A common question frequently heard throughout the season… How much longer is the game going to last. Sometimes this is from the players, sometimes from the parents. So for this article I wanted to attempt to answer the age old question… how long does the game last?
Number of Innings
The simplest answer, for Little League Minor Division and Major Divisions, is... the game will last 6 Innings. If the end of 6 Innings there is a tie, the game will continue. If the tie is broken by the Visitor team at the top of an inning, the game continues until the completion of the full inning, so the Home team has a chance to bat. If the Home team takes the lead in that inning, the game is over. If the Home team doesn’t make enough runs to tie again and gets 3 outs, the game is over. This will continue until a winner can be determined.
In Little League there are time limits. On school nights, an inning cannot begin after 8:00pm. On Friday or Saturday nights, an inning cannot begin after 10:00pm. An inning can begin before the respective cutoff times and it theoretically could last as long as needed to complete the inning.
In addition to these Little League time limits, Suncook Little League imposes limitations for the lengths of games. T-Ball game length is 1 hour. Farm game length is 1-½ hours with option to extend to 2 hours when both coaches agree to do so. Minors game is 2-½ hours.
An umpire can limit the length of a game for other reasons including weather and if it is getting dark.
Scoring Limits (Mercy Ruling)
Scoring limits can also end a game short of innings or time limits. Scoring limits are used to help bring a game to completion in case of a drastic mis-match in competition level.
First, it should be noted, that Suncook Little League uses the 5 Run Rule. This means that a team can only score 5 runs in an inning.
15 Run Lead in 3 Innings: If at the end of the 3rd inning, one team has a 15 run lead over the other team, the game is officially over.
10 Run Lead in 4 Innings: If after 3-½ innings (after the top of the 4th), the home team has a 10 run lead, the game is officially over. If managers agree to finish the bottom of the 4th inning for the sake of sport, any additional runs scored by the home team will not count (officially). If after 4 complete innings, either team has a 10 run lead, the game is officially over.