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Rookies Softball Rules

General

  • Have fun!!  This league is designed to introduce kids to the basics of softball.  Practices and games should be primarily focused on learning and basic skill development for all players.
  • League intended to be exclusively machine pitch.  Please communicate with the League Director if you have any problems with the pitching machines.
  • To lend some friendly competition to the games, coaches should keep track of the scores of each game.  They will not be posted and standings won’t be kept.  They will, however, help in determining the setup for the end of year tournament (see below).
  • Players may wear their own batting helmet, however, the helmet must have a facemask.
  • Players must wear rubber cleats or tennis shoes – no metal cleats.
  • Any minor serving as a base coach, batboy or batgirl must wear a helmet while they are on the field.
  • Teams are allowed a 1st and 3rd base coach.  Any other coach or parent helper must remain in the dugout or at the mouth of the dugout.
  • Fewer than 6 players present at the beginning of a game will result in a forfeit.  Players that arrive late may bat bust must be added to the end of the batting order.
  • Teams are allowed 1 minute between innings – coaches must hustle players on and off the field.

 

Batting

  • In an effort to get kids the same number of at bats throughout the season, teams must use a rolling batting order.  For example, if the 5th batter in the lineup makes the last out in the first game, the 6th batter will be the first batter of the next game.  The batting order cannot change from game to game, it simply picks up where it left off the previous game.
  • Bunting is not allowed.
  • Batters are entitled to an unlimited number of foul balls.  A batter with 0 or 1 strike will not called “out” in the event of a “tick” foul ball that is subsequently caught by the catcher, unless the foul ball rises over the batter’s head.  A batter with 2 strikes will be called “out” on any tick ball that is subsequently caught by the catcher, regardless of how high the tick ball rises. 
  • A foul ball that hits the protective fencing is considered a dead ball, even if a defensive player subsequently catches it.
  • Catchers must maintain ample separation form the batter both in the interest of safety and so as to avoid interfering with the batter’s swing.  If a catcher does interfere with the batter’s swing, the batter will be awarded 1st base.
  • Similarly, batters must get out of the way of a catcher attempting to field a foul ball.
  • Once a team has batted through their lineup the inning is over and other team is up to bat.

 

Base Running

  • Base running is designed to be “station to station.”  Extra bases should only be taken when the ball is hit clearly in the gaps or over the outfielder’s head.  Coaches should hold their runners to the next base once an outfielder reaches the ball. 
  • Batters must use the orange “safety” base when there is a play or potential play at 1st base.  If the batter fails to use the orange “safety” base and interferes with a defensive player attempting to make a play at 1st base, they will be called “out”.  Please teach the technique.
  • Base runners are not required to slide into a base on close plays.  Be aware, however, that players that initiate a collision (i.e., contact more severe than normal “bumping” by choosing not to slide will be called “out”).  Please teach the technique.
  • There will be no head first sliding, however, a base runner may dive head first to return to a base.
  • Hitters and base runners are not allowed to advance on an overthrow or pass balls.  Runs can only be scored on balls that are hit in play.   
  • There is no base stealing.  Base runners are allowed to leave the base when the pitch crosses home plate, and must return to that base unless the ball is hit.  Base runners that leave early will be called “out”.
  • Coaches must substitute a pinch runner for the projected catcher once you reach 2 outs.  The pinch runner must be the player that recorded the last out.  The projected catcher must use this time to get their gear on and be ready for the next inning.       

 

Defense

  • There are 10 players in the field; 6 in the infield and 4 in the outfield.
  • Outfielders must play on the grass until the ball is hit.
  • In an effort to give kids opportunities to play and develop at multiple positions, no player may play the same position for more than 2 innings in a game.  Each outfield position is considered unique.
  • The defensive team is encouraged to post a coach/parent helper at the backstop behind the catcher and umpire to assist with pass balls.  This person is to remain silent so as not to distract the catcher or batter, or influence the umpire.  This person is solely there to help expedite the flow of the game.
  • If desired, the defensive team is allowed to have 1 coach (only) in the outfield to assist the defense.  This coach must stand behind the outfielders.
  • Defensive players may not obstruct the base paths unless they have the ball in their possession, or are in the process of fielding a hit ball.  Base runners may go around a fielder in the base path.
  • The infield fly rule is not in effect.
  • No infield or outfield balls are allowed.

 

Machine Pitch

  • Machine pitch is from 35’ with an 11” softball.  Up to 3 strikes will still be called.  The speed of the pitching machine will be determined by the League Director prior to the season (and subject to change).
  • The defensive team’s pitcher is to stand to the glove side of the coach.
  • If the ball hits the machine, it is considered a live ball.
  • There is no attempting to reach first on a dropped 3rd strike.

 

Game Length

  • Game time is a hard stop at 90 minutes if not called sooner by mutual agreement between coaches.  Teams are encouraged to use all 90 minutes allotted and complete as many innings as possible in that time.  The more opportunities to play both offense and defense, the better for this age level.
  • Umpires and coaches must note the official start time of the game.  It is very important that the last game is allowed to start on time.  The same rule applies to all games, meaning, the team in the last game cannot extend play simply because there is no game following their game.
  • A game is complete if 6 innings have been played.

 

Replacement Players

  • If a team is below the allowed number of players in the field (less than 10 players), that team may have a player(s) from other league team(s) fill in and play, to get that team up to 10 players.
  • Any replacement players needed are only allowed to play in the outfield and must bat at the end of the rolling batting order for that game.  They must wear their own league jersey so everyone knows the players are from another team and subject to these restrictions.
  • If a team should need a replacement player and gets one to fill in, and then one of its own missing players subsequently shows up, the replacement player would then not be needed and would not play.
  • Replacement players are not allowed in the end of season tournament.

 

Team Responsibilities

  • Home team has the 3rd base dugout.
    • Home team of 1st game:  Setup the pitching machine.
    • Home team of last game:  Put away pitching machine.
  • Visiting team has the 1st base dugout.
    • Visiting team of 1st game:  Remove base caps and install bases.
    • Visiting team of last game:  Replace base caps and put away bases.
  • Each team is responsible for cleaning out its own dugout.

 

End of Season Tournament

  • Intended to be a single elimination tournament.  At the discretion of the League Director, the tournament may be split into separate divisions to keep the games as competitive as possible regardless of a team’s development throughout the season.
  • Coaches will be allowed to set their batting order without restrictions for each game in the end of season tournament.
  • Defensive position limits and base running rules remain in effect.
  • A game is complete if 6 innings have been played and one team has more runs than the other team.
  • No new inning may start after 80 minutes.  If a game is tied at the end of the last inning, extra innings will be played to break the tie.  Each team will begin its at-bat with a runner on 2nd base with 1 out.  This runner will be the player that immediately precedes the batter in the batting order.
  • In the case of unequal players on each team, teams bat the higher player count of the two teams (e.g., if one team has 12 players and the other team has 11 players, each team may bat 12 batters per their half of an inning.).