Official Slow Pitch Softball Rules
Rule Changes in Red = Effective Fall 2020
- Team rosters shall include a minimum of 15 players, including at least 4 of each gender.
- The maximum number of players on the field is 10, with at least 3 of each gender.
- The minimum number of players on the field is 7.
- All players present for a game may be placed in the batting order. (Further explained in "Batting" Section.)
- All players must be registered with the League to play with the team. Unregistered substitutes are not permitted. Any team found to be playing with an unregistered player will forfeit the game. See: Late Registration.
- When a team has fewer than the required number of players of a specified gender available, players of one gender may not be substituted for members of another gender. For example, if a team has 10 total players available at game time, but only 3 are female, the team must either play short with 9 players or borrow a player from another team that is not their opponent per Rule Team 7.
- If the team has fewer than 10 players overall available, or has fewer than 4 of each gender available, that team may invite a registered player from another team other than their opponent as a substitute. Gender substitute rules still apply. This is permitted only during regular season games, and only if the team is short. A substitute from another team may only be used in the event of absence, not for the purpose of allowing rests or breaks for individual players.
- Fielding teams are required to play both catcher and pitcher positions.
- Late Registration: a team may add players to the roster through the 4th scheduled game provided the team captain approves with the league fee pro-rated for the remainder of the season. All players must be formally registered with the League and paid in full prior to playing.
- Any team that has players not wearing their league-provided shirt can be called for a roster check at any time by the ref, field manager, or the opposing team. If players are found to not be on the roster that are playing it will result in an automatic forfeit.
- Each game shall be officiated by a League-assigned umpire.
- Umpires are responsible for:
- Keeping game time.
- Enforcing all game rules.
- Tracking all counts and outs.
- The umpire shall eject a player from the match if that player engages in unsportsmanlike conduct.
- The umpire will keep score.
- Games may be played on any slow pitch softball field, fast pitch softball field, little league baseball field or general purpose field with a distance from home plate to the outfield fence of at least 180 feet.
- The distance between bases shall be 60 feet or 65 feet.
- First base shall include a safety base placed to the right; overruns must be made on the safety base.
- All equipment except for gloves will be provided by the League.
- Only single-wall aluminum bats with the ASA 2004 certification that appear on the ASA approved single-wall aluminum bat list are permitted. Please check that the bat has a "Sw" symbol next to it on the list. Wood bats, baseball bats, composite bats and multi-wall bats are strictly prohibited. Runs scored using an illegal bat shall be null and the player called out. (NOTE: ASA 2004-approved bats that were manufactured prior to 2004 obviously won't have the ASA 2004 logo on the bat itself; the list above, not the logo on the bat, is the final authority on bat legality. Also, the ASA 2004 logo on the bat doesn't automatically make the bat legal since ASA approves composite and multi-wall bats that are illegal in this league. The bat MUST appear on the list to be legal).
- All bats must be registered within the first two weeks of competition. Bats will not be registered after this date and if you are found to be using a non-reviewed league bat you will first receive a warning and then will be ejected from the game for using illegal equipment.
- The ball shall be a 12 inch .52 COR/300 maximum compression softball, regardless of the gender of the batter.
- Players must wear their League-provided t-shirts of the appropriate color for their team.
- Steel cleats are prohibited.
- Each game shall be completed in no more than 7 innings or as time allows.
- After 55 minutes of play, the inning being played will be completed, plus an additional inning if the game has not yet completed 7 innings.
- At the 55 minute mark, the umpire shall announce that the next inning will be the last inning.
- The clock is suspended for the final inning (whether it is the 7th inning or the declared final inning due to time limit).
- If a team cannot make up a score deficit due to the 7-run per inning limit within the current or next inning, the game will end immediately.
- In the event of a tied score after the final inning, the game shall be recorded as a tie, if regular season play, or use the special tie-breaker process described in the "Playoffs" section.
- A coin toss shall determine the home team, who shall choose whether to bat first or field first. For playoff games, the higher seeded team shall be designated as the home team.
- All pitches must be with an underhanded motion.
- All pitches must arc between 6 feet and 10 feet; otherwise the pitch shall be considered a 'ball'.
- The strike zone shall be marked with a rubber strike mat placed behind home plate. Contact with either the mat or home plate shall be considered a strike.
- Each team must exchange batting orders prior to the start of the game.
- There must be at least 3 players of each gender in the batting order. If there are fewer than the required number of players of a particular gender, that point in the lineup shall be counted as an out.
- Each batter shall start at bat with 1 ball and 1 strike (1 and 1 count).
- Foul Ball Limit: Batter shall be called out on the 2nd foul of a 2 strike count.
- Bunting is not permitted; bunts shall be counted as foul balls.
- All players present may be included in the batting lineup. Players present will not be forced to bat. However, a player that chooses to play on the field MUST also bat.
- No three players of the same gender may bat in a row for the entire order, including between the end and beginning of the order. For example, a team may bat two men followed by one woman followed by two men, but may not bat three men in a row without also taking an out prior to the third man batting.
- Exception: A team may bat more than two players of the same gender in the order but must designate an automatic out before the third batter.
- Exception: If a team has at least three of each gender in the batting order, but the ratio of men and women is such that the more than two players of a given gender must bat in succession, the team may designate a player of the minority gender to bat twice in the order. However, that player may bat no more than twice in the order.
- Each team shall be limited to a maximum of 2 over-the-fence home runs per game, regardless of the distance of outfield fence. Subsequent home runs shall be called an out.
- Infield Fly Rule is in effect. The Rule is used at the discretion of the Umpire(s).
- If a player leaving the game due to injury, ejection or other reason causes the lineup to result in more than two players of a opposite gender to bat in a row, the team may adjust the lineup in the following manner:
- Players of the same gender as the removed player may be shifted, each in turn, up in the order to ensure no automatic out would be required. They must be shifted the absolute minimum required; if an automatic out is averted by shifting the player up 1 position, they may not be shifted further. If no shift is required to alleviate the missing player, no change is permitted.
- Provided that the team continues to field 3 players after the player has been removed from the game, Rule 7.b. of this section applies, and a player of the team's choice of the specified gender may bat twice. However, if the removal of the player causes the the total number of players of that gender to fall below 3, an automatic out must be taken in their place, and the team must play short as per the Team section in these rules.
- Stealing bases and leading off bases is illegal. A player who was leading the base prior to the hit shall be called out.
- Sliding at first base is illegal. A player who slides at first base shall be called out. Runners must use the safety base.
- Pinch running is permitted at 1st, 2nd and 3rd base provided the pinch runner is of the same gender. The runner who was substituted for shall be removed permanently from the game. Pinch running at bat is not permitted.
- If a ball is caught in foul territory, you are still allowed to tag up.
- Due to safety concerns, any person intentionally sliding head first while running in a moderate pace into a base will be called out. The umpire will warn all players prior and any subsequent action that results in an 'out' shall be referenced to the previously stated rule. It is at the referees discretion as to if a runner is at a moderate pace.
- The entire strike mat, in addition to home plate, shall be considered "safe".
- When a batter has been awarded 4 balls called, the batter shall walk:
- To 1st base, if the batter is female or if the batter is male and followed in the batting order by another male.
- To 2nd base, if the batter is male and is followed in the batting order by a female.
- A female who is batting behind a walked male batter must bat unless there are 2 outs. If there are 2 outs, the female batter will have the option to walk or bat.
- The inning shall advance when a team scores 7 runs in the inning. The mercy rule shall be called and the inning advanced immediately upon scoring the 7th run.
- The mercy rule advances the inning; it does not end the game, except when a team is down by more than 7 going into the 7th inning, more than 14 going into the 6th inning, or more than 21 going into the 5th inning, the game will be called.
Late Arrival Penalties & Forfeits
- Any players who show up after the game has started shall be added to the end of the batting order.
- Teams must be ready to play and meet game start requirements within 5 minutes after the posted game time.
- If a team is not ready to play at 5 minutes past the posted game time, it shall incur an immediate 2 run penalty, awarded to the opposing team.
- If a team is still not ready to play after 10 minutes, it shall incur an additional 2 run penalty.
- If a team is not ready to play after 15 minutes, it shall forfeit the game, with the opposing team receiving a total of 6 runs, for a final score of 6 - 0.
- The higher seeded team shall be considered the home team during any playoff game; there is no coin-toss.
- Ties are not permitted in playoff games. If a regulation game ends in a tie, it shall be broken via subsequent innings using an accelerated International Tie Breaker:
- Inning begins with last batter to make an out on 2nd base, and the batter before him/her in the lineup on 3rd base.
- Inning otherwise proceeds normally.
- Additional innings are played under these same rules until one teams wins an inning.
FOR ALL RULES NOT COVERED ABOVE, WE WILL REVERT TO NATIONAL SOFTBALL ASSOCIATION (NSA) RULES.