Official Rules of the
North Carolina Wiffle Ball League and Tournaments
Fast and Slow Pitch Divisions
1.0 Field Setup
1.01 The bases will be set 50 feet apart.
1.02 The pitchers’ mound will be 40 feet from home plate.
1.03 The strike zone will be 2 feet from home plate.
1.04 There will be a line parallel with the plate, 8 inches on each side of the plate. These will act as batters boxes. Batters must have their feet behind the line, not on the line. A warning will be used by the official on the first offense and this warning applies to the entire team. A second offense by any member on that team will be ruled an automatic out. There will also be a line marking the front of the “batter’s box” that the hitter will not be allowed to go beyond while batting.
1.05 Batters may not lean into a pitch to get it to hit them. Turning away from a pitch is not included as leaning into the pitch. The official will make the call on whether or not the batter leaned into a pitch. There will be one warning and all offenses after the warning will result in an automatic strike.
1.06 The fence distance will be 100 feet at the corners and 120 feet to centerfield.
1.07 The strike zone will be 24 inches x 29 inches. The ball must strike the rectangular part of the strike zone. A ball that hits the legs of the strike zone will not be ruled strikes.
1.08 The backstop net will be placed 10 feet behind the plate.
1.09 An arc between the
first and third base foul lines will be drawn 15 feet from home
plate. This line will be treated as a foul line in the exact same manner as the other foul lines between home and first or third base.
1.10 A Pitchers circle will be drawn with a 10ft diameter.
1.11 Out of play territory will be marked with cones. The extent of the out of play territory may vary by event. The cones will be even with the fence line and will extend out.
2.01 The WIFFLE® Brand “baseball size” ball will be the official ball used by the NCWBL.
2.02 Any hollow plastic bat approved by the NCWBL may be used. Approved bats include the WIFFLE Brand yellow bat, Easton brand plastic bats, Junkball bats, screwball bats, plastic nerf bats and Moonshot bats. Teams bringing their own bats will need their bats approved prior to the team’s first game.
2.03 Teams are not required to wear uniforms in League games or tournaments but it is recommended.
2.04 Metal cleats are prohibited. Molded cleats are allowed.
2.05 Game balls will be unaltered and the NCWBL will provide all balls for play.
2.06 Balls are to be discarded if they have a large crack on them. An NCWBL will determine if the ball needs to be removed from gameplay.
2.07 Players are not to touch or adjust the K-zone. An NCWBL Official will do so if necessary.
2.08 Bats may be taped up to 12 inches from the knob of the handle. Bats may not have excessive tape thickness. An NCWBL Official will determine if a bat is taped excessively.
2.09 All balls that are in use must be placed in the bucket behind the pitching rubber but within the pitchers circle.
3.0 Team Rosters
3.01 Teams may consist of 2-5 players. 3 players are to play defense at a time but teams may bat up to all 5 players. Teams of 3 players or more must bat at least 3 players. 2 player teams are the equivalent of a baseball team with 8 players and acknowledge that they are playing at a disadvantage.
3.02 Teams must have a player designated as the team captain. The captain will be required to produce a batting lineup before the start of each game.
3.03 A player will not be allowed to play in any NCWBL event without a signed waiver form. Any player under 18 years of age must have a waiver signed by a parent or guardian. A waiver form will be good for one year.
3.04 Teams may be co-ed.
3.05 In a situation where there are less than 4 players, when the bases become loaded the appropriate player will return home to bat. A “ghost runner” will be used in his or her place. The runners may chose to switch places of the ghost runner like if the ghost is at third they can move the runners up and have the ghost on first base. This rule will repeat itself throughout the game.
3.06 All players with unpaid fees from prior NCWBL events will be ineligible to participate in any NCWBL event until all fees are paid.
3.09 Team names may be required to be changed if overly offensive. The NCWBL will let team captain know if a team name is unacceptable.
3.10 For league play, Rosters must be submitted to the NCWBL. A player must play in at least one game to be eligible for the post season roster.
4.0 Ground Rules
4.01 When there is not a fence: A fielder must catch the ball with both feet in play when attempting to rob a home run. The fielder must keep both feet in play and maintain possession without stepping over the fence line in order for the catch to count. If the fielder makes the catch and then steps over the line due to momentum, the batter is ruled out. A fielder may dive over the fence line and knock the ball back into play as well. They cannot have touched out of play territory before swatting the ball back into play. If this is the case the ball is live and the fielder who knocked the ball back into play cannot be the first person to touch the ball. If they do touch the ball first the ball will be ruled dead and each runner is awarded two bases. So basically it would result in a ground rule double.
4.02 Players must stay within the fence line as in rule 5.01 when attempting to catch a ball in foul territory. Players must keep two feet in play when attempting to make a catch.
4.03 Any ball that has been thrown and hits a fan or object that is not in the field of play will be ruled a dead ball. Each runner moves up one base.
4.04 Balls may not be left in or near the base line. If there happen to be balls in the baseline area the team batting needs to clear the ball(s). The NCWBL will try to keep all unused balls out of the playing field.
4.05 Balls that are overthrown that hit the net behind the K-zone are still live.
5.0 Rules of Play
5.01 Games will be 5 innings. Extra innings will be allowed to settle a tied score. International tie breaker rule will not apply. Extra innings will be played as normal MLB rules.
5.02 League games will not have a time limit. The standard time limit for tournaments will be 45 minutes but may vary per tournament. The official time limit will be announced prior to the tournament. A new inning cannot start with under 5 minutes left. Under certain circumstances such as weather delays, the time limit may change but this will be announced prior to the start of a game.
5.03 There will be 3 outs per innings, 3 strikes per out, and 5 balls to a walk in fast pitch. There are no walks in fast pitch. In slow pitch, foul balls and swings and misses will be counted as strikes. Balls will not be counted. After 2 strikes the batter may only foul 2 pitches. The 3rd foul will be ruled an out.
5.04 Check swings will be ruled strikes. MLB rules will be used for this and will be at the discretion of the NCWBL official.
5.05 In fast pitch, pitches that hit a batter will be called balls. Batters may not lean into pitches to gain a ball. The official can call this a strike. This is also stated in rule 1.05. A batter struck in the head with a pitch will be awarded a walk. No balls will counted in slow pitch as well as hit by pitches.
5.06 Leading off and stealing are prohibited. A base runner must remain on the base or even behind the base within a foot. This is due to potential sliding of the base because it is on a grass surface. Stealing and leading off will result in an automatic out. The runner will be ruled out if they leave the base before contact is made by the batter.
5.07 Sliding will be allowed at players own risk.
5.08 Only in cases of injury can a pinch runner be used. The NCWBL Official will determine is the pinch runner can be used.
5.09 Baseball mitts are not permitted. Players may not use their hat to catch the ball while on defense. This will be ruled a dead ball and each runner advances one base. The batter will be awarded 1st base unless the ball would have been a home run then the ball will be ruled a home run.
5.10 Free substitution will be how substitution will work. This means teams can rotate players freely on defense but the batting lineup must remain the same.
5.11 Bunting is not allowed. This will be ruled a dead ball and the batter will be ruled out. Batters must take a full swing. Slap hitting and bunting will not be allowed even if the ball goes beyond the foul ball arc.
5.12 Peg-outs are allowed. To record a peg out the throw must hit the runner in flight. If the ball hits the ground then hits the runner, the runner is safe and the play is still live. If the runner is hit in the head while in a consistent running position, they are safe. This means that the runner will be out if they duck, slide, or any other movement that involves the head changing levels. This will be at the discretion of the official. Once a base runner is pegged the play is over. Other base runners do not advance once a base runner has been pegged. If the base runners are at least halfway to the next base, they will be awarded that base. If a peg attempt misses the runner, the play is still live. If the player is hit, the play is stopped. Exclusion rule: If a player pegs a base runner and it bounces off and hits another base runner before the ball hits the ground, both runners are ruled out.
5.13 If a player pegs a player and the base runner is ruled safe such as if the base runner gets to the base before hit with the ball, the ball is still live.
5.14 During a peg, if a player catches the ball, they are still out.
5.15 When the batter is due up to bat is on base, an available player must take his place to run the bases while the batter takes his/her turn at bat.
5.16 A ground ball that rolls past the fence boundary is a live ball. This rule is only in effect when there is no fence. When there is a fence, a ball that rolls under the fence or goes through the fence will result in a ground rule double.
5.17 If bases are loaded and a ground ball is hit, a defensive player may throw to plate to get a force out by hitting the strike zone. If the player hit’s the strike zone, the play is dead. If the ball misses, it is still live. If the player misses the kzone and hits an object besides the net behind the k-zone the ball is dead and each base runner advances one base.
5.18 The batter may not interfere with the pitch wile in flight such as catching the pitch. This will be ruled as an automatic strike no matter where the pitch is located unless it occurs in the slow pitch division.
5.19 When attempting to get an out the tie goes to the fielder, not the base runner.
5.20 A pitcher may not possess more than one ball when pitching. The pitcher may only possess the ball he/she is pitching. On the first offense the pitcher will be given a warning. On each following offense the play will be ruled an illegal pitch which will be ruled a ball. The call will be made once the pitcher toes the rubber. A pitcher may not put balls in their opposite pitching hand, in their pockets, or anywhere else on them.
5.21 If by chance the ball shatters, the play is redone. If the ball just caves in, the play is still live.
5.22 Any pitch that hits a batter’s hand that is holding the bat without swinging will be ruled a ball. If the batter swings and the ball hits their hand or wrist and goes into fair territory, it is a live play.
5.23 When a player is in fair territory and touches a ball that is in the air that is foul, the ball is foul. This is a baseball rule but this rule reinforces that fact.
5.24 Base runners may tag on foul ball fly balls. This is also a baseball rule.
5.25 In fast pitch, Pitchers are permitted to throw 2 warm up pitches at the start of each inning. New pitchers entering the game may throw 5 warm up pitches. The starting pitcher is permitted to throw 5 at the start of the game as well.
5.26 A team can call their own infield fly rule on fly balls hit while base runners are on first and second or bases are loaded. As soon as one person on the team batting calls for the infield fly it is ruled an infield fly. This way, a team does not have conflicting calls on the play.
5.27 If the batter foul tips a ball into the K-zone with 2 strikes, that is strike 3.
5.28 Once the pitcher has the ball inside the pitcher’s circle, runners can no longer advance.
5.29 A force out may be made if the pitcher gains control of a live, batted ball that is hit within the pitchers circle. Should there be more than one force on a play, the lead force shall be the first one affected, but should it not have been in time, subsequent forces will be enforced in continuing lead order.
5.30 A fielder can make a force play at a base and throw the ball to another fielder in the pitchers circle to record a double play before the batter reaches first base. The fielder may stride out to catch the ball as long as they have one foot in the pitchers circle.
5.31 If a runner is attempting to go home, the field may hit the Kzone to record an out. Refer to rule 4.18 for force plays. On non-force plays, if the fielder hits the kzone before the runner reaches the half way line, the runner must return to the base they last reached. If the runner is past the halfway line when the ball hits the kzone the runner will be ruled out. If the ball misses the kzone the play is still live. If the ball hits the kzone the play is dead and all runners must stop advancing bases. If they are past the halfway line in their respective baselines they will advance to that base but if they are not yet to the line they will return to the base they last reached.
5.32 Foul ball arc-An arc from the first base line and third base line will be drawn 15 feet from home plate. This arc will be treated as a foul line in the same manner as the first and third base foul lines. The ball must go past the arc to be a fair ball. Any ball that does not reach the line will be ruled a foul ball.
5.33 Continuation of Rules 4.29-4.32 as quoted from the NWLA Tournament Rules
“Once a player has obtained control of the ball in the circle, the play
shall be immediately dead and any runners between bases shall return or advance to the base they are
closest to at the time of the dead ball.
COMMENT: Runners on first and second. Batter grounds a ball to the fielder, who throws it to
the pitcher. The runner going from second to third is the lead force, but he gets to base before
the pitcher has the ball in the circle, so he is safe. The runner going from first to second is the
next lead force, and he doesn’t not get to second before the pitcher gets the ball, so he is out.
The batter‐runner is safe at first on a fielder’s choice. If the runner at third was past third base
when the pitcher caught the ball, the runner would be awarded the base they are closest to at
COMMENT: Again the situation if a fly ball or line drive that is caught inside the pitchers circle
creates a unique situation in regards to this rule. If runners are on base, they may usually tag
and advance on a caught fly ball. However, in this situation, in which a player is already in the
pitchers circle when they catch the ball, runners may not advance, and are not awarded the next
base on the dead ball. Runners may not advance on a caught fly ball until the player has caught
the ball. And when the player catches the ball inside the pitcher’s circle, it is immediately dead,
and the runner is still “on base”. So they would not be able to advance. If they are off base,
and did not tag up they would return to the base.”
Slow Pitch Specific Rules:
5.34 Foul balls and swings and misses will be counted as strikes. Balls will not be counted. After 2 strikes the batter may only foul 2 pitches. The 3rd foul will be ruled an out.
5.35. Players are not to swing down at the ball. This will be at the discretion of the NCWBL official.
5.36 The ball must be thrown overhand. The pitch must have an arc. If a pitch is thrown too fast the official can declare the pitch void. Pitch velocity will be governed by an NCWBL Official.
5.37 Home runs are unlimited.
6.01 An NCWBL Representative will officiate each game. If an NCWBL is unable to officiate a game or does not have a good view of a play that he/she is officiating, the teams may make the call.
6.02 Arguing with the official will not be tolerated. All who do not abide by this rule are subject to ejection. Ejections will not result in a refund.
6.03 Even when games are recorded on video, video replay will not be used for making a ruling on the field.
7.01 Unsportsmanlike conduct will not be tolerated. If a player is displaying unsportsmanlike conduct they will be subject to ejection from the rest of the tournament. No refunds will be given for players ejected. Players ejected may be subject to suspension from future NCWBL events.
8.0 Mercy Rule
8.01 FAST PITCH: After the 3rd inning if a team is leading by 10 or more runs the mercy rule will come into effect and end the game. A team leading by 15 or more after the 2nd inning will result in a mercy rule as well. The mercy rule does not apply in the championship games unless the losing team wishes to end the game.
SLOW PITCH: After the 3rd inning if a team is leading by 15 or more runs the mercy rule will come into effect and end the game. In addition, if a team in losing by 20 or more runs after the 2nd inning, the mercy rule will come into effect. The mercy rule does not apply in the championship games unless the losing team wishes to end the game.
9.0 MLB Rules
9.01 Anything that is not covered by chance, will use MLB rules.
10.01 In the event of excessive rain or wind, games may be cancelled by an NCWBL Official. An NCWBL official will contact each team’s captain. It is the captain’s responsibility to contact his teammates. A makeup date will be announced on the website and the captain will also be contacted about the makeup date of the game. In most cases games will not be postponed. We plan to play every game when it is supposed to be played.