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B’nai Brith Sports of Canada (BBSC)

Official Softball League Rules

   

Table of Contents

 

THE DIAMOND                                                                       

EQUIPMENT                                                                            

COACHES, PLAYERS AND SUBSTITUTES          

THE GAME                                                                 

PITCHING REGULATIONS                                     

BATTING                                                                    

BATTER-RUNNER AND BATTER                         

DEAD BALL/THE BALL IN PLAY                           

UMPIRES                                                                    

PROTESTS                                                                  

SUBMITTING SCORES                                                       

 

 

 

THE DIAMOND

Measurements are same for Men and Women unless noted.

 

DISTANCE BETWEEN BASES: 65 Feet, Distance from Back of Home plate to Second base 92’.

DISTANCE FROM BACK OF HOME PLATE TO PITCHERS PLATE: 46’ (Men) 40-46’ (Women)

COMMITMENT LINE: Halfway between Home and 3rd Base Horizontal line drawn towards fence.

SCORING LINE: Top of Home plate corner facing 3rd base, horizontal line drawn towards fence. 

 

THE PLAYING FIELD: the area within which the ball may be legally played and fielded. A ball is considered “outside the playing field” when it touches the ground, person on the ground, or object outside the playing area.

GROUND OR SPECIAL RULES: Ground or special rules establishing the limits of the playing field may be agreed upon by league, Umpires or opposing teams, whenever backstops, fences, stands, vehicles, spectators, or other obstructions are within the prescribed area.

OFFICIAL BBSC DIAMOND BASE LINES: 19.81m (65 ft)

 

OFFICIAL BBSC DIAMOND PITCHING DISTANCES: 14.m (46 ft) for Men and 12.19m-14.m(40-46ft) for WomenIt is recommended the women try to pitch as far to 46’ as possible for safety. If during the game, the base distance or the pitching distance is found to be at the wrong distance, correct the error at the start of the next full inning and continue playing the game.

DIAMOND LAYOUT: Refer to drawing showing official dimensions of softball diamond. This section serves as an example for laying out a diamond with 19.81m (65 ft) bases and a 14m (46 ft) pitching distance.

a.       THE PITCHER'S PLATE shall be (24 in) long and 15.2cm (6 in) wide. The top of the plate shall be level with the ground. The lines that define an area are part of that area.

b.       THE BASES, other than home plate, shall be 38.1cm (15 in) square and shall be made of canvas or other suitable material, and not more than 12.7cm (5 in) in thickness. The bases should be securely fastened in position. 

The DOUBLE BASE is approved for use at first base. This base is 38.1cm by 76.2cm (15 in by 30 in), made of canvas or other suitable material and no more than 12.7cm (5 in) in thickness. Half the base is secured in fair territory, and half the base (of a different solid contrasting color WHITE/ORANGE) is secured in foul territory.

 

THE DOUBLE BASE:

a.       A batted ball hitting the fair portion is declared fair, and a batted ball hitting the foul portion only is declared foul.

b.       If a play is made at first base on any batted ball, or the batter runs on a dropped third strike, and the batter-runner touches only the fair portion, and if the defense appeals prior to the batter-runner returning to first base, the batter-runner is out. This is treated the same as missing the base.

c.        A defensive player must use only the fair portion of the base at all times. EXCEPTION: On any live ball play made from first base foul territory, the batter-runner and the defensive player may use either base. When the defensive player uses the foul portion of the double base, the batter-runner can run in fair territory and if hit by a throw from the foul side of first base, it would not be interference. If intentional interference is ruled, the batter-runner would be out.

d.       After over-running the base, the batter-runner must return to the fair portion.

e.       On balls hit to the outfield when there is no play being made at the double base, the batter-runner may touch either portion of the base.

f.         When tagging up on a fly ball, the fair portion must be used.

g.        Once a runner returns to the fair portion, should he stand on the foul portion only, it is considered not in contact with the base and the runner shall be called out, if:

                                                        I.             The player is tagged with the ball, or

                                                      II.             The player leads off from the foul portion on a pitched ball.

 

 

 

EQUIPMENT

 

THE OFFICIAL BAT: All bats are to be approved by the umpires. 

a.       Each bat shall be marked by the manufacturer in a prominent manner to be easily visible: “OFFICIAL APPROVED SOFTBALL” or other notification as may be selected and approved by BBSC. 

b.       All bats must have one of the symbols below to be eligible for play. Any bat that appears on the WBSC Softball Approved Bat List and has a current ISF certification stamp (2005 only), or that appears on the USA Softball Approved Bat List and has an ASA 2000 or 2004 certification stamp, will also be accepted for play.

 

 

 

c.        If the approval notice cannot be read due to wear on the bat, the bat may still be permitted in play if it is following the Rules in all other respects and that compliance is determinable with reasonable certainty.

d.       The weight, distribution of weight, or length of the bat must be permanently fixed at the time of manufacture and may not be altered in any way thereafter, except as otherwise specifically provided in these rules.

e.       The official bat shall not be an ‘Altered Bat.’ The weight, distribution of weight, and length of the bat, as well as all other characteristics of the bat must be permanently fixed at the time of manufacture and may not be altered in any way thereafter. If in doubt please speak with the umpire.

 

THE OFFICIAL SOFTBALL: Shall be a regular, smooth-seamed, concealed stitched or flat surfaced ball as approved by BBSC.

 

GLOVES & MITTS: Any player may wear a glove, but only the catcher, first baseman or the pitcher may use a trapper. Gloves with white, gray, or yellow optic circles on the outside, giving the appearance of a ball, are illegal for all players.

 

SHOES: All players must wear shoes. A shoe shall be considered official if it is made with either canvas or leather uppers or similar materials. The soles may be either smooth or have soft or hard rubber cleats.  Cleats are recommended. No hard plastic, nylon or polyurethane spikes similar to a metal sole and heel plate are allowed in any division at any level of play.

 

MASKS: New for 2020, all pitchers must wear a protective face mask.

a.        All catchers must wear masks and helmet. 

b.       Catchers (or other members of the defensive team) must wear a mask and helmet while receiving warm-up pitches from the pitching plate, or in the warm-up area. If the person catching the pitch will not wear the mask, they must be replaced by a person who will do so.

c.        Any defensive or offensive player can wear an approved plastic face mask/guard. Face masks/guards that are cracked or deformed, or if padding has deteriorated or is missing, are prohibited from use and must be removed from the game.

d.       Goalie style face masks are approved for use by catchers.

 

BODY PROTECTORS: All catchers must wear a body protector.

SHIN GUARDS: Catchers must wear shin guards that will offer protection to the kneecap.

HELMETS: Any helmets that are broken, cracked, dented, or altered are prohibited, and must be removed from the game.

a.       Helmets are mandatory on offense for batters, on-deck batters, batter-runners, runners,

                                I.             Failure to wear the batting helmet when ordered to do so by the umpire shall cause said player to be declared out.

                              II.             Deliberately wearing the helmet improperly or deliberately removing the helmet during a live ball play, except on a home run hit over the fence, and seen by the umpire as a deliberate act shall cause the violator to be declared out immediately. The ball remains live.

                            III.             EXCEPTION; If a thrown or batted ball contacts the deliberately removed helmet, the ball becomes dead and runners must return to the last base held at the time of such contact.

                            IV.             Calling a runner out for removing a helmet deliberately does not cancel any force play situation.

 

b.       If a helmet is accidentally dislodged from its proper place on a batter, batter-runner or runner, there is no penalty and the ball remains live.

c.        If a thrown or batted ball hits the helmet while it is detached from its proper place on the person and this contact interferes with the play being made, or a defensive player comes in contact with the helmet while it is on the ground and this contact prevents him from making a play, the ball is dead, the offensive player who was wearing the helmet shall be called out, even if they had scored and the run is nullified.

 

EQUIPMENT ON PLAYING FIELD: No equipment shall be left lying on the field, either in fair or foul territory.

a.       The ball is dead if it contacts the loose equipment.

b.       For offensive equipment causing a blocked ball (and creating interference), the player being played on is out.

c.        If no apparent play is obvious, no runner will be called out, but all runners will return to the last base touched at the time of the dead ball declaration.

 

UNIFORM: All players on a team shall wear uniforms alike in color, trim and style.

CASTS, JEWLERY AND METAL: 

a.       Casts (plaster, metal or other hard substances in its final form) may not be worn in a game.

b.       Any exposed metal (other than a cast) may be considered legal if adequately covered by a soft material, taped and approved by the umpire.

c.        It is strongly recommended that JEWELRY. WATCHES, RINGS, NECKLACES AND EARRINGS LARGER THAN SINGLE FINGER DIAMETER BE REMOVED.

d.       Medical alert bracelets or necklaces, should be worn. Medical alert bracelets and/or necklaces are not considered jewelry.

 

ALL EQUIPMENT: Notwithstanding the foregoing, the sanctioning body reserves the right to withhold or withdraw approval of any equipment which, in their sole determination, significantly changes the character of the game, affects the safety of participants or spectators, or renders a player's performance more a product of their equipment rather than individual skill.

 

COACHES, PLAYERS AND SUBSTITUTES

 

COACHES/TEAM REPRESENTATIVES: An offensive team coach/rep (base coach) is an eligible member of the team who takes their place on the field, within a five-foot perimeter of first or third base. All individuals must be BBSC paid members or a volunteer, and only paid BBSC members may speak with an Official.

a.       Two coaches are allowed to give words of assistance to the members of their team while at bat.

b.       One shall be stationed near first base and one near third base and they are obligated to stay within the imaginary confines of their respective coach’s box.

c.        EXCEPTION: A base coach may leave the coach’s box to signal a runner to slide, advance or return to a base, or move out of a fielder’s way, as long as they do not interfere with the play or touch the runner.

d.       A base coach may address only their team members.

e.       Any infraction will result in the ejection of the coach after a warning. 

 

ROSTERS: A player’s name shall not be on the starting line-up, unless the player is present in the team area.

a.       Eligible roster members may be added to the list at any time during the game. All players in attendance, health/injured or otherwise must be written on the score sheet.

b.       The name of the team must be noted on the roster, date and time of game.

c.        Teams may add up to 4 POOL players to field a qualified team (9 players for Men, 10 players for Women)

 

PLAYERS: A Modified Fast Pitch team shall consist of 9 players (Men) or 10 players (Women) in the following positions:

Pitcher (F1), catcher (F2), first baseman (F3), second baseman (F4), third baseman(F5), shortstop (F6), left fielder (F7), center fielder (F8) and right fielder (F9), Rover (F10-w).

a.       Players of the team in the field may be stationed anywhere on fair territory, except the catcher, who must be in the catcher's box, and the pitcher, who must be in a legal pitching position at the start of each pitch.

b.       A team must have the required number of players present in the team area to start or continue a game, otherwise the game is forfeited.

c.        Players must play in a minimum of 60% of the regular season games to be eligible to participate in the playoffs.

 

SUBSTITUTES/ILLEGAL PLAYERS: Pitchers playing in an above division are not allowed to pitch down a division.

ILLEGAL PLAYERS (OFFENSE): If the illegal player/Out of order batter is discovered by the defense:

a.       While the illegal player is at bat, the illegal Player is “Declared Ineligible”, an appropriate better shall resume the ball and strike count. Any advance of runners while the Illegal Player is at bat, shall be deemed illegal.

b.       After the Illegal Player has completed a turn at bat, and before the next legal or illegal pitch, before the defensive team has left the field, or before the umpires have left the game, the Illegal Player is called out and “Declared Ineligible.” Any advance of runners as a result of the Illegal Player becoming a batter-runner is nullified. Any additional outs that were recorded on the play will stand.

c.        If the player is in the game illegally as a runner, and it is brought to the attention of the umpire before the next legal or illegal pitch has been thrown or a play made, this is a correctable situation.

d.       If the player is in the game illegally as a runner, and is discovered after a legal or illegal pitch has been thrown, or a play made, the player is “Declared Ineligible” and replaced on the base, by the last recorded out.

e.       No team shall use a player whom is not registered to their own team, nor shall a team use an unregistered player to participate in a game. All players/subs must be BBSC members. Teams may use up to 4 POOL players.

f.         Teams found to have unregistered players after a protest has been made, will be found to have forfeited the game due to misconduct and may face further repercussions.

 

DISPUTED CALLS: Any team member disputing any judgment decision by an umpire will constitute a team warning. Any repeat offense shall result in the ejection of that team member. 

 

REPLACEMENT PLAYERS: In the event of any player bleeding during the game, that player must be withdrawn from the game if the bleeding cannot be stopped within a reasonable time, or their uniform becomes covered with blood. 

a.       The withdrawn player shall not return to the game until all bleeding ceases, the injury cleaned and covered and, if necessary, uniform replaced.

b.       The withdrawn player shall be replaced by another eligible Player, who may act for the withdrawn player for the remainder of the inning in progress (i.e., until the end of the inning of the team batting).

c.        As long as the minimum number (7) seven players remain, the game can continue.

 

 

THE GAME

 

FITNESS OF THE GROUNDS: The fitness of the ground for a game shall be decided by the head umpire.

 

REGULATION GAME: A regulation game shall consist of seven innings.

a.       A game that is tied at the end of seven innings shall be continued by playing an additional inning, time permitting.

b.       A game called by the umpire shall be regulation if at least 3 (if the home team leading) or up to 7 or more complete innings have been played. The umpire is empowered to call a game at any time because of darkness, rain, fire, panic or other cause, which puts the patrons or players in peril.

c.        A regulation tie game shall be declared if the score is equal when the game is called, or if the team second at bat has equaled the score of the first team at bat in the incomplete inning.

d.       These provisions do not apply to any acts on the part of players or spectators, which might call for forfeiture of the game. The plate umpire may forfeit the game if any team member or spectator physically attacks any umpire.

 

GROUNDS FOR FORFEIT: The plate umpire shall declare a forfeit in favor of the team not at fault in the following cases:

a.       If a team fails to appear on the field or, being on the field, refuses to begin a game for which it is scheduled or assigned at the time scheduled or within a time set for forfeitures by BBSC.

b.       If, after the game has begun, one side refuses to continue to play, unless the game has been suspended or terminated by the umpire.

c.        If, after the umpire has suspended play, one side fails to resume playing within two minutes after the umpire has called "PLAY BALL."

d.       If a team employs tactics designed to delay or to hasten the game.

e.       If, after warning by the umpire, any one of the rules of the game is willfully violated.

f.         If the order for the removal or ejection of a player or any person authorized to sit on the team bench is not obeyed within 2 minutes.

g.        If, because of the removal or ejection of the players from the game by the umpire or for any cause there are less than the required minimum to continue.

h.       If a declared Ineligible Player re-enters the game and one pitch has been thrown.

i.         If an ejected player/coach/manager is discovered participating in the game again or refuses to leave the park after having been told to do so.

 

 

WINNER OF GAME: The winner of the game shall be the team that scores more runs in a regulation game.

a.                   The score of a called regulation game shall be the score at the end of the last complete inning, unless the team second at bat has scored more runs than the first team at bat in the incomplete inning. In this case, the score shall be that of the incomplete inning.

b.                   The score of a forfeited game shall be 7-0 in favor of the team not at fault.

 

 

TIE-BREAKER (PLAYOFFS ONLY): Starting with the top of the eighth inning, and each half inning thereafter, the offensive team shall begin its turn at bat with the player who is scheduled to bat ninth (in that respective half-inning being placed on second base. 

a.                   The player who is running can be substituted in accordance with the substitution rules.

b.                   If an incorrect runner in the line-up is placed on second base, this error may be corrected as soon as it is noticed. There is no penalty.

 

SCORING OF RUNS: One run shall be scored each time a runner legally touches first, second, third bases and home plate before the third out of the inning. EXCEPTION: When the tie-breaker is used, the runner starting at second base does not have to touch first base in order for a legal run to be scored.

a.                   In order to ensure a more balanced and exciting game, a maximum of SIX (6) runs can be scored by a team in one inning, FROM INNINGS 1 THROUGH 4. For innings 5,6,7 no run limitation.

b.                   Once SIX runs have been scored, the inning is declared to be over. If a player is still “at bat” while the SIXTH run is scored they will be the first “at bat” the next inning

c.                    The MERCY RULE is imposed, after the FIFTH OR SIXTH (5 OR 6) inning, if a team leads by 18 runs.

d.                   A run shall not be scored if the third out of the inning is a result of:

                                I.             The batter-runner being put out before legally touching first base.

                              II.             A runner being forced out (including on an appeal play) due to the batter becoming a batter-runner.

                            III.             The runner fails to keep contact with the base to which he is entitled until a pitch is batted or reached home plate.

                            IV.             A preceding runner being declared out.

e.                   Team reps for both teams will be responsible for keeping score.

                                I.             After each 2 innings of play the scores shall be compared for to avoid discrepancies.

                              II.             In the event of a discrepancy the umpires score will stand.

                            III.             Score keepers will review final scores and UMPIRE to sign the WINNING scoresheet.

 

PITCHING REGULATIONS

 

PRELIMINARIES: Before commencing the delivery (pitch), the pitcher:

a.       May not take the pitching position on or near the pitcher's plate without having the ball in their possession.

b.       Shall not be considered in the pitching position unless the catcher is in position to receive the pitch.

c.        Must, after taking the signal, bring their body to a full and complete stop with the ball held in both hands in front of the body. This position must be held for five (5) seconds before releasing the ball.

 

LEGAL DELIVERY (MODIFIED PITCHING REGULATIONS):

a.       The pitching action must resemble that of a straight bowling motion or a figure eight, NO BEND IN THE ELBOW AT THE PEAK OF THE BACKSWING. Arm cannot rise above the shoulder on the back swing.

b.       At no time can a pitcher’s arm be more then (1’) one foot from the leg or body.

c.        At least ONE FOOT must start on the rubber with one clear step forward (no stepping to the side OR BACK if starting with Both Feet on the rubber). A Foot can drag after release of the ball, hop step is ILLEGAL.

d.       The pitcher may release the ball PALM facing down. No windmill or sling-shot type pitch is permitted.

e.       Pitchers MUST WEAR A FACE MASK WHILE PITCHING. Pitchers can also use a Trapper or glove. 

 

f.         Pitchers may pitch up a division as a sub, but not drop to a lower division to pitch as a sub. 

g.        A player may register on more than 1 team. However, Pitchers can only pitch for 1 team. They are not allowed to pitch for multiple teams they are registered on.

 

CHARGED DEFENSIVE CONFERENCES: One charged conference per inning will remain in effect before a pitcher must be removed from the pitching position. A second conference will result in the pitcher being removed from the mound. 

 

THE CATCHER: Must remain within the catcher's box until the pitch is released.

a.       Shall return the ball directly to the pitcher after each pitch, including after a foul ball.

b.       EXCEPTION: This does not apply

                                I.             After a strikeout, or

                              II.             When the batter becomes a batter-runner, or

                            III.             When there are runners on base, or

                            IV.             When a foul ball is fielded close to the foul line and the catcher throws to any base for a possible out, or

                              V.             When, on a checked swing on a dropped third strike situation, the catcher throws to first base to retire the batter- runner.

 

INTENTIONAL WALK: If the pitcher desires to walk a batter intentionally they may do so by notifying the plate umpire who shall award the batter first base.

a.       The pitcher’s notification to the umpire shall be considered a pitch.

b.       The notification can occur at any time prior to a batter beginning and ending their time at bat regardless of the count.

c.        The ball is dead and runners cannot advance unless forced.

 

WARM-UP PITCHES: At the beginning of the first inning for both teams, or when a pitcher relieves another, not more than one minute may be used to deliver not more than five pitches to the catcher or another team member. 

a.       At the start of each half inning (after the first inning), the pitcher shall be allowed only three warm-up pitches to warm up.

b.       EXCEPTION: This does not apply if the umpire delays the start, or resumption, of play due to substitution, conference, injuries, etc.

c.        A pitcher returning to pitch in the same half inning will not be entitled to warm-up pitches.

 

NO PITCH: When No Pitch is declared, the ball is dead, and all subsequent action on that pitch is cancelled. No pitch shall be declared under the following conditions:

a.        The pitcher pitches during a suspension of play.

b.       The pitcher attempts a quick return of the ball

                                I.             Before the batter has taken their position, or

                              II.             When the batter is off balance as a result of a previous pitch.

c.        A runner is called out for leaving a base prior to the pitcher releasing the pitch and the ball crossing the plate.

d.       The pitcher pitches before a runner has retouched their base after a foul ball has been declared and the ball is dead.

e.       A player, rep, or coach:

                                I.             Calls "Time", or

                              II.             Employs any other word or phrase, or

                            III.             Commits any act while the ball is alive and in play

                            IV.             for the obvious purpose of trying to make the pitcher commit an illegal pitch.

f.          A warning shall be issued to the offending team, and a repeat of this type act by any member of the team warned shall result in the offender being ejected from the game.

DROPPED BALL: If the ball slips from the pitcher's hand during their delivery: A ball is declared on the batter, the ball will remain in play, and the runners may advance at their own risk.

 

 

BATTING

 

THE ON-DECK BATTER: At the start of an inning is the lead-off batter, who must remain on-deck until called to the batter’s box.

a.       Once an inning has started, the next offensive player in the batting line-up is the next player to enter the batter’s box, and shall take a position within the on-deck area. 

 

LEAVING THE ON-DECK CIRCLE: A batter may leave the on-deck circle:

a.       When he becomes the batter, or

b.       To direct runners advancing from third to home plate, or

c.        To avoid possible interference on fly ball or overthrown ball.

 

ON-DECK INTERFERENCE: The On-Deck Batter may not interfere with the defensive player's opportunity to make a play. If interference occurs, the ball is dead and:

a.       If interference is with a defensive fielder’s attempt to retire a runner:

                                I.             The runner closest to home plate at the time of the interference shall be called out, and

                              II.             Other runners are returned to the last base held at the time of the interference, unless forced because the batter became a runner.

b.       If interference is with a defensive fielder attempting to catch a fly ball, or with a fly ball that a fielder is attempting to catch,

                                I.             The batter-runner shall be called out, and

                              II.             Runners are returned to the base held at the time of the pitch.

 

BATTING ORDER: The batting order of each team must be on the score sheet/line-up card and must be delivered before the game by the coach or rep to the plate umpire.

a.       The batting order delivered to the umpire must be followed throughout the game unless a player is removed due to injury, at which point all players move up one position in the batting order.

b.       The first batter in each inning shall be the batter whose name follows that of the last player who completed a turn at bat in the preceding inning.


BATTING OUT-OF-ORDER: Batting out-of-order is an appeal play that may be made by the coach/rep only.

a.       If the error is discovered while the incorrect batter is at bat:

                                I.             The correct batter may legally take their place, and assume the ball and strike count of the incorrect batter.

                              II.             Any runs scored or bases run while the incorrect batter is at bat shall be legal.

b.       If the error is discovered after the incorrect batter has completed their turn at bat and before a legal or illegal pitch has been made to another batter:

                                I.             The player who should have batted is out.

                              II.             Any advance or score made as a result of the improper batter becoming a batter-runner shall be nullified.

                            III.             Any out that is made prior to discovering this infraction, remains out.

                            IV.             The next batter is the player whose name follows that of the player called out for failing to bat. If the next player was the incorrect batter who was called out, go to the next person in the line-up.

                              V.             If the batter declared out under these circumstances is the third out, the correct batter in the next inning shall be the player who would have come to bat had the player been put out by ordinary play.

                            VI.             If the third out is made on a runner prior to the discovery of the infraction, an appeal may still be made in order to reinstate the correct batting order. This appeal, if made, does not result in an additional out.

 

c.        If the error is discovered after the first legal or illegal pitch to the next batter:

                                I.             The turn at bat of the incorrect batter is legal.

                              II.             All runs scored and bases run are legal.

                            III.             The next batter in order shall be the one whose name follows that of the incorrect batter.

                            IV.             No one is called out for failure to bat.

                              V.             Players who have not batted and who have not been called out have lost their turn at bat until reached again in the regular order.

 

d.       No runner shall be removed from the base they are occupying to bat in proper place. The player merely misses their turn at bat with no penalty. The batter following in the batting order becomes the legal batter.

                                            I.             EXCEPTION: The batter-runner who has been taken off the base by the umpire as in Section bII above.

                                          II.             When the third out in an inning is made before the batter has completed the turn at bat, that batter shall be the first batter in the next inning, and the ball and strike count shall be cancelled.

 

e.       A player arriving late, will be placed at the bottom of the batting order, starting the next full inning.

 

BATTERS WITH LIMITING PHYSICAL CONDITIONS: must reach at a minimum first base, prior to requesting a replacement runner. The replacement runner should be the last out in the inning.

 

BATTING POSITION: The batter must take their position in the batter’s box within 30 seconds after the umpire has declared “Play Ball”. 

a.       If the batter does not take their position in the batter’s box within 30 seconds after the umpire has declared “Play Ball”:

                                I.             The umpire shall call a strike. 

                              II.             A pitch does not need to be thrown

                            III.             The ball becomes dead.

 

b.       The batter must have both feet completely within the batter's box (3 feet to the rear of the plate and 4ft to the front and 3ft wide). 

 

LEAVING THE BATTER’S BOX: 

a.       The batter can leave the batter’s box;

                                I.             If the ball is hit fair or foul.

                              II.             On the swing, slap or check swing.

                            III.             If forced out of the box by a pitch.

                            IV.             On a wild pitch or passed ball.

                              V.             If there is an attempted play at the plate.

                            VI.             If time out has been called.

                          VII.             If the pitcher leaves the eight-foot circle or the catcher leaves the catcher’s box.

b.       If the batter leaves the batter’s box, delays play, and none of these exceptions apply:

                                I.             The umpire shall call a strike.

                              II.             No pitch has to be thrown.

                            III.             The ball is dead.

 

TYPES OF STRIKES: A strike is called by the umpire:

a.       For each legally pitched ball entering the strike zone (a ball consistently staying between the knees and armpits of a batter) before touching the ground and at which the batter does not swing.

                                I.             EXCEPTION: It is not a strike if the pitched ball touches home plate and is not swung at.

                              II.             The batter cannot legally swing at any pitched ball that hits the ground or plate. However, if the batter swings and misses the pitch prior to the ball hitting the ground or plate, it is a strike.

 

b.       For each pitched ball including an illegal pitch, struck at and missed by the batter.

                                I.             The batter cannot legally swing at any pitched ball that hits the ground or plate. However, if the batter swings and misses the pitch prior to the ball hitting the ground or plate, it is a strike.

 

c.        For each foul tip.

d.       For each foul ball when the batter has less than two strikes.

e.       For each pitched ball struck at and missed which touches any part of the batter.

f.         When any part of the batter's person or clothing is hit with their own-batted ball when they are in the batter's box and he has less than two strikes. 

g.        When a pitched ball hits the batter while the ball is in the strike zone. 

h.       When the batter fails to enter the batter's box within 15 seconds after the umpire calls "PLAY BALL." 

 

WHEN A STRIKE OCCURS: refer to the section titled TYPES OF STRIKES.

a.       When strike type a or b occurs:

                                I.             The ball is dead.

                              II.             Runners may not advance.

 

b.       When strike type c occurs:

                                I.             The ball is in play and runners may advance with liability to be put out. 

                              II.             The batter is out if it is the third strike.

                            III.             The ball is dead on any strike.

 

c.        When strike types d-h occur:

                                I.             The ball is dead.

                              II.             Runners must return to their bases without liability to be put out.

 

TYPES OF BALLS: A ball is called by the umpire:

a.       For each legally pitched ball that

                                I.             Does not enter the strike zone, or

                              II.             ii.    Touches the ground before reaching home plate and is not swung at,

                            III.             iii.   Touches home plate and at which the batter does not swing.

 

b.       For each illegally pitched ball not swung at.

 

 

WHEN A BALL OCCURS: refer to the section titled TYPES OF BALLS.

a.       When ball type a occurs:

                                            I.             The ball is in play.

                                          II.             Runners may advance with liability to be put out.

 

b.       When ball type b occurs:

                                I.             The ball is dead.

                              II.             Runners may not advance.

 

BATTER IS OUT: The batter will be called “Out” by the umpire:

a.       When the third strike is:

                                            I.             Swung at and missed and the ball touches any part of the batter's person.

b.       When their foot is completely outside the lines of the batter's box and touching the ground, or any part of a foot is touching home plate when he hits the ball fair or foul.

c.        When they bunt foul after the second strike. EXCEPTION: If a runner interferes with:

                                I.             A fielder attempting to catch a bunted fly ball in foul territory, or

                              II.             A foul fly ball that a fielder is attempting to catch, the runner is out. The batter-runner will then return to bat with an additional strike on the foul ball, providing the count prior to hitting the ball was less than two strikes.

                            III.             If this interference, in the umpire’s judgment, is an obvious attempt to prevent a double play, the runner closest to home plate at the time of the interference shall also be called out.

                            IV.             If the bunted fly ball is caught, the ball remains alive and in play.

 

d.       When he hits a fair ball with the bat a second time over fair territory. EXCEPTION: 

                                I.             If the batter is standing in the batter's box and contact is made while the bat is in their hands, a foul ball is ruled, even if the ball is hit a second time over fair territory.

                              II.             If the batter drops the bat and the ball rolls against the bat over fair territory, and in the umpire’s judgment, there was no intention to interfere with the course of the ball, the ball should be ruled fair or foul depending on where it comes to rest or is first touched by a player.

e.    When they:

                                I.             Hinder the catcher from catching or throwing the ball by stepping out of the batter's box, or

                              II.             Intentionally hinder the catcher while standing within the batter's box, or

                            III.             Interfere with a play at home plate.

                            IV.             Intentionally interfere with a thrown ball while in or out of the batter’s box.

 

f.         When a called or swinging third strike is caught by the catcher.

g.        When he has three strikes and first base is occupied, with less than two out.

 

 

WHEN A BATTER IS OUT: refer to the section titled BATTER IS OUT.

a.       When out types a-c occur:

                                I.             The ball is dead.

                              II.             Each runner must return to the base that, in the umpire's judgment, was touched at the time of the pitch.

 

b.       When out type occurs:

                                I.             The ball is dead.

                              II.              Each runner must return to the last base that, in the umpire's judgment, was touched at the time of the interference.

c.        When out types and g occur:

                                I.             The ball is live.

                              II.             Runners may advance with liability to be put out.

 

 

BATTER-RUNNER AND BATTER

 

TYPES OF BATTER-RUNNERS: The batter becomes a batter-runner:

a.       When they legally hit a fair ball.

b.       When the catcher fails to catch the third strike before the ball touches the ground and

                                I.             There are less than two outs and first base is unoccupied (only in Men’s), or

                              II.             There are two outs. This is known as the third strike rule.

 

c.        When four balls have been called by the plate umpire.

 

d.       If the pitcher desires to walk a batter intentionally. The pitcher may do this by notifying the plate umpire who shall award the batter first base.

                                I.             If two batters are to be walked intentionally the second intentional walk may not be administered until the first batter reaches first base.

                              II.             The pitcher's notification to the umpire shall be considered a pitch.

                            III.             This can occur at any time prior to a batter beginning and ending their time at bat, regardless of the count. 

 

e.       When the catcher or any other defensive player obstructs, hinders, or prevents the batter from striking at, or hitting a pitched ball.

 

f.         When a pitched ball not swung at, nor called a strike, touches any part of the batter's person or clothing while he is in the batter's box. 

                                I.             It does not matter if the ball strikes the ground before hitting him

                              II.             The batter's hands are not to be considered a part of the bat.     

 

 

WHEN A BATTER BECOMES A BATTER RUNNER: refer to the section titled TYPES OF BATTER-RUNNERS

a.       When becoming batter-runner type and b:

                                I.             The ball is in play.

                              II.             The batter becomes a batter-runner with liability to be put out.

b.       When becoming batter-runner type c:

                                            I.             The batter is awarded one base without liability to be put out, provided he advances to and touches first base.

                                          II.             If the umpire mistakenly allows two walks at one time and the first batter fails to touch first base, no appeal will be honored on the first batter.

                                        III.             The ball is dead and runners may not advance unless forced.

 

c.        When becoming batter-runner type d:

                                            I.             The ball is dead.

                                          II.             Runners cannot advance unless forced.

 

d.       When becoming batter-runner type e

                                I.             The umpire shall give a delayed dead ball signal with the ball remaining live until the end of play.

                              II.             The manager of the offensive team has the option of: (a) Taking the award for "catcher obstruction", or (b) Taking the result of the play.

                            III.             If the batter hits the ball and reaches first base safely, and if all other runners have advanced at least one base on the batted ball, "catcher obstruction" is cancelled. All action as a result of the batted ball stands. No option is given.

                            IV.             Once a runner has passed a base, even if he misses it, he is considered to have reached that base.

                              V.             If the coach/rep does not take the result of the play, "catcher obstruction" is enforced by awarding the batter first base and advancing all other runners only if forced.

 

e.       When becoming batter-runner type f:

                                        III.             The ball is dead.

                                        IV.             The batter-runner is entitled to one base without liability to be put out (UMPIRES’ DISCRETION: If the pitch was easily avoidable, it can just be called a ball).

 

 

REQUESTING A RUNNER: A batter may request a runner for reasons of physical disability and/or injury only upon reaching first

base or beyond. The substitute runner must be the last player called “out”. Refer to BATTING, BATTERS WITH LIMITING PHYSICAL CONDITIONS. 

 

BATTER-RUNNER IS OUT:

a.       When the catcher drops the third strike and the batter-runner is legally touched with the ball while off base or thrown out prior to reaching first base. (Women’s: batter is automatic out after 3rd strike)

b.       When a fielder legally catches a fly ball before it touches the ground, or any object or person other than a defensive player.

c.        When, after hitting a fair ball, the player is tagged while off base or thrown out prior to reaching first base. 

d.       When the player fails to advance to first base and instead enters their team area:

                                            I.             After a fair ball is hit, or

                                          II.             After a base on balls is issued, or

                                        III.             Anytime that he may legally advance to first base.

 

e.       When an Infield Fly is declared.

f.         When, after a player hits a fair ball, they touch only the fair portion of the double base on their first attempt at that base and a play is made at the base.

g.        When they:

                                            I.             Run outside the one meter (3 ft) lane and, in the umpire's judgment, interfere with (a) The fielder taking the throw at first base, or (b) The thrown ball, preventing a fielder from making a play at first base. NOTE: A thrown ball striking a batter-runner does not necessarily constitute interference.

                                          II.             Interfere with a fielder attempting to field a batted ball. NOTE: The batter-runner may run outside the one-meter line to avoid a fielder attempting to field the batted ball.

                                        III.             Interfere with a fielder attempting to throw a ball.

                                        IV.             Intentionally interfere with a thrown ball.

                                          V.             Interfere with a fair-batted ball (out of the batter's box) before reaching first base.

                                        VI.             Interfere with a dropped third strike (Men ONLY).

NOTE: If this interference is, in the umpire’s judgment, an obvious attempt to prevent a double play, the runner closest to home plate at the time of the interference shall also be called out.

 

h.       When they interfere with a play at home plate in an attempt to prevent an obvious out at the plate. NOTE: The runner is also out.

i.         When they step back toward home plate to avoid or delay a tag by a fielder.

j.         If, when using the double base in a force play situation, they touch only the fair portion of the base and collide with a fielder who is about to catch a thrown ball and who is also using the fair portion of the base.

k.        When a member of the team at bat interferes with a player attempting to field a batted foul fly ball.

l.         When a batter touches the orange safety bag and turns inward in an advancing motion towards second base.

                                  I.             EXCEPTION: (a) If this interference occurs while there are runners on base, then the runner closest to home at the time of the interference is out. (b) If a runner creates the interference, then the runner is out.

                                II.             In both EXCEPTIONS the batter-runner returns to bat with an additional strike on the foul ball, provided the count prior to hitting the ball was less than two strikes.

                              III.             If this interference is the third out, the batter-runner will return to bat as the lead off batter in the next inning, with the original ball and strike count cancelled.

m.     When, with less than two outs and a runner on first base, a fielder intentionally drops a fair fly ball (including a line drive or a bunt) that could be caught by an infielder with ordinary effort, after it is controlled with a hand or a glove. A trapped ball, or a fly ball allowed to bounce, shall not be considered as having been intentionally dropped. 

 

n.       When the immediate preceding runner who is not yet out intentionally interferes, in the umpire's judgment, with a fielder who is attempting to:

                                I.             Catch a thrown ball, or

                              II.             Throw a ball in an attempt to complete the play. 



o.       When any person, other than a team member, enters the playing field and interferes with:

                                            I.             A fielder about to catch a fly ball, or

                                          II.             A fly ball that a defensive player, in the judgment of the umpire, is able to catch.

 

WHEN A BATTER-RUNNER IS OUT: refer to the section titled BATTER-RUNNER IS OUT.

a.       When out types a-e occur:

                                I.             The ball is in play.

                              II.             Runners may advance at their own risk.

 

b.       When out type f occurs:

                                            I.             This is an appeal play and the defensive team loses the privilege of putting the batter-runner out, if the appeal is not made before he returns to first base, after over-running the base.

c.        When out types g-k occur:

                                            I.             The ball is dead.

                                          II.             All runners must return to the last base legally touched at the time of the pitch. EXCEPTION: If a play is made on a runner prior to the interference, and (a) An out is made on the runner; the result of that play shall stand. (b) No out is made on the runner; the result of that play shall stand, unless the interference by the batter-runner is the third out. Other runners not played on must return to the last base legally held at the time of the pitch.

d.       When out type l or m occurs: 

                                            I.             The ball is dead.

                                          II.             Runners must return to last base held at the time of the pitch. 

                                        III.             NOTE: If an infield fly is ruled, it has precedence over an intentionally dropped ball.

 

e.       When out type n occurs: 

                                I.             The ball is dead.

                              II.             The runner shall also be called out.

                            III.             All other runners must return to the last base legally held at the time of the interference.

f.         When out type o occurs:

                                            I.             The ball is dead.

                                          II.             Runners may be awarded a base or bases they would have made, in the umpire's judgment, had the interference not occurred.

 

TOUCHING BASES IN LEGAL ORDER: Runners must touch bases in legal order (i.e. first, second, third and home plate). EXCEPTION: If a runner is obstructed at a base preventing the runner from touching that base.

a.       When a runner is returning to

a.       The base left before a caught fly ball is first touched, or

b.       The missed base, while the ball is in play, they must touch the bases in reverse order.

 

b.       When a runner or batter-runner acquires the right to a base by touching it before being put out, they are entitled to hold the base until they have legally touched the next base in order, or are forced to vacate it for a succeeding runner.

c.        When a runner dislodges a base from its proper position neither they nor succeeding runner(s) in the same series of plays are compelled to follow a base unreasonably out of position.

 

d.       Two runners may not occupy the same base

 

e.       Failure of a preceding runner to touch a base, or to leave a base legally on a caught fly ball and who is declared out does not affect the status of a succeeding runner who touches bases in proper order. EXCEPTION: If the failure to touch a base in regular order or to legally tag up on a caught fly ball is the third out of the inning, no succeeding runner may score a run.

f.         No runner may return to touch a missed base or one left illegally, after a following runner has scored, or they leave the field of play.

g.        Bases left too soon on a caught fly ball must be retouched prior to advancing to awarded bases.

h.       Awarded bases must be touched in legal order. EXCEPTION: Unless a runner is obstructed at a base preventing the runner from touching that base.

i.         A player must use the white half of the first base safety bag if they have the intent to move towards second base in their same at bat.

 

WHEN TOUCHING BASES IN LEGAL ORDER: refer to the section titled BATTER-RUNNER IS OUT.

a.       When a occurs:

                                            I.             The ball is in play.

                                          II.             Runners must return with liability to be put out.

 

b.       When b or c occurs:

                                I.             The ball is in play.

                              II.             Runners may advance, or return, with liability to be put out simultaneously.

 

c.        When d occurs:

                                I.             The runner who first legally occupied the base shall be entitled to it, unless forced to advance.

                              II.             The other runner may be put out, by being touched with the ball.

 

d.       When e-h occur:

                                I.             The runner shall be declared out, if the defense makes a legal appeal before the next legal or illegal pitch.

 

RUNNERS ARE ENTITLED TO ADVANCE WITH LIABILITY TO BE PUT OUT: In all of these scenarios, runners are entitled to advance with liability to be put out and the ball is in play.

a.       When a pitched ball crosses the plate.

b.       On a thrown ball or fair batted ball that is not blocked.

c.        On a thrown ball that hits an umpire.

d.       When a legally caught fly ball is first touched.

e.       When a fair batted ball:

                                I.             Strikes an umpire or a runner after having passed a fielder other than the pitcher and provided no other fielder had a chance to make an out, or

                              II.             Has been touched by a fielder, including the pitcher.

f.         When a live ball becomes lodged in a defensive player’s uniform or equipment.

 

 

A RUNNER FORFEITS THEIR EXEMPTION FROM LIABILITY TO BE PUT OUT:

a.       If, at any time, they fail to touch a base he is entitled to before attempting to make the next base. EXCEPTION: If a runner is obstructed at a base preventing the runner from touching that base.

b.       If, after overrunning first base, they attempt to continue to second base.

c.        If, after dislodging a base, they attempt to continue to the next base.

d.       If, on an illegal pitch not hit, they attempt to advance beyond the one base to which they are legally entitled. 

e.       When advancing beyond an entitled base due to

                                I.             A fielder intentionally contacting a thrown ball with detached equipment.

                              II.             A fielder intentionally contacting a fair batted ball with detached equipment.

 

f.         When advancing beyond a protected or awarded base when they have been obstructed.

g.        When advancing beyond one base on an illegal pitch that is also a passed ball or a wild pitch.

h.       When advancing beyond the base to which they are forced because of a base on balls being issued to the batter.

 

 

RUNNERS ARE ENTITLED TO ADVANCE WITHOUT LIABILITY TO BE PUT OUT:

a.       When forced to vacate a base because the batter was awarded a base on balls.

b.       When a fielder prevents the runner from making a base, or impedes the progress of a runner or batter-runner who is legally running bases; if the fielder is

                                I.             Not in possession of the ball, or

                              II.             Not in the act of fielding a batted ball, or

                            III.             Making a fake tag without the ball.

                            IV.             In possession of the ball and they push a runner off a base in an attempt to gain an out, or

                              V.             In possession of the ball, but not in the act of making a play on the runner which intentionally impedes the progress of that runner or batter-runner who is legally running the bases.

c.        When a wild pitch or passed ball goes under, over, through or lodges in the backstop. In this scenario, the ball is dead. All runners are awarded one base only. The batter is awarded first base only on the fourth ball.

d.       When a fielder intentionally contacts, or catches a fair batted, thrown, or pitched ball with THEIR cap, helmet, mask, protector, pocket, detached glove or any part of the uniform that is detached from its proper place on their person. 

                                            I.             EXCEPTION: On a pitched ball, that eludes the catcher and is retrieved with detached equipment there is no penalty if (a) The runner(s) are not advancing, (b) No apparent play is possible, or  (c) No advantage is gained.

                                          II.             NOTE: The batter may only advance to first base on ball four, or on a dropped third strike. In each situation, they may advance farther at their own risk, as the ball remains alive.

 

e.       When the ball is in play and is overthrown (beyond the boundary lines) from the field.

f.         When any person, other than a team member, enters the playing field and interferes with:

                                            I.             A fielder about to catch a fly ball, or

                                          II.             A fly ball that a defensive player is able to catch, or

                                        III.             A fair ball ground ball, or

                                        IV.             A fielder about to field or catch a thrown ball, or

                                          V.             A fielder about to throw a ball, or

                                        VI.             A ball thrown by a fielder. 

 

 

WHEN ADVANCING WITHOUT LIABILITY: Refer to the corresponding scenarios described in the section above, RUNNERS ARE ENTITLED TO ADVANCE WITHOUT LIABILITY TO BE PUT OUT.

 

In scenario b, when any obstruction occurs (including a rundown):

a.       A Delayed Dead Ball should be signaled, with the ball remaining alive until the end of the play.

b.       The obstructed runner, and each other runner affected by the obstruction, will always be awarded the base or bases they would have reached, in the umpire's judgment, had there been no obstruction. 

c.        If the umpire feels there is justification, a defensive player making a fake tag could be ejected from the game.

d.       If the obstructed runner is put out prior to reaching the base he would have reached had there not been obstruction, a dead ball is called. 

e.       The obstructed runner and each other runner affected by the obstruction will be awarded the base, or bases, they would have reached, in the umpire's judgment had obstruction not occurred.

f.         An obstructed runner may never be called out between the two bases where he was obstructed.

 

EXCEPTIONS:

a.       If the obstructed runner commits an act of interference after the obstruction is ruled, or the runner is legally appealed for (a) Missing a base, unless the runner has been obstructed at that base and the obstruction prevents them from touching the base, or (b) leaving a base before a fly ball was first touched, of (c) after

b.       If the obstructed runner safely obtains the base he would have been awarded, in the umpire’s judgment, and there is a subsequent play on a different runner, the obstructed runner is no longer protected between the bases where the runner was obstructed, and may be put out. The ball remains alive.

 

NOTE: Obstructed runners are still required to touch all bases in proper order, or they could be called out on a proper appeal by the defensive team. EXCEPTION: If a runner is obstructed at a base preventing the runner from touching that base.

In scenario e, the following occurs:

a.       All runners, including the batter-runner, shall be awarded two bases, and the award will be governed by the position of the runners when the ball left the fielder's hand.

b.       Runners may return to touch a base left too soon on a caught fly ball, or a missed base.

c.        If two runners are between the same bases, the award is based on the position of the lead runner.
EXCEPTION:

                                I.             When a fielder loses possession of the ball such as on an attempted tag, and the ball enters the dead ball area or becomes blocked, each runner is awarded one base from the last base touched at the time the ball entered the dead ball area.

                              II.             If a runner touches the next base and returns to the original base, the original base he left is considered the "last base touched'' for purposes of an overthrow award.

                            III.             If the ball becomes blocked due to offensive team equipment, the ball is ruled dead and runners are returned to the last base touched at the time of the blocked ball. If the blocked ball prevented the defense from making a play, the runner being played on is called out. (If this player has scored prior to the blocked ball being ruled, the runner closest to home is called out).

NOTE: A fielder carrying a live ball into the dugout or team area to tag a player is considered to have unintentionally carried it there.

In scenario f, the following occurs:

a.       The ball is dead.

b.       Runners may advance to the base or bases they would have reached, in the umpire's judgment, had the interference not occurred.

 

In scenario g, when a ball is lodged in (a) Umpire gear or clothing, or (b) In offensive player’s clothing:

a.       The ball is dead.

b.       The runners are advanced to the base or bases they would have reached, in the umpire’s judgment, had the ball not been lodged.

 

 

A RUNNER MUST RETURN TO THEIR BASE: A runner must return to their base, but need not touch the intervening bases:

a.       When a batted ball is declared foul.

b.       When the umpire declares the ball to have been illegally batted. 

c.        When a batter-runner is called out for interference.

d.       When the on-deck batter, or any other non-playing team member, creates interference. 

e.       When a pitched ball hits a batter.

f.         When, with less than two out and a runner on first base, a fielder intentionally drops a fair fly ball (including a line drive or a bunt) that could be caught by an infielder with ordinary effort, after it is controlled with a hand or a glove. NOTE: If an infield fly is ruled, it has precedence over an intentionally dropped ball. 

g.        When a batter, or runner, is called out for interference. 

h.       When the plate umpire, or their clothing, interferes with the catcher's attempt to retire a runner stealing, or on an attempted pickoff play. NOTE: If, on a passed ball or wild pitch, a thrown ball from the catcher hits the umpire, it is not umpire interference and the ball remains live.

 

WHEN A RUNNER MUST RETURN TO THEIR BASE: refer to the section titled A RUNNER MUST RETURN TO THEIR BASE.

a.       In scenarios a-f:

                          I.       The ball is dead.

                        II.       The runner must return, without liability to be put out, to the last base legally held at the time of the pitch, unless forced to advance because the batter became a batter-runner.

 

b.       In scenario g

                          I.       The ball is dead.

                        II.       The runner must return, without liability to be put out, to the last base legally held at the time of the interference, unless forced to advance because the batter became a batter-runner.

 

c.        In scenario h:

                          I.       A Delayed Dead Ball should be signaled, with the ball remaining live until the conclusion of the play.

                        II.       If the runner being played on:

a.       Is ruled out, the out will stand and the ball is live.

b.