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Baseball - Tournament Rules

Updated: 10.1.23

BASEBALLS:

Your registration fee now includes baseballs! Baseballs are provided for all pool play, playoff and championship games for the duration of the tournament!

AGE REQUIREMENTS (Spring/Summer/Fall 2024):
  • 19U Division: Born on or after May 1st, 2004 or Class of 2023 or later
  • 18U Division: Born on or after May 1st, 2005 or Class of 2024 or later
  • 17U Division: Born on or after May 1st, 2006 or Class of 2025 or later
  • 16U Division: Born on or after May 1st, 2007 or Class of 2026 or later
  • 15U Division: Born on or after May 1st, 2008 or Class of 2027 or later
  • 14U Division: Born on or after May 1st, 2009
  • 13U Division: Born on or after May 1st, 2010
  • 12U Division: Born on or after May 1st, 2011
  • 11U Division: Born on or after May 1st, 2012
  • 10U Division: Born on or after May 1st, 2013
  • 9U Division: Born on or after May 1st, 2014

 

ROSTERS:

Rosters are STRONGLY encouraged to be uploaded to your team admin or coach’s account 1 month prior to the tournament to ensure all players, parents and coaches receive all up to date tournament information and communications. Firecracker Sports is not responsible for coaches, parents and players, who do not submit their rosters 1 month prior to the start of any tournament, for not receiving all up to date information such as venue changes, time changes, general schedule changes and accurate player statistics and metrics.
 
Final rosters are required to be uploaded to your team admin or coach’s account no later than 24 hours prior to the start of your first game. Failure to submit a roster 24 hours prior to the start of your first game will result in your team forfeiting the right to a coin toss for home/away and possibly a playoff/championship berth.  Teams who did not submit a roster to their team admin or coaches account prior to 24 hours before their first game will have their rosters manually locked in with the field supervisor prior to the start of their first game. This roster will be the official roster for these teams for the remainder of the tournament.
 
Firecracker Sports uses discretionary authority into any teams requesting player exemptions to a roster. Coaches must make this request to the tournament director up to 24 hours prior to any scheduled tournament.  The tournament director has the sole discretion and uses discretionary authority in approving players to a roster to ensure teams are not gaining “competitive advantage” by doing so and maintaining the integrity of our events. Failure to report  any participating players on your roster prior to 24 hours will preclude players from participating in that event.
 

HOME/AWAY:

A coin toss administered by the umpire or the site supervisor at each field will be used to determine home team for each game during pool play games.

DUGOUT:

All dugout selections are based upon a first come first serve basis; any disputes will be determined by the site supervisor and tournament officials, if needed.

PRE GAME WARMUPS:

There are no pre-game infield/outfield allowed in these events. We do allow for warmups on the outfield and batting cages where facilities are not hindered by preparations for the next game. Please stay off the infield area between games. 

LINEUP CARDS:

  • Each team will be provided their own lineup cards for each game by Firecracker Sports and these are the ones that will be submitted.
  • Lineup cards must be completely filled out with players first name, last name, position and accurate jersey number. All substitute players should be listed with jersey numbers on the lineup card, if they are not listed, they are subject to ineligibility for that game.  
  • A copy MUST be given to the opposing team’s Head Coach along with our site supervisor for your game prior to the first pitch of that game. This policy is strictly enforced as the site supervisors will be in charge of keeping the official lineup cards, score and details of our events.

 

START TIME/FORFEITS:

  • Only a 15 minute grace period is allowed for a team who cannot field 9 players at the start of a game. Once the grace period expires, a forfeit will be issued. (The score will be determined as 1 run allowed per inning for a full game played, for example 7-0 for 7 innings).
  • Any team that forfeits a pool play game, will still be eligible for the playoff round, if they are selected to move on. 
  • Any team that forfeits a playoff game may be subject to being banned for 2 years from any future tournaments or removal from other events (Updated: 7/1/2016). 

 

TIME LIMIT:

There is a 2-hour time limit on all games except for championship games. This allows the tournament to stay on track for the entire day.  The two hour time limit rule applies to no new inning can start after the 2 hour time limit has been reached.  This rule is not a “Drop Dead” time limit rule. 

In instances where games and fields are impacted by weather, safety concerns or venue operator requests etc., the two hour time limit rule can be reduced down to 90 or 105 minutes by the tournament director as they deem necessary. 

For the purpose in determining if a new inning may start, the time determined at last out in the bottom of the inning is used with tournament officials and umpires. 

When the home team is winning and the time limit has been reached in the top half of that inning, they will not bat in the bottom of that inning. This rule helps tournaments to not only stay on track but prevent unnecessary injuries and potential further issues. 

Extra innings are allowed as long as there is time still available and the game is inside the specified time limit at ground rules. 

FIRECRACKER SPORTS TIE-BREAKER RULE:

If time allows, we do allow extra innings during pool play, where this rule applies. All playoff/championship games will start with this rule in the 7th inning (ages 12U and younger) or the 8th inning (13U and older) to determine a winner.

  • 7th (12U or younger)/8th inning (13U +): Runner on 2nd with no outs (Runner on 2nd was last batter of previous inning).
  • 8th (12U or younger)/9th inning (13U +): Runner on 1st and 2nd with no outs (Runners on 1st & 2nd were last 2 batters of previous innings, placed accordingly i.e. last batter on 1st base and previous batter on 2nd base).
  • 9th (12U or younger)/10th inning (13U +): Runners on 1st, 2nd and 3rd with no outs (Runner on 1st, 2nd & 3rd were last 3 batters of previous inning, placed accordingly i.e. last batter on 1st, previous batter on 2nd base, etc)

 

LENGTH OF GAMES:

  • For all ages 12U and younger, each game will be 6 innings in length unless dictated by time limit, runs ahead rule or “Act of God” outside forces.
  • For all ages 13U and older, each game will be 7 innings in length unless dictated by time limit, runs ahead rule or “Act of God” outside forces.

 

STARTING LINEUPS:

Any team can start 9, 10, or 11 players. YOU CAN NOT START THE GAME WITH LESS THAN 9 PLAYERS! It will be a forfeit.

If you do start with 9 players, you may finish with 8 players during the course of the game due to injury, ejection or “avenues”. If there are no eligible subs, the player leaving the original lineup will be recorded as an out until he is eligible to return that game. The lineup must stay with the same number of batters for the entire game. Once the first pitch has been thrown the lineup is locked and the lineup can NOT be reduced or added. If a player gets hurt and there are no substitutes available, that team will occur an out in that injured player’s spot in the lineup.

The 10th and 11th hitter, if used, will be designated as an Extra Hitter and Super Hitter in the lineup. The EH and Super Hitter may bat at any spot in the order. The EH and SH is the same as any position on the field as far as substitutions are concerned.

The starting pitcher is allowed to DH for himself and bat in any spot in the order but must be listed a P/DH on the lineup card. You can also DH for anyone in the lineup. 

PLAYING FIELD DIMENSIONS:

  • 8U/9U & 10U DIVISION(S): Mound will be 46 feet; bases will be 60 feet and they are closed.
  • 11U & 12U DIVISION(S): Mound will be 50 feet; bases will be 70 feet and they are open.
  • 13U + DIVISION(S): Mound will be 60’6 feet; bases will be 90 feet and they are open.

 

WOOD BAT/METAL BAT RULES

SPRING/SUMMER EVENTS (April 1st – August 31st)

8U, 9U, 10U, 11U 12U Divisions:

  • Metal bats Only. All bats must have a branding, label, or a stamp indicating one of the following:
    • USA stamp
    • BPF 1.15 stamp
    • BBCOR stamp

13U Division

  • Bat of Choice: Metal or Wood. Please note, all metal bats must have a branding, label, or stamp indicating it is a USA, BPF 1.15 or BBCOR bat. There is a length to weight ratio maximum of -5 (5 ounces) to help with the transition to the big field. All Wood bats are allowed.

 

13/14U Divisions Combined
 
  • Bat of ChoiceMetal or Wood. Please note, all metal bats must have a branding, label, or stamp indicating a BBCOR bat. All Wood bats are allowed.

14U, 15U, 16U, 17U, 18U and 19U Divisions: 

  • All players must use wood bats only, which include Baum or composite wood bats. No metal bats or part metal/wood bats are allowed. 
  • If any player has been determined to use an illegal bat, that player will be ejected from the ball game. No exceptions.

 

FALL (September 1st – October 31st)

13/14 Division:

  • Bat of Choice: Metal or Wood. All metal bats must have a branding, label, or stamp indicating a BBCOR bat. All Wood bats are allowed.

 

15U, 16U, 17U and 18U Divisions

  • All players must use wood bats only, which include Baum or composite wood bats. No metal bats or part metal/wood bats are allowed. 
  • If any player has been determined to use an illegal bat, that player will be ejected from the ball game. No exceptions.

 

FOOTWEAR:

Players participating in the age divisions (13U and older) are allowed to wear metal spikes unless dictated by the facility where the event is being hosted (i.e. turf complex, etc). For players participating in age divisions (12U and younger) you are NOT allowed to wear metal spikes. 

PLAYING RULES:

  • If not explicitly conveyed otherwise in these rules, Major League rules will be the standard throughout the tournaments.
    • We do not follow the MLB’s pace of play rules.
  • You can re-entry for the starter one time, each game, in the same batting spot. Any substitute entering the game, if replaced at a later point, is out for the remainder of the game.
  • Pitchers when removed from the game as a pitcher, can NOT return as a pitcher in that game.
  • Courtesy Runners are allowed for Pitcher and Catcher ONLY!
    • Must be a player that is not currently in the game.
    • If there are no available players on your bench, it will be the last batted out.
  • The designated hitter can bat for anyone in the lineup.
  • ALL substitutions and changes must go through the home plate umpire & the official supervisor at each field.
  • Mound visits are limited to 1 per inning. After the 1st visit, each time the coach visits the mound in that same inning, the pitcher needs to be replaced.
  • There is no infield fly rule for 8U/9U Division ONLY.
  • There are no balks in the 8U/9U & 10U Division ONLY.
  • There is no leading or dropped strikes advancing in 8U/9U & 10U Division(s). Only when the ball crosses the plate can the runner advance. All other age (11U +) groups, leading, stealing and dropped strike rules are allowed.
  • Pitchers do NOT have to throw 4 pitches to have an intentional walk.
  • There are no pitching limits in our events.

 

RUNS AHEAD RULES:

There is a runs ahead rule for our Firecracker Sports events.

  • 12 runs after 3 innings
  • 10 runs after 4 innings
  • 8 runs after 5 innings

 

DEFINITION OF AN OFFICIAL GAME:

Our events can be impacted by weather and field conditions from time to time. Any game that has played more than 75% of the time allocated or 4.5 innings (if home team is winning, if not 5 full innings) will be determined official and final. No games will be suspended, made up or rescheduled if deemed official. Any game that is suspended before 75% of the time allocated or 4.5 innings (if home team is winning, if not 5 full innings), will be ATTEMPTED to be rescheduled and picked up from point of delay. If a game is determined official and the inning is NOT complete, we will revert back to the last complete inning played for score, stats and determination of winner/loser or a tie. This decision is finalized with Firecracker Sports administration to maintain safe and proper field conditions plus event schedules.

PLAYOFFS/CHAMPIONSHIPS:

  • Higher seed has the right to pick home or away throughout the playoffs/championships.
  • All Tournaments will have a championship game if possible. If the tournament is canceled due to weather/poor field conditions, Firecracker Sports officials will determine a Champion and a Finalist based on playoff seedings.
  • We would like to keep two teams from the same organization matching up in their first round playoff game, when possible. When this happens, the lower seed team will be moved down one seed in the standings. For example, #5 seed is from the same organization as the #4 seed. The #5 seed will switch with the #6 seed to alleviate that issue. If playoff setup does not allow this, then the 2 teams will remain in the playoff bracket as determined by pool play. This only applies to first round matchups. 

 

COACH’S ATTIRE:

All coaches must be in professionally dressed. We do not allow coaches on the field in flip flops or beach attire. You will be confined to the dugout by the umpires; site supervisor(s) or tournament administration. NO EXCEPTIONS!

EJECTIONS:

Any coach, player or parent that is ejected from a game is automatically suspended for the next game of the tournament.

Coaches, players or parents can email operations@firecrackersports.com or contact your Firecracker Sports official to request a waiver to participate in the next game. Firecracker Sports has the final authority to grant that waiver or uphold the suspension. 

PROTESTS:

We do NOT charge for protests like other organizations, if there is an issue we would like to resolve it for the greater good of the game of baseball. Any protests must be submitted for that game, during the time frame of that game. 

There are site supervisors at all fields and will handle any protests brought by a team official. Those protests are then sent to Firecracker Sports officials for review and will decide in a timely and appropriate manner.

WEATHER POLICY/CANCELATIONS:

Due to unforeseen issues or mother nature, there are times games will be canceled because of rain, thunderstorms and poor field conditions beyond our control here at Firecracker Sports. We will always try out best to get games in, move games around so EVERYONE has the same opportunity as others in our events but in the case, this does NOT happen, our policy is in place to protect our products and your programs.

  • No Games Played = Full Credit towards 2024
  • 1 Game Played = 50% Credit towards 2024
  • 2 Games Played = 25% Credit towards 2024
  • 3 or more Games Played = No Refund

 

ALL OTHER MATTERS/ISSUES:

In the event there is a rule or an issue not covered in these guidelines listed throughout, Firecracker Sports officials have the final decision making in those matters. Understanding and making sure the overall tournament experience is maintained in a first class, highest quality experience for ALL student athletes, coaches and families is our ultimate goal in all matters.

TIE-BREAKER SYSTEM (for advancing from pool play to playoffs):

  1. Pool Play – Overall Record/Winning Percentage
    • Overall record in our tournaments will be used first to determine playoff seedings.
    • In the event a tournament is impacted by the weather or other unforeseen issues, resulting in all teams in the same division not having played an equal amount of games, winning percentage will be used instead of overall record to determine playoff seedings.
    • For clarification, overall record of 4-0 is better than 3-0 or 2-0, even though the winning percentage is the same. 
  2. Head to Head – (Two and Three or more Teams)
    • If two teams are tied – The head to head winner in that matchup advances.
    • If three or more teams are tied – If one team has defeated all other teams, that team advances. If not go to #3.
  3. Pool play runs allowed
  4. Pool play run differential
  5. Pool play runs scored
  6. Coin flip

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