With league play beginning June 2, we’ll see a new Appalachian League sudden death extra-innings rule in place for the summer-collegiate circuit.
The Appalachian League will implement a “sudden death” extra-innings format similar to rules in the Frontier League and MLB Draft League.
During the plate meeting prior to each game, the home team manager will determine if they want to play offense or defense in the event of a tie game after regulation (7 or 9 innings). For the team on offense, the player on the lineup card immediately preceding the batter due up will be placed on first base. The defensive team will have three outs to prevent the offense from scoring. If the team on offense scores, they will win the game. If the defensive team retires the side without allowing a run, they will win the game. If the player starting the inning on first base scores, it will count in the statistics as a run for the player and an RBI for the batter who drove him in (if applicable), but will not count towards the pitcher’s earned-run average. The sudden death rule guarantees that no game will be played beyond 9.5 innings or beyond 7.5 innings for a doubleheader game.
By the way: All Sunday games will be scheduled for seven innings, save the nine-inning games scheduled for July 3.
Speaking of the sudden-death rule: it was first applied for the first time in pro baseball this Tuesday, May 17, as the Windy City ThunderBolts were credited with a 3-3 win over the Ottawa Titans at Ozinga Field Tuesday night.
The host ThunderBolts and Titans ended nine innings of play tied at 3. After neither team scored under International Tiebreaker rules in the 10th, the game shifted to sudden death mode to determine a winner.
Under new Frontier League rules, if a game remains tied after ten innings (or eight innings for a double-header contest), a sudden death inning will determine the winner. As the home team, the ThunderBolts got to choose to play offense or defense. They chose to take the field with Ottawa beginning the inning with a runner at first. If the Titans scored, they’d win the game. If the ThunderBolts prevented Ottawa from scoring, they would be winners. No 2022 Frontier League game had gone past ten innings, so this was the first time the new rule was in play.