When you are getting your kid into baseball, or you are deciding on coaching a team for little league baseball, you will need to be familiar with all of the rules and the structure of each game.
Because there are different leagues and levels within the baseball universe, you are likely to be confused by all of the differences between the different types and levels of the leagues.
In this guide we will go into some detail about how many innings there are in a little league game, as well as why this is, and what little league is.
What is little league baseball?
Little league baseball is a non-profit organization that brings together the youth baseball players of America (and sometimes the rest of the world) to play in baseball games team versus team.
This is a great way to get your kids interested in baseball since it provides them with a safe space to practice and play with kids the same or similar age to them. It also means that they are getting used to attending extra-curricular activities that will prepare them for high school and the possibility of them playing baseball and being on the team in their academic careers.
How is it different to high school baseball?
The obvious and main difference is the age of the players that are part of each league. High school baseball is specifically for the students of that specific high school, while little league baseball is designed for kids between the ages of four and sixteen, depending on which division and teams you are talking about.
But the difference we are talking about in this article is the number of innings…
So, how many innings are in little league baseball games?
The number of innings in little league baseball games is usually six innings. However, it can still be considered as an official game if only four innings are played. This is only the case if the game has had to be halted for any reason.
But a normal regulation game in little league baseball will typically consist of six innings.
What are innings?
If you are completely new to the game of baseball or are learning because your kid has expressed an interest to be part of a little league team, then you may not be familiar with the basic rules and jargon. An inning is the basic unit of play in a baseball game.
Each inning will be made up of two halves which are called the top half and bottom half of the inning. In each half inning, one team will have a chance to bat, meaning that both teams get a chance to bat in each full inning.
For an inning to be over, six outs have to be called by the umpire, meaning that three outs must be called in each half inning.
How is this different to other leagues?
Here is a list of the different amount of innings for all of the different leagues in baseball games:
- Major League baseball will have nine innings per game.
- High school and softball games will have seven innings.
- Little league will have six innings.
Why are there only six innings in little league?
The reason that there are six innings in little league baseball compared to seven innings in high school baseball and nine innings in Major League baseball is that the players in little league are a lot younger and therefore less experienced than players in Major League Baseball.
Although this may seem obvious, it would be hard to hold a seven year old kid’s attention for more than six innings, especially if they are not batting or in any of the more demanding fielding defensive positions like the pitcher or the catcher position.
Can there be a different number of innings in little league?
Technically yes. We mentioned before that if a game is interrupted or suspended for any reason, as long as four innings have been played, the game will still be recorded. But the other time that there can be a different number of innings in little league is when you get to the different level tiers.
For example, in intermediate little league games there are typically seven innings, just like in high school baseball. This is likely to get the younger players used to playing a longer game so that when they eventually reach a high school team, they are not stuck on playing only six innings.
There are six innings in a little league game, but there are some instances where there could be seven innings (for intermediate little league games), or even four innings (in stances where little league games are suspended).