Question: Is there a penalty for having too many defensive players on the field at the start of an inning? At our minor division game last night, one of my kids that was supposed to sit the bench that inning went back out to the outfield. The umpire said play, and and we made two quick infield outs before the confusion in the outfield was noticed by one of my players, who then came running back in. (I know, I know, you're wondering how I could make such a bone-headed mistake, but we play four outfielders, so it always seems crowded out there, and most of the outfielders don't know the rules anyway!) The umpires then took away those two outs and brought back the first batter of the inning, essentially starting the inning over.
Was this correct? Is there even any precedent?
That is a 10 yard penalty for the defense. If the offense did it, would also be a loss of downs.
Actually, this one is on the umpire, because he shouldn't have put the ball in play with 10 defenders on the field. No penalty, though.
The OP stated they "normally" play four(4) outfielders.
So, the OP'S scenario had to involve five(5) outfielders that took the field-->totalling 11 defensive players!....The 5th outfielder being the problem...not the 4th outfielder "normally" played! BUT--- playing a 10th defensive player...[if it was LL competitive Minors]----the 4th outfielder, being a 10th defensive player "normally" used... is also illegal....absent a waiver from Williamsport allowing the 4th outfielder---->totalling 10 defensive players.
As far as a "book" penalty, or, a precedent setting penalty, don't know of any.
Your umpire could probably cite LL Rule 9.01(c) to support the way he handled the situation.