Rule of Play

Most Important Rule: Have fun! Since we do need some sort of structure, though, here are our rules:  

  1. Default Rule:
    1. Unless otherwise explicitly specified below, standard MLB baseball rules apply to all games.
  2. Necessary Equipment:
    1. All players must wear their team’s official league t-shirt to play in a game.
    2. Although no other equipment is necessary to play in a game, players are allowed to wear cleated shoes.
  3. Minimum requirements to start a game:
    1. Each team must have a minimum of eight (8) players and a maximum of eleven (11) players on the field. No team may receive permission to play with less than eight (8) players.
    2. Each team must also have a minimum of four (4) females playing on the field.
    3. If a team does not meet the minimum of requirement of having four (4) females by the game’s scheduled starting time, then the opposing team has the option to allow the team to play with less females than the required minimum, but the opposing team is not required to do so.
    4. If a team is allowed to play with less than the required minimum number of females, then that team is required to play with one less male on the field for as long as they do not have the sufficient number of females.  Additionally, if a team that is allowed to play with less four (4) does not have four (4) females in the kicking lineup by the time the team has finished going through their full kicking lineup, then the kicking team will receive one (1) out for every female that did not kick in the lineup.  These automatic outs will apply every time that the team goes through their full kicking lineup.
    5. No team may abuse the privilege of playing with less than four (4) females on a repeated basis. Teams that abuse this privilege may lose points from their standings.
    6. All players that play on the field are required to kick in the lineup. As a result, a kicking lineup may have more than eleven (11) players, even though only eleven (11) players are allowed to play as fielders at one time.
    7. Under no conditions will a team be allowed to use a player from another team to substitute for a player on their team, even if the team is at the risk of having to forfeit the game. It is every team’s responsibility to bring enough players to play a game, and when a team uses a substitute player from another team it provides the offending team an unfair advantage.
  4. Length of Games:
    1. The duration of a game is six (6) innings or fifty (50) minutes, whichever comes first.
    2. In the event that time runs out while the teams are in the middle of an inning, then both teams must finish the inning, unless Rule 4.3 is in effect.
    3. In the event that the home team is winning and the game is in the bottom of an inning at the moment that time has expired, then the game is over.
  5. Ties at the End of Regular Season Games:
    1. In the event that time runs out at the top of an inning and the home team is losing, then the visiting team must allow the home team to finish the bottom half of the inning.
    2. If a game is tied after the end of six (6) innings, then both teams may continue to play their game in extra innings as long as: 1) time is still left on the game and 2) both captains agree to extending the game.
    3. If the requirements in 5.2. are met, then both teams may continue playing extra innings until time runs out on their game.
  6. Ties at the End of Playoff Games:
    1. In the event that a tie occurs in the playoffs after six (6) innings, both teams will automatically play a full seventh (7th) inning.
    2. If, after playing a full seventh (7th) inning both teams are still tied, then the top of every subsequent inning will start with a different set of rules.
      1. The top of the eighth (8th) inning will start with the player who was last called out in the top of the seventh (7th) inning automatically on second base.
      2. The bottom of the eighth (8th) inning will start with the player who was last called out in the bottom of the eighth (8th) inning automatically on second base.
      3. This process will continue into subsequent innings until one team wins.
  7. Innings:
    1. Each inning has a top half of the inning and a bottom half of the inning. The team that is the “Away” team kicks first at the top half of the inning, while the team that is the “Home” team kicks second at the bottom half of the inning.
    2. A half of an inning ends once the fielding team gets three outs.
  8. Umpires:
    1. Each team is required to have a minimum of three (3) players from their team umpire another game in accordance with the schedule.
    2. Teams that do not provide the minimum three (3) players from their team to umpire a game will lose half of a point (0.5) point in the standings.
    3. While the head umpire that is assigned to a game has the final say over all calls on the field, the head umpire may seek guidance from the commissioners to help make a final ruling.
  9. Disputing Calls Made by Umpires:
    1. Only captains may discuss close calls with the umpires.
    2. Teams that abuse this privilege may lose points from their standings.
  10. Hitting Rules:
    1. The kicker’s box:
      1. The kicker’s box is a rectangle.
      2. The front of the kicker’s box is aligned with the front of home plate and the back of the box is aligned with the sideline cones behind home plate.
      3. Only the area in front of the kicking box is considered fair territory.
      4. Kicks must occur inside the kicking box.  In other words, a player may only kick once the ball has touched the front of home plate.
      5. If a player kicks before the ball has touched the front end of home plate, then the kick is considered “outside of the box.”
      6. If a player kicks after the ball has passed the back end of home plate, then the kick is considered “outside of the box.”
      7. A player may only kick from the knee down to the foot. Any kick made by using any other part of the body above the knee is considered a foul ball.
      8. If a player inappropriately kicks the ball as stated in 10.1.5.. 10.1.6., or 10.1.7., then the kick is considered a foul ball. However, if the defense catches this foul ball in the air, the defense will have the option of taking the foul call or accepting the out on the field.
    2. Strike Zone:
      1. Before the start of each game, the commissioners will mark the strike zone by placing cones one and a half feet (1.5 ft) to the left of home plate and one and a half feet (1.5 ft) to the right of home plate.
      2. A pitch only counts as a strike if the pitch: 1) falls between the cones and 2) is below the kicking player’s knees at the time the ball crosses home plate.
      3. Any pitch that touches a cone or bounces over a cone is considered a ball.
    3. Female hitting:
      1. Females are allowed to bunt or have a full swing, whichever they prefer.
    4. Male hitting:
      1. Males must make a full swing and are not allowed to bunt.
      2. If a swing done by a male is called a bunt, then the swing will count as a foul ball. However, if the defense catches this foul ball in the air, the defense will have the option of taking the foul call or accepting the out on the field.
    5. Kicking Order:
      1. All players must follow the same kicking order that they originally used to start the game, unless an injury occurs that does not allow a player to continue playing in the game.
      2. It is the captain’s responsibility to keep an accurate lineup sheet in the event that another team challenges their kicking order.
      3. If a team is found to have changed their lineup to their benefit in an improper way, the inning will automatically end and any runs that were scored during that inning will not count on the scoreboard.
    6. Strikeouts:
      1. Three strikes is considered a strikeout.
      2. Fouls count towards a kicker’s strike count until there are two strikes, at which point fouls will no longer count toward the strike count.
      3. Four fouls is considered a strikeout.
    7. Walks:
      1. Four balls is considered a walk and the kicker will advance to first base.
  11. Pitching:
    1. Pitchers may not pitch in front of the pitcher’s plate. In other words, the closest that a pitcher may release the ball is with the player’s back foot touching the pitcher’s plate.
    2. Pitchers will pitch the kickball underhand. Specifically, a pitcher is not allowed to start his throwing motion overhand, even if the pitch is not actually released overhand.
    3. Balls must bounce twice before reaching home plate.
    4. Pitchers must pitch slowly to girls.
    5. A pitcher’s strike zone is explained in 10.2, and a strikeout is explained in 9.6.
    6. Any pitch that does not comply with 11.1., 11.2., 11.3., or 11.4 will count as a ball.
    7. If a team would like to walk a runner intentionally, then the team may do so simply by letting the head umpire know of their decision to intentionally walk the kicker.
  12. Fielding:
    1. Catchers must remain behind the kicker at all times that the kicker is in the process of kicking. Catchers must run in between the two outside cones when attempting to make a play on any bunt.
    2. All fielders – excluding the catcher, but including the pitcher – must be behind the imaginary horizontal straight line extending from first to third base until the ball is kicked.
    3. If one or more team players break Rules 12.1 and 12.2, then the offending team will be given one (1) Game Warning for every play that the team breaks the rules.  Game warnings are further explained in Rule 25.
    4. Once an inning or half inning has begun, a team is not allowed to substitute one fielder for a team player that was not on the field to start that inning or half inning.
  13. Overthrows:
    1. The head umpire will stop play for any ball that is thrown outside the field of play and makes any contact with a fence or – in the event that no fence exists – the out of play cone, and every base runner in play will advance one extra base from the base they were either originally running towards or from the base that they were originally standing on (regardless of whether the runner had made an attempt at running towards that base).
    2. Rule 13.1 does not apply for plays involving the home plate.
    3. Rules 13.1 and 13.2 expressly eliminate the former “5 foot rule” that used to exist.
    4. If Rule 13.1 does not apply, then the base runners are free to advance as many bases as they want.  However, in these situations, the base runners will not receive any automatic extra base.
  14. First Base and Safety Bases:
    1. To allow base runners to run safely through first base and avoid collisions with the first baseman, the commissioners will place a safety base to the right of first base.
    2. All base runners running through first base must run through the safety base (and not the standard base).
  15. Obstruction:
    1. Fielders impeding base runners:
      1. Fielders may not impede the progress of a base runner trying to advance to another base unless they are making a play on the ball.
      2. If an umpire determines that a fielder has inappropriately impeded a base runner’s attempt to advance to another base, then the base runner will automatically advance to that base.
      3. If the catcher obstructs a kicker in any way, then the kicker will be deemed automatically safe unless the kicker goes out of the way to make contact with the catcher.
    2. Base runners impeding fielders:
      1. Base runners may not impede the progress of a fielder trying to make a play on the ball.
      2. If a fielder is trying to make a play on a ball that is on the path of a base runner trying to advance to another base, then the fielder has the right of way and the base runner must make an honest effort to run around the fielder to allow the fielder a chance to make a play on the ball.
      3. If an umpire determines that a base runner has inappropriately impeded a fielder’s attempt to make a play on the ball, then the base runner is automatically out.
      4. Under 15.2.3., the fielder still has the opportunity to also get the kicker out.
    3. First Base Collisions:
      1. Fielders must catch the ball on the standard base and not on the safety base.
      2. If a collision occurs at first base because the fielder made a play on the safety base, then the umpire will determine that the fielder has obstructed the base runner and allow the base runner to remain at first base.
      3. If a collision occurs at first base because the base runner ran through the standard base, then the umpire will determine that the base runner has obstructed the fielder and the base runner is considered out.
  16. Fair and Foul Territory:
    1. Once a fielder (or referee) touches a ball in fair territory the ball is considered fair, even if the ball bounces foul afterwards.
    2. Once a fielder (or referee) touches a ball in foul territory the ball is considered foul, even if the ball bounces fair afterwards.
  17. Infield Fly Rule:
    1. The infield fly rule applies to all games in situations where there are less than two outs with base runners at either: 1) first and second base or 2) first, second, and third base.
    2. If a situation falls under 17.1 and a kicker kicks a fly ball in the infield, the kicker is automatically out, even if the infielder drops the ball.
    3. If a fielder drops a fly ball and the infield fly rule is in effect, then the base runners may choose to try and advance to the next base at their own risk. However, there is no force play in effect when the infield fly rule is called.
  18. End of a Play:
      1. A play ends when the pitcher is standing in the “circle” with the ball in hand.
      2. Once the pitcher is standing in this position, all base runners must remain at their base at this time.
      3. If a base runner was already running towards a base when the pitcher receives the ball, then the base runner may continue advancing to the next base and the play is not yet considered dead.
      4. If, under 18.1.3., a base runner stops or hesitates while in the process of advancing to the next base and the pitcher is already positioned in the circle with the ball, then the base runner must return to the previous base.
      5. If, under 18.1.4., the pitcher leaves the circle to try to make a play on the base runner, then the play is now once again “live” and all base runners may continue trying to advance to the next base.
  19. Leading Off and Stealing:
    1. Base runners may not lead off from their base or steal another base.
    2. Umpires will call a play dead every time a team breaks Rule 19.1, and will consider any base runner that leaves the base early and tries to lead off or steal the next base as an automatic out.
  20. Miscellaneous Outs:
    1. Aside from the usual baseball rules that apply to getting a base runner out (for example, forced outs, strike outs, fly outs, thrown outs, etc.), a fielder may also throw the ball at a base runner to get the base runner out.
    2. Any base runner that is hit above the shoulders (i.e., in the neck or head) by a fielder that is trying to get the base runner out is considered safe and is automatically awarded the next base.
    3. However, 20.2 does not apply if the reason the fielder hits a base runner above the shoulder is because the base runner was in the process of sliding.
  21. Injuries:
    1. If a player gets injured while running to a base and safely advances to that base, then the kicking team must replace the player with the last person of the same gender that was called out.
    2. A team may only replace an injured player once the player reaches base.
  22. Mercy rule:
    1. If a team is ahead by twelve (12) or more runs after the end of the third (3rd) inning, then the umpire will stop the game early and declare the team that is ahead the winner of the game.
    2. If a team is ahead by ten (10) runs or more runs after the end of the fourth (4th) inning, then the umpire will stop the game early and declare the team that is ahead the winner of the game.
    3. If a team is ahead by eight (8) runs or more runs after the end of the fifth (5th) inning, then the umpire will stop the game early and declare the team that is ahead the winner of the game.
  23. Miscellaneous:
    1. If a base runner touches home base before the third out of the inning is completed, then the run will count unless the third out is the result of a force play.
    2. If a base runner that is advancing from one base to the next is touched in any way by a member of the player’s team while the play has not yet ended, then the base runner that was touched is automatically out.
  24. Standings and Points System:
    1. For every win a team earns, the winning team is awarded one (1) point in the standings.
    2. For every tie a team earns, the tying team is awarded one half (0.5) a point in the standings.
    3. For every loss a team earns, the losing team is awarded zero (0) points in the standings.
    4. If teams fail to bring the minimum required number of two referees to umpire games as originally listed in the schedule, then they will be penalized one half (0.5) point in the standings unless they have previously received clearance by a Commissioner (as long as the Commissioner is not playing for that team).
  25. Game Warnings:
    1. Play will continue as normal when a team receives its first (1st) Game Warning.  For every subsequent warning, the offending team will be penalized with either an out (if the offending team is playing offense) or allowing the kicker first base (if the offending team is playing defense).
  26. Conduct Policy:
    1. Head umpires may give out Conduct Warnings for players that disrupt a game for poor sportsmanship and conduct, including, but not limited to, situations where a player argues excessively or otherwise disrespects another player, team, or umpire.  Conduct Warnings are completely unrelated to the warnings listed in Rule 25.
    2. A head umpire is empowered to remove any player that receives two Conduct Warnings in a game pursuant to Rule 26.2.  At this point, the Commissioners reserve the right to review any instance of misconduct and determine the extent of any further disciplinary actions, including possible further suspension from other league games and possible expulsion from participating in any K.O.A.L.A. Kickball games.  This is in accordance with the Terms and Conditions with which each player agrees upon first registering to play K.O.A.L.A. Kickball.
    3. If, under Rule 26.2, a player is removed from a game, then the removed player will count as an automatic out for every instance that the removed player would have kicked in the lineup. This automatic out rule also applies when the removed player gets kicked out while the removed player is in the middle of kicking.
    4. If, under Rule 26.2, a player is removed from the game while the player is on base, then the removed player will be considered automatically out.
    5. If, under Rule 26.2, a player gets removed from the game while the player is fielding, the fielding team will finish the inning without being able to replace the removed player with another player not currently on the field.