Softball Rules

Softball Rules

                                                                                                                                            Old Dominion Girls Softball League
                                                                                                                                                League Rules for Spring 2019*
*Please note, ODGSL members met on 1/24/2019 and voted on updated rules.

1. The following rules govern all play for the Old Dominion Girls Softball League. For all divisions, any rule not
covered will follow the official Babe Ruth Softball Rule Book.
2. Rosters
    a. Rosters must be turned into the League Commissioner prior to the opening of the regular season.
    b. Associations must be able to provide proof of age for all players upon request.
    c. No player can be added to a team roster after the team has played half of its regular season games.
    d. All roster additions must be reported to the League Commissioner before the player is allowed to participate
        in a game. Failure to do this will result in forfeiture of all games in which that player has participated.
3. Playing Rules –
    a. All divisions will use an all-inclusive batting order (all players present bat) and have free defensive
        substitutions. Except pitchers.
    b. There will be no slaughter rule in any division. However, each team may only score a maximum of 5 runs
        per inning.
    c. Flip-Flop Rule – In all divisions except 6U, if there is less than 10 minutes remaining in the time limit when a
        complete inning ends AND the Home team is behind by six (6) or more runs, then the Home team will
        remain at bat and the game will be over after another three (3) outs. The final score will be recorded at this
        time.
    d. In the event of a tie-game, and there is a game to follow, new innings will be played if at least 5 minutes
        playing time remains per rule #7. If there is no game following and regulation time has expired, one extra
        inning will be played if both coaches agree. For all divisions, no player may sit out more than one
        consecutive defensive inning unless injured or sick.
    e. A courtesy runner may be used at any time for the pitcher or catcher of record (i.e., the pitcher or catcher
        who pitched/caught the previous defensive inning, except in the top of the first inning). The courtesy runner
        will be the preceding batter in the line-up who is not on base.
    f. 8U Machine, 10U and 12U teams may play with 10 players (4 outfielders). The outfielders must be
        positioned in the outfield grass or at least 12 feet behind the baselines – whichever is closer to home.
    g. All teams must field a player as a catcher. The one exception to this rule is for 8U teams where there are
        only 8 defensive players available to play (minimum number required) – at which point they have the option
        of playing without a catcher. In this scenario, the defensive team MUST be sure that a coach is positioned
        near the backstop to collect balls not in play.
    h. Coaches will keep track of pitching innings in their scorebooks. Each game, scorekeepers on both teams
        must validate eligible pitching innings prior to the game beginning.
4. Forfeit/Pull-ups –
    a. If a team does not have enough players to start a game, and the umpire has already arrived, the forfeiting
        team will be responsible for the entire umpire fee for that game (if a fee is charged).
    b. Teams must start with a minimum of eight (8) players for 8U, 10U, 12U and a minimum of seven (7) seven
        for 16U.
    c. There will be a 10-minute grace period for the first game ONLY. However, the game clock will start at the
        regularly scheduled time. Playing of the game will begin as soon as both teams have at least eight (8)
        players for 8U, 10U, 12U and seven (7) players for 16U, and will end as if the game started on time.
    d. When playing short-handed (rule 4b) or when an injury occurs and a player must leave the game, or a player
        leaves the game for any other reason, a team does not have to take an out when the missed player(s) turn
        in the batting order is reached. However, if the player leaving the game (for reasons other than ejection
        addressed in Rule 4e) causes the team to fall below the minimum number of players required to start a
        game, then a forfeit will have to be called.
    e. When a player is ejected, an out will be taken when their spot in the batting order is reached. If a team is
        reduced to a number of players below the minimum as the result of an ejection, then the team will forfeit the
        game.
    f. A maximum of three (3) players from within your own Local Association may be ‘pulled up’ from the next
        lower age division to prevent forfeiture of a game. A 16U team with 8 players may draw 1; a team with 7
        players may draw 2, and a team with 6 or fewer players may draw 3. In all other divisions teams with 9
        players may draw 1, teams with 8 players may draw 2, and teams with 7 or fewer players may draw 3. If a
        16U team has 9 or more players or a team in any other division has 10 or more players present from their
        regular team, NO pull-ups can be used. The use of pull-ups is OPTIONAL. For 12U and 16U fast-pitch, only
        players from other fast-pitch teams are eligible to be pulled up. For 10U fast-pitch, 8U Machine players may
        be pulled up.
    g. All pull-ups must wear the uniforms of their original team so as to distinguish them from the regular team
        member.
    h. During the regular season only, 8U teams may pull over from other 8U teams within their own league, a
        maximum of two players to avoid forfeiting a game. Again, the girls must wear their own uniforms so the
        players may be identified.
    i. All pull-ups or pull-overs (8U only) must be placed at the bottom of the batting order. If a rostered player
        shows up where a pull-up or pull-over is being utilized, the rostered player shall take the position of the pull
        up or pull over in the lineup and the pull up or pull over shall no longer be in the game.
    j. When utilizing a pull-up or pull-over, they cannot play the position of pitcher or catcher.
5. Equipment –
    a. All Catchers in all fast-pitch divisions (including 8U machine) must wear a mask and helmet, hard shin
        guards and chest protectors. Catchers in 6U must wear a mask and helmet and a chest protector.
    b. In all divisions, all offensive players must wear a helmet with a face guard at all times. This includes batters,
        on-deck batters, runners and all youth base coaches.
    c. For 16U and 12U games, the Home teams must furnish one new and one playable 12” COR .47 optic yellow
        softball. For 10U games, the Home team must furnish one new and one playable 11” COR .47 optic yellow
        softball. For 8U games, the Home team must furnish two new and three playable 11” COR .47 optic yellow
        softballs.
    d. No steel cleats are allowed at any age level.
6. Age-Related Rules –
The ‘League Age’ of a player is her age, in years, on December 31st of the previous year.
6U 8U 10U 12U 16U
Pitching Distance Any 35’ 35’ 40’ 43’
Base Distance 55’ 60’ 60’ 60’ 60’
Time Limit * 60 Min 75 Min 90 Min 90 Min 90 Min
Run Limit ** N/A 5 5 5 5
Innings 6 6 6 6 7
Regulation Game 3.5 or 4 3.5 or 4 3.5 or 4 3.5 or 4 4.5 or 5
Infield Fly Rule No No No Yes Yes
* NO NEW INNING CAN START AFTER THE TIME INDICATED
** THIS IS THE RUN LIMIT PER EACH HALF INNING
7. Division Commissioner Duties–
    a. Rescheduling any postponed game. Division Commissioners will have the final word with respect to when
        the game will be played. Every effort will be made to reschedule games on the Home team’s field. Any team
        not showing shall forfeit. If both teams fail to attend, that game will be canceled.
    b. Coordination of Umpires for rescheduling games.
    c. Recording League standings, wins, and losses within the division.
8. Game Rescheduling –
    a. All games will be played as scheduled with the following exceptions:
        i) Failure of an official umpire to show. In this case, the game may be played if both coaches agree to play
        with a non-sanctioned umpire. If the coaches so agree, and the game commences, the coaches are honorbound
        to complete the game. Any game played with a non-sanctioned umpire is not subject to protest.
        Failure of an umpire to show shall be made known to the Division or League Commissioner.
        ii) Rain or other natural condition that makes the field unsuitable for play.
    b. The League rain out policy is as follows:
        - Make up games will be considered, but will not be guaranteed. All teams will start the season with a 12-14-
        game schedule. Babe Ruth rules require that teams finish season play (inclusive of the end-of-season
        tournament) with 10 games played in order to be eligible for post-season play. In order to avoid late season
        rescheduling to meet this requirement, games will be rescheduled where possible. The league will attempt to
        keep all teams at a minimum of 9 games played prior to the end-of-season tournament to ensure there are
        no concerns with the 10-game minimum.
        - Consideration to schedule on the Home team field will be primary. However, consolidation of teams may
        be necessary to facilitate umpires and may preclude use of the scheduled Home Team field.
    c. If a significant number of rainouts occur, it may not impact both teams in rained out games the same and
        make up games may be done in a manner to pair up two teams that were not matched up in a rainout in
        order to consolidate the number of makeup games required to meet the league minimums.
    d. The Division Commissioner’s decision on make up place, time, and date will be final.
    e. All postponed games must be made up prior to the end-of-season Tournament. Should the games be
        unable to be played, the records of any affected teams shall remain unchanged in the final standings.
9. Scores –
    a. All scores are to be reported to the Division Commissioner within 48 hours by BOTH coaches.
    b. Failure to comply with results of games, will result in a forfeit.
10. Player Injury –
    a. An injured player who cannot continue will be allowed to leave the game. No out will be taken when that
        player’s turn in the batting rotation is reached.
    b. The injured player will not be allowed to return for the remainder of the half inning in which she was injured
        plus the next full inning. EXCEPTION: If the player leaves the game due to an illness or being over-heated,
        she will not be allowed to return for the remainder of the game.
    c. A runner injured on the base paths can be replaced with the most recent batter in the line-up who is not on
        base.
11. Uniforms – Teams are required to wear like uniforms of matching color that are individually numbered. The
        exception will be pull-ups who will wear their regular uniforms.
12. Seeding Rules – Seeding rules for the EOS tournament are included in the tournament supplemental rules.
13. Charged Conferences – Refer to Babe Ruth Rule Book
14. Protests –
    a. Protests must be made known immediately to the game umpire and opposing coach as to the nature of the
        protest. The League President or Commissioner must be notified of the protest within 48 hours of the game
        and a written protest must be submitted to the Board of Directors accompanied by a $40 non-refundable fee.
The Board will rule on all protests in a timely manner.
    b. Protests involving umpire judgment will not be heard. Protests involving judgment calls will automatically be
        dismissed and not heard by the Board.
    c. When the Board rules on a protest and they determine that there was an incorrect interpretation of a rule,
        whether a local rule or otherwise, the game shall be replayed from the point the incorrect ruling or play
        occurred without giving any consideration to what effect it may have had on the remainder of the game or
        the outcome of the game.
    d. All Board decisions will be final.
    e. Any game played using a non-sanctioned umpire is not subject to protest.
15. Lightning & Thunder Rule –
        If, during a game, lightning is sighted by an umpire or coach, regardless of the estimated distance, the umpire
        will immediately clear the field for a period of 20 minutes. (Time to be recorded in the scorebooks.) If lightning is
        sighted again during the delay, a new 20-minute waiting period begins. This process continues until a total delay
        of 30 minutes has occurred or play is resumed. Once a total delay of 30 minutes has occurred, games are
        suspended to a later date unless considered a complete game. At complexes with multiple fields, play will be
        stopped on all fields when lightning is sighted at any one field.
6U INSTRUCTIONAL DIVISION
Rules Supplement
1. A half inning is over when half of the lineup has batted. The last batter must run all bases until put out.
2. No score is kept.
3. Pitching and batting –
    a. The offensive coach or his/her designee (pitcher-coach) shall deliver no more than three pitches to each of
        his/her batters. Any pitch in the strike zone and not swung at, swung on and missed, or hit into foul territory
        shall be called a strike. If the ball is not put into play after two strikes or three pitches, the batter shall be
        given the opportunity to put the ball into play by hitting off a tee.
    b. The ball must go at least 20 feet in order to be called a fair ball.
    c. The batter shall have an unlimited number of opportunities to put the ball fairly into play.
    d. No walks shall be granted.
    e. Any hit ball that strikes the pitcher-coach shall be declared a dead ball and will be ruled as if it were foul.
    f. Only one base on any overthrow.
    g. No stealing.
    h. Batter & any base runners may only advance a maximum of 2 bases on any batted ball.
4. Defense –
    a. No defensive players shall be positioned closer than 30' to the batter before the ball is hit.
    b. Only six defensive players (including the catcher) can be positioned inside the base paths/infield until the
        ball is hit.
    c. Up to 3 defensive coaches may be stationed on the playing field in order to guide and direct the defense.
The defensive coaches are not allowed to touch a player or the ball while it is in play. This constitutes
interference and all runners will be ruled safe.
8U MACHINE PITCH
Rules Supplement
   1. The defense will consist of ten (10) players, to include four (4) outfielders as in the 10U and 12U divisions. The
defensive pitcher will be placed to the right or left of the pitching machine with both feet inside the 8-foot circle
around the pitching rubber.
2. The pitching machine will be placed at a distance of 35 ft from home plate and set at a speed of approximately
32 mph, as measured on a speed/radar gun as the ball crosses home plate. The machine should only be
adjusted after a complete inning. The adjustment should be made with the batter to move up or move back in the
batter’s box to hit the ball. If the ball comes in at an extreme, on the ground or really high, then the machine may
be adjusted at that point.
3. An offensive coach will feed the balls into the pitching machine and the umpire will be stationed behind home
plate. The coach feeding the machine will not be allowed to make any adjustment to the machine during the ½
inning unless directed to do so by an umpire. Under NO circumstances is the coach allowed to communicate
verbally with the offensive players on the field. The coach may not leave the circle or a conference will be
charged. First violation = warning; repeat offender will not be allowed to feed the pitching machine for the
remainder of the game. Note: The coach feeding the machine shall not make any motion to the batter on how to
adjust them in the batter’s box. This shall be the responsibility of the base coaches. A time out may NOT be
called to adjust a batter in the batter’s box. The only exception is for the safety of the batter. The “pitcher” may
then motion only to back off the plate.
4. Since a player is not actually pitching at this age level there are no “pitching” limitations for anyone playing this
defensive position.
5. If a batted ball hits the pitching machine or field umpire before coming into contact with any defensive player, the
ball will be declared dead and the batter will be awarded 1st base. Only if forced, will any base runner advance
and if they are forced they advance one base only. If a batted ball hits the offensive coach feeding the balls into
the pitching machine, the same rule applies. Upon protest by a defensive coach, if the umpire believes that the
offensive coach did not make a reasonable attempt to avoid contact with the ball, an out on the batter will be
called. THIS IS AN UMPIRE’S JUDGMENT CALL.
6. If a thrown ball hits the pitching machine or field umpire, the ball will remain live unless the ball remains near the
pitching machine and retrieving it would be a safety concern in the umpire’s opinion. If that is the case, the
umpire will call time and award bases as outlined in item “H” below.
7. There are no balls and strikes called in this division. Each batter will be given a maximum of five (5) pitches to try
to hit the ball into play. If the ball has not been hit into play after 5 pitches then the batter is out.
EXCEPTIONS:
a) If the batter fouls off the fifth pitch, she will continue to receive pitches until she hits one fair or misses the
pitch.
b) If a ball is deemed unhittable BY THE UMPIRE (batter couldn’t make contact with the ball because it was
too high or bounced in front of the plate), then the pitch does not count as one of the 5 allowed.
8. Time will be called when the defense stops the lead or the runners have abandoned their attempt to advance.
Any runner who has not advanced more than the halfway point (30 ft) when time is called will return to the
previous base. Getting the ball back to the pitcher in the circle DOES NOT stop play. THIS IS AN UMPIRE’S
JUDGMENT CALL.
9. The rulebook will govern overthrows that go into a dead ball area (two (2) bases at the time of the throw). A
batter may not advance any further than 3rd base on overthrows that remain in “live” territory. A runner already
occupying the base may have the opportunity to score if the ball is overthrown and remains in ‘live” territory.
Both the batter and the base runner(s) are subject to being put out or tagged out by the defensive team. An
overthrow constitutes a throw being made on an actual play. Not a ball being thrown back to the pitcher. At that
time, time should be called by the umpire.
10. There will be no fake bunting or slap hitting allowed in rookie. The batter is NOT allowed to show bunt, then draw
back and take a full cut at the ball. Any batter that does this will be called out.
11. No defensive player may be positioned closer than 35 feet from home plate at the time of the pitch. The pitcher is
required to have both feet within the pitcher’s circle and be either beside or behind the pitching machine at the
time of the pitch.
12. To assist with the flow of the game (and with agreement from both managers and the umpire), a defensive coach
will be positioned at the backstop to assist the catcher in returning the pitched ball. Under NO circumstances is
the coach allowed to communicate either verbally or non-verbally with the defensive players on the field.
13. For any rules or information not covered above please refer to the 8U Babe Ruth Southeast Regional
Tournament Rules as posted online (the rulebook itself is incorrect).
10U
Rules Supplement
1. Stealing of all bases will be allowed. The base runner must remain in contact with base until the pitch has
been released.
2. The runner may steal on the release of the pitch.
3. Batters may not go to first on a dropped-third-strike.
4. 10U pitchers will be allowed to pitch only 10 innings in a rolling 7-day period, with a limit of 9 innings in any
one day. One pitch thrown will constitute an inning pitched. During tournament play, the inning count resets
at the start of the first game and there will be a 9 inning limit per 2 consecutive games.
5. There is no in-field fly rule for 10U.
12U & 16U
Rules Supplement
1. 12U Pitchers will be allowed to pitch only 10 innings in a rolling 7-day period, with a limit of 9 innings in any
one day. One pitch thrown will constitute an inning pitched. During tournament play, the inning count resets
at the start of the first game and there will be a 9 inning limit per 2 consecutive games.
2. 16U Pitching is unlimited