Rules are designed to make the HARDBALL 360 tournaments an enjoyable, fair and competitive experience for everyone and are subject to change at the discretion of the tournament director or field coordinator.
1. TIME LIMIT: Games are 7 innings. No new inning will begin after 2 hours and 15 minutes from the start of the game. Start of the game shall be when the first pitch is thrown. If the game is tied at the end of the time limit (7 innings or 2 hours 15 minutes), then one more complete inning will be played. If the game is still tied, then the game shall be scored as a tie.
2. BATS: All players will use wood bats. (Includes maple, composite, Baum bats or bamboo).
3. ELIGIBILITY: Players must be at least 30 years old or a relative of another player (Exceptions must be pre-approved with HARDBALL 360).
4. PITCHING: No player under 35 years of age may pitch unless approval is given from Hardball360.
5. LEAD OFFS: No runner may lead beyond the cutout for the base they occupy (Both feet must be in cutout). Once the pitcher releases the ball to home plate then a secondary lead may be taken. Runners will receive one warning and then on the second infraction, the runner will be called out.
6. STEALING: Each team gets five steal attempts per game. A steal attempt is defined as any time the runner is in motion before a pitch that has been delivered has the ability to be swung at, a delayed steal after the ball crosses home plate of the catcher receiving the ball, or if a runner takes off toward the next base immediately when a pickoff throw is made by the catcher. A runner may steal any time the pitcher is on the rubber and the ball is in play, and if so it will be considered a steal attempt. Stealing of home is never permitted – even as part of a double steal. A double steal counts as two stolen base attempts. Each team is responsible for keeping track of its opponents steal attempts and conferring to make sure the numbers match up after each inning. If a runner steals and the batter makes contact with the pitch, it is not considered a steal attempt. Any issues regarding steals will be at the interpretation of the umpires.
7. PICKOFFS: Are permitted by the catcher and the pitcher, and are played according to MLB rules. The runner must be tagged in order to be out, and may advance one base only on an overthrown ball.
8. PASSED BALLS/WILD PITCHES: Runners may advance only one base on a passed ball or wild pitch. A passed ball or a wild pitch is considered such if the ball travels outside of the home plate circle. Runners can score from third base on a wild pitch or passed ball.
9. BUNTING: Bunting is allowed, except when there is a runner on third base.
10. STRIKE THREE: A batter can run on a dropped third strike with two outs or with fewer than two outs if no one is on first base.
11. BATTING ORDER: Managers will be afforded the option of unlimited substitution on defense, however, once the batting order is set on the first day, the batting order will rotate to begin with the person who follows the last batted out from the previous game. *The batting order (line-ups) can be changed for the Championship Game.
12. SUBSTITUTION: Defensive substitutions can be made at any time.
13. INJURIES AND LATE ARRIVALS: Players who are injured during the game and can no longer play will be removed from the batting order and not eligible to play the remainder of the game. It will not be an automatic out if the injured player cannot bat. Players who arrive after the start of the game can be added to the bottom of the line- up.
14. COURTESY RUNNER: Courtesy runners need to be designated before the start of the game. We encourage no more than 4 per team, unless it is agreed to buy the team managers. If a batter cannot run for himself, he is automatically advance to first base if he gets a hit that is cleanly through the infield or into the outfield. At that point, a pinch runner may take his place. The pinch runner must be the last batted out. Pitchers and catchers may receive a pinch runner at any time.
15. SLIDE: Base runners MUST slide or get out of the way if there is a play to the base they are advancing to. For example, if you are forced to second base you must slide into the bag or veer off to the outfield in order to allow the fielder to make a throw to first base. Failure to do so may result in an interference call by the umpire. (HARDBALL 360 is all about safety.)
16. PROTECTIVE GEAR: All batters MUST wear a batting helmet. Catcher’s skull cap is not permitted while at bat. First and Third base coaches must wear protective head gear.
17. LINE-UP CARDS: Prior to the start of the game, managers will exchange line-up cards with the other team and the umpires.
18. MERCY RULE: There will be a 10 run Mercy Rule after the 5th inning.
19. COURTESY: This is a time-honored game. There is NO SMOKING permitted in the dugout or the dugout area. ALCOHOL is not permitted anywhere on the field. WATCH your language. Umpires are there to make calls, not to be abused. Disputed calls, involving the rules of the game, may ONLY be discussed by the team Manager. Umpires have the final say on all calls and rules interpretations. Respect them.
20. PLAYOFFS: HARDBALL 360 playoffs will be discussed at the beginning of each tournament with the team managers. Playoffs may be any combination of a full playoff system based on seeding, the top four teams or the top two teams, which is generally based on teams in play, location and facilities.
21. TIE BREAKER AND SEEDING: The tie breaker and seeding order shall be based on the following:
1) Best winning percentage
2) Head to head
3) Runs allowed
4) Runs scored
5) Coin flip
22. SCOREKEEPER: The home team is designated as official scorekeeper. Managers must confirm the score and number of recorded steals at the end of each inning.
23. WAIVER FORM: All players must sign a waiver form. Waiver must be completed prior to the start of the tournament. No player will be permitted to play unless the waiver form is signed.
24. Unless otherwise specified, rules of Major League Baseball shall apply.