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Exton Little League

Instructional (Schmidt) Division Guidelines


The Instructional (Schmidt) Division is intended for children with a league age of 7 or 8 (Little League Age Calculator).  This division is an instructional division with continued emphasis on game fundamentals, teamwork and safety.   

Game Rules:

  • Game is 6 innings or 2:00 time limit (or until darkness) (games will usually be 4 – 5 innings).
  • Schmidt Division is intended to be instructional.  As such, no score is to be kept and no winner or loser declared.
  • Pitching machine is to be used for the entire game for games played up through May 16.  For games played May 17th to end of season, the pitching machine will be used for the first three innings and kid pitch will be used for the last three innings.  Specifics about use of pitching machine and kid pitch guidelines are listed below.
  • 5 run rule (per half-inning) is in effect.
  • The Visiting team is responsible for setting up the pitching machine and putting it away.
  • The Home team is responsible for dragging / raking the field after every game.
  • Visiting team gets the field one half hour before the start of the game for 15 minutes.
  • Home team gets the field 15 minutes before the start of the game for 15 minutes.
  • The team with players batting must supply an assistant coach to back up the catcher in an attempt to keep the game moving.
  • Each team is responsible for providing balls to be used when their team is at bat. 
  • Assistant coaches should keep a book (to monitor lineup only).
  • All players present will bat (continuous batting order).
  • Each batter will get 5 pitches (an additional pitch is allowed for foul balls or for mechanical issues with pitching machine).  Up until May 16, if fair ball contact has not occurred after 5 pitches, then the hitting tee should be used. Beginning May 17, the hitting tee is only to be used during the three innings that the pitching machine is in use, and only with discretion. 
  • A side is retired after 3 outs, 5 runs, or if the entire lineup bats (if teams have an unequal amount of players, then the lesser total equates an entire lineup).
  • There are no walks.
  • There are no free bases for being hit by a pitch.
  • Beginning May 17, during the three innings of kid pitch, strikeouts will be used, per the guidelines outlined in the Kid Pitch section below.  Coaches should strongly encourage the batters to swing at balls that are around the plate and not wait for the “Perfect Pitch”. 
  • There is no bunting, stealing, or infield fly rule.
  • There are no head first slides.
  • Runner must attempt to slide to avoid a collision and should be called “out” if they do not.
  • The base runner is not allowed to leave the base until the ball is hit.
  • Base runners may only advance 1 base at a time.
  • Base runners may advance 2+ bases if ball hits outfield grass in the air. Once the ball has been picked up by the outfielder and thrown in, runners can no longer advance.
  • A maximum of 9 players are allowed on defense, including a catcher, and “pitcher”.
  • During machine pitch, the pitcher must be positioned outside of the designated safety zone that surrounds the pitching machine.
  • Outfielders must be positioned completely in the outfield grass, preferably at least 15 feet beyond the infield dirt.
  • Dead balls.

a.    A batted ball hitting the pitching machine or machine operator is a dead ball.  The batter is awarded first base.

b.    A thrown ball hitting the pitching machine or machine operator is a dead ball. Players may continue to the base they were approaching.

c.    A batted ball that comes to rest inside the designated safety zone is a dead ball.  The batter is awarded first base and existing base runners advance.

d.    A thrown ball that comes to rest inside the designated safety zone is a dead ball.  Players may continue to the base they were approaching.

  • All batters must wear a helmet.
  • There is no on-deck area.
    • The only batter with a bat in his hands should be the one up at the plate.
    • The next batter up should get prepared to bat.
    • Practice swings are NOT ALLOWED for safety concerns.
    • Coaches should teach boys that they are not to throw bats after making contact.  Discretion should be used in deciding to call a batter out that does throw bat.   

Use of Pitching Machine:

All coaches and managers must thoroughly understand the operation of the pitching machine.

The purpose of using machines is deliver pitches that are consistently in or near the strike zone at a speed that is more than just a “lob toss” (approx. 30-38mph setting on machine).  Appropriate speed guidelines will be communicated once the machine is in place.  All games are to be played using the pitching machine, with the following allowable exceptions:


  • After May 17, during Kid Pitch.  See Kid Pitch Section of these Rules.
  • In the event the machine is inoperable, or generator that powers the machine is inoperable,  or not functioning properly, in which case Coach Pitch should be used during the conditions outlined in these guidelines when a pitching machine normally would be.
  • The pitching machine may be adjusted at any time if both coaches agree.
    • Be sure the batter steps out of the batter box for at least two test pitches.
    • Be sure an adult is behind the plate to catch any practice pitches that are thrown.
    • The machine should not be adjusted for each batter. We are not looking to put the ball right at the belt of every batter.



Kid Pitch Rules:

For games played after May 17th, managers are to use players as pitchers (“Kid Pitch”) for the last three innings of the game. During Kid Pitch, all of the rules listed under GAME RULES are in effect except for the following exceptions:

  • Pitchers will pitch 40 feet from home plate (6 feet short of the regulation 46 ft).
  • Pitchers are limited to 2 innings or 50 pitches (whichever occurs first).
  • A maximum of five pitches are permitted per batter, unless there is a foul ball(s), in which case one additional pitch for each foul ball is allowed. Strikeouts are permitted. If after five pitches fair ball contact has not been made, then a coach from the team at bat should finish the at bat with a maximum of three additional pitches.  Strikeouts will count if a third strike occurs while a coach is pitching. 
  • 1 pitch constitutes an inning pitched.
  • Players cannot pitch more than 3 innings in any week (Monday through Sunday).
  • Players cannot pitch on consecutive calendar days.
  • Once removed from a game as pitcher, the player cannot return as a pitcher.
  • Balls and strikes will be called on each pitch. A coach from the batting team must be positioned either behind home plate or behind the pitching mound and acts as an umpire.
  • As outlined under Game Rules, no walks are to be awarded. 
  • Please keep warm-ups to a minimum, especially in mid-inning!