batting skills that are important to becoming a complete player

Recommended Changes

Pitch delivery

  • Coach pitch, side toss, or front toss with L‐screen
  • Pitching machine or hitting off tee
  • Coach pitch if more than two total BB/HBP in an inning

Ball type

  • Foam ball, rubber ball, plastic ball, practice baseball, tennis ball

Benefits

  • Coach pitching or a pitching machine leads to more hittable pitches, more batted balls and more action for offensive and defensive players
  • A softer ball can be less intimidating to younger players and encourage them to be more comfortable hitting or fielding

Recommended Changes

Baserunners to start inning

  • Start innings with different runners on base (first, first and second, bases loaded, etc.)
  • Change baserunner scenarios by inning (innings 1‐2 = no baserunners; innings 3‐4 = runners on first and second base)

Base-stealing

  • Players are not allowed to steal bases
  • Players are not allowed to advance on passed balls

Benefits

  • Adding baserunners to start innings can increase run scoring, create more diverse game situations and increase players' understanding of how to play in those situations
  • Discouraging base-stealing allows younger pitchers to focus on throwing strikes, while encouraging base-stealing for older players creates a more interesting game

Recommended Changes

Positioning

  • Umpires: can be positioned behind mound or behind home plate
  • Coaches: for younger levels, can be positioned behind mound to allow for more frequent and immediate teaching opportunities

Timeouts and mound visits

  • Coaches may receive a limited number of timeouts (e.g. two per game, no more than one per inning) that they can use offensively or defensively; mound visits would otherwise be eliminated

Benefits

  • Putting the umpire or coach behind the mound gives greater ability to interact with the players in the field more frequently
  • Coach timeouts allow coaches to provide immediate feedback to players and are a valuable teaching tool when used sparingly