Top of the 10th
Official (Incomplete) Rules
Last Update: 18 January 2019
1. Objectives of the game
1.1. Top of the 10th is a game between two teams of one or more players each, played on a table in accordance with these rules.
1.2. The objective of each team is to win by scoring more runs than the opponent.
1.3. The winner of the game shall be that team which shall have scored, in accordance with these rules, the greater number of runs at the conclusion of a regulation game.
2.1. THE TABLE
2.1.1. The table shall be in surface rectangular, not less than 2 meters and not more than 3 meters in length, not less than .5 meter and not more than 2 meters in width. It shall be supported so that its upper surface, termed the playing surface, shall lie in a horizontal plane no less than .5 meter and no more than 1.2 meters above the ground or floor.
2.1.2. It shall be made of any material and shall yield a uniform bounce of between 200 and 250 mm when a standard ball is dropped from a height of 300 mm above the surface.
2.1.3. The long sides shall be termed sidelines. The short sides, or ends, shall be termed end lines.
2.2. THE NET or FENCE
2.2.1. The length of the table shall be divided in half by a vertical net or fence running parallel to the end lines. The net or fence, being in height not more than 150 mm and not less than 100 mm, and not more than 17 mm deep, shall be attached to the table by clamp assembly, or by screw or glue, and must run continuously from sideline to sideline. Its lowest point shall be as close to the table surface as possible.
2.3. THE BALL
2.3.1. The standard ball shall be spherical, with a diameter of no less than 37mm and no more thane 44 mm, made of celluloid or similar plastic, weighing between 2 and 3 grams.
2.3.2. The standard ball may be modified by adding paint, or tape. Tape must be uniformly adhered, i.e., without flap. A ball with tape flap, a dent, hole, or crack, must not be used. As many as nine modified balls may be used in any one game.
2.3.3. The use of any particular modified ball should commence only upon agreement between competitors prior to beginning a game.
2.4. THE BAT, RACQUET, or PADDLE
2.4.1. The bat, racquet, or paddle may be of any size, shape, or weight, but the blade shall be flat and rigid.
2.4.2. At least 85% of the blade by thickness shall be of natural wood.
2.5. THE BOX
2.5.1. The box shall be made of solid, natural soft wood, and may be stained, painted, or coated with paper.
2.5.2. It shall have a front, a back, a top, a bottom, and two sides, and all its angles shall be right angles. The top and bottom are interchangeable, as are the front and the back, and as are the sides. It shall be 60 to 65mm in height, 100mm in width, 12 to 17mm deep, and weigh less than 50 grams.
2.5.3. Each team shall place one box on their side of the table, nearer to the left side according to their own perspective. The long side of the box shall run parallel to the end line. The outer side of each box shall be set one racquet-width from the near sideline. The back of each box shall be set one racquet-width* from the end line. *This placement may vary according to these considerations— (a) The box must be close enough to the end line to allow for an occasional Home Run (6.16), or a Double Play (6.9.1), i.e., to be knocked off the table. (b) The box must be far enough from the end line to prevent Home Runs, etc. from being too frequent.
3. The Set-Up
3.1. Home and Visiting designation shall be determined by a rally, or rallies, or a coin toss. Winner’s choice.
3.2. Agreement re: use of modified balls (2.3.3)
3.3. Agreement re: pitching style. Determine the permissions, restrictions and limitations regarding use of the Free Hand (6.13) during the pitch. Conventional Style limits the free hand to tossing the ball in the air with an up-facing palm. Free Style permits spinning the pitch out from between the racquet and the free hand.
3.4. Box Placement (2.5.3)
4. Keeping Score
4.1. Before each pitch, the Pitcher announces the Situation (6.35), i.e., the Score, the Inning, Runners on Base, Outs, and Balls & Strikes. EXAMPLE: “3 to 2, bottom of the 10th, runners on first and third, one out, two & two (two balls, two strikes).” With the exception of a two-strike foul ball, every pitch changes at least one element of the Situation.
4.2. Accurate mental score keeping is possible, and is probably good brain exercise. The announcement of the Situation before each pitch is very helpful for maintaining an accurate mental account.
4.3. Accurate paper score keeping is easy, and provides a pitch-by-pitch record of the game. See attached Sample Score Card.
5. Putting the Ball In Play
5.1. A batter from the Visiting Team enters the batter’s box (6.7.1), a pitcher from the Home Team chooses a ball, announces, “Top of the 10th, nobody on, nobody out,” and delivers the first pitch.
5.2. The result of the pitch is scored. The pitcher chooses the next ball, announces the Situation (6.35), and delivers the next pitch.
5.3. When the home team has recorded three outs, opponents trade sides
5.4. A batter from the Home Team enters the batter’s box (6.7.1), a pitcher from the Visiting Team chooses a ball, announces the Situation, and delivers a pitch.
5.5. The result of the pitch is scored.
5.6. Etc. The Game ends when— See Regulation Game (6.28).
6. Terms and Outcomes
6.1. A Balk is an illegal act by the pitcher with a runner or runners on base, enabling all runners to advance one base. It is illegal to initiate the pitching motion, then stop. To swing and miss on the pitch is embarrassing, but will be deemed a balk only if occurring twice during a single at-bat.
6.2. A Ball occurs when 6.2.1. a pitch does not enter the strike zone. 6.2.2. two consecutive pitches are “net-lets.” 6.2.3. a rally is won by the batter.
6.3. A Base is any of four imaginary points touched by imaginary runners in order to score a run. Bases are termed, first base, second base, third base, and home.
6.4. A Base Hit, or, a Single occurs when :
6.4.1. the batter’s first return is good, and no rally ensues, i.e., the pitcher does not touch the live ball with their racquet, or racquet hand.
6.4.2. during a rally, the batter knocks over the pitcher’s box, and wins the rally.
6.4.3. during a rally, the pitcher knocks over the batter’s box, but the batter makes a good return, and wins the rally.
6.5. The Batter is the offensive player who returns the pitch and tries to become a base runner.
6.6. The Batter Runner is the batter who, at the occurrence of any base hit, calls for an extra base.
6.7. The Batter’s Box is
6.7.1. the area beyond the end line on batter’s side, between imagined extensions of the sidelines where the batter awaits the pitch.
6.7.2. the box as described in 2.5.1 and 2.5.2, that stands on the batter’s side of the table.
6.8. A Double occurs when
6.8.1. the batter’s first return knocks over the pitcher’s box, and no rally ensues, i.e., the pitcher does not touch the live ball with their racquet, or racquet hand.
6.8.2. at the occurrence of a base hit, the batter calls for and earns an extra base.
6.8.3. during a rally, both boxes are knocked over and the batter wins the rally.
6.9. A Double Play occurs when at least one runner is on base and fewer than two are out, and
6.9.1. during a rally the pitcher knocks the batter’s box off the table, and wins the rally.
6.9.2. during a rally, both boxes are knocked over, and the pitcher wins the rally.
6.10. An Extra Base is an earned advance of one base by the batter runner. At the occurrence of a base hit or double, the batter shall immediately (within a couple of seconds) call out, “extra base” or “extra bases.” The batter will take the ball and “pitch” to the pitcher. The goal of the batter, now the batter runner, is to win on the “pitch” or to win a short rally, i.e., to win while striking the ball, aside from the “pitch,” fewer than four times. The goal of the pitcher is to win the rally, or force the batter to strike the ball a fourth time. If a batter-runner earns an extra base, then immediately calls again for an extra base, the “short rally” requirement is reduced to striking the ball fewer than three times. For a third consecutive extra base the requirement is again reduced.
6.10.1. Extra Base outcomes
184.108.40.206. The batter fails to make a good “pitch.” OUTCOME: Batter Runner is OUT.
220.127.116.11. The batter makes a good “pitch” and the pitcher fails to make a good return. OUTCOME: Batter Runner is SAFE. The batter runner obtains one extra base.
18.104.22.168. The batter makes a good “pitch” and a rally ensues, and
22.214.171.124.1. the batter wins a short rally. OUTCOME: SAFE, i.e., the batter runner obtains one extra base.
126.96.36.199.2. the pitcher wins a short rally. OUTCOME: OUT
188.8.131.52.3. the batter strikes the ball a fourth time (not including the “pitch”), or any number that exceeds the “short rally” requirement. OUTCOME: Batter Runner is OUT.
6.11. The First Return is the batter’s return of the pitch.
6.12. A Foul Ball
6.12.1. occurs when the batter dominates yet loses an extended rally, i.e., each player strikes the ball more than seven times.
6.12.2. occurs when the batter loses a rally after seriously threatening the pitcher’s box.
6.12.3. is scored as strike one or strike two, but a batter cannot strike out on a foul ball. The third strike must be decisive.
6.13. The Free Hand is the hand not carrying the racquet. The Free Hand may not contact the playing surface during play. Such contact shall nullify any advantage gained by the offender during that rally, and result in a basic advantage (ball or strike) to the opponent.
6.14. A Good Return is accomplished when the ball, having been successfully pitched or returned, is struck so that it passes directly or indirectly over or around the net assembly and touches the opponent’s playing surface, either directly or after touching the net assembly.
6.15. A Hit Batter occurs when the pitch knocks over the batter’s box. The batter is awarded first base. Base runners directly in front the batter, i.e., without an empty base between them, are “forced” forward, attaining the next base.
6.16. A Home Run occurs when the batter knocks the pitcher’s box off the table, and wins the rally.
6.17. The Home Team is the team pitching in the “top” or first half of an inning, and batting in the “bottom” or second half of the inning.
6.18. An Inning is that portion of a game within which the teams alternate on offense and defense and in which there are three putouts for each team. Each team’s time at bat is a Half Inning.
6.19. Interference occurs when a rally is interrupted or disturbed by a condition or occurrence outside of the player’s control.
6.20. A Let occurs when
6.20.1. during the pitch, the ball, in passing over or around the net assembly, touches it, provided the serve is otherwise good. Two consecutive “net-lets” are scored as a Ball (6.2.2).
6.20.2. the pitch is delivered when the batter is not in the batter’s box.
6.20.3. while attempting to pitch, the pitcher fails to make any contact whatever with the ball.
6.21. A Live Ball is one that is in play, according to the rules regarding putting the ball in play. The ball ceases to be a live ball when
6.21.1. it hits the floor or ground.
6.21.2. it bounces twice successively on one side of the table.
6.21.3. any player fails to make a good return.
6.22. An Out occurs when
6.22.1. the pitcher knocks over the batter’s box and wins the rally.
6.22.2. the batter knocks over the pitcher’s box, yet the pitcher makes a good return and wins the rally.
6.22.3. the pitcher records three strikes against one batter.
6.22.4. a batter, after scoring a base hit, calls for, but fails to earn an extra base.
6.22.5. a base-runner is “caught” stealing.
6.23. The Pitch is the initial delivery of the ball to start play.
6.23.1. A legal pitch is one that is delivered from behind an imaginary vertical plane rising from the end-line at the pitcher’s side of the table.
6.23.2. A good pitch is one wherein the ball strikes once on the pitcher’s side of the table and then travels over the net or fence, and touches the batter’s side of the table in the designated Strike Zone (6.38).
6.24. The Pitcher is the defensive player who puts the ball in play and attempts to put out batters, batter-runners, and base runners.
6.25. The Pitcher’s Box is the box as described in 2.5.1 and 2.5.2 that stands on the pitcher’s side of the table.
6.26. A Rally begins when the pitcher makes a good pitch, the batter makes a good return, and then pitcher touches the live ball with the racquet or the racquet hand as far as the wrist.
6.27. The Racquet Hand is the hand carrying the racquet.
6.28. A Regulation Game is one wherein the Home Team records three outs in the “top” of an inning, and
6.28.1. scores a run or runs in the bottom of that inning so as to exceed the score of the visiting team. OUTCOME: Home Team wins.
6.28.2. is then put out three times in the bottom of that inning without attaining a score equal to the Visiting Team’s score. OUTCOME: Visiting Team wins.
6.29. Relief is a trip to the toilet, and it is not available to the batter.
6.30. A Run (or Score) is the score made by an offensive player who advances from batter to runner and attains first, second, third and home bases in that order.
6.31. A Runner is an imaginary offensive player aiming to advance from first base to second, second to third, and third to home.
6.32. A Sacrifice may be attempted by the batter when there is a runner at second and/or third, and less than two out. A successful sacrifice advances base-runner(s) from second to third, and/or from third to home, while the batter is scored as an out. An unsuccessful sacrifice is scored as an out with no advance. Before the first return, the batter calls out, “sacrifice.”
6.32.1. Sacrifice outcomes
184.108.40.206. If there is no Rally (6.26), there is no sacrifice.
220.127.116.11. A rally is won by the batter. OUTCOME: successful sacrifice, batter is out, runner(s) advance.
18.104.22.168. A rally is won by the pitcher. OUTCOME: unsuccessful sacrifice, batter is out, runner(s) do not advance.
22.214.171.124. The batter wins a rally by knocking down the pitcher’s box. OUTCOME: base hit, no sacrifice.
126.96.36.199. The pitcher wins a rally by knocking over the batter’s box. OUTCOME: double play, batter is out, lead runner is out.
188.8.131.52. The batter wins a rally by knocking the pitcher’s box off the table. OUTCOME: home run, no sacrifice.
184.108.40.206. The pitcher wins a rally by knocking the batter’s box off the table. OUTCOME(s): triple play (if there are two base-runners and no outs), otherwise, a double play.
6.33. Safe is the declaration that a base runner or batter-runner is entitled to the base for which they were trying.
6.34. Single, see Base Hit (6.4)
6.35. The Situation comprises five parts: 1) the score; 2) the half inning; 3) runners on base; 4) outs; 5) balls & strikes. EXAMPLE: “3 to 2, bottom of the 10th, runners on first and third, one out, two & two (two balls, two strikes).”
6.36. Stealing is the attempt by the batter to advance a base-runner from first to second or second to third by “calling for” and winning a short rally, i.e., winning while striking the ball fewer than four times (fewer than three times to steal third). The goal of the pitcher is to win the rally, or force the batter to strike the ball a fourth (or third) time. As the ball is being pitched, the batter calls out, “stealing.”
6.36.1. Stealing outcomes
220.127.116.11. After a good pitch
18.104.22.168.1. the batter makes a good first return and no rally ensues. OUTCOME: A single for the batter and two bases for the base runner (one due to the base hit, another for a successful steal). A 6.8.1 Double gets three bases for the stealing base runner.
22.214.171.124.2. the batter makes a good first return, a rally ensues, and
126.96.36.199.2.1. the batter wins the rally, striking the ball fewer than four (or three) times. OUTCOME: a Ball (6.2.3) to the batter, and, a successful steal of second (or third) base for the base runner.
188.8.131.52.2.2. the batter wins the rally, striking the ball more than four (or three) times. OUTCOME: a Ball (6.2.3) to the batter, the stealing base runner is OUT.
184.108.40.206.2.3. the pitcher wins the rally. OUTCOME: a Strike to the batter, and the stealing base runner is OUT.
On the occasion of a 6.2.1 Ball, the batter/base stealer will put the ball in play to complete the steal. This “putting the ball in play” will be done in accordance with the requirements of a legal pitch (though in this case it is delivered from the batter to the pitcher). If the batter fails to make a good or legal “pitch” to the pitcher, the stealing base runner will be OUT. If the batter’s delivery is acceptable, a rally is underway and section 220.127.116.11.2 is enforced.
6.37. A Strike occurs when
6.37.1. the batter fails to make a good first return.
6.37.2. the pitcher wins a rally (except for a two-strike Foul Ball, see 6.12.3).
6.38. The Strike Zone is the batter’s half of the playing surface, excepting a rectangular area in front of the batter’s box. See Figure A. The batter’s box (6.7.2) is, itself, part of the strike zone. If it is hit by a pitch, but does not fall over, the pitch is good, the ball is live.
6.39. A Triple occurs when
6.39.1. the batter hits a double, then calls for and earns one extra base.
6.39.2. the batter hits a single, then calls for and earns two consecutive “extra bases.”
6.40. A Triple Play occurs when there are no outs and two or more base runners and
6.40.1. the batter hits a (would be) 6.4.2 Single (or better) but the pitcher makes a good return and knocks the batter’s box off the table, and wins the rally.
6.41. The Visiting Team is the team batting in the “top” or first half of the inning and pitching in the “bottom” or second half of the inning.
6.42. A Walk occurs when four balls (6.2) are pitched to one batter. The batter is awarded first base. Base runners directly in front the batter, i.e., without an empty base between them, are “forced” forward, attaining the next base.
6.43. A Wild Pitch occurs when the batter knocks over the pitcher’s box returning a 6.2.1 ball (before the ball has hit the ground or hit twice on the “non-strike-zone” portion of the batter’s side of the table). OUTCOME: Runners advance one base.