This has been reviewed by District staff with all coaches and managers, multiple times, but just to make sure everyone is clear, when there are 12 or fewer rostered, uniformed, eligible players at the field at the start of the game:
Every player on a team roster shall participate in each game for a minimum of six (6) consecutive defensive outs and bat at least one (1) time.
For the purposes of this rule, “six (6) consecutive defensive outs” is defined as: A player enters the field in one of the nine defensive positions when his/her team is on defense and occupies such position while six consecutive outs are made; “bat at least one (1) time” is defined as: A players enters the batter’s box with no count and completes that time at bat by being put out or by reaching base safely.
Some points to keep in mind:
- A starter’s at-bat and defensive play do not have to be tied together. A starter could bat in the 1st inning, and receive their 6 consecutive in the 4th and 5th innings.
- A substitute must meet their mandatory play requirements before they can be removed from the game. A starter does not, they must meet mandatory play before the end of a non-shortened game.
- All six consecutive defensive outs must be consecutive. If a starter plays 3 defensive outs in the 1st inning and is removed for a substitute, they still need 6 consecutive defensive outs later in the game, not just 3 more.
- A starter upon re-entering the game could get 3 defensive outs in the 4th inning, bat and then be run for by their substitute that has already met mandatory play, and then re-enter defensively in the 5th inning. That would constitute 6 consecutive defensive outs.
- A game in which the home team does not bat in the bottom of the 6th inning is not a shortened game, so mandatory play applies.
Of course, if a team has 13 or more players at the start of the game the defensive requirement for each player is only 3 consecutive defensive outs, and is much easier to achieve.