OGDEN, Utah — Pioneer Baseball League, which oversees the Ogden Raptors and seven other regional minor-league teams, is adopting new rules regarding extra innings and pinch hitters/runners.
"To avoid the excessive strain on our pitching staffs, the Pioneer Baseball League will not have extra innings, but rather will employ a first-of-its-kind 'Knock Out' rule that resolves tied games with a head-to-head, 'sudden death' home run duel," a news release from the league states.
Under the rule, each team will designate a hitter to receive five pitches. The game's outcome will be determined by the most home run hits. If the game is still tied after the first "Knock Out" round, another hitter will be selected for a home run face-off until a winner is declared.
Other new rules address the ways pinch hitters and pinch runners can be assigned. In either case, a pinch hitter or a pinch runner can step in for an eligible roster player, who may then return to his defensive position for the remainder of the game, unless otherwise substituted for.
The designated pinch hitter and pinch runner can be used only once per team per game, and the pinch hitter or pinch runner is thereafter ineligible to return to the game.
A revised "check swing" rule allows hitters, not just pitchers catchers, to appeal to the base umpire on check swing strike decisions from the home plate umpire.
Finally, the league will begin to employ a third umpire in each game to help cover fly balls, check swings, double plays and other game situations.