Shetland (ages 4-6; t-ball/coach-pitch)
1. There are no evaluations for Shetland division. All players will be drafted onto their teams in accordance with the procedure set in place by the Morgantown Pony Baseball League.
a. The number of teams will be determined by the Shetland director based on player enrollment.
b. Head coaches will be assigned to teams by the director.
c. Once designated by the director, head coaches may partner with assistant coaches or sponsors. All players associated with the partnered coaches will automatically be assigned to that team. No more than three coaches/sponsors may be assigned to a team prior to the draft.
d. All remaining players will be drafted round by round to fill remaining spots on each team. Pre-assigned players must be drafted by a team consecutively in the opening rounds.
2. Shetland playing fields will be set up in accordance with PONY recommendations where possible: 50 feet between bases; 38 feet from home plate to pitching rubber.
3. In addition to standard foul lines and batters boxes, an arc will be inscribed 10’ in front of home plate from the first to third base lines. Any batted ball that does not touch or travel beyond the arc in fair territory will be ruled a foul ball.
4. Only PONY sanctioned t-balls specifically designed to reduce injuries, or the seriousness of injuries, may be used in games whether the batter is hitting from a tee or from a coach-pitcher.
5. All bats must be USA or USSSA approved. Bats marked specifically for tee ball may be used whether the batter is hitting from a tee or from a coach-pitcher.
6. Plastic/rubber cleated shoes are recommended. Metal cleats are not permitted.
7. The batter, players in the on-deck circle, and base runners are required to wear a helmet that protects the top of the head, temples, ears and base of the skull. Face masks, jaw guards and chin straps are recommended.
8. If a team chooses to utilize a defensive catcher, they must wear full protective gear, including a helmet that fully covers both ears, face mask with throat guard, chest protector and shin guards. The catcher must start against the fence behind and away from the batter and move into position once the ball is put into play. At that time, the helmet may also be removed. A coach should be positioned with the catcher to assist with timing and gear wrangling. The player catcher should not retrieve passed balls or foul balls that they are not making a play to catch on the fly. The use of a player catcher should not delay the game. A player may not play the catcher position more than one inning per game.
9. The defensive pitcher must start no closer to home plate than the pitching rubber regardless of where the coach pitcher is positioned or whether the batter is hitting from the tee. Face masks and devices designed to protect the heart are recommended.
10.Games will be played to five innings or one hour, whichever comes first. Spring 2020 Foal/Shetland Rules Revised 2/12/2020
11.The goal of the Shetland division is to move each player to coach pitch as soon as possible. As this is a developmental league, it is up to the coach to determine what is in the best interest of each player to promote development and build confidence.
12.If a coach pitcher is utilized, they must position themselves no closer than the midpoint between home plate and the pitching rubber. All pitching must be overhand. While they may pitch from a knee, the coach-pitcher is encouraged to move toward pitching from a standing position at the pitching rubber as is required at the Pinto level. The pitching position may differ for each batter and each at bat.
13.The batter is entitled to as many as four pitches from the coach pitcher, after which they must hit from the tee. Fouling off the fourth pitch, can warrant additional pitches at the coach’s discretion.
14.When hitting from the tee, the tee will be placed on home plate, and there is no swing limit.
15.Once the ball is put in play from the tee, the coach will remove the tee to allow runners to cross the plate.
16.Base runners may not leave base until a batted ball is put into play.
17.Base runners may only advance one base on hits to the infield. They may advance no more than two bases on hits to the outfield. On the final at-bat of the half-inning, all runners, including the batter runner, should advance to home.
18.Base runners will remain on base as if they reached base successfully regardless of the defensive play made.
19.A double-base will be used at first base. The batter runner must touch the outer bag to be ruled safe at first; the defense must touch the inner bag to record the out. Once on base, the runner may start from the inner bag as they prepare to advance to second base.
20.All players on a team will bat in rotation each inning. The batting order should be changed each inning. On the final batter of the inning, all runners will advance to home.
21.All players on a team will be used defensively each inning. Five players will be positioned in the infield, including a defensive pitcher. An optional defensive catcher as outlined in item #8 may be used. The remaining players must be distributed in the outfield. A shallow centerfielder may be positioned just behind or just in front of 2nd base. All other outfielders must start behind the grass line when the ball is hit.
22.Teams are encouraged to rotate defensive positions frequently (i.e. mid-inning) without delaying the game.
23.There is no limit to the number of coaches permitted on the field during the game to offer support and instruction. Coaches should make an effort to minimize physically assisting runners or fielders.
24.Sliding is allowed provided the runner does not make contact with the defensive player.
25.Moving back to the minors: if a player who meets the age restrictions for the Foal division but decided to play up in Shetland demonstrates that they might Spring 2020 Foal/Shetland Rules Revised 2/12/2020 benefit from the all-tee format of Foal, they may be traded to a Foal division team, provided the coach, the Shetland director, and the parents agree that it is in the best interest of the player. If this move takes place prior to opening day, a $45 refund will be awarded. This is equal to the difference in registration fees between the Shetland and Foal divisions. No refunds will be given for a move down after the start of the season.