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Minors Softball Rules

 

General

  • 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, unless they are coming out to pitch.
  • Fewer than 6 players present at the beginning of a game will result in a forfeit.
  • Teams are allowed 1 minute between innings – coaches must hustle players on and off the field.
  • There is a 4 run limit per inning.

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.
  • Coaches will be allowed to reset their rolling batting order that was established at the start of the season after machine pitch concludes (after this one time reset, the batting order is set and continues “rolling” until the regular season ends).
  • Coaches will be allowed to set their batting order without restrictions in the end of season tournament.
  • 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.
  • A batter is allowed to step into and over home plate to avoid a wild pitch or a pitch thrown behind them.
  • 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.
  • Any batter that is struck by a pitch (provided the pitch did not first hit the ground) must take 1st base.

Base Running

  • 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.
  • There is no base stealing; however, 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”.
  • If an effort to develop throwing, fielding and backup responsibilities, batters and base runners may seek to advance 1 additional base on an overthrow (at their own risk of being thrown out).  However, a base runner can never advance home as a result of an overthrow.  Runs can only be scored on balls that are hit in play.  Please teach the technique.
  • 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 wild pitches and pass balls.  This person is to remain silent so as not to distract the pitcher, 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.

Pitching

  • Machine pitch will be used to start the season.  Up to 3 strikes will still be called.  The speed of the pitching machine and transition to youth pitch will be determined by the League Director prior to the season (and subject to change).
  • Pitchers pitch from 35’ feet with an 11” softball. 
  • Pitchers are to start their windup with both feet on the rubber.  They are not allowed to take a step back in their windup, although they may “rock” their shoulders back.  Please teach the technique.
  • Pitchers are not allowed to jump or leap forward as they deliver the ball-their back foot (rubber foot) must remain on the ground (dragged) until the ball has left their hand.  Please teach the technique.
  • In the event a non-conforming “illegal” pitch is called by the umpire:
  • If the batter hits the ball and the batter and any base runners reach safely, all action as a result of the batted ball stands.
  • If the illegal pitch results in a HBP (hit by pitch), the batter is awarded 1st base (provided the pitch did not first hit the ground).
  • Otherwise, the offensive coach can take the result of the play or have the illegal pitch enforced by awarding a ball to the batter.
  • A pitcher may not pitch more than 2 innings in a game.  The 2 innings do not need to be consecutive.  One pitch in an inning constitutes an inning pitched. 
  • A pitcher that hits 2 batters in an inning must be replaced for the remainder of that inning.  The pitcher is free to pitch again in the game so long as doing so does not exceed the 2 innings per game limit.
  • A new pitcher gets a maximum 4 pitch warmup.
  • A pitch that hits the ground is still considered a live ball, subject to the following modifications:
  • If the pitch hits the ground it may never result in a HBP (hit by pitch).  The batter is not awarded 1st base.
  • If the batter swings at a pitch in the dirt and misses it will be considered a strike.
  • If the batter swings at a pitch in the dirt and hits the ball it will be played normally (e.g., base hit, foul ball, etc.).
  • After the pitch count reaches ball 4 during youth pitch, an offensive coach will pitch to their hitter.  The strike count remains intact.  All balls pitched by the coach will be called ball or strike.  During coach pitch, the pitcher will stand to the glove side of the coach.
  • Coaches must pitch from the rubber.
  • If the ball hits the machine, it is considered a live ball.
  • There is no attempting to reach first on a dropped 3rd strike.
  • Pitchers are expected to work at a brisk pace.

Game Length

  • Game time limit is 75 minutes.  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 and one team has more runs than the other team. 

For games that are less than 6 innings:

  • The time limit starts at the scheduled time for the first game.
  • If after the time limit, the game is tied and the home team has finished their at-bat, the game ends in a tie (for regular season games).
  • If a game has not reached the time limit, a new inning may start if the first pitch of the new inning is thrown before the time limit (teams shall hustle on and off the field and no team shall “stall” in regards to being ready for the new inning).
  • If the top half of a new inning is started before the time limit, the home team must be allowed to have their final at-bat in the bottom half.
  • A new inning (top half) should not start near the time limit if either team is ahead by more than 4 runs.

For games tied after 6 innings, but less than the time limit:

  • Extra inning(s) may be played to break the tie, up until the time limit.  Extra inning(s) will have the following stipulations:
  • Each team will begin its at-bat with a runner on 2nd base.  This runner will be the player that immediately precedes the batter in the batting order.
  • There is a 2 run per inning limit.
  • If the game is still tied and the time limit has been met, the game ends in a tie (except in end of season tournament play).

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.
  • Teams are assigned after players do a brief skill demonstration for coaches. Coaches then draft players to teams.