Major rule changes are coming for American Legion baseball next summer. Perhaps the biggest change has to do with length of game.

Starting in 2018, from the state tournaments all the way through the World Series, games will be seven innings long, not nine innings. Legion officials say almost every high school and Legion program play seven inning games and this adds consistency.

Pitch count numbers will also be adjusted (see below). The maximum 120 pitches now goes down to 105. That falls in line with USA Baseball and Senior Little League Baseball.

Legion baseball with also add courtesy runners and re-entry during the regular season.

Check out some of the rule change details...

Changes to pitch count

After a tremendously successful first season with pitch count rules under the PitchSmart program, the Legion Baseball Committee, with the support of the department baseball chairmen, adjusted the pitch count chart ahead of the 2018 season to be more in line with the suggestions from Major League Baseball and USA Baseball.

Pitchers will have a daily maximum of 105 pitches per day, down from 120.

Required rest will be as follows:

1-30 pitches: 0 days

31-45 pitches: 1 day

46-60 pitches: 2 days

61-80 pitches: 3 days

81+ pitches: 4 days

Pitchers may only make two appearances in any three consecutive days. Players will be charged with two appearances if they leave the pitching position and return as a pitcher in the same game.

“The first year of PitchSmart in American Legion Baseball was a resounding success and we continue to make adjustments to improve our implementation of the program,” Stone said. “These changes, along with shortened games in tournament play, put more of a focus on player safety for our program while still letting coaches manage games effectively.”

Courtesy runner and re-entry

In regular season play only, departments may have the option to allow for courtesy runners and re-entry.

Courtesy runners may be permitted for pitchers or catchers.

Departments that allow for re-entry may permit players to be substituted and return to the game once, provided the player returns to the same slot in the batting order.

Graduate rule

Language has been removed from the rule book that required 19-year-olds to be former Legion players.

Any interested 19-year-old must now play for their previous Legion team (if applicable) or the team closest to their domicile.

Changes to regional bid procedure

After a number of requests, bids to host regional tournaments may now be one year or two years. Previously, all bids were required to be two years.