Little League Baseball/Softball Rule Changes for 2018

December 20, 2017 - Below, learn about important equipment-related Little League Baseball and Softball rule changes and clarifications for the 2018 season:

Updated Bat Rules to Comply With USABat Standard

For Junior League Baseball divisions and below, as well as all Challenger divisions, the bat must be a baseball bat which meets the USA Baseball Bat standard (USABat) as adopted by Little League. It shall be a smooth, rounded stick, and made of wood or of material and color tested and proved acceptable to the USABat.

Beginning with the 2018 season, non-wood and laminated bats used in the Little League (Majors) and below, Intermediate (50-70) Division, and Junior League divisions, as well as the Little League Challenger Division, shall bear the USA Baseball logo signifying that the bat meets the USABat. All BPF – 1.15 bats will be prohibited beginning with the 2018 season. Additionally, starting in 2018, the bat barrel diameter shall not exceed 2-5/8 inches for these divisions of play. Additional information is available at LittleLeague.org/batinfo.

Tee Ball (Baseball): Under the USABat standard, certified Tee Ball bats (26 inches and shorter) will feature the USA Baseball mark and text which reads ONLY FOR USE WITH APPROVED TEE BALLS. All Tee Ball bats must feature the USA Baseball mark and accompanying text. Tee Ball bats produced and/or purchased prior to the implementation of the new standard can be certified using an Approved Tee Ball Sticker via the USA Baseball Tee Ball Sticker Program (USABaseballShop.com).

Minor/Major Divisions: Bats shall not be more than 33 inches in length; nor more than 2-5/8 inches in barrel diameter, and if wood, not less than fifteen-sixteenths (15/16ths) inches in diameter (7/8ths of an inch for bats less than 30 inches) at its smallest part. Wood bats taped or fitted with a sleeve may not exceed 16 inches from the small end. NOTE: Solid one-piece wood barrel bats do not require a USA Baseball logo.

Intermediate (50-70) Division and Junior League: Bats shall not be more than 34 inches in length; nor more than 2-5/8 inches in barrel diameter, and if wood, not less than fifteen-sixteenths (15/16ths) inches in diameter (7/8ths of an inch for bats less than 30 inches) at its smallest part. Wood bats taped or fitted with a sleeve may not exceed 18 inches from the small end. NOTE: Solid one-piece wood barrel bats do not require a USA Baseball logo.

Senior League: Bats shall not be more than 36 inches in length, nor more than 2-5/8 inches in barrel diameter, and if wood, not less than fifteen-sixteenths (15/16ths) inches in diameter (7/8ths of an inch for bats less than 30 inches) at its smallest part. Wood bats taped or fitted with a sleeve may not exceed 18 inches from the small end. The bat shall not weigh, numerically, more than three ounces less than its length (e.g., a 33-inch-long bat cannot weigh less than 30 ounces).

All bats not made of a single piece of wood shall meet the Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution (BBCOR) performance standard, and such bats shall be so labeled with a silkscreen or other permanent certification mark. The certification mark shall be rectangular, a minimum of a half-inch on each side and located on the barrel of the bat in any contrasting color. Aluminum/alloy and composite bats shall be marked as to their material makeup being aluminum/alloy or composite. This marking shall be silkscreen or other permanent certification marks, a minimum of one-half-inch on each side, and located on the barrel of the bat in any contrasting color.

Little League Challenger Division: Bats shall not be more than 33 inches in length; nor more than 2-5/8 inches in barrel diameter, and if wood, not less than fifteen-sixteenths (15/16ths) inches in diameter (7/8ths of an inch for bats less than 30 inches) at its smallest part. Wood bats taped or fitted with a sleeve may not exceed 16 inches from the small end. NOTE: Solid one-piece wood barrel bats do not require a USA Baseball logo.

Senior League Challenger Division: Bats shall not be more than 36 inches in length, nor more than 2-5/8 inches in barrel diameter, and if wood, not less than fifteen-sixteenths (15/16ths) inches in diameter (7/8ths of an inch for bats less than 30 inches) at its smallest part. Wood bats taped or fitted with a sleeve may not exceed 18 inches from the small end. The bat shall not weigh, numerically, more than three ounces less than its length (e.g., a 33-inch-long bat cannot weigh less than 30 ounces).

All bats not made of a single piece of wood shall meet either 1) the Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution (BBCOR) performance standard, and such bats shall be so labeled with a silkscreen or other permanent certification mark which shall be rectangular, a minimum of a half-inch on each side, and located on the barrel of the bat in any contrasting color, or 2) the USA Bat standard and shall bear the USA Baseball logo signifying that the bat meets the USABat – USA Baseball’s Youth Bat Performance Standard. Aluminum/alloy and composite bats shall be marked as to their material makeup being aluminum/alloy or composite. This marking shall be silkscreen or other permanent certification marks, a minimum of one-half-inch on each side, and located on the barrel of the bat in any contrasting color.

Pine Tar Eliminated for Baseball and Softball Bats

The use of pine tar or any similar adhesive substance on bats is prohibited in all divisions of baseball and softball. Slippery tape or similar material is also prohibited. Using pine tar or similar adhesive substances will result in the bat being declared illegal and removed from play.

A non-wood bat must have a grip of cork, tape or composition material and must extend a minimum of 10 inches from the small end.

Using a traditional batting donut in warmups is also not permissible. Alternative weights, such as a bat sleeve, are permissible.

Softball Glove Colors, Jersey Undergarments

At all levels of softball, the pitcher’s glove shall be of one solid color or multi-colored as long as the color(s) are not the color of the ball being used in the game. A glove that is judged to be distracting is illegal.

A pitcher may wear items on the glove hand, wrist or non-pitching arm of a solid, single color – black, white, grey or a uniform color. A pitcher shall not wear any items on his/her hands, wrists or arms which an umpire may judge to be distracting.

A pitcher may wear a compression sleeve on the pitching arm of a solid, single color – black, white, grey or a uniform color.

For questions, contact NSGA Team Dealer Director Marty Maciaszek at mmaciaszek@nsga.org or (847) 296-NSGA (6742), ext. 1260.