SOFTBALL TOURNAMENT RULES

SOFTBALL RULES

Game Times – Teams must be at their field, dressed and ready to play, at least 30 minutes before their scheduled start time. The tournament director reserves the right to start games early if the field is available or if there is the threat of inclement weather or other unforeseen circumstances.

Time Limits – 14U-18U age groups will have a 1 hour 20-minute time limit. No new inning will begin after 1 hour and 15 minutes. The time starts at the finish of the umpire/coach plate meeting. It is the responsibility of the head coach to know what the official start time is before every game. There will be no time limits on Championship Games. In the National Invitational Championships, there will be no times limits on Championship and Semi-final Games. Stalling will not be tolerated. If the umpires or tournament directors feel a team is intentionally stalling the game they reserve the right to forfeit the team.

We will adhere to all safety rules, including Coastal Florida local safety rules along with all that are mandated by the governing body of softball. Any rules that are not shown we will refer to the National Federation of High School (NFHS) rulebook.

1.11 Foul tip: A foul tip is a batted ball that goes sharply and directly from the bat to the catcher’s mitt or hand and is legally caught by the catcher. It is a strike and remains a live ball.

1.12 Hit by pitch: When the pitched ball hits the batter and the batter is not swinging at the ball or a strike is not called. Dead ball results with the batter advancing to first base.

1.13 Illegal bats: A bat that does not meet the requirements of an official bat as dictated by governing body of Softball.

1.14 Infield fly rule: A batted pop fly in the infield with 1 or less outs when a base runner occupies at 1st and 2nd base or 1st, 2nd, and 3rd base. When umpire feels the ball can be caught by reasonable effort he indicates or verbalizes infield fly, and the batter is out.

1.15 Live ball: Any and all times that the ball is in play or until the umpire calls “time” or “dead ball”.

1.16 Age Groups: Age Groups are the age of a player on 1/1 of the Seasonal Year. Seasonal year begins on 8/01 of the calendar year and runs until 7/31 of the following year

1.17 Age up Date: All Players must age up on 10/01 of the Calendar year. Example 1 a girl turns 17 on 01/02 of the seasonal year she can play 16U until 10/01 of the calendar year and then on 10/01 must start playing 18U. Example 2 a girl turns 17 on 10/02 of the calendar year she must as of 10/01 begin playing 18U for the Seasonal Year.

2.1 The plate is considered fair territory. A hit ball that hits the plate and remains fair or rests on the plate is considered a fair ball.

2.2 The strike zone is when a pitched ball crosses any part of the plate in width and crosses anywhere from the batter’s knees to her solar plex.

2.3 The game will be seven innings (6U and 8U will be 6 innings), unless a run rule comes into effect or the game has been established in advance with a time limit or less innings.

2.4 The run rule will be 12 runs after 3 innings, 10 runs after 4 innings, and 8 runs after 5 innings.

2.5 In 5 Inning format games the run rules will be 12 runs after 2 innings, 10 runs after 3 innings, and 8 runs after 4 innings.

2.6 Tied game after innings specified have expired or expired game time limit: 1. some leagues will play extra innings until a winner is determined. 2. Tournaments should use International Tiebreaker. (The last completed at bat in the previous inning becomes a base runner at second base. Play until a winner is determined).

2.7 Determining home team: 1. Leagues may pre-determine this on a schedule or use coin toss. 2. Tournaments should use coin toss before the start of the game.

2.8 When the ball is “dead”: 1. when “no pitch” is called by the umpire. 2. When a fly ball in foul territory is not caught. 3. Offensive interference. 4. When the batter or base runner is hit by the batted ball before the ball is touched by a fielder. 5. When the umpire calls “time”. 6. Buckets are allowed on the field for the purpose of calling signals only. If a ball hits the bucket or the bucket interferes with a fielder. Then interference, blocked ball or obstruction will be declared on the offending team as deemed necessary in the umpire’s judgment.

2.9 When the ball is “live”: 1. any batted fair ball. 2. Any fair ball that is in the playable field of play. 3. Any and all times before an umpire calls “time”. 4. When an umpire is hit by a thrown ball or batted ball. 5. When a base coach is accidentally hit by a thrown ball.

2.10 Protests will be decided at the time they occur (before the next pitch). Game will be halted and a ruling made. Then, if applicable, the game will continue. After consulting with the game umpires, the final decision will be that of the tournament director or the acting director in the tournament director’s absence.

Official Pitching Rules

3.1 Before the pitcher pitches the ball, she must do the following: 1. Have possession of the ball in either the pitching hand or the glove hand. 2. Have both hands separated as she steps onto the rubber. 3. Have both feet in contact with the rubber. 4. Pitcher must take or simulate taking signs while on the rubber from the catcher only. 5. On the pitch delivery the pivot foot may slide across the pitcher’s plate.

3.2 The pitch begins when the hands are no longer separated. The pitch delivery can be aborted by pitcher stepping off the rubber in a backward step with her plant foot.

3.3 The delivery must start no less than one second and no more than 10 seconds after the hands are in contact with each other.

3.4 Pitcher’s delivery: 1. Windmill or Slingshot style is acceptable. 2. Arm movement must be an underhand motion. 3. Pitcher may use backward movement of the pitching arm at the start of delivery; however, a backward step is not permitted. 4. If the underhanded arm movement is more than 12” away from the parallel of the body, the pitch will be considered a sidearm pitch. 5. A “Leap” or a “Crow Hop” is not permitted during the pitching delivery.

3.5 Pitcher cannot stop her motion before the ball leaves her hand.

3.6 If the pitcher stops her wind up (unless the umpire calls time) without releasing the ball, an illegal pitch will be called and a ball will be awarded to the batter and base runners will advance one base. No action by a batter, coach, or fan can cause the pitcher to throw an illegal pitch.

3.7 Pitcher cannot have anything distracting on her pitching arm, hand, or wrist. Any sweatband must be flesh in color on pitching wrist or arm. Pitcher’s uniform, equipment and/or accessories must be worn properly. A pitcher is prohibited from wearing or using any item that, in the umpire’s judgment, distracts the batter.

3.8 Pitcher can ask the umpire for a different ball at any given time before the start of her pitch. During wet conditions, a coach may request permission to towel dry the balls for the pitcher.

3.9 Intentional Walk: If the pitcher desires to intentionally walk a batter, she can at any time during the players at bat notify the umpire of her intentions and the walk will be granted by the umpire. No pitches need be thrown to the intentionally walked a batter Batting and Base Running.

Batting and base running:

4.1 The girl is considered the batter when she takes her place in the batter’s box.

4.2 The batter can call time by lifting her hand. The umpire can grant the batter time out. If time is not granted, she will take the called pitch.

4.3 Batting out of order can be appealed to the umpire by the defense: 1. Infraction appealed during illegal batter: the correct batter takes over and assumes the pitch count. 2. Infraction appealed after illegal batter has batted but before next pitch: the girl that should have batted is out and any base advances will return to their position prior to the illegal batter’s bat. The correct spot in the lineup will be the batter that follows the girl called out. Example: (Batter #5 is the girl called out. The correct spot in the lineup would now be Batter #6.) 3. Infraction appealed after illegal batter has batted and after next pitch: the play stands. All base runners remain where they are. 4. Batter positions on the lineup sheet are determined by the player’s name and not the jersey number. Improperly recorded position numbers and player numbers are correctable errors.

4.4 The batter is out when the following happens: 1. Batter steps on the plate when hitting the ball in fair or foul territory. 2. Batter steps out of the batter’s box when hitting ball in fair or foul territory. 3. Batter fouls off third strike while trying to bunt. 4. Catcher catches third strike foul tip.

4.5 The batter can advance to first base when the following happens: 1. Batter is pitched 4 balls. 2. Batter is hit by pitch (unless the ball is in the strike zone or swung at). 3. Catcher drops third strike with one or less outs with no base runner occupying first base or with two outs regardless of occupation of first base. A Ball that hits the dirt and caught by the catcher is considered a dropped third strike. Exception to dropped 3rd strike: If the batter enters the Dead ball area, she will be called out. The dead ball area is considered outside of the fence surrounding the field or in the dugout. 4. When the catcher interferes with the batter’s bat while batter is swinging at the pitched ball, or anytime during a pitch. If the ball is put in play during the interference, the offensive coach has the option to take the result of the play or the interference.

4.6 The base runner must run the bases in order when advancing or retreating.

4.7 When a base runner misses a bag, the play is appealable to the umpire by the defensive coach or any player on the field. Appeal must be made before the next pitch (except coach pitch) is delivered.

4.8 If a base runner attempts to advance to the next base while the pitcher has possession of the ball in the pitcher’s circle, she must continue to the next base. Any attempt to retreat back to the previous base (without pitcher attempting to make a play on the base runner) will result in the base runner being called out. This is called “hesitation” or “look back” rule. The base runner can turn the corner and immediately look for the ball. This is not an attempt to advance to the next base.

4.9 Base runners may attempt to steal only after the ball leaves the pitcher’s hand during her delivery of the pitch.

4.10 Base runner cannot run out the base path to avoid a tag. This will result in base runner being called out. The base path is the path between the runner and a direct line to the next base.

4.11 Base runner should avoid contact with the defensive player at any base if there is a defensive play being made. This is for the safety of the girls. Any aggressive act will result in the base runner being called out or at the umpires dissection the runner may be ejected from the game. Neither the catcher nor any other defensive player may block a base, home plate, or the base path without having possession of the ball.

4.12 Base runner cannot interfere with a defensive player making a play on the ball. This results in the runner being called out and all base runners returning to previous bag before the interference occurred (unless forced to advance). The batter/runner is deemed safe at first base.

4.13 If a batted ball hits a base runner prior to passing or being touched by a defensive player (nonpitcher unless the pitcher touches the ball or makes a play on the ball), the base runner is called out. In addition, if the runner interferes with an attempt by the defense to field the ball, the base runner will be called out.

4.14 Base runner must retouch her base during a caught fly ball and cannot advance to the next base until the ball is touched by the defensive player’s glove or body.

4.15 Obstruction: Obstruction is any act committed by a player, coach, or fan that impedes the batter for a fair opportunity to hit the ball or to hinder a runner from reaching the next base. This obstruction can be physical, visual, or verbal.

4.16 Interference: Interference is any act committed by a player, coach, or fan that impedes the defensive team from making a play on the ball. This interference can be physical, visual, or verbal. A checked swing or attempted bunt with the bat pulled back is not considered interference. 

Official Lineup of Players and Substitutes:

The official lineups are for league and tournament play. They will be used for all State, Regional and National play.

5.1 Team must start with nine defensive players.

5.2 Another option is using “Extra Players (EP)”. Using nine regular players and up to three “EP”. There would be 10, 11 or 12 total players on the lineup sheet. Any nine can be used in the field with 10, 11 or 12 batters. (This lineup is designed to get more players in the game). Three of the players would have EP as their position. Any of the 10, 11 or 12 players can be used for defense. The coach can change the defensive players at any time using the 10, 11 or 12 players on the bench. DEFO Position: In addition to the 3 EPs allowed, teams may also add a “defense only” player to their lineups. For purposes of simplicity, if a coach chooses to use a DEFO and only 9 batters, one of the

9 batters will be considered an EP. The DEFO has to be designated to which EP they are mirroring if more than 1 EP is being used at the plate meeting. Exception: If the DEFO is used, that player must remain on defense throughout the game, unless inserted into the lineup “once” for the EP, or replaced on defense, in which case the DEFO position would be eliminated for the remainder of the game.

5.3 Substitute players shall be listed on the lineup sheet. They can be used at any given time during the game. The original player (starter) can re-enter the game at any given time. The starter and the substitute may each re-enter once.

5.4 Courtesy runners are allowed for pitchers and catchers. Determination for the courtesy runner will be as follows: 1. any player listed on the lineup sheet that is not currently in the batting order. The DEFO is listed in the batting order and can only be used as a courtesy runner only for the EP that she is tied to. 2. If all players listed on the lineup sheet are currently in the batting order then the courtesy runner will be the last player with a completed at bat. If the last completed at bat is a pitcher or catcher, the courtesy runner will revert to the batter immediately preceding her in the batting order. 3. Courtesy runners can only run for either the Pitcher or Catcher per half inning. They cannot run for both.

5.5 All lineup sheets will be turned in at the start of the game. One copy will be given to the plate umpire and one copy will be given to the opposing team. If a player is lost to injury or illness, that space in the lineup will be scratched through. Exception: if there are less than 9 players on the lineup sheet, the player’s spot will not be scratched through. Instead, the affected spot will be an out when that spot comes up in the order. If there is a substitute player available, the substitute will go in that spot. There is no out penalty as long as there are at least 9 players left on the lineup.

5.6 Any player ejected from the game will result in an out when that spot in the lineup comes up, unless there is a substitute player available to go in that spot. Minimum requirements for fielding a team are still active. A team must have a minimum of 9 players on the lineup card, but can finish with a minimum of 8 players. The missing player in the batting order would be an out. Less than 8 fieldable players on the team will result in forfeit for that team.

Equipment:

As a rule, equipment must be standard approved equipment that is properly marked with “Official Softball” or similar markings that certify the equipment. All official safety equipment must be used and properly marked as certified.

6.1 All bats must be unaltered official softball bats. The umpire will check all bats prior to the game. Any illegal bats will be removed from the dugout prior to the game. Use of illegal bat will result in an automatic out and ejection of player using the bat. Non-compliance will lead to offending player and coach being ejected from the game.

6.2 Coastal Florida Sports Park stamped game ball or the equivalent must be used in all Coastal Florida Sports Park sanctioned events. All 12-Under through 18-Over division balls must be 12” in diameter with .47 C.O.R. and .375 compression. 10-Under must use 11” diameter with .47 C.O.R. and .375 compression.

6.3 Non-compliance coach issues will lead to the offending coach being ejected from the game.

6.4 All batting helmets and catching gear must be approved and in original condition. Numbers and personalized designs are okay. PLAYER SAFETY IS THE MAIN CONCERN.

6.5 Shoes and socks must be worn and plastic cleats are recommended. Metal cleats are allowed for 14-18-Over.

6.6 Hats and visors are permissible. They are optional between each individual player.

6.7 All jewelry is prohibited, except medical alert bracelets which must be worn on the glove hand. Non-compliance will lead to offending player and coach being ejected from the game.

6.8 Numbers must be worn on uniforms, with no 2 players on a team having the same number.

6.9 All helmets must have NOCSAE approved face guards. Defensive face guards are recommended.

Field, pitching and base dimensions:

Distance “feet” 6-U Tee Ball 55/60 feet*

120-200 feet 8-U 35 feet 60 feet 150-225 feet

10-U 35 feet 60 feet 150-225 feet

12-U 40 feet 60 feet 175-225 feet

14-U 43 feet 60 feet 200-225 feet

16-U 43 feet 60 feet 200-225 feet 18-U 43 feet 60 feet 200-225 feet

18-Over 43 feet 60 feet 200-225 feet High School 43 feet 60 feet 200-225 feet *Distance based upon availability of playing field

7.1 There will be a 16-foot diameter circle drawn evenly around the pitching rubber.

7.2 The batter’s box will be to the left and to the right of the plate. They will be 3 feet wide and 7 feet long. Four feet toward the pitching rubber from the center of the plate.

7.3 Base lines will extend out 3 feet on both sides of the base parallel to the centerline. (Total of 6 feet wide).

7.4 Coaching boxes and on-deck batter’s boxes are suggested. Umpires Rights and Responsibilities

Umpires:.

8.1 The umpire is responsible to keep control of the game.

8.2 The umpire has the right to eject any player, coach, or fan from a game for any unsportsmanlike behavior.

8.3 Any judgment call that the umpire makes cannot be protested.

8.4 Any call made that may be a misinterpretation of the rules can be protested.

8.5 A head coach can appeal to the plate umpire in the case of a batter on whether or not a check swing was checked or not. (The field umpire might have a better view). The plate umpire does not have to grant the appeal.

8.6 The umpire can suspend play for any reason: acts of nature, unruly conduct, etc. 8.7 Everyone has the responsibility to ensure sportsmanship in all events. An unruly fan may place the entire team in jeopardy of ejection or possible forfeit.

Sportsmanship Guidelines:

9.1 Sportsmanship Guidelines: 1. if a player gets hurt, after the play has stopped the umpire shall call Dead Ball. Until Dead Ball is called on an injury the runners may advance at their own risk. Safety of the players is taken very seriously and should be monitored by all coaches and umpires. 2. Unsportsmanlike behavior by a player, coach or fan is an ejectable offense. 3. Umpires should be fair, impartial, use good judgment and never speak rudely or out of turn to a player, coach or fan. An umpire puts a human element into the game. They are subject to making errors the same as coaches and players are subject to making mistakes. In the spirit of fair play and sportsmanship we will not allow anyone to show disrespect towards them because of their decisions.  4. Coaches will follow the rules of sportsmanship, never stall a game, be a graceful winner and loser, and never speak rudely or out of turn to a player, coach, fan or umpire. Coaches are also responsible for the sportsmanship of their own players and fans. Coaches should not tolerate unsportsmanlike conduct from their own players or fans.

INFIELD FLY – Rule will be enforced in Coastal Florida Sports Park tournaments.

PITCHER RE-ENTRY – A pitcher may re-enter to pitch after having been substituted out of the game or to another position.

INTERNATIONAL TIE BREAKER – Will be used in case of a tie at the end of time or innings. Extra inning starts off with the last out of the previous inning on 2nd base. Any additional extra innings, the last out from the previous inning begins on 3rd base

Pitching Limitations –

  • Column A – maximum innings in one (1) day and still pitch the next day
  • Column B – maximum innings in one (1) day
  • Column C – maximum innings in three (3) consecutive days
  • A pitcher must rest one (1) day if maximum innings is exceeded.
DivisionABC
7U – 12U368
13U – 14U378
15U – 18Uunlimitedunlimitedunlimited

 

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