The Machine Pitch division of Alpine LL is generally for players league age 8, and 9.  Machine Pitch is an instructional division with the emphasis on the continued development of hitting, defensive fielding skills and situational awareness.  

Machine Pitch is the first division where scores will be kept during games.  It is important to note that competition is a secondary goal to the primary goals of instruction, skill development, player improvement, enjoyment of the game and sportsmanship. To that end, scores will not be reported and regular season standings will not be kept. 

All playing rules described in the Little League Official Rules apply to the Machine Pitch Division unless otherwise amended below.  This means you should understand Little League Official Rules FIRST and the local rules below are only Alpine LL exceptions to those rules. 


Each team must have a minimum of eight (8) players and one official manager/coach present at the start of the game.  There is flexibility on this minimum during the regular season (players can be borrowed from other teams, etc.) in order to enable maximum play in all situations.  However, during Machine Pitch playoffs a minimum of nine (9) players will be enforced.  Failure to have 9 players for a play-off game will result in the team forfeiting the game. 

For Machine Pitch play-offs, Managers may contact the Player Agent if they know they will be short of the minimum of 9 players.  The Player Agent can help find Pool Players from Coach Pitch to play-up.  

If a player permanently leaves the team, please let the Machine Pitch Commissioner and Player Agent know.  The Manager, Player Agent and Machine Pitch Commissioner can jointly decide it makes sense to replace the player with a coach pitch player.


Time Limit - Rule 4.10(a) & (c)
The maximum number of innings is 6. During the regular season, no new inning shall start after 90 minutes have elapsed following the game’s actual starting time.  The start time will be agreed to by the managers and Head umpire at the plate meeting.  An inning starts the moment that the third out is made completing the preceding inning.  All innings played will be complete innings (top and bottom). If the home team is winning after the top half of the last inning, the bottom half of the inning will still be played in order to provide additional offensive and defensive opportunities for the players. Games reaching this maximum time limit shall be considered regulation games even if less than 4 innings are played. 

If a game is called by the umpire (e.g., for darkness, weather etc.) prior to the 90 minute time limit, it shall count as a regulation game if 4 innings have been played. If a game is called by an umpire before 4 innings have been played and before the time limit has been reached, it shall resume exactly where it left off if and when and if it can be rescheduled.  

Game Rescheduling
The decision whether or not to reschedule games called before they are complete rests with the Machine Pitch Division Commissioner and the Vice President, who assists with scheduling. It is possible that not all AA games scheduled at the start of the season will be played. More details are in the Alpine LL Local Rules. 

Tie games allowed - Modification of Rule 4.10(b)
If 6 innings have been completed prior to the 90 minute time limit and the game is tied, extra innings may be played.  However, if the game is tied and the 90 minute limit has been reached, the game will end in a tie. Tie games are permitted during Machine Pitch regular season play but not during playoffs.    

Mercy Rule - Rule 4.10(e) 
Rule 4.10(e) is NOT in effect in Machine Pitch.  The intention of this rule is to assure that Mandatory Play requirements are achieved for all players.  
See also “5-run Rule” described below.

Suspensions - Rule 3.11(b) and 4.01(d)
As soon as the plate meeting concludes, the head umpire becomes the sole judge as to whether and when play shall be suspended during a game because of unsuitable weather conditions or the unfit condition of the playing field; as to whether and when play shall be resumed; and as to whether and when a game shall be terminated after suspension.   


All players present at the start of the game must play a minimum of 3 complete defensive full innings if their team plays 5 innings and 4 complete defensive innings if their team plays 6 innings. Further, at least one full inning must be played in the infield by the end of the 4th inning and at least 2 full innings must be played in the infield if 6 full innings are played. Every player must sit one inning before any one player sits two innings. If the visiting team could have complied with this rule had it played defense in the bottom of the 4th/5th/6th inning (i.e. the home team won the game before it batted in the final inning), the visiting team will not be considered to have violated this rule. The 3/4 defensive inning requirement is reduced by the number of full or partial innings of defense a late arriving or early leaving player missed. The inning in the infield requirement is not reduced.

The manager or coach shall inform the Player Agent of any player who fails to play a minimum of 3 or 4 innings as described above for any reason (including illness/injury or disciplinary). Such notification shall be made prior to the next scheduled game for that team.

As provided in Regulation IV(i) Note 3, if a half-inning ends because of the imposition of the “Five-Run Rule” described below and a player on the defense has played for the entire half-inning, that player will be considered to have participated for33 consecutive outs for the purposes of the mandatory play rule. However, if the player has not played on defense for the entire inning, that player will be credited only as having played for the number of outs that occurred while the player was used defensively.

Offense/Continuous Batting Order - Rule 4.04 - All players must bat throughout the game (continuous batting order). 


Field Set-Up
In addition to normal field set-up, for Machine Pitch the following also needs to occur pre-game:

  • Chalk a small four (4) foot line halfway between 1st and 2nd, 2nd and 3rd and 3rd and home. This is the “Commit Line.”
  • Chalk an 8-10 foot circle around the center of the pitching mound. The defensive pitcher must stand in this circle until the ball is batted. 
  • Place pitching machine 46 feet from the back of home plate.

Each team should be at the field at least 30 minutes before the scheduled start time in order to have sufficient time for warm-ups and field prep (45 minutes is ideal).  The home team will occupy the third-base dugout.

Adults on the Field - Rules 3.09, 3.17 & 4.05

No one except eligible players in uniform, a manager and not more than 3 coaches shall occupy the bench or dugout. A maximum of 3 coaches are allowed on the field when their team is batting; a first base coach, a third base coach and a coach to run the pitching machine. All other managers/coaches should remain in the dugout. 

Players During Warm-Up and On-Deck
Any player at home plate during warm ups while a coach is hitting must have a catching helmet on during this time. This is for the safety of the player and not open to interpretation. 

There is no on-deck position allowed. The only player allowed to swing a bat during a game is the batter. Other players cannot practice swinging anywhere else on or off the field during the game. 

Five-Run Rule - Rule 5.07 - An inning is three (3) outs, or five (5) runs, whichever happens first.  This rule applies to the first 4 innings of the game. There is no 5 run limit in the 5th or 6th inning of the game.  

Pitching Machine
Pitching machines will be used for hitting the entire season.  The pitching machine will be placed inside a ten (10) foot radius pitching circle (either drawn with field paint or chalk prior to each game or a turf circle provided at the field).

A coach of the hitting team will feed balls into the machine as his/her team is at bat. 

This coach will remain inside the pitching circle during play unless necessary to avoid defensive player movements. The pitcher/coach may not instruct/coach from the pitching circle - the first and third base coaches should do that.   

If the pitching machine fails to operate for any reason, the game is played under coach pitching with AA rules applying. 


  • The Batter - Each batter shall receive up to seven (7) pitches from the pitching machine.  A batter is out on the SOONER OF three (3) missed swings or if the ball is not put in play within seven (7) pitches (exception being a foul ball on the 7th pitch, upon which the batter stays alive). There are no called strikes. A batted ball that hits the pitching coach or machine is a dead ball/no pitch and will be replayed.
  • Stealing Bases - There is no stealing bases in Machine Pitch. The ball is dead on the return throw from catcher to pitcher after a pitch.
  • No Bunting - Bunting is not permitted in the Machine Pitch Division.


  • 9 or 10 players can be on defense at a given time – 1 catcher, 1 pitcher, 4 outfielders (equally spaced and actually playing outfield vs a 5th infielder), and 4 infielders.
  • Defensively the team in the field must put a “pitcher” next to, or behind, the pitching machine and the “pitcher” have one foot inside the pitcher circle until the pitched ball has crossed home plate.
  • The play/live ball stops when the ball is returned to the defensive pitcher with both feet inside the 10-foot pitching circle and he/she has control of the ball or when play is otherwise stopped by an umpire (such as a dead-ball situation). Once play is stopped for any reason it cannot be restarted by the defense to attempt additional outs.
  • If a runner is more than half way between the bases (past the Commit Line) the runner is awarded the base he is going to. If not, the runner goes back to the prior base. The “Commit line” will be drawn between the bases with field paint or chalk prior to each game to denote the halfway point for the umpires.
  • Overthrows resulting in “dead balls” will result in baserunners taking 1 additional base.
  • Defensive team is free to make plays on the runners but once the ball reaches the defensive pitcher inside the circle (except on a ball initially hit to the defensive pitcher), play is dead no matter what. So, if you want to make a play on the runner, don’t throw the ball to the defensive pitcher inside the circle.
  • The goal of Machine Pitch is to teach kids baseball.  Therefore, the onus is on the coaches to teach kids to try to make outs in the field (i.e. attempt to make the play at first base) before simply throwing the ball back to the pitcher. Returning the ball to the pitcher is a mechanism to stop the multiple errant plays that can lead to excessive scoring by the offense.  It is the responsibility of coaches to teach the players how to make the “baseball play” first and then return the ball to the pitcher.

Sliding - Rule 7.08

A baserunner must attempt to avoid contact with a fielder on ALL plays. Failure to do so will result in the player being called out. The umpire has the final say as to whether the runner made sufficient effort to avoid a collision. When in doubt, players should SLIDE. However, a runner will be considered out if they slide head-first to advance a base. Head first sliding is only allowed going back to a base.

Infield Fly Rule - There is no Infield Fly Rule in the Machine Pitch Division. 

Courtesy Runner - Modification to Rule 7.14(b)
A courtesy runner may be substituted for a catcher with two (2) outs so the catcher will be ready to resume his duties as soon as the side is retired. The courtesy runner shall be the player who made the second out in the inning if the manager decides to use him/her.

The umpires on the field make all final judgments.  Machine Pitch umpires are very often youth umpires and it is paramount to the integrity of the league that they be respected.  There are no protests of umpire calls in Machine Pitch.

Players, managers, and coaches from each team will meet at home plate after each game to shake hands.

Managers shall notify the Machine Pitch Commissioner of any problems related to players or parents.

Players shall participate in making sure the dugouts, fields and bleachers are free of all trash, and belongings following the game.


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