We all need to start somewhere, right! So if there is an opportunity to begin learning Baseball under a professional coach from a very young age, who would let that opportunity go? Of course, at the age of 7 or 8, a child is not in a position to decide whether to take professional coaching for a sport or not. But, as parents, we have to give our children the best we can. That is why the concept of 8u Baseball was born.
8u baseball is a concept where eight kids or less are coached about the fundamentals of Baseball. It is like an instructional league between the coach and the players. In this league, children only below the age of 8 are allowed. However, toddlers under the age of 6 are not permitted for this format. 8u Baseball is solely an “instructional player and coach pitch.”
The Basic Rules for the 8u Baseball
Since this is a training session for the kids who are first introduced to Baseball, it has some strict rules that one needs to follow. This game format gives them a faint idea of how matches are played in professional leagues like MLB and the American League.
The General Rules
Before we get to the rules for a specific position, the list of general rules in 8u Baseball will give you the insight to understand how the young players are introduced to the rules and strategies of the game.
- The length of the game is fixed. The game cannot exceed the specified time limit of 1 hour and 15 minutes.
- The number of innings per game is also fixed. If a player is playing in the 8u Baseball, they can play for a maximum of six innings.
- The number of runs is limited to just five runs per inning. The reason behind this limitation is made keeping in mind the “tender” age of the players.
- However, there is an exception to the above rule. If there are three outs before five runs are made, then the team batting is considered for the outs and not the runs.
- The batting order in 8u baseball is “continuous.” All the players in the team should bat following the pre-decided batting order.
- There is a special rule that has been made for the 8u Baseball format. It is known as the Mercy Rule. You can find this rule in the professional levels, but the fundamental law varies slightly in the 8u Baseball format. The game ends if one of the teams leads the other by 11 runs after completing the fourth inning. Also, there is another case, that is, if one team leads the other by six runs after the fifth inning.
- The game is allowed to begin with eight players.
Rules for the offense
Being very young in the game, there are specific rules for the players in the offense that might not apply on the professional levels. However, most of the rules are designed to understand what it is like to play in a major league.
- The coach in 8u Baseball is allowed to pitch “over-handed.”
- If a player removes the headgear intentionally while running the bases, then the player would be considered “out.”
- Although 8u baseball is an instructional league, there are specific rules that the coaches need to abide by. They are not allowed to touch the base runners while the game is going on, even if that is meant for guiding them. If a coach does that, the player would be considered “out.”
- The players are indeed very young at age. But the coach who is at the defense, pitching, is not allowed to pick up the hitter’s bat. The coach at the offense is not permitted to intervene in any business with the defensive side. If he does so, the batter will be considered “out.”
- Again, since the players are very young, sliding is allowed under some conditions. They are specifically not allowed to go for a “head-first” slide.
- After a coach pitches a batter and hits the ball, the coach may choose to leave the field to give instructions to the base runners.
- There is also a rule that aims at disciplining the players from a young age. If a player arrives late in the match, they are often put last in the batting order. However, if the batting order is pre-decided and the player’s name is in the middle of the batting order, and they fail to reach on time, they are considered to be “out.” Under any circumstances, if the player in question is unable to show up when he is called for, he would be considered to be “out.”
- If a player in the offense throws their bat, the whole team gets a warning. However, if a second player or the same player repeats the action, they are declared “out.” However, this partly remains in the hands of the offense to consider the “out” or not.
Rules For the Defense
The rules for the defense are partly less strict and pretty more straightforward when compared with the offense.
- The Outfielders in the match should necessarily stand in the “outfield grass,” and they shall be guided by the coaches “what is meant by an outfield grass?”
- There are rules for the defensive coaches as well. They are strictly not allowed in the “outfield.” However, if they want, they can be present outside the “dugout area.”
- The number of infielders in 8u baseball defense is limited to 6, and for the outfielders, it is 4.
- There are a few rules for the fielding pitcher specifically. In the 8u baseball format, it is the coach pitcher who is pitching. In that situation, the fielding pitcher should maintain a distance of “1-foot” from him. Also, he is not allowed to “advance” unless the batter hits the ball. If by mistake the fielding pitcher starts to run before the ball has been hit, then the fate lies in the hands of the offensive team to choose between “play” or “walk.”
Some attributes of the 8u Baseball
There are some specifications that are exclusive to the 8u Baseball format. They could be listed as follows:
8u Baseball Field Dimensions
Since the players participating in this are pretty young, the distance between the base paths is allowed up to 60 feet only.
8u baseball Bats
The bats that are designated for the 8-year-old players in this format should not be more than twenty-eight inches in length and 18-ounces in weight.
8u Baseball Gloves
The standard size of the Baseball gloves that these young players would need ranges between 10.5 inches to 11 inches.
FAQs on 8u Baseball
Are there unique balls made for 8u Baseball format?
The baseballs used for the players in 8u Baseball are very close to the professional ones. They differ from the professional league balls in just one thing: the “hardcore.”
How fast are the players of 7 to 8 years able to pitch?
The average pitching speed for players of this age group varies between 35-39 mph.
What is the pitching distance for 8u Baseball?
The pitching distance allowed for the 8u Baseball is 44 feet and not more than that since the base distance is restricted to 60 feet.