Rules Hierarchy

Our playing rules are modified to enhance the experience for our players. Rules are based on a hierarchy of publications in the following order:

  1. Babe Ruth / Cal Ripken Playing rules
    These can be found in your rule books.
  2. State or Regional rules
    These can be found in the Document Center of
  3. COBRA Bylaws and Rules
    See below.

Post-Season Eligibility and Rosters

Coaches need to keep their online rosters updated, even if you're using a player for a single game or set of games. Please have rosters updated 48 hours before scheduled game time. If you had to adjust your roster closer to game time, please inform the other teams so they can download the game again and score properly. Players must have played in at least HALF of scheduled COBRA games to be allowed to participate in the tournament, unless they provide a medical reason which we can waiver just like all star play rules.

Playoff Rules

Full standard COBRA rules can be found on our Rules Page. For playoffs:

  • Games must result in a winner - no ties.
  • Extra innings we will place the last batted out at 2B.
  • Extra innings are defined as more innings than standard games OR innings after the time has expired for the game.
  • Batter counts remain 0-0 to start in extra innings.
  • All age groups will have 2 umpires minimum. 12U and older will have 3 umpires for the 2nd weekend of playoffs. Be prepared money wise accordingly.
  • 9U and older, Championship game time length will extend to 1hr 45 min.
  • Must run for catcher with 2 outs to speed up game.

Rosters and scoresheets must be maintained, and kept updated using GameChanger, and available to your COBRA Divisional Commissioner at all times.

Rules at a Glance

  1. Players must be in the batting lineup to play defense. Teams may bat the entire lineup and use free defensive substitution throughout the game.
  2. Teams may use up to 9 players on defense, but may play with as few as 8. If only 8 players are used, the 9th batting position will be an OUT.
  3. If a team starts with 9 or more (because they are hitting entire lineup) batters and drops below 9 batters, the missing batter will be counted as an out. For example, if a team hits all 12 of their players in the lineup and one player leaves, there’s no penalty. If a team bats 11 (everyone) and three players leave, the 3rd to leave will count as an out.
  4. Pitching limits
    • 9U-12U is 40 pitches per day, finish the inning
    • 13U-15U is 50 pitches per day, finish the inning
    • ALL divisions
    • One re-entry is allowed for pitchers
    • All players and coaches are to comply with the official pitch count restrictions allowed by Babe Ruth. This will include ALL games played, not only COBRA games.
    • If a pitcher is removed before the third out of an inning, the pitcher may NOT re-enter in that game or any subsequent game that day.
  5. Bats
    • 9U-12U - USABat stamped bats and properly-sized wooden bats may be used, per official Babe Ruth rulebook
    • 13U-15U – USABat stamped bats, bbcor bats, and properly-sized wooden bats may be used, per official Babe Ruth rulebook
  6. Time Limit is 1:30 minutes, no new inning for ALL divisions for Sunday Play. PLUS games played on weeknights or Saturday will have a 1:45 NNI limit.
  7. Per inning run limit is no more than 4 runs per inning for ALL divisions.
  8. Umpires
    • 6U-10U - There will be one umpire per game during Sunday Play. All or part of the tournament may use 2 umpires.
    • 11U-15U – May use a single umpire for Sunday Play, but will normally use 2 for Sunday Play and 2 or 3 for the Tournament.
    • Pay for umpires is 6U-8U: $50/umpire, 9U-16U: $60/umpire.
  9. Home team keeps the official book.
  10. Teams must provide game balls.
  11. Mercy rule is 12/3, 10/4, 8/5 for ALL divisions.
    • 12 after 3 innings (2 ½ if home team leads)
    • 10 after 4 innings (3 ½ if home team leads)
    • 8 after 5 innings (4 ½ if home team leads)
  12. If time has expired, and the home team can not catch up (down by more than 4 runs), the game is over. In this case, the official score will revert to the last completed inning, even if runs are not being used as a tiebreaker. Pitches thrown WILL count toward a pitcher’s pitch count.
  13. Courtesy runner (someone not in the game or, if all players hitting, last batter due to hit) is encouraged for pitchers and catchers but is​ mandatory​ with 2 outs or 3 runs scored.
    • Incoming pitchers or catchers may be run for instead, if opposing coach and UIC are informed before the beginning of the team’s at-bat. In these cases, the player being replaced may NOT have a courtesy runner, unless they are moving to the pitcher or catcher position and proper notice is given.
    • Any player eligible to be courtesy run for may NOT be a courtesy runner.
    • Pitchers who have met their pitch count may NOT be run for. Coaches should utilize L.1 (naming the pitcher for the next inning).
  14. The infield Fly Rule IS in effect for ages 9U and older.
  15. Any rule violation must be corrected immediately and escalated to the appropriate division coordinator for review and possible sanctions. Any resistance to correcting violations may be seen as an additional violation, for example: defensive obstruction, offensive interference, or un-sportsman-like conduct; as appropriate, and penalties applied as seen fit by the game’s officials.
  16. 11U and up will call balks. There is NO balk warning. The umpire should tell the player about the infraction on how not to repeat.
  17. SCHEDULING REQUESTS - will be just that...REQUESTS...teams must be prepared to play ANY time on Sunday, even AFTER the schedule is published. We will do our best to accommodate requests and to minimize adjustments after the schedule is published, but any team unable or unwilling to play will be subject to the FORFEIT POLICY
  18. FALL - We move UP in the Fall. A player's age is determined by what their league age is for the upcoming Spring season. If a player is league age 11 in Spring of 2024, they are league age 12 in the Fall of 2023, and are league age 12 for Spring 2024.
  19. Forfeits
    • If you can not play on a scheduled date, you will forfeit.
    • The score will be 0-6 in Cal Ripken divisions
    • The score will be 0-7 in Babe Ruth
    • Games will count as forfeit even if games are re-scheduled
    • It is a forfeit (loss in the standings) even if you tell us you can’t play before the schedule is published
    • Failure to play will result in a $250 charge to cover the costs of administering the game, as well as being a punitive penalty to encourage communication and participations. Your failure to play does not just impact you and your families...TWO other teams are looking forward to a great experience.
    • Any immediate costs will be advanced from COBRA registration fees and repaid before the team is allowed to play again.
    • Failing to repay the umpire fees will result in expulsion from the league.

Additional Items

Speed Up Keys

  • HUSTLE in and out - College teams get 90 seconds between innings. If YOU could do that, you’d probably get an extra half inning AT LEAST per game.
  • MANDATORY speed up - I don’t care if your catcher is the fastest guy on the team. Rotate him around so he can run, but when he’s catching, we’ll get more play time if he can be suited up for defense. Coaches may report an upcoming change and run for the catcher coming into the game as long as they inform the UIC and opposing coach before the team's at-bat begins.
  • WARM-UP your pitchers BEFORE you bring them in. The 45 pitch limit impacts this, but you know if your guy is getting close. You have free defensive substitution. Take your next guy out and warm him up before you put him in, either while your other pitcher is finishing up, or between innings. Give him a throw or two when he gets out there if you have to, but not the full 8 pitches. It’ll keep everyone on their toes, and as a defensive strategy, give your opponent less looks before they get to step into the box.
  • BE READY at game time - even if your umpire isn’t there yet, he will be. I have not known ONE of these guys to be late for ANY events. Visitor/Home is on the schedule for this reason (instead of flipping, for example). Have your pitcher warming up on the field 5 minutes before game time, and your other players in position. START YOUR GAME ON TIME.
  • ONE FOOT IN, ONE FOOT OUT of the box when taking signs - it drives me NUTS when the batter walks half way down to third base to get signs. Dude, if you have to get that close to see your coach, you ain’t hitting the ball. One foot in, one foot out, get your signs, and play.
  • GIVE SIGNS EARLY - We already take too long between innings, then before the batter gets in the box, he looks at coach for signs. What have you been doing for the past 3 minutes?
  • MAKE SUBS EARLY - this is better for league play and All Stars when you have to report changes, but as an umpire, it flies all over me when we’re ready to play and the coach brings me subs. Now, everybody is waiting. Tell him as soon as the last out occurs so he can report to everyone and we can start the next inning on time.
  • PINCH RUNNERS READY - Have your guys ready, with their helmets, when your pitcher and catcher come up to bat. Ask for time as soon as they get on base, and have your runner HUSTLE to position.
  • FOUL BALLS - designate your bench players, or parents, to chase foul balls on your side. Also, foul balls down the lines should be chased by someone on the bench (with a helmet) so that play may resume, instead of waiting for the Right Fielder to go get it.