NW Nations Tournament Rules

Nations Baseball Guidelines and Regulations

Playing rules not covered in the Nations Baseball Guidelines and Regulations Internet version at: www.nations-baseball.com revert to the Official Rules of Major League Baseball. Local and State Directors have the right to adjust rules for local and state play with the approval from Nations Baseball.

Please click here for the official 2017 Nations Baseball Guidelines and Regulations.

NW Nations Rules, Policies, Procedures 

The following is a summary of  NW Nations Policies, Procedures and Commonly asked about Rules. This is not the complete Nations Baseball Rules.

Nations Team Registration
In order to play Nations Baseball Tournaments, teams must be registered with Nations Baseball.
Click here to learn how to register.

Nations has two distinctly separate seasons per year:

  • Spring-Summer Season runs from January 1st thru July 31st
  • Fall-Winter Season runs from August 1st thru December 31st

Team Age Changes: All teams move up in age when the spring-summer season concludes, each (August 1st each year) – or when registering for the Fall-Winter season (which opens annually in August.) (Example: a 13u team in the summer must compete in the 14u age division for events commencing with the Fall/Winter Season.)

Age Divisions
8u-14u age divisions are based upon player’s age as of April 30th, 2017. Example – 12u players cannot turn 13 prior to April 30th., 2017 to play in the 12u division. Click here for the Nations age calculator.

Combining Age Groups
NW Nations reserves the right to combine age brackets. (Example: 9u with 10u playing in one division.) This decision will be based on the number of teams that enter into each bracket and the available fields.

Frozen Rosters (New for 2017 Season)
All teams may make an unlimited number of roster changes until May 31st. After May 31st and through August 1st all team rosters are limited to three player additions. Teams that register AFTER May 31st are limited to three player additions upon the completion of their first NW Nations game.

NW Nations reserves the right to change any game time, playing field or dates or to make other changes necessary to conduct the tournament. NW Nations will try to play teams 1-2 games per day if possible. In some instances, teams may be required to play 3 or more games in a day to accommodate the overall number of teams in the tournament. All teams must report to their fields or registration desk one hour before their scheduled games times. When circumstances arise where we can start early throughout the day, teams must be prepared to start at least one half hour before their scheduled game time, this is to keep the tournament moving along at all times.

Scheduling Requests:
Before entering a tournament, make sure your team has no other conflicts on listed tournament dates. NW Nations can sometimes accommodate special game time requests, but we do not guarantee it. Teams need to be prepared to play at 8:00 AM each day of the tournament.

Please note: NW Nations tournaments begin play as early as 8:00 AM on all days of the tournament and may go as late as 9:15 PM game starts. Teams must be prepared to play at any time during the day. No entries will be taken contingent on playing only at a certain time and no changes will be made to posted schedules because you are playing later or earlier than you would prefer.

Tournament Check-in
All teams should check in one hour prior to your first scheduled game at the park your playing at.
Teams should carry with them at the field a copy of their current Nations Baseball Roster and a copy of a birth certificate for each player on the roster. Any team knowingly using illegal players shall be subject to discipline ranging from forfeiting a game, tournament disqualification and suspension from all Nations Baseball sanctioned leagues and tournaments for up to a year.

Pitching Log
Managers will receive a pitching log at check-in. This log must be updated at all times and shown to the other team before each game at the home plate meeting. Teams must monitor the opponent’s pitching and report any violations. The tournament director can inspect the pitching log at any time.

Starting a Game
If a team has not taken the field ten (10) minutes after the scheduled start time of a game, the game will be declared a forfeit. A team that forfeits a game will be removed from the tournament.

Determining Home and Visitor
A flip of a coin between the two teams determines the home team for each seeding game. The home team will keep official the score book with all changes going through home plate umpire. In playoff rounds, the higher seed will be home team, excluding the championship game when a coin is flipped to determine the home team. Dugouts are not assigned; first team to arrive has the choice.

Foul Balls 
The team at bat shall supply a runner to retrieve any and all foul balls; they shall immediately return them to the home plate umpire.

Field Dimensions
Rubber to Plate/ Base to Base Distance

  • 9u, 10u Division: 46 ‘/ 65′ (Layouts at some fields, dictate that the bases are set at 60’.)
  • 11u, 12u Division:  50′ /70′
  • 13u Division: 54′ /80′ or  60’6″/90′
  • 14u Division: 60’6″/90′

All divisions will pitch from a mound if available. In some instances, depending on field availability, all age groups below 14u could pitch from flat ground.

Tie Game Procedures

Seeding games: 

  • When regulation time has expired, and the game score is tied, the current inning will be completed but no new inning will begin and the game will end as a tie-game.
  • When regulation time has not expired, and the game score is tied an extra inning or innings will be played. No new inning will begin after the regulation time has expired. In the event of extra innings, the NW Nations tie-breaker shall be put into effect.

Bracket games:

  • If the game is tied after regulation time or regulation innings has expired, the NW Nations Tie-Breaker shall be put into effect. The game shall be played until a winner is determined.

NW Nations Tie-Breaker Rule:
The last player to have an official at bat in the previous inning begins at second base to start the new inning with no outs, balls or strikes. Once an inning begins, it will be completed. However, if the home team is ahead and batting when time expires, the game is over and the inning is not completed.

The following rules determine bracket seeding:

Once a tie is broken with three or more teams, teams advance to the next tie breaker rule until the tie is broken.

Tie breakers
1. Win-Loss Record
2. Head to Head 1
3. Fewest Runs Allowed
4. Highest Total Run Differential 2
5. Nations Baseball Points
6. Coin Flip

1 Head to head is considered only when two teams are tied. For three or more teams, head to head is skipped in favor of the next tie breakers, in order as above until the tie is broken.
2 The maximum run differential per game is +8 or –8. Total run differential is the sum of each game’s differential.

Regulation Time
A regulation game consists of six innings for age divisions 12u and below and seven innings for age divisions 13u and over, unless the game is shortened due to time limit, mercy rule, or field conditions or extended by extra innings due to tie.

Regulation Game/ Determining a Winner
The score of a regulation game is the total number of runs scored by each team at the moment the game ends. The end of a game can be determined by the completion of innings or the expiration of game time.

  • The game ends when the visiting team completes its half of the last inning if the home team is ahead.
  • The game ends when the last inning is completed, if the visiting team is ahead.
  • If the home team scores the winning run in its half of the last inning (or its half of an extra inning after a tie), the game ends immediately when the winning run is scored.

EXCEPTION: If the last batter in a game hits a home run out of the playing field, the batter-runner and all runners on base are permitted to score, in accordance with the base-running rules, and the game ends when the batter-runner touches home plate.

Time Limits
Once the game time limit has been reached, the game ends immediately when a winner is determined. No new inning will begin after the completion of regulation time, with the exception of gold division championship games and bracket games that are tied. The game clock begins at the conclusion of the pre-game umpire meeting.

  • 9u – 10u: 1 hour & 45 minutes (6 Innings)
  • 11u – 12u: 1 hour & 45 minutes (6 Innings)
  • 13u: 2 hours (7 Innings)
  • 14u: 2 hours (7 Innings)

Gold Championship Games: No time limit. Run rules are still in effect.

All Other Championship Games: Time limits are in effect.

Intentional Delays: Intentionally delaying a game to achieve a victory through the time limit is considered unsportsmanlike conduct and will not be tolerated at a NW Nations Baseball Tournament. The umpires and/or tournament officials at the game reserve the right to eject a coach or player for intentionally delaying a game and possibly declare a forfeit to that team.

Mercy rules for all six- and seven-inning games

  • 15 runs after three innings, or two-and-one-half innings (if the home team is ahead).
  • 10 runs after four innings, or three-and–one-half innings (if the home team is ahead).
  • 8 runs after five innings, or four-and-one-half innings (if the home team is ahead).

If the home team has run-ruled the visiting team, the game is declared complete, and the winner is named.

Speed Up Rules

  • A defensive team may intentional walk a batter by requesting the umpire to award the batter 1st base.
  • Teams must hustle on and off the field between each inning.
  • Coach and team conferences are limited to 30 sec. between innings.
  • Pitchers get 8 warm up pitches between innings or 1 minute which ever comes first.
  • Should an umpire determine a team is stalling to allow time to run out, the umpire will stop the clock.
  • The clock will not start back up until the ball is put into play by the batter. The umpire will announce the game clock has been stopped.
  • No infield warm up between games in tournament play.

Safety Rules

  • While on offense, only the batter and the on deck batter shall be outside of the dugout fence.
  • A bat boy/girl may leave the dugout to retrieve a bat after all playing action is completed provided they have a double flap helmet while on the field.
  • All bat boys/girls must have a helmet with two ear flaps when not in the dugout.
  • While on defense, there shall be no equipment outside the dugout; this includes the on deck circle.
  • Catchers are required to wear helmets that protect both ears and the back of the head. Either throat protector or mask protecting the throat must be worn. Skullcaps are not permitted. Catchers are also required to wear a protective cup.

Leading off and stealing is permitted in all age divisions. (Please see 9u modified stealing rules).

9u Division Modified Stealing Rules (New for 2018 season).

The purpose of the modified stealing rules is to:
-Help the young pitcher gain confidence in attempting to learn how to hold runners on base.
-Help the catcher gain confidence in being able to throw the runner out.
-Help the base runner learn how to lead-off.
-Keeps the game from becoming a track meet while teaching young players the basics of stealing and pitching.

9u Division Modified Stealing Rules
-There is a 10-ft chalk mark placed off first, second and third base.
-The runner can take a lead, but cannot cross the 10 foot mark until the ball crosses the plate.
-The runner is allowed to steal when the ball crosses the plate.
-If the pitcher attempts a pick-off, the runner can advance to the next base on the play.

If the runner gets a running start in an attempt to steal before the ball crosses the plate or crosses the 10 foot mark prior to the ball crossing the plate, the following shall apply:
-If the runner advances safely, the Umpire shall call “Time” and the runner shall return to the base last legally occupied at the time of the pitch.
-If the runner is called out, the call shall stand and the runner is declared out.
-If the ball is hit, the defensive team shall have the option of choosing the result of the play or a no pitch.
-Runners shall not advance from third (3rd) base to home unless the runner is batted home or forced by a base on balls, hit batsman, or award from the Umpire.
-Runners shall not advance from third (3rd) base to home on passed balls, wild pitches or dropped / missed third (3rd) strikes by the catcher.
-In age divisions 10u and below, there will be one balk warning given to each pitcher, subsequent violations will be enforced.

Base runner on Third Base Safety Rule
If the runner from third base is running toward home plate attempting to steal or is participating in a squeeze play, the following apply:
The batter has two options: Take the pitch or attempt to bunt the pitch.
PENALTY – Failure to do so will result in all of the following:

  • The batter is called out.
  • All runners return to the base occupied at the time of the pitch.

NOTE: With the bases loaded, three balls and two strikes on the batter, coaches please exercise caution and not have you have your runner sprinting towards home plate. UMPIRES: In this situation, please be aware that this is not a steal play or squeeze play if the batter swings the bat.  Do not enforce the penalty with this circumstance.

Courtesy Runners for Pitchers and Catchers
Courtesy Runners for the pitcher and catcher of record is highly recommended but is not mandatory. Subs will be used first as courtesy runners. In the event a team doesn’t have a sub then the batter who recorded the last out must be used as a courtesy runner. If a player is removed from the lineup he can be used as a courtesy runner. A player may be used as a courtesy runner only one time per inning. Courtesy Runners for an incoming pitcher and catcher is not permitted.

Pitching Rules and Limitations

  • Once a pitcher is removed from the mound, that pitcher may not pitch again in that game.
  • A second trip to the same pitcher in the same inning causes the pitcher’s automatic removal from the mound (not the game).
  • Limitations of pitching are based upon recorded outs while the pitcher is on the mound.
  • In all age groups that are scheduled for six innings, a pitcher cannot pitch more than 18 outs in any given day.
  • In all age groups 16u and younger that are scheduled for seven innings, a pitcher cannot pitch more than 21 outs in any given day.
  • For six-inning game divisions (12u and under), a pitcher cannot pitch more than 27 outs in three consecutive days, regardless of game guarantee.
  • For seven-inning 16u and younger games, a pitcher cannot pitch more than 30 outs in three consecutive days, regardless of game guarantee.
  • Any pitcher in the 16u or younger divisions that has pitched three days in a row must rest the 4th day regardless of outs recorded.
  • Pitching limitations stop for the day when the park is shut down for the night and the teams leave.
  • When games are suspended and continued the next day, pitching limitations are split between the two days. Comments: Outs recorded count for the day they are recorded. When the game resumes from suspension, all outs recorded count for the current day.
  • In the case of a double or triple play, there is no penalty for exceeding outs recorded at the time of the play.
  • It is the duty of each team’s manager to protest pitching violations by contacting the event director prior to the start of the next game of the team in possible violation.
  • Any outs recorded during a game once it is ruled a forfeit count toward the pitcher’s recorded outs.
  • Pitchers who violate pitching limitations are ejected from the game. Other penalties, including forfeit, may be imposed by the tournament or league director.
  • A violation of the pitching limitation is determined when the pitcher has delivered a pitch to the next batter after reaching his pitching limit. If the limit is reached at the end of an inning, it shall be a violation if the pitcher toes the rubber to begin a new inning.

If a pitcher is protested after reaching their limitation after delivering a pitch to the next batter after reaching his pitching limit and prior to recording an additional out exceeding their pitching limit, the pitcher shall be ejected from the game. If the pitcher records an additional out or outs exceeding their pitching limitation, the game shall be ruled a forfeit. Additional penalties, including suspensions and ejection from the event may apply.

An illegal pitcher can be protested anytime during the game. Once the game has ended, the official scorecard has been signed and the umpires have left the field, the game will be considered official and a protest for a pitching violation shall not be allowed. Additional penalties, including suspensions and ejection from the event may apply.

Nations Baseball uses OBR (MLB) rules for balks. The balk can be a live ball (depending on the situation). The intent is not to penalize the offense.

If there is a runner, or runners, it is a balk when—The pitcher, while touching his plate, feints a throw to first or third base and fails to complete the throw; A pitcher is to step directly toward a base before throwing to that base and is required to throw (except to second base) because he steps. It is a balk if, with runners on first and third, the pitcher steps toward third and does not throw, merely to bluff the runner back to third; then seeing the runner on first start for second, turn and step toward and throw to first base. It is legal for a pitcher to feint a throw to second base.

Balks are enforced in 11u and above age divisions without warning. In age divisions 10u and below, there will be one balk warning given to each pitcher, subsequent violations will be enforced.

Batting Rules

  • Teams can bat a nine‐player lineup, a 10‐player lineup using an extra hitter (EH), or roster bat all present uniformed players. The lineup must be declared before the start of the game and used the entire game.
  • If a team uses a lineup that contains 10 players, the player in the EH position, while not actually playing a defensive position, is treated as such for substitution purposes.
  • Any team that is not roster batting should declare all eligible substitutes by noting them as such on the official lineup that is exchanged with the opposing team and/or home plate umpire at the beginning of the game. Players not listed as eligible substitutes but appear legally on the online roster will be considered legal substitutes.
  • If a team chooses to roster bat, then all players other than the nine defensive position players are extra hitters and can move freely in defensive positions. If a team is batting all present, uniformed players, with no eligible substitutes listed on the lineup card, and the number of players is nine or 10, that team is considered to be roster batting for the purposes of defensive substitutions and courtesy runners, unless the coach has specifically declared otherwise at the pregame plate conference. If additional players arrive after the game has started, those players are placed at the end of the batting order. If the coach declares at the pregame plate conference that he is not roster batting, the late players are listed on the lineup as eligible substitutes.
  • For teams that are not roster batting, starting players can withdraw and re‐enter once (including designated hitters, for age divisions that allow them), provided that the players re‐enter in their original position in the batting lineup.
  • Non-starters are not allowed to re-enter. When a starter re-enters, the player in the starter’s batting position in the batting order must be removed from the game and is ineligible for the remainder of the game.
  • Teams can start a game with eight players provided they take an out for the ninth player. Teams must have a minimum of eight players to start a game. If the lineup drops below eight players, the game is declared a suspended game and is not rescheduled. The suspended game is then ruled a forfeit by the tournament or league director. Umpires have no authority to forfeit a game.
  • Teams having eight players to start a game are automatically the visiting team.
  • If a team’s ninth player arrives late to the game, the manager of that team must make an announcement at the plate conference before the game begins and advise both the plate umpire and the opposing team that he or she has a player that will be arriving late. When the player arrives, the player is announced to both the plate umpire and the opposing team and is placed in the ninth position in the batting order. The game resumes as if he or she was there at the start of the game. Until the player arrives, an out is recorded in the ninth position.
  • If roster batting, players arriving after the game has started are added to the bottom of the batting lineup. If batting nine, or ten with an EH, players arriving after the game has started are legal substitutes as provided in rule 2.C.
  • If a player is removed from the game for illness or injury there will be no out recorded for his spot in the batting order, his place in the lineup will simply be skipped.

9u and above teams batting nine, ten, or the roster that drop below nine players are subject to the following:

  • If a team drops below nine players due to illness or injury, no automatic out is recorded.
  • If a team drops below nine eligible players due to an ejection or any reason other than illness or injury and leaves the game, an automatic out is declared in the batting order position of the player that left the game unless there is an eligible substitute.
  • If a team drops below eight players for any reason, the game is ruled a forfeit by the tournament or league director and is not rescheduled.

If a player is ejected from a game for malicious contact or any other unsportsmanlike act, the following penalties will apply:

  • If roster batting, the ejected player’s position in the lineup shall be declared an out
  • If batting 9 or 10 with EH, the ejected player may be replaced by an eligible substitute. If there are no eligible substitutes available, the position in the order shall be declared out.


  • Age divisions 12u and below cannot wear metal cleats.
  • Official NW Nations logo baseballs are supplied and required for all NW Nations events.
  • Bats must be made of an approved material, and they must be smooth and round. Wood bats may be used.
  • Bats must be certified by the manufacturer to meet a Bat Performance Factor of 1.15 or less.
  • Bats with the new USA Baseball bat stamp are legal for Nations play.
  • In 14u bats will be restricted to a ‐5 ratio or heavier. (The weight of the bat in ounces as compared to its length in inches, must be no greater than 5).
  • For age divisions 13u and below, there are no bat size restrictions.
  • High school divisions must use NFHS (National Federation of State High School Associations) bat limitations for size, weight and performance and be NFHS approved. This means all bats used in the high school divisions must be BBCOR approved bats.
  • Penalty – the bat will be removed from the playing field by the umpire and the manager of the team will be warned against further use. If the illegal bat is discovered after the end of the play, and the play results in the batter/runner safely reaching first base, the batter/runner will be declared out and all runners must return to the last base legally occupied prior to the play. No run may score on this play. Any out that results on the play will stand. On a second offense, the above penalties will apply and the manager of the offending team will be removed from the field and will be prohibited from managing for the remainder of the game.
  • A batter using an altered bat is declared out, and all runners return to the base occupied at the time of the pitch. A batter is deemed to have used or attempted to use an illegal bat if the player brings such a bat into the batter’s box. Any out or outs made during the play stand.

To protest a game, the head coach must notify the home plate umpire. Once the protest has been made the umpire will summon the tournament director to the field and the protest will be ruled on immediately by the tournament director. Do not continue the game under any circumstances. Once the next pitch is thrown, both teams have lost the right to protest and the game continues. Only a rule interpretation can be protested, not a judgment call. A $100 fee is required to protest a call and it will be refunded if the protest is upheld. If it is not, the protest fee is forfeited.

Unsportsmanlike Conduct
NW Nations is committed to fostering a family-friendly, healthy atmosphere for kids to compete in. Unsportsmanlike conduct will not be tolerated. Players, managers, coaches or other team members shall not make disparaging or insulting remarks to, or about any opposing players, officials or spectators; or commit other acts that could be considered unsportsmanlike conduct. All conversations with an umpire should be conducted after a time-out has been called and be handled in a calm and professional manner. Verbal abuse of an umpire will not be tolerated and will result in ejection from the game.

Unsportsmanlike Conduct Penalties 

  • The umpire may warn the offender.
  • The umpire may restrict a player, coach or manager to the bench/dugout for the remainder of the game. Any coach restricted to the bench shall be ejected for further misconduct. A coach may leave the bench/dugout only to attend to a player who becomes ill or injured.
  • The umpire may eject a player, coach, manager or fan from the game.
  • Failure to comply with a restriction or ejection shall result in the game being forfeited.
  • Any player, manager, coach or parent ejected from the game or after a game is concluded may carry an additional suspension at the discretion of the tournament director and/or umpire in chief.
  • Ejected players, managers, coaches or fans shall leave the vicinity of the playing area immediately and are prohibited from further contact, direct or indirect, with the team during the remainder of the game.
  • Managers are responsible for the conduct of the team’s players and fans. Managers are subject to ejection if players or fans are out of control.