Georgia's scholastic sports association promotes a full high school baseball season that culminates in state championship competition for schools in multiple enrollment classifications. State-sanctioned baseball games must follow the playing rules of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) as well as the Georgia High School Association (GHSA).
As such, Georgia high school baseball rules can be a little different from those in other states. Players should study some of the quirks in the GHSA baseball rules book.
Specific Field Dimensions
The NFHS sets rules for all high school baseball games, including a pitching mound that is 10 inches high and 60 feet, 6 inches from home plate. The batter's box must be four feet by six feet, and the strike zone ranges from halfway between a hitter's shoulders and waist down to his knees. The bases and home plate must all be 90 feet apart.
Use the Right Equipment
High school games, unlike professional baseball, use aluminum rather than wood bats. Bat handles can consist of a graphite-fiber composite, but the barrels must be pure aluminum. Bats must have a safety grip of between 10 inches and 18 inches.
If a fielder uses an illegal glove, such as a glove in which the player has applied a sticky substance, the hitting team gets to take two or three bases depending on whether the player used the glove to field a batted ball.
Number of Games per Season
Georgia high school teams may play no more than 30 games before the state playoffs, and four of these games must be part of doubleheaders. This limit includes regional tournament games.
When teams exceed 26 games before the state playoffs, at least two doubleheaders must take place on non-school days. Teams can participate in no more than one preseason scrimmage.
GHSA Baseball Pitching Rules
The rules state that high school pitchers cannot exceed 10 innings of work in a day, nor 14 innings in a four-day period. A single pitch in any inning counts as an inning pitched. In the case of a suspended game that is technically a "no-contest," the innings still count toward a pitcher's limit. Pitchers who exceed their limit become ineligible, and teams that use an ineligible player must forfeit any games in which that player appears.
On varsity teams, pitchers may throw no more than 110 pitches each day. For sub-varsity pitchers, the limit is 90. The GHSA also sets rest time rules to protect pitchers. For example, a varsity pitcher who throws 86 or more pitches in a single day cannot pitch again for three days.
Runner Substitution Rules
Georgia teams can send in courtesy base runners for the pitcher and catcher and, unlike in professional baseball, allow the pitcher or catcher to remain in the game. The courtesy runner cannot have played in the game in any other capacity before entering.
Mercy Rule for High-Scoring Games
If a team trails by 10 or more runs and has gotten to bat in five innings, the umpires will end the game. Furthermore, the game will end if one team is up by 15 points after just three turns at bat. If the game stops before five innings, it's recorded as "no contest."
Understanding Game Delays
The umpires can halt a game for a cumulative total of two hours before officially suspending it. If a suspended game is the first half of a doubleheader, the umpires must officially postpone the second game.
How to Score Game Suspensions
If a game ends prematurely--because of weather issues, for example--and the teams have not completed 4 1/2 or five innings, the game becomes a "no-contest" and will start over from the first inning if the teams replay it. If a game ends prematurely and the teams have completed 4 1/2 or five innings with one team in the lead, the contest is an officially completed game. If the teams have completed the requisite innings with a tie score, the teams will resume the game from the interruption point.
State Playoff Regulations
Georgia decides state baseball champions in five enrollment classifications. Each class has eight regions. A region sends four teams, based on win-loss record within the region, to the state tournament for a total of 32 teams in each class. Each round of the state tournament is a best-of-three series, with the higher-seeded team hosting all three games.
Jeffrey Nichols has been writing and editing since 1997. His work has appeared in the "Manassas (Va.) Journal Messenger" as well as daily publications in Pennsylvania and Illinois, covering sports, recreation, health and fitness, along with business and finance. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree and enjoys writing everything from practical articles to fiction.