The Vermont Principals Association
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Baseball Guide 2024

Pitching Chart


2023-2024  Rule Changes (See NFHS Baseball Rulebook for all changes)

Electronic communications between the coach and catcher are coming our way.  To start that discussion the rules clarify what communication devices are, starting with wristbands.  The new rules identify what is allowable.  


ART. 1 . . . Any wristband with defensive shifts/offensive plays/pitching choices or game directions attached shall be considered non-electronic equipment and is permitted as long as it is a single, solid color. For pitchers, it may not contain the colors white, gray or be distracting. It does not have to match the color of the uniform or the sleeves worn underneath the uniform. It shall only be worn on a player(s) wrist or forearm and pitchers shall wear it on their non-pitching arm.

PENALTY: The umpire shall issue a team warning to coach of the team involved and the next offender(s) of that team will be ejected along with the head coach.

Rationale: Clarification. With the increase in popularity of these style of communication systems, confusion has been realized when the players wear them other than on their arm. This change will prohibit these types of products from being worn other places.


ART. 2 . . . One-way electronic communication devices are permissible from the dugout to the catcher while the team is on defense for the purpose of calling pitches. When using the electronic communication device, the coach cannot be outside the dugout/bench area.

PENALTY: The umpire shall issue a team warning to coach of the team involved and the next offender(s) of that team will be ejected along with the head coach.

Rationale: This rule allows for a team to utilize an electronic device for the purpose of calling pitches from the dugout. The device would only be able to be one-way, meaning the player cannot use an electronic device to respond or communicate back to the coach. Various technologies, earpiece, electronic band or a smart watch could be used giving teams several options at varying costs. No other player would be able to wear or use this device nor would the coach be able to communicate with any other player using electronic communication.


ART. 5 . . . A coach may use a one-way electronic communication device to communicate to the catcher for the purpose of calling pitches. Coaches may not use electronic communication device(s) to communicate with any other team member while on defense or any team member while on offense. When using the electronic communication device, the coach cannot be outside the dugout/bench area.

PENALTY: The umpire shall issue a team warning to coach of the team involved and the next offender(s) of that team will be ejected along with the head coach.

Rationale: Allows for the coach to communicate with the catcher using an electronic communication device for the purpose of calling pitches.



h. Forfeit the game for prescribed infractions by spectators, coaches, players or team/bench personnel.

Rationale: Umpires have jurisdiction over the confines of the field, players, coaches and team/bench personnel. If there are issues with spectators, it is the responsibility of game management to deal with spectators and to ensure that the facility is safe for all involved.

Suggested Speed-Up Rules After Put Outs #3

Rules 1 and 2 remain the same.

#3 Following the final out in any inning, the ball shall be given to the nearest umpire. The plate umpire shall give the ball to the catcher. The base umpire shall place the ball on the pitcher’s plate.

Rationale: This is a NFHS Softball rule book mechanic that needs to be deleted from the NFHS Baseball rule book.

2023-24 VPA Points of Emphasis:

  • Dugout Banter: Cheer for your team. Do not single out players on the opposing team. 
  • Eyeblack: Cannot be decorative with symbols or words. 
  • An extra hitter is allowed in a middle school game and must be declared at the time lineup cards are exchanged. Ten batters will rotate up to bat.  The extra hitter will not play the field unless as a substitute, where he would assume the batting position of the player being substituted for and a new Extra Hitter will assume the former EH.  An Extra Hitter is not allowed in any high school game.

For the 2024 high school baseball season, attention is being called to: Malicious Contact, Profanity (Direct or Indirect) and Pace of Play. When a topic is included in the Points of Emphasis, these topics are important enough to reinforce throughout the academic year because additional attention is warranted.

Malicious Contact

While not a new topic, malicious contact registers as the third most discussed Point of Emphasis (POE) behind good sporting behavior and pitching restrictions. Malicious contact was a POE in 2006-2008 and also in 2014. The frequency of emphasis is not surprising. It is a topic that begs for a complete and understandable definition, but is unable to find one that captures every possible scenario. The majority of intentional collisions occur at home plate when the catcher is attempting to make a play on a base runner. Conventional wisdom from past NFHS Baseball Rules Committees would say that malicious contact can be initiated (and penalized) by either the offensive or defensive player(s), and that incidental contact is expected in baseball. An example is the infrequent but dramatic “train wreck” play, where the thrown ball, the fielder and the runner meet at the same time. It is always a violent convergence, but not intentional, nor is anyone trying to hurt the other. It is just a normal baseball play.

Contact or a collision is considered to be malicious if 

  1. the contact is the result of intentional excessive force, and/or 
  2. there is intent to injure. 

The absence of these two conditions does not preclude the presence of malicious contact but would provide a reasonable starting point for proper interpretation. Rules guidance can be found in Rules 2, 3, 5, 8, Dead Ball Table and Base Running Awards Table. The NFHS rules code is education-based not only for the coaches and players, but for the umpires as well. Umpires should have the flexibility to judge witnessed contact as malicious or not. Their judgment should not be removed by rule but enhanced by education, video review, umpire board/chapter training, game experience and field locations/mechanics.

In addition, this is what we are teaching umpires to look for –

  • Did the runner have an opportunity to avoid the fielder with the ball.
  • Was contact made above the waist.
  • Was the defensive player knocked down forcefully upon contact.

Profanity (Direct or Indirect)

Education-based athletics is a direct extension of the classroom. When the educational component is removed, then everything changes, and it becomes a completely different game, devoid of accountability and structure. A student who blurts out a profanity either toward someone or simply out of frustration in school would be disciplined by the classroom teacher or the building principal. There is no excuse for foul language in school or on the baseball field. Regardless of what is portrayed at other levels, this is not acceptable and should be addressed by the umpire(s). The rule support for this behavior is clear, the penalties are: (1) a verbal warning to the offender, (2) issuance of a written warning to the offender which warrants being restricted to the bench/dugout for the remainder of the game, or (3) eject the offender for a major offense. The Bench and Field Conduct Section (NFHS Rule 3-3-1f1-4) provides several sub-articles addressing profanity and harmful behaviors. High school sports and other activities exist to lift people up, positively challenge them and their abilities, not to demean or tear people down. The goal is to treat everyone fairly and treat each other with respect. Any language that is profane, intimidating, insulting, demeaning or hurtful will not be tolerated. Coaches, school administrators and parent groups should work together to ensure that the game creates a positive environment for all involved. Profanity spoken loud enough to be heard is profanity that needs to be dealt with immediately.

In addition, this is what we are teaching umpires to look for –

  • Was the profanity out of frustration or poor sportsmanship.
  • Was the profanity heard by coaches and players in the immediate area or loud enough to be heard in the stands.
  • If localized, the coach can be told to control his player and/or the player told to “knock it off”.
  • If heard in the stands, the player needs to be admonished with a response at the same level (volume) as the player.  An official warning can be given.
  • If it is a sportsmanship issue, the player will be ejected.

Pace of Play

High school athletics is education-based for an age group that ranges from 14 to 18 years of age. Baseball is an extension of the classroom. Unlike other sports, baseball is not “clock” driven. The average time of a high school varsity baseball game is around 2 hours and 9 minutes. At other levels of the sport, time is more crucial and has been the focus of those rules-writing organizations. At the advanced levels, some longtime existing plays and practices have been eliminated to shorten the game and in-part enhance the fan experience. High school baseball does not have these same issues and does not share the same challenges of production costs, satellite time, throngs of network media or maximizing the entertainment value or offerings for the fans. These goals are very simplistic. The NFHS encourages students to participate in high school activities, learn from play and be better citizens from playing. While high school baseball does not have overall game-time restrictions, the NFHS is cognizant that extended games are part of baseball. Baseball games can be more efficient with a focus on time and time management. Pace of play involves several factors, and the NFHS believes that giving special attention to these five areas will assist with the flow and pace of our game.

  • 20-second Time Limit Between Pitches/Plays (6-2-2c)

This rule has been in our rule book since the late 1970s as a tool to use when the pitcher is prolonging the delivery of the pitch because of gamesmanship or overall lack of game efficiency. Past rule committees did not intend to negatively impact a game that is being played at a reasonable pace and rhythm. The rule was meant to be utilized when preventative officiating fails to provide the necessary outcome. When talking to the pitcher regarding the length of delay between each pitch, or speaking with the catcher to “nudge” the other half of the battery to pitch in a more timely manner, or mentioning to the coach at the half-inning that the game is being affected by the pitcher’s delay does not change the pitcher’s behavior, then this is a problem and would result in the penalty being applied.

Time Between Half-Innings (6-2-2 EXCEPTION)

There are a lot of moving pieces in between half-innings. By rule, the time from the last out to the next pitch is 1 minute and 20 seconds The role of the umpire is to facilitate the defense getting into place, the pitcher warming up and start the inning. There is no place for visiting with the fans or having an extended discussion with the other umpire(s).

Batter Repeatedly Stepping Out of the Batter’s Box (7-3-1)

The NFHS Rules Book is clear when the batter is allowed to step out of the batter’s box and when they cannot. It is understandable and part of the game for the batter to step out of the batter’s box to get the signal from the third base coach on how to approach the next pitch because it is very situational. The batter needs to be encouraged to get back in the batter’s box with a sense of expediency. However, repeatedly stepping out to alter the rhythm of the pitcher or delay the game is not acceptable and the penalty needs to be applied by the umpire.

Umpire’s Time Management

Time management is crucial to how the game progresses. If the umpire is not consistent in motivating both teams to get off and on the field, expedite conferences, encourage the batter from excessively stepping out of the batter’s box, this will add unnecessary delay to the contest. The umpire cannot control the skill level of the players of both teams; however, there are other areas that the umpire can positively impact the pace and speed of the game. The players’ abilities will affect the speed of the game, but the other areas that the umpire has direct control over should be monitored and utilized in creating a sense of urgency during the contests.

Excessive Player Conferences

A player conference is very different than a charged conference. The NFHS supports teammates encouraging each other and developing that camaraderie. That is part of the lesson one learns from playing a team sport. However, when team bonding becomes excessive and it begins to delay the game, then the umpire needs to step in and expedite the conclusion of the meeting.

Our concern, this is what we are teaching umpires to look for –

  • Does the team come onto the field quickly after the third out, or is there a team meeting before going out.
  • Is there a meeting by players in the mound area before a half-inning starts.
  • Is the pitcher taking illegal warmup throws from in front of the mound before the “official” warm up.


  • 10 run rule: After 4 ½ innings, if a team is down by 10 runs at the end of the inning, the game is over.
  • Baseball Committee Recommendation: All sub varsity games are limited to 2 1/2 hours (unless the game is tied).  No inning should start after 2 1/2 hours, from the time of the first pitch.  Any inning started should be completed.
  • All coaches are required to be in a full baseball uniform (Varsity & JV).
  • Dug-Out Rule:  An open-faced dugout may be extended in front up to 8 feet, but no closer than 40 feet from the nearest baseline.  The extension must be marked with a white line.  Any area inside the marked dugout extension must be considered dead-ball area.  Players, coaches, and equipment, other than on-deck equipment, must be inside the dugout’s marked area, except for the batter, on-deck batter, base coaches and defensive players.  For enclosed dugouts schools may mark one area extending the dugout up to 3 feet on the outside of either end of the dugout for equipment such as bats and helmets.  This marked area will be a dead-ball area and is not meant to contain players.
  • All baseball coaches must complete the NFHS Concussion Education Course prior to the spring 2016 season. (Good for 2 years and must then be renewed)
  • As of 2/1/22, All coaches and umpires are now required to have completed the NFHS Implicit Bias course.  


  1. The spring season shall open March 25th (with the exception of pitchers and catchers who start March 18th and conclude the second Friday/Saturday in June (June 9/10.  Games can begin on April 8th. Should state tournaments or authorized regional tournaments fall after the school is officially closed, a school who is otherwise eligible may participate. Championships: June 14/15, 2024
  2. No school shall schedule more than sixteen games exclusive of playoffs or tournaments sanctioned by the VPA.  Pre-season scrimmages are limited to four.  Post-season scrimmages are left up to the school. A team must have played a minimum schedule of ten (10) games to qualify for the tournament.  Any request for a waiver of this requirement must be submitted by Monday, April 22, 2024 to the VPA Director of Student Activities.  ONLY THE FIRST THREE GAMES WITH ANY ONE OPPONENT WILL COUNT IN FIGURING THE INDEX.
  3. National Federation Baseball Rules will be used with the following adoptions:
    1. In 2023, all regular season games are completed or suspended according to the Rule Book , Rule 5 Section 2 Page 39
    2. any interrupted game which is NOT REGULATION will be treated as a suspended game  i.e. the game will be picked up at the point of interruption. [4-2,note]
    3. A game shall become a suspended game if it is called prior to the completion of the FIFTH INNING and if the visiting team has scored one or more runs to tie the score or take the lead, and the home team has not retaken the lead(4-2, note).        
    4. VPA Pitching Limitation Rule (6-1-6) regular season and tournament) is based on the number of pitches thrown in a game.  The pitch count is based on pitches thrown for strikes; balls; foul balls; and outs.  Not warm up pitches allowed before each inning or those warm ups allowed by the umpire in case of injury or game delay.

The number of pitches is based on the level of pitching. 

Specific rest periods are in place when a pitcher reaches a high threshold of pitches delivered in a day.

                  Varsity                120
                    JV                110
                  Freshmen                110
              Middle Level                  85

The rest periods required during the 2024 regular and tournament season are listed below:


  • If a pitcher throws 76 or more pitches in a day, three (3) calendar days of rest must be observed.
  • If a pitcher throws 51-75 pitches in a day, two (2) calendar days of rest must be observed.
  • If a pitcher throws 26-50 pitches in a day one (1) calendar day of rest must be observed.
  • If a pitcher throws 1-25 pitches in a day no calendar day of rest is required before pitching again.

A calendar day means that if a pitcher throws 76 pitches on Tuesday that player may not pitch again until Saturday.  If they throw 76 pitches on Saturday that player may not pitch again until Wednesday.  The starting time of the game NO longer matters in the calculation of when a pitcher is eligible to pitch again.


  • If a pitcher throws 66 or more pitches in a day, three (3) calendar days or rest must be observed.
  • If a pitcher throws 41-65 pitches in a day, two (2) calendar days of rest must be observed.
  • If a pitcher throws 26-40 pitches in a day one (1) calendar day of rest must be observed.
  • If a pitcher throws 1-25 pitches in a day no calendar day of rest is required before pitching again.


  • If a pitcher throws 56 or more pitches in a day, three (3) calendar days or rest must be observed.
  • If a pitcher throws 36-55 pitches in a day, two (2) calendar days of rest must be observed.
  • If a pitcher throws 20-35 pitches in a day one (1) calendar day of rest must be observed.
  • If a pitcher throws 1-19 pitches in a day no calendar day of rest is required before pitching again.

A pitcher at any level who reaches the pitch count limit in the middle of an at bat will be allowed to finish that hitter. This only applies to maximum limitations. i.e. varsity 120, JV/Freshman 110, middle level 85.

c. VPA Pitching Limitation Procedure (6-1-6) applies to varsity, JV and freshman games:

1) The pitch count chart is to be presented to the opposing coach BEFORE the game.  

2) During the game pitch counts will be confirmed at the end of every half inning.  Any discrepancy will be reported to the umpire.

3) At game’s conclusion, the VPA pitching form will be signed by the coaches or designated representative.

4) Schools (Coaches/A.D.) have the responsibility to maintain this pitching chart form.  A hard copy must be available upon VPA request.

  • Pitchers and Catchers may begin one week prior to the regular season (March 29TH) with the following limitations: 
  • Practice can be no longer than 90 minutes per school.  You may not have a 90- minute session per team.
  • The only activity will be pitching and catching.  No offensive or defensive drill work is permitted.
  • Practice must be held in the normal practice facility.

5.)  A regulation game, where a winner cannot be determined will count as 1/2 game won and ½ game lost (4-2-2, + 4- 3).


7.)  It is recommended that card-backed line up cards be used.

8.) Schools are reminded to check the specifications of their field – i.e., mound size, holes, baseline markings.  Hazardous conditions must be corrected.

9.) Umpires who work a suspended game shall be paid an entire game fee; the umpires who work the completed suspended game shall also be paid an entire game fee.

10.)  When the umpires travel to a game site, and said game is rained out prior to its starting time, each umpire will receive 1/2 a game fee with no mileage. 

11.)  Double Headers – if both schools agree, a rescheduled baseball game in season, with the same school, will be a 5 inning game.

Hate Speech Policy: Appendix A


1.         There will be a tournament entry fee of $125 for this year only. 

2.         To qualify for the tournament, a team must submit an application.  

In seeding teams, a point index will be used as one of the factors.  The index points will be found as follows:

              WIN OVER                               WIN AT                             TIE AT

                                             Home  Away                              Home   Away

Higher Division                       5        6                                       2.5         3

Same Division or lower          4        5                                       2         2.5

Two Lower Divisions              2        3                                       1         1.5

One Lower Division               3.5    4.5                                      1         1.5

Loss Against Higher Division                                                    .5          1

The points will be totaled and the total divided by the number of games played to find the point index.

3.Only the first three games with common opponent will count. The tournament application  must be complete with all games listed and the line showing total wins, losses, ties and index points filled in. SB LIve will be the official registrar for tournament play. 

4. Official dates for tournament play are as follows:

Last date for regular season games:  June 1, 2024

Baseball pairings June 2, 2024

Play downs June 4/5, 2024 4:30 start time

Quarter-Finals – June 7/8, 2024, 4:30 start time 

Semi-finals – June 10/11, 2024, 4:30 start time

Finals – June 14/15@ Centennial Field 

NO TOURNAMENT GAMES MAY BE PLAYED PRIOR TO THE SCHEDULED DATES. Note: Due to date conflicts, championship games will be played at Centennial Field only on Friday and  Saturday. If a championship game cannot  be scheduled for these dates the game site will not be at Centennial. 

5. The umpires for the tournament will be assigned through the V.P.A. office by the Executive    Director, chairman of the Baseball Committee, and State Commissioner or their designee. During the tournament if a school is assigned a 4 person umpiring crew during the playdowns or quarterfinals, schools are only responsible for paying 3 umpires. During the semi-finals, only four, four person crews will be assigned. If a school has a four person crew all four will be paid. Umpires will be assigned taking geographic considerations into account. 

6. The higher seeded team will furnish new Spalding TF500 balls for state-level play through the semi-finals.  The host team is to furnish a ball to the opposing pitcher at warm up time.  The VPA will furnish the balls for the championship games (official balls are the. Spalding TF500 ) The pre-game schedule for all games throughout the state tournament is as follows:

  • 1 hour before the start of the game – Visitor’s batting practice
  • 25 minutes before the start of the game – visitor’s infield/outfield practice
  • 15 minutes before the start of the game – home teams infield/outfield practice
  • 5 minutes before the game – both teams meet with umpire crew at home plate.


The home team may have their batting practice at any time prior to this pre–game schedule.

  1. At the baseball tournament games, from the play downs through the state semi-finals, the home team will include the chief scorer as one of the officials.  It is required  that an adult be included to supervise the scoring and pitch count.
  2. All quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals will have 4 umpires.  Each umpire will receive a full game fee.


9. The higher seeded team will be the home team as it relates to the batting order.

10. All tournament games (play downs through finals) will be a complete 7-inning game with the following modifications:

  1. Any interrupted game will be treated as a suspended game will be picked up at the point of Interruption.
  2. The regular season 10 run rule is in effect for all tournament games
  3. The 10 run Mandatory rule is in effect for the tournament and up to the Championship.

11. Protests will be ruled upon by the four umpires plus the VPA representative working that championship game.  All other tournament game protests will be ruled on by the Executive Director of the VPA, the Baseball Committee Chair, and the commissioner of the Umpires’ Association.

12. Note: Assigning of Umpires to Semi-final Games

            1. 4 umpires – schools pay for 4.

             2. Maximum mileage charge to schools-$200. Understanding that assigners will do

                 everything to reduce this cost (car pooling, local umpires, etc.).

              3. Umpires who are assigned to a championship game will do the base in the semis that they are assigned to in the championships.

             4.  Semi-final/championship umpires are assigned by the VBUA. Final approval by  


Appendix A: Hate Speech Procedures

Hate Speech reported to site administrator or by an official, student, or coach:

  • Alert the officials to stop the game, alert site administrator(s), send teams to their benches (and/or designated team location), and bring both coaches, officials, and site administrator(s) together to discuss what was reported. Explain to all parties what was reported. 
  • Return coaches to their athletes to explain what was reported and the consequences that will be applied if the behaviors continue. 
  • Officials and site administrators should be in communication throughout the remainder of the game regarding alleged behaviors. 
  • The site administrator needs to contact the school administration and follow through with the school(s) involved for further investigation as needed and document the incident with the VPA. 
  • Officials should report the incident to their assigner at the conclusion of the contest. 

Hate Speech behavior reported to an official by a student or coach: 

  • Stop the game, send teams their benches, alert site management, and bring both coaches together to discuss what was reported. 
  • At the discretion of the site administrator, they can include a warning that if it continues, the contest will be terminated. 
  • Return coaches to their athletes to explain what was reported and the consequences that will be applied if the behaviors continue. 
  • In conclusion of the contest, the site administrator will report the incident to the opposing schools. Contact their administrators to notify them of what has happened if no administrator was present. Document the incident to the VPA.
  • Officials should report the incident to their assigner at the conclusion of the contest. 
  • If nothing is reported until after the contest, the coach informs their Athletic Director who relays information to the opposing school. The Athletic Director will document the incident to the VPA. 

Hate Speech behavior heard or seen by an official:

  • Apply NFHS rules as they should be enforced resulting in the appropriate penalty, which may include ejection from the game, meet, or competition. 
  • Speak with both coaches immediately regarding the incident that occurred.
  • Officials immediately alert event management of what has occurred so event management can follow through with the school(s) involved. 

Baseball Scores