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Pineville Community Athletic Association

Pineville Community Athletic Association

PCAA Rookie I Divisions - Machine Pitch (Ages 6 – 8)


The Rookie division, also known as machine pitch, is intended to help young baseball players smoothly transition to the next level of skill development after T-Ball.

Rookie I, we continue to teach the fundamentals of fielding, throwing, catching and hitting and the rules of the game start to be emphasized. Players begin to hit from a pitching machine calibrated to consistently deliver pitches at approximately 35 mph.



Boys & Girls ages 6-8. 


Practice & Games

·       Practices occur one night during the week for 90 minutes.

·       Games are played on Saturday plus occasional weeknights, and are scheduled for 1.5 hours.

·       All practices and games are held at Pineville Memorial Ballpark on Fields 1 & 2 (unless otherwise noted).

·      Following the regular season, a playoff tournament will be held for each division.  Format will be dictated by number of teams competing.


Evaluations & Draft

All players are evaluated by coaches at the start of each season to determine their skill level. Players are then privately ranked based on the evaluation results and divided into Rookie I and Rookie II divisions. The split between divisions takes into account a number of factors including age, safety, coaches, players playing down (from Minors) and roster size. Finally, coaches draft players in an effort to create balanced teams and fair competition. Our aim is to have 6 year olds in Rookie I and 8 year olds in Rookie II and 7 year old’s fall in either based on eval scores.


Rules & Regulations

The Rookie divisions are guided by Official Baseball Rules (OBR) and Babe Ruth League Baseball Rules & Regulations.

All bats used for this division must have a "USABat" marking clearly visible on the bat handle. Hitting with an illegal bat will result in the batter being out. This rule can be enforced from the point the batter enters the batter’s box and until the next batter receives their first pitch.

All players are required to wear a cup.

PCAA has instituted "Local League Rules" as an age specific overlay for each of the divisions.


Local League Rules

The Pitching Machine is placed at 46’ from home plate.

Speed setting as follows:  Machine settings calibrated to ~35 MPH.


Roster and Lineup Overview

Roster size will differ between the division but may be smaller to promote maximum infield development.   

Games may be started with as few as 7 players.

The following positions MUST be fielded: P, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, LC and RC.

There is no catcher in an effort to prevent injury and speed game play. A coach or parent returns machine pitch balls.

Note: If "Team A" has 7 players and "Team B" has 9 or more players, then "Team A" will have an automatic out each time through their lineup. The coach for "Team B" is encouraged to waive the automatic out rule before the start of the game as a gesture of good sportsmanship.

·       Max 5 infielders: 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, P (No Catcher or Mid-2B)

·       Max 5 Outfielders.


Position Playing Requirements

·       Minimum of two (2) full innings at an infield position per player per game.

·       Minimum of one (1) full inning at an outfield position per player per game.

·       Maximum of three (3) innings at a single position per player per game.


Failure to comply with these rules for developmental purposes will result in the team forfeiting the game. These rules exist to encourage coaches to develop players in more than one position.


A player rotation sheet should be provided to the other team for accountability and transparency

Commissioner’s Note: If you feel that another coach is not in compliance with positioning requirements (whether intentionally or unintentionally), please make them aware 1:1 in a non-confrontational manner. In recreational baseball, a forfeit based on a technicality is an embarrassing outcome for all parties, so please assume positive intent from your peers and attempt to rectify the situation without drawing attention. 90% of the time, this is likely to have been an unintentional oversight.


Field Prep

·       Home team lines field before game and uses 1B dugout.

·       Lining consists of batter’s boxes, baselines and a pitching arc. Base coaches box and on deck circles are optional.

·       Rookie I has a 6’ arc in front of home plate

·       Away team drags field after game.

·       Each team locks their respective dugout, if they are the last game of day; if not sure, lock it.

·       Each team is responsible for cleaning up their respective dugout, ensuring no trash is remaining.

·       One game ball per team will be supplied by each coach at the beginning of the game.

·       One ball is returned to each coach at the completion of the game and distributed as a “game ball” for a player.


Game Details

A coach from each team should meet with the umpire to review the local rules and make sure that all are on the same page.

Game start time will be when the first batter is at the batters box and the machine operator is ready for play.  The goal is to play for at least an hour and 30 minutes but may be modified by the league commissioner. Both coaches should make note of start time and should be determined using a cellular network time.

The inning being played should continue until completion, unless the games for the day are delayed.  In such case, if the home team is winning, the game should conclude per normal rules

·       Regular season games CAN end in a tie.

·       Mercy Rule: 15 after 4, 10 after 5 

·       Games will be scheduled for six (6) innings. No new inning should begin after "playing time" reaches 1 hour and 30 minutes.

·       Games will be deemed official regardless of innings completed.

·       A paid umpire will oversee ALL regular season games and the playoffs.



Games should be scored via the Game Changer app.  All league games will be scheduled in the app. Scorekeepers should navigate to that game and begin scoring.  Teams have the option to utilize one scorekeeper for both teams or to utilize a scorekeeper per team.

Lineups should contain the name and number of each player and should be set prior to the start of the game.               

Regular season games CAN end in a tie.

·       First 3 innings: Five (5) runs maximum per team. A team that is already ahead may score 5 runs.

·       Last 3 Innings: Unlimited runs until 3 outs.



·       Continuous batting order is in effect. All players hit.

·       Batter receives maximum of FOUR (4) pitches unless 4th pitch is a foul ball. Foul balls are unlimited.

·       Batter is out after 3 strikes or 4 pitches, unless the last pitch is fouled off.

·       No Pitch Rule: The umpire or coaches (when there is no umpire) may call a “No Pitch” if the pitch is deemed unhittable regardless of swing. “No Pitch” does not count toward total. One “No Pitch” per at bat.

·       There are no walks.

·       No bunting.  A ball must travel to or past the 6’ arc in front of home plate.  Any batted ball that remains within that arc or is picked up by a defender, regardless of the position of the infielders feet, will be considered a foul ball.

·       No slash bunting. A batter is out for illegal action when the player fakes a bunt and then takes a full swing. PENALTY – Batter is out, the ball is dead, no runners may advance.

·       A player who throws a bat after hitting the ball will be issued one warning. Coaches have option to replace any player who throws his or her bat and reaches base with another runner. The last player who made an out. If a player throws the bat a second time in a game -- even during the same at bat -- he or she will be called out.

·       If a batted ball hits the machine prior to being touched by a defender it is an automatic single and all base runners advance ONE base from where they were when the pitch was delivered.

·       The ball is considered “in play” if it rolls beyond or lands on the 6-foot arc.


Note: The “Batting Out Of Turn” rule is fully outlined within the Babe Ruth League Official Playing Rules (6.07).




(a) A batter shall be called out, on appeal, when he fails to bat in his proper turn, and another batter completes a time at bat in his place.

(1) The proper batter may take his place in the batter’s box at any time before the improper batter becomes a runner or is put out, and any balls and strikes shall be counted in the proper batter’s time at bat.


(b) When an improper batter becomes a runner or is put out, and the defensive team appeals to the umpire before the first pitch to the next batter of either team, or before any play or attempted play, the umpire shall (1) declare the proper batter out; and (2) nullify any advance or score made because of a ball batted by the improper batter or because of the improper batter’s advance to first base on a hit, an error, a base on balls, a hit batter or otherwise.


(c) When an improper batter becomes a runner or is put out, and a pitch is made to the next batter of either team before an appeal is made, the improper batter thereby becomes the proper batter, and the results of his time at bat becomes legal.



(1) When the proper batter is called out because he has failed to bat in turn, the next batter shall be the batter whose name follows that of the proper batter thus called out;

(2) When an improper batter becomes a proper batter because no appeal is made before the next pitch, the next batter shall be the batter whose name follows that of such legalized improper batter. The instant an improper batter’s actions are legalized, the batting order picks up with the name following that of the legalized improper batter.


The umpire shall not direct the attention of any person to the presence in the batter’s box of an improper batter. This rule is designed to require constant vigilance by the players and managers of both teams.



Safety Bases

·      A batted ball that hits the white half is a fair ball, orange half is a foul ball.

·      When a play is being made on the batter-runner, the defense must use the white half; batter-runner must use the orange half.

NOTE 1: A play is being made on the batter-runner when he/she is attempting to reach first base while the defense is attempting to retire him/her at that base.

NOTE 2: On extra-base hits or other balls hit to the outfield when there is no chance for a play to be made at the double first base, the batter-runner may touch either the white or orange.

·      Once the batter-runner goes beyond first base, he/she may only return to the white half.

·      When tagging up on a fly ball, or prior to leaving base on a batted ball the runner must use the white half.

·       Use of the double first base does not change any other rule concerning interference or obstruction at first base.


Base Running

·       Runners may not leave the base until the batter makes contact. The runner will be removed from the base after one team warning but this will NOT result in an out.

·       No head first sliding.

·       If there is a play at home plate, runners must slide AND avoid aggressive contact with the opposing player. One warning per game, then if a runner does not slide and there’s a “play at the plate” the runner is ruled out. To be clear, a runner does not need to slide if there is no play at home plate.

·       NO sliding at 1B. One warning per team. Second offense per team results in runner sliding at 1B being an automatic out. This is for the safety and protection of the defensive player. Players are allowed to slide back to a base.

·       Coaches are not allowed to touch the runners. The player will be called out after one warning.

·       Base runners must avoid collision at all cost; otherwise they will be called out.

·      Obstruction by a fielder may be called by an umpire, at their discretion, if they feel a fielder significantly or intentionally impeded a runner’s progress resulting in a material impact on the outcome of the play.

·      Advancement on balls in play within the INFIELD is limited to one base in ALL scenarios. No additional advancement is allowed as a result of overthrows / missed throws / fielder’s inaction.

·      Caught fly balls are subject to the same rules as both infield and outfield ground balls. On infield fly balls, runners are entitled to advance at-risk one base following a legal tag up. On caught fly balls to the outfield, runners may continue to advance after executing a legal tag up until the ball has been returned to the infield and controlled by an infielder.


Stoppage of Play

Stoppage of play happens when an umpire calls time. If there is no umpire, the coaches should stop play.  


Allow the play to play out and apply the rules below.  Runners can always be sent back! 


·       If time is called by an umpire in the middle of a play, all runners go back to the base they were coming from.

·       The umpire should stop play based on the scenarios below:

·       The umpire should be asked, or coaches reminded, during the pre-game meeting to quickly and loudly call time when one of those two conditions have been met.

·       Runners may only finish running toward the base directly in front of them AT RISK.

·       While the infielders action or inaction initiates the stoppage of play, the umpire is the ONLY person that can officially stop play.




“Control” or “Possession”  is defined by the area of the field in which a batted ball is first fully controlled by a fielder. The edge of the outfield grass is considered the dividing line. If a ball is controlled on the infield, the remainder of the play is subject to ‘Infield rules’. If the ball is first controlled in the outfield, then the play is subject to ‘Outfield rules’.


Balls hit in Infield (IF)

1.      Bases are empty. Batter hits ball in infield and there is an overthrow or missed catch. Runner can only advance to first base.

2.      Runners on base. Batter hits ball in the infield and there is an overthrow, or missed catch. Runners can advance only ONE total base on the ball in play. Runners must be batted in from 3B.

3.      Bases are empty or Runners on Base. Ball is hit in the air or the ground in the infield.  No infielder has control of the ball.  Runners may only advance one base.


Balls hit to Outfield (OF)

1.      Bases empty or runners on any base. Batter hits ball to OF. Runners can continue to advance to any base until the ball is returned to the infield and an infielder controls the ball. The runner(s) may continue to run to the base that they are running to at risk.  The infielder may attempt to make a throw to get the runner out.  If there is an overthrow, the runner may only advance to the base they were running to.  The batter and runners may circle the bases and score if the ball is not controlled by an IF. If the IF controls the ball and then throws the ball to a base the runners cannot advance past the base they are running to. Once the Infielder controls the ball in the infield and runners have reached the base they are running to or a throw is made with a successful out or overthrow or puts the runners back to the previous base, the umpire, or coaches in absence of an umpire, should call the play dead.






·       Must start each play a minimum of 10' into the grass area.

·       Cannot stop play by calling time.

·       Cannot personally execute a force out at a base or tag a runner.

·      Must throw to an infielder, cannot run the ball into the infield to stop play.



·       Must set up within the chalked semi-circle. Coaches may use discretion to move pitcher into safe position behind the machine operator.

·       Has the option of wear a helmet with face protection.

·       Permitted to execute a tag play between 3B and home 

·       Coaches should generally encourage the pitcher to throw the ball to 1B or another infielder for most ground balls because this is the most common “baseball play” and developmental point.

·       Pitchers are allowed to "cover" home plate when the ball is hit to another player (most commonly an outfielder) and is allowed to receive a throw at home plate. 



·       The hitting team may have their machine operator, a 1B coach, 3B coach and additional parent/volunteer behind home plate on the field only.

·       Each team should designate a parent or coach to score the game via Game Changer. Scorebooks can be consulted if there is a dispute in the score. BOTH team coaches should report the final score to the Rookie Commissioner.

·       Each team is also allowed a coach in front of the dugout to help with speed of play (adjusting catcher equipment, grabbing bats, etc).

·       The parent or coach that is set up behind home plate is there to assist in game flow but should avoid excessive contact or verbal communication with batter.

·       The defensive team is allowed two (2) coaches in the outfield. The coaches can position players and talk to them before and after the plays.


Machine Pitch Operator

·       NOT intended to function as a coach while on the field. And under no circumstance should the machine pitch operator coach base runners once the ball is in play. One warning. Then machine pitch operator is removed from game.

·       Should stay behind the machine and crouch after ball is hit to avoid interfering with defensive players.



Pineville Community Athletic Association
PO Box 626 
Pineville, North Carolina 28134

Email: [email protected]

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