T-ball is instructional baseball, with 2 age-defined levels designed to teach fundamentals of the game with progression as players gain experience to prepare for the more fast-paced game at the Shetland level. The focus of the program shall be on instruction and teaching proper fundamentals.
I. AGE DIVISIONS
Developmental – This division is for first time players or those that are on the younger side (typically 4.5-5.5 years of age.
Transitional – This division is geared towards preparing older players for the more defense intensive Shetland level.
Tee Balls must be used at all times during games and practices. (AD Starr 1 or AD Starr 5 Reduced Injury Factor or equivalent from other manufacturers such as but not restricted to Baden or Wilson balls only)
Batting will vary by division as follows:
Developmental – All batters will hit from the tee in the first 2 innings of play. In the third inning, the player will be given the OPTION to hit a pitched ball from the coach. The coach will pitch from a ‘normal’ pitcher position and will give a MAXIMUM of 3 pitches. If the ball is not put in play by the batter, s/he will then hit off the tee.
Transitional – All batters will be ENCOURAGED but not required to attempt to hit a pitched ball, with the same guidelines as detailed above, in all 3 innings of play.
All roster players present for the game shall bat in a continuous batting order for the entire game. Should a player arrive after the game has started, that player will be placed at the bottom of the line up.
There will be no bunting.
The entire roster of players present for the game shall bat in each inning. An inning will be considered over when all players have batted.
Batting helmets must be worn by all batters, catcher, base runners, and anyone in the batters circle.
The batter must hit the ball at least 10 feet. This distance will be marked on the field by an arc drawn from the third base foul line to the first base foul line. The ball will be considered dead and cannot be played until it breaks the plane on the arc.
The pitcher must be positioned inside the pitching circle before the batter will be allowed to swing at the ball.
If the batter hits part of the ball and part of the rubber tee, and the ball travels past the 10 foot arc, it will be considered a fair ball. If the batter hits the tee and not the ball or if the ball does not travel past the 10 foot arc, it will be considered a dead ball.
There will be no stealing or leading off of the bases permitted. If a runner leaves the base before the ball is hit, the ball will be declared dead, all runners will be required to return to the base that they occupied before the play occurred, and the batter will hit again.
All batters will remain at bat until they hit a fair ball. If a batter cannot hit the ball (After 4 attempts), the batting coach may assist the batter.
The ball will be declared dead when it is thrown to and controlled by a player in the pitcher’s circle. Play will stop when the ball is thrown to the pitcher within the 10 inch circle. When play has stopped, all base runners will return to the base last touched unless they passed the half way mark drawn on the base line before play was stopped. When this occurs, the runner will be allowed to advance to the next base.
NO BAT THROWING WILL BE ALLOWED. Beginning with the first game of the season each team will be allowed one warning per game.
No child should swing a bat without a coach’s supervision.
Developmental - No outs will be recorded on bases. Batters will be allowed to run even after being thrown out to build base running skills.
Transitional – Outs will be recorded on bases. If the defense makes an ‘out’ as defined by normal baseball rules, the runner will return to the bench. Every third out recorded in a half-inning will clear the bases. The purpose is to continue to build base-running skills (requiring speed and not over-running bases) while teaching the cause/effect of good defense.
All roster players present will play defense in each half-inning in the field.
The maximum number of infielders used at any one time is six, including the pitcher and the catcher.
The remaining players will play in an arc in the outfield and will be encouraged to throw to second base.
The maximum number of innings that any player will be allowed to be pitcher is one inning per game.
No player will be allowed to play pitcher, first base, short stop, or third base in consecutive innings. These positions can be played more than one inning per game, but not consecutively.
During the season, all efforts must be made by coaches to have all players play infield positions as equally as possible. NOTE: REMEMBER TO ROTATE ALL PLAYERS each time your team takes the field. This will assure all players equal playing time at all positions.
Infielders must play behind the base line which runs from the point where the leading corner of third base meets the third base line to the point where the leading corner of first base meets the first base line. The exception to this rule is the third baseman and the first baseman, which may play slightly in front of this line.
Outfielders must play in the outfield grass or 15 feet behind the infield base lines, whichever is lesser.
Fielders should be encouraged to throw the ball and not roll or run the ball in an effort to get the runner out or stop the play.
If sufficient players from one team are not available, players from the opposing team may be assigned to the team for the game to bring the roster of each team up to the minimum.
Two defensive coaches will be stationed beyond the infielders in order to provide instruction to all defensive players while the ball is in play. When the ball is not in play the defensive coach may be stationed anywhere on the field.
A first base coach and a third base coach will be used when a player is at bat. The coach may not physically assist a base runner or interfere with a defensive play.
A batting coach will be used to assist the batter. The coach should not assist more than is needed for the batter to hit the ball. The batting coach will be responsible for removing the batting tee from play once the ball has been hit. A second defensive coach will be responsible for positioning and coaching the catcher.
There will be no defensive coaches at the base lines.
Coaches and other adults assisting the team may not use any tobacco or alcohol products during games or practices.
V. THE GAME
A regulation game is 3 innings or one hour and thirty minutes. If at the end of the one hour twenty minutes, the teams have not completed 3 innings, the team shall not begin a new inning. The time, not the inning will determine the end of the game.
No jewelry shall be worn by any player, except medical identification.
No coach, parent or adult associated with a tee ball team shall keep score in either age group