Rule 1 – Players
The maximum number of players on the field is 13. The minimum number of players is 9.
Less than 9 players is a forfeit. As a courtesy, the opposing team may supply a catcher when the opponent only has 9 players. The catcher will make all plays at home plate.
If a substitute player shows up for a game, and the scheduled team has enough players (12), he cannot play. If a substitute player starts a game and a regular player arrives late, the substitute player can and should play the first 3 innings. After 3 innings, the regular player must replace him in the lineup. See Rule 3 for substitution rules.
Rule 2 – Playing Time
All players must play a minimum of 3 innings in the field. All must re-enter the game at the start of an inning. Each available player is placed in the batting order. The penalty for a batter not ready to bat his turn is an automatic strike.
Rule 3 – Substitute Players
All regular team members must be placed in the lineup and play a position in the field full time (i.e. all 7 innings) before a substitute can be used. Substitute players must bat at the end of the batting order. If a substitute enters after the game has begun because of an injury, and the team only has 11 players, the substitute must bat after the last batter that batted, but not before the next scheduled batter. In other words…everyone else must bat before he bats. A team is limited to a maximum of 2 substitutes per game. The use of substitutes is governed by the following guidelines:
- If a team has 12 or more of its regular players show up, no substitutes are permitted.
- If a team has 11 regular players show up, they are permitted one substitute.
- If a team has 8-10 players show up, they are permitted to use 2 substitutes. One substitute may be a #1 rated player, but the second player must be a non-#1 rated player.
- If a team has 7 of its own players show up, they are permitted to pick up 2 substitutes, and the opponent will supply the catcher.
A list of all players expressing a desire to play as a substitute will be supplied to each manager. To aid the managers in the selection process, the players will be listed with the positions they play, phone numbers, and the player’s rating. The manager will present his lineup before each game, at home plate, with the umpire and other manager. He should identify his substitutes. If the opposing manager has an issue with the substitutes, he will address it to the umpire, and the umpire will enforce the established rules.
Note, in all instances where substitutes are used, the team will be playing short-handed (never more than 12 players in the field). The team may position their fielders anywhere in the field, but they cannot have less than 4 outfielders, or more than 5 infielders (excluding the pitcher and catcher).
Rule 4 – Positioning of Players
All 6 outfielders must play on the grass. Shortfielders must play in front of the outfielders.
Each team may have 5 infielders. No infielder may play inside the baselines until the ball reaches the batter. Players cannot change positions for any batter except the rover. A rover can move anywhere. All players must play their designated positions for an entire inning.
Rule 5 – Courtesy Runner
A courtesy runner can be used directly from home plate, or after the batter has reached a base safely. If a batter with a courtesy runner crosses the commitment line, batter is automatically out and the ball remains in play. A courtesy runner for the batter can only advance to first base, unless the throw to first goes out of play, or the batter hits a home run over the fence. The courtesy runner may run past first base in either fair or foul territory, but runner cannot go past the commitment line between first and second base. If the courtesy runner crosses the commitment line between first and second base, runner will be automatically out and the ball remains in play.
The courtesy runner for the batter will stand at the designated location holding the rope. The designated location will be on third base side of the center pole of the backstop. He is not allowed to run until the ball is hit. The penalty for leaving early is an automatic out plus a warning. A second offense by the same runner is again an out, and he can no longer be a courtesy runner in that game. A courtesy runner can only run once per inning. No substitute players may be a courtesy runner.
At the pregame conference, the managers must identify the players that will use a runner for the entire game. It must be declared whether the runner will begin at home plate or after the batter reaches a base safely. A walked batter with a designated runner does not have to go to first base. Unless there is an obvious injury, a player may not have a courtesy runner if not declared before the game.
If a player is designated as needing a courtesy runner, he cannot be a courtesy runner for another player.
Rule 6 – Equipment
No metal spikes. Any type of glove may be used at any position. Personal bats may be used only with owner’s consent. No altered bats are allowed.
Rule 7 – Pitching
The arc of all pitches shall be from 6-12 feet above the ground. Any pitch outside this
range shall be called a “ball” unless the batter swings at it. The pitcher’s box is located 50 feet from home plate. The pitcher can pitch up to 3 feet in front of, or 3 feet behind, the pitching rubber.
In the event the weather is a factor, the home plate umpire may declare “no walks
permitted” or “one ball/one strike” and has the authority to call the game for any reason. Face masks and chest protectors are available for pitchers, to be worn at their discretion.
Rule 8 – Base Running
No sliding into a base is permitted. If a player slides, he is automatically out. Diving back into a base is not considered sliding. If there is a double first base, the runner must tag the orange (outside) base. At second and third base, the runner has the option of using the run- over line or touching the base and does not have to maintain contact with the base.
The runner should always make every reasonable effort to avoid a collision and avoid interference. If the runner clearly collides or interferes with a play being made on him, he will be called out. All calls will be made at the umpires’ discretion. A runner must touch the base before advancing to the next base.
All plays at any base are considered force plays (i.e. going to a base or returning). Tagging is allowed on all bases except home plate. Only force outs are allowed at home plate. Another player may cover home only if the catcher must leave to retrieve an errant throw.
All runners on base are subject to USSSA rules. (A runner who steps off the base when the batter swings, will not be called out.)
Rule 9 – Commitment Line
A chalk line will be place half the distance from home plate to third base at a right angle to the baseline. A runner touching or crossing this line must continue toward home plate and may not return to third. A scoring plate shall be placed 8 feet from the back tip of home plate. The scoring plate is for use by the runners only. A runner touching home plate or jumping over home plate will be called out.
A chalk line will be placed halfway between all bases. If runner crosses the commitment line and returns to the previous base, runner is automatically out, and the ball remains in play.
Rule 10 – Running into Defensive Player
Running into a defensive player who is holding the ball or fielding the ball, the runner is automatically out unless the fielder veers into the runner’s path at the last moment. The runner must make every reasonable effort to avoid contact. It the umpire determines the contact to be flagrant, he may remove the runner from the game. Appearance before the Softball Commission could ensure. The runner will be called out if he attempts to knock the ball out of the fielder’s glove or hand.
Rule 11 – Foul Ball Rule
After two strikes, the batter is out if he hits two foul balls.
Rule 12 – Home Plate Extension
A legally pitched ball that hits the home plate or extension is called a strike.
Rule 13 – Overthrows
On an overthrow, the ball remains in play if it hits the first or third base fence and stays in the playing area. The runner advances at his own risk.
Rule 14 – Balls Hit Out of Playing Area
A fair ball hit out of the playing area, over a fence or guard rail is a home run. If the ball bounces over a fence or guard rail, or under a fence or guard rail, it shall be ruled a ground rule double. Dugouts are out of the field play areas. A foul ball is out of play when it goes beyond the fence line.
Rule 15 – Distance between Bases
Distance between bases if 65 feet.
Rule 16 – Infield Fly Rule
The infield fly rule is not in effect. However, there will be no double plays allowed on pop- ups where two runners are forced out.
Rule 17 – Trading of Players
Trading of players is between the two managers. Every attempt should be made to trade equally rated players. The Softball Commission may review the trade and negate it with cause. Rule 18 – Player Requesting a Trade
A player who wants to be traded, for whatever reason, can try to find a berth on another team or the managers may get together to resolve the situation. (Refer to Rule 17).
Rule 19 – Balls and Equipment
15 balls are to be issued to each manager at the beginning of the season. Only balls issued by the league may be used. All balls must be .44 core rating, .525 compression, and optic yellow. Unused balls, bats and other equipment must be returned at the end of the season.
Rule 20 – New Players
Cut-off date for new players is March 31. Any new player added after March 31, with the approval of the Officers, will be added to the team next in line to draft. A new player desiring to play on a specific team, for whatever reason, must have the consent of the managers.
Rule 21 – Mercy Rule
A team may score no more than 5 runs per inning, until the last inning. The last inning, as determined by the umpire, a team may score as many runs as they can.
Rule 22 – Team Side
Normally, the home team uses the first base side of the field. However, the managers may agree to do otherwise.
Rule 23 – Player Conduct
Harassment of any player, umpire, or fan will not be tolerated. Profanity or abusive language will not be tolerated. The umpires have the authority to eject any player they determine to be guilty of the above. The Softball Commission will be available to any player, manager, or umpire to hear complaints about the rule violations. The Softball Commission’s decision will be final.
Only the manager or the assistant manager is allowed to discuss situations with the umpire. Talking to or about umpires should be discouraged by all other players.
Rule 24 – Alcoholic Beverages
Alcoholic beverages are not permitted during the game. Persons violating this rule will be ejected and could be called before the Softball Commission for further action.
Rule 25 – Ground Rules
Managers should discuss any ground rules with the umpires before the start of play, if necessary.
Rule 26 – Uniforms
A player must be dressed in complete Babes uniform on the field. This includes: cap, shirt, pants/shorts and socks. First infraction = warning. Second infraction = sit out 4 innings
with no substitute allowed. Third infraction = sit out 2 games and no substitute allowed. Umpires and managers should enforce this rule.
Rule 27 – Umpires
There shall be umpires at all games. They shall perform their duties in accordance with the recognized rules of softball, except where such rules have been modified by the rules contained herein. The umpires are to be selected or dismissed by the Softball Commission. The plate umpire has complete control of the game after the start. Only managers and assistant managers may discuss situations with the umpire. Managers should monitor their own players.
Rule 28 – Games
All games will be played at such locations, day and times as the Softball Commission shall specify. All players will be furnished with a schedule and are expected to attend in uniform, unless excused for some reason by their manager. If a player is unable to play a scheduled game, he must notify his team manager as soon as possible.
Rule 29 – Temperature
When the temperature is 90 degrees or higher, managers, by mutual consent, will either play or cancel the game. If played, any player may inform his manager that he cannot play in that temperature. Also, the managers should inform the umpire of their decision.
Rule 30 – Time Limit of Games
Every effort will be made to finish games on time, but any inning that begins, must be completed even if it must be completed at a later date. The exception would be if a team concedes. The later date will normally be the date those two teams play each other again.
No new inning (visitors start to bat) can begin with 10 minutes or less remaining before the starting time of the next game. If a game is “tied” at that time, it is declared a tie game. The last game of the day must be completed by 2:30 p.m. The losing team must bat five times to be considered an official game.
All batters will begin with a 1-1 count in the top of the sixth inning (or earlier when time or weather is a factor) and in all succeeding innings.
Rule 31 – Managers
It is directed that managers will be selected by the Softball Commission.
Rule 32 – Governing Rules
This league is governed by USA and USSSA rules with the exception of the local rules started herein.
Rule 33 – Selection of Teams
The Softball Commission will place players on teams with the intention of making equal ability teams. Managers will have the opportunity to review and approve teams with the oversight of the Softball Commission.
Rule 34 – Tardy/Absent Player
When a player is consistently tardy, or fails to notify the manager he will be absent, it is the manager’s prerogative to suspend the player for one game. A suspended player (if replaced) must be replaced by a player with an equal rating.
Rule 35 – Physical Capability of Ball Player
In the interest of safety and physical well-being of the players of the Babes of 1916 softball league, if, in the judgment of the Board of Directors, a player becomes physically limited in his ability to react to a batted or thrown ball, or to avoid a collision with another player, and would be in peril of being injured, the Board of Directors reserves the right to not allow such player to participate in softball games played involving the Babes of 1916. Such players will be notified, in writing, of the Board of Directors’ decision by USPS certified return receipt.
Rule 36 – Pitcher’s Safety Screen
All pitchers will have the option to pitch behind a safety screen. Any batted ball which hits the screen is an automatic immediate dead ball. The batter will be declared automatically out if he hits the screen three times in one at bat, regardless of the ball/strike count. A thrown ball by the defense which hits the screen will remain in play. The team using the screen will be responsible for transporting the screen on and off the field.
Rule 37 – Protested Games
There will be no protested games. The umpire’s decision will determine the outcome of the game as final. The umpire can consult a rules expert if necessary.
Rule 38 – Intentional Walks
An intentional walk can only be issued in the last inning.
Phil Bordonaro, Chair
Mike Blades, Dick Doughman, Sandy Krupman, Bill Weisheit Bob Herman, President
Revised March 21, 2020