The Championship will utilize the same rules used in Major League Baseball with the following exceptions:
Playing Field: The field shall be a level playing surface of grass or dirt. The bases shall be 40 feet apart. The pitching rubber or designated pitching line shall be approximately 30 feet from home plate. Home plate shall be considered in fair territory. The distance from home plate to the outfield fence shall be 100 feet along the foul lines. The length of the outfield fence from foul line to foul line shall also be 100 feet. Prior to the Hometown Cup Finals, foul poles will not be utilized. All batted balls that clear the outfield fence shall be ruled home runs.
Ground rules for irregular fields will be established by the Commissioner and printed on the tournament field maps. Captains should meet prior to each game to agree upon ground rules.
Umpiring: Teams will umpire their own games. Any disputes shall be settled by team captains. If an agreement cannot be reached, a “do-over” play is allowed. THE BALL NEVER LIES. Umpires may be used at the Hometown Cup Finals.
Equipment: Equipment used will be the Official WIFFLE® Bat and Ball. Game balls will be supplied, but players may use their own official yellow WIFFLE® Bat (all generations). Bats may have tape on the handle only. Also, the hole on the knob of the bat must be open/uncovered. No gloves will be permitted in the field. Players may not wear cleats, rubber or metal. If they choose, players may play barefoot. NOTE: Any player caught using an illegal bat will be ruled out on the first offense of the tournament and ejected on the second offense.
Roster: Rosters will consist of at least four, but no more than five players. Teams unable to field at least four players, at any time, will forfeit that scheduled game. In order to appear in any tournament games, a player must appear on the team’s roster submitted at check-in prior to pool play. No roster changes can be made after the start of the tournament. If a game is already in progress when a player is found to be ineligible, an automatic out will be recorded each time the player’s spot in the lineup comes to bat.
Defensive Alignment: Four players will play the field (pitcher, catcher, and two fielders). All fielders, with the exception of the catcher, shall be positioned in fair territory at the time of the pitch. Fielders may switch positions at any time.
Batting Order: The batting order will consist of at least four players. Teams can choose to bat an optional extra hitter. The extra hitter cannot be used as a Designated Hitter position (All players who play the field must bat.) The number of hitters in a team’s lineup shall be established prior to each game. If a five-hitter team is unable to complete the game with the same number of hitters that they started the game with, they must take an out whenever the missing spot comes up. The batting order shall not change during a game. If substitutions are used, a player may not re-enter the batting order (unless in the case of a tournament-ending injury).
Game: All games will be six innings long. For pool play only, no inning should start after 45 minutes unless the game is tied.
NEW FOR 2022: Regular extra innings will be played with the following exception: starting in the 9th inning of pool play games, each team will start with a runner on second base and nobody out. The runner shall be the batter that made the last out in the previous inning.
Pitching: This is a slow pitch, or “pitch to hit,” tournament. Pitchers must have at least one foot on the pitching rubber (or designated pitching line) when releasing the ball. There are no balks. If the batter feels the pitcher is throwing too hard, he or she may ask for them to slow it down.
Batting: There will be no called strikes, balls, or walks. Batters can strike out swinging. Foul tips caught by the catcher with two strikes will also be a strikeout. With less than two strikes, a foul tip must rise above the batter’s head to be caught for an out. Batters may not advance to first on an uncaught third strike. Batters must be prepared to swing. One handed swings will not be allowed for non-ADA players.
Bunting: Bunting is not allowed in slow-pitch Wiffle®Ball.
Pitcher’s Hand: All force plays on the batter going to first base may be made to the pitcher, who may be anywhere in fair or foul territory. The runner may also be put out by force at first base. All other force plays must be made to the bases or to home plate.
Base Running: Players will run the bases. No ghost runners will be used. Runners may not lead off or steal any base. Runners must remain on the base until the batter makes contact. If a runner on base is due up to bat, the player who has made the last out shall pinch run. After hitting a home run, a player does not have to run the bases.
Infield Fly: No infield fly rule will be used.
Pegging: Fielders may throw the ball at runners to record an out. Base runners struck anywhere by a thrown ball will be ruled out. Additionally, base runners in fair territory, but not in contact with a base, will be ruled out if hit by any batted ball. The ball remains live after a pegging attempt, successful or not.
Special Scoring Rules:
There are no errors in Wiffle®Ball.
Starting pitchers must complete one inning to qualify for a win.
Everything is a save situation.
Home team will be listed on pool play schedule. Higher seed will be home team in the Hometown Cup Playoffs. Home team will keep the official scorecard.
Teams will be provided with a game schedule. The complete schedule and brackets will also be available at the scorer’s table and posted on the tournament website. If your designated field is open prior to your scheduled start time, both teams may agree to start the game early. If a team fails to arrive to the field within 15 minutes after the scheduled start time, the opposing team may take a forfeit win. Forfeits will be scored 6-0. NOTE: This rule is intended for when a team is not on site and does not apply if a team is actively playing, or in transit from, a game in the preceding timeslot.
Teams who do not plan to play in Sunday’s playoffs should notify the scorer’s tent before the end of the day on Saturday. Teams that qualify for Sunday’s single elimination tournament, but fail to show up without notice will be placed on probation for the following year. Those teams will not be eligible for Sunday competition in the next tournament.
Sunday’s bracket will be posted to hometowncup.com and on The Wiffle®Ball Championship’s social media accounts within two hours of the conclusion of pool play on Saturday. The bracket will also be emailed to all teams. Please check the bracket regardless of your record to confirm your playoff qualification status.
All participants will be expected to behave in a sportsmanlike manner. Anyone failing to do so will be removed from the event. Because The Championship takes place on school property, the consumption of alcohol or the use of tobacco is prohibited on the playing fields. Also, please treat school and town property with respect. Anyone ejected from the event WILL NOT be refunded. This is intended to be fun. Your cooperation will be greatly appreciated and will allow this event to continue in the future.