Is leading off and stealing allowed in 9U?
Base stealing IS allowed in the 9U division, however, leading off is NOT. In 9U, the base runner must wait until the ball crosses home plate before stealing. This is a fundamental difference between NKCA League play and many of the local tournament options. Runners are held on their bases, keeping the force-out and double-play options open to fielders. The no-lead-off rule allows young pitchers to develop basic pitching skills without the distraction of runners leading off. Young catchers develop fundamental skills and have a 50/50 chance at throwing out runners stealing. Young infielders develop the basic skills of forcing out runners at 2nd or 3rd base and turning the ever- important double play. Base runners also learn to run swiftly and slide into base because the risk of being caught stealing is greater. None of this would happen if runners are allowed to lead off at a young age. Base stealing is an important part of the game, but there must be some risk involved when attempting to steal. The 9U rules EVEN the playing field and make the game feel more like the ‘Pro’ game where stealing does not occur every time a runner reaches first base and those who do attempt to steal are thrown out 50% of the time!