Little League World Series Mercy Rule and Other Game Rules

With 20 teams competing this year, the 2022 Little League World Series had the largest field in tournament history. Still, one team was by far the best.

Hawaii won the 2022 title, winning all six games by a combined score of 60-5. The team’s unbeaten run included four double-digit wins and a championship win that took just four rounds.

Why did the title match end before the conventional six innings? Well, Hawaii’s dominance caused the little league’s “Running Rule” to come into effect.

Let’s take a look at the “Racing Rule” and some other details from the Little League rulebook:

What is the mercy rule in the Little League World Series?

For lopsided games, Little League has a “race rule”, the preferred term rather than “mercy rule” or “slaughter rule”.

If at the end of three innings, or two and a half innings if the home team is ahead, a team has a lead of 15 or more runs, the manager of the team with fewer runs will concede victory to the winning team.

If at the end of four innings, or three and a half innings if the home team is ahead, a team has a lead of 10 runs or more, the manager of the team with fewer runs will concede victory to the team winning. This took effect in the 2022 Championship Game when Hawaii took a 13-3 lead late in the fourth inning against Curacao.

What are the rules for the 2022 Little League World Series?

Here are the changes made to the Official Rules, Game Rules and Operating Policies for the Little League World Series:

Regulation IV(i): Compulsory play:

  • This rule has been restructured to define “batting at least once” as a player who enters the batter’s box without counting and completes that batting time by being put out. The player can also retire as top runner or runner, score, reach base safely, or after reaching base safely, the inning or game ends.
  • In addition, a player must assume the position of a batter without counting and one of the following must occur: He/she is out as batter, batter-runner, he/she reaches base and scores or he/she reaches base and the inning or game ends .

Rule 2.00, At bat:

  • A player must take the position of a batter without counting and one of the following must occur: He/she is out as batter, batter-runner, he/she reaches base and scores or he/she reaches base and the inning or game ends .
  • At bat, if the third out of the half inning occurs putting out another base

-runner before any of the above scenarios occur, that batter must return as the leadoff batter in the next half inning.

  • Additionally, when first appearing offensively in a game, a player must remain in the game until an at-bat scenario occurs (see above).

Rule 3.03:

  • In substitution, if a starter has been called out for a substitute, they may only re-enter the game (at the same position in the batting order) if the following scenarios occur: their substitute has finished bald once -mouse (following batting requirements above).
  • At bat, if the third out of the half inning occurs putting out another base

-runner before any of the above scenarios occur, that batter must return as the leadoff batter in the next half inning.

  • Additionally, when first appearing offensively in a game, a player must remain in the game until an at-bat scenario occurs (see above).

Tournament Rule 9(e):

  • This rule has been restructured to define “strike at least once” in the same manner as Rule IV(i): Compulsory Play (see above).
  • At bat, if the third out of the half inning occurs putting out another base

-runner before any of the above scenarios occur, that batter must return as the leadoff batter in the next half inning.

  • Additionally, when first appearing offensively in a game, a player must remain in the game until an at-bat scenario occurs (see above).

Rule VI(c); Tournament Rule 4(d):

  • If a pitcher reaches the Rule VI(c) limit for his age in the league while facing a batter, the pitcher may continue to pitch until several scenarios occur. The new rule change includes this as one of the scenarios: the pitcher is removed from the mound before the batter completes their game at bat.

Article VI(d); Tournament Rule 4(e):

  • This note has been added: The number of pitches a pitcher has for purposes of the day(s) of rest threshold is determined by the first pitch thrown to a batter. Also, the pitcher may not start a new batter if the limit imposed in Rule VI(c) has been met.

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