Section 2: Rules of Play

  1. Definitions
  2. Seasonal Play
  3. End of Season Playoffs
  4. Equipment
  5. Field Dimensions
  6. Lineup (includes lineup card procedures)
  7. Time Limit
  8. Legal Pitch Delivery
  9. Game Day and Field Responsibilities
  10. Game Rules
    1. Starting Count
    2. Run Rule
    3. Tie Games
    4. Courtesy Runner
    5. Home Run Rule
    6. Base Running and Fielding
    7. Grace Period
    8. Forfeits
    9. Ejections
  11. Pickup Players
  12. Official Scorekeeping
  13. Protests

Section 2

Rules of Play

  1. Definitions
    1. Players
      1. Offensive: The team at bat. Players who attempt to reach first base by either hitting the ball into play or are walked. An offensive player also attempts to advance the bases in hopes of reaching home plate to score runs.
        1. Base on Balls: Permits a batter to gain first base when four pitches are judged by the umpire to be out of the strike zone.
        2. Runner: An offensive player who has reached first base and has not yet been put out or scored.
        3. Courtesy Runner: Any player who runs for a runner without a charged substitution.
      2. Defensive: The team in the field attempting to prevent the Offensive players from reaching the bases and eventually scoring runs.
      3. Illegal Player: A player who takes a position in the lineup, either on offense or defense, who does not have a legal right to that position.
    2. Coaches
      1. Base Coaches: Is an eligible team member or coach of the team at bat who occupies the coach’s box at first or third base to direct the offensive players who are attempting to advance the bases.
    3. Coach’s Box: The area in which the base coach is restricted to prior to the release of the pitch and while the play is still live.
    4. Home Team: The team that starts the game on defense in the field.
    5. Line-Up Card: The official document listing starting players and substitutions of a given team.
    6. Infield Fly: A fair fly ball, not including a line drive or an attempted bunt, which can be caught by an infielder, pitcher or catcher with ordinary effort when first and second or first, second and third bases are occupied with less than two outs.
  2. Seasonal Play
    1. Season Play
      1. The regular playing season shall commence no later than the first Sunday in May.
      2. Each team will play a minimum of 16 games.
      3. Games may be played any days the league has facilities available.
      4. The Executive Board will be responsible for coordination of season play.
      5. Any team forfeiting more than 50% of their games may be excluded from league playoffs.
    2. For the current season, there will be two Open (Coed) Divisions. They will be Open C and Open D Divisions.
    3. After the season, teams in all SCSL Divisions will be ranked in succession per the following method:
      1. Win/Loss record
      2. Head-to-head competition with teams tied
      3. Teams with the less points scored against
      4. Teams with higher points scored differential
    4. Ranking for end of season playoff seeding will be determined by the regular season standings.
  3. End of Season Playoffs
    1. End of season playoffs will be double elimination at the conclusion of the regular season play.
    2. End of Season Playoff rosters will be due one-week prior to determine player eligibility. Rosters must be submitted to the respective division commissioners.
    3. Any team forfeiting more than 50% of their games may be excluded from league playoffs at the discretion of the Board of Directors.
  4. Equipment
    1. Catcher’s Mask/Face Guard: Each team’s catcher is highly encouraged to wear a catcher’s mask or face guard, but it is not mandatory.
    2. Uniforms: Team members must wear like colored shirts with a number on the back that is at least 6 inches (6”) in height. No two members of the same team may wear the same jersey number. Only the blood rule and the first two weeks of the regular season supersede this rule. Softball shoes are recommended for all players, but not required. No metal cleats allowed! Bandannas are acceptable, but are not to be worn around the neck. Exposed jewelry cannot be worn, although earrings or rings may be taped over.
      1. Blood Rule: any visible sign of blood must be covered. If there is blood on a player’s jersey, he/she must change it. He/she will also be allowed to wear another player’s jersey, a jersey of the same color, or another shirt when an alternate jersey is not available.
    3. Game Balls: The first Home Team of the day is responsible for making sure enough new games balls are provided per game taking place that day. 2 new game balls are to be provided per game. Game balls to be used are determined based on the official softballs approved by ASA and NAGAAA (12” – .52COR/300Comp.) and ASANA (11” – .44 COR/375COMP) for each division.
    4. Bats: All bats for both divisions must conform to the ASA equipment standards. The current ASA Non Approved Bat List from the ASA website (http://usa.asasoftball.com/e/build_batlist_w_pics_2000.asp)can be found in this document. The ASA Non-Approved Bat List will be enforced.
      1. The Official bat must bear either the ASA approved 2000 certification mark, the ASA 2004 certification mark as shown below, or the ASA 2013 Certification Mark (Slow Pitch ONLY) as shown below and must not be listed on an ASA Non-Approved Bat List with Certification Marks, and must be included on a list of approved bat models published by the ASA National Office; or must, in the sole opinion and discretion of the umpire, have been manufactured prior to 2000 and if tested, would comply with the ASA bat performance standards then in effect.
    5. First Aid: The league will provide first aid kits in the game day bins. There will be 1 First Aid Kit per bin. The first home team is responsible for making sure that a First Aid kit is included in the bin along with the rest of the game day equipment.
  5. Field Dimensions
    1. The distance between all bases is 70 feet.
    2. The distance between the tip of home plate and the pitcher’s mound is 50 feet.
    3. The distance from the tip of home plate and the second base is 98’ 11 15/16” on a 70 foot diamond
  6. Lineup
    1. Number of Starting Players: A team must have at least eight (8) players in order to take the field and borrow a catcher; however, borrowing a catcher is at the discretion of the opposing team. Ten (10) players are allowed with four outfielders. If a team starts with nine players, a tenth player may be added as long as the team has not completed its batting order for the first time. If a team starts with ten players, but loses one and must complete play with nine players, an automatic out will occur each time that batter would have been up.
    2. Extra Players: As many as two (2) extra batters are allowed for each team. If a team chooses to have 11 or 12 players in its lineup, the team can designate one or two players as extra players/batters. The offensive position in the lineup of extra players cannot change but defensive position can change. Once the lineup cards have been exchanged they are official and the extra players (EP) cannot be added to the starting lineup.
    3. Official lineup: Both teams are required to keep score. The home team’s score will be the official score. All players eligible and present to participate in a game should be listed on the lineup card. For purposes of post-season eligibility, a player is considered legally part of a game if he/she is present at the playing site before the end of the game and his/her name has been added on the lineup card. A player present at the playing site and listed on the lineup card will receive credit for the End of Season Playoff eligibility regardless of whether they enter the game (i.e. injured players that are present at the game). 
    4. Line Up Card Procedures
      1. A complete lineup card will have the team name, date, player’s last name, first initial, jersey number, and a manager’s or coach’s signature.
      2. List all starting players in the order in which they will bat.
      3. List all substitute players who are eligible and present for that game.
      4. List all injured players who are present and in attendance for the full game at the bottom of the line-up card.
      5. Present the card to the umpire who will check and collect it during the pregame meeting
      6. At the end of each game, managers are required to initial the score on the umpire’s lineup card(s).
      7. The In/Out rule (substitutions):  Any player may be substituted for or replaced and re-entered once provided that the players occupy the same batting position in the batting order.  2015 ASA Rule 4§ 5A.
  7. Time Limit
    1. All games have a 65-minute time limit or 7 innings. No new innings shall start after 60 minutes.  The Umpire will keep the official game clock.
    2. A game called by the Umpire shall be regulation if five or more complete innings have been played, or if the team second at bat has scored more runs in four or more innings than the other team has scored in five or more innings. The Umpire is empowered to call a game at any time because of darkness, rain, fire, panic or any other cause that places the patrons or players in peril. 2016 ASA Rule 5 § 3 C.
    3. When the time limit rule is in effect time begins with the first pitch. If the game is tied after the time limit has expired, the tie breaker rule shall be in effect at the start of the next inning and play will continue until a winner is determined.
  8. VIII.Legal Pitch Delivery
    1. The ball must be delivered with a perceptible arc and reach a height of at least 6 feet from the ground, while not exceeding 12 feet from the ground.
    2. The pitcher must begin with at least one foot in contact with the pitching plate when one is present.
  9. Game Day and Field Responsibilities
    1. An Executive Board Member two hours prior to the start of the first game of the day will be responsible for reviewing field conditions prior to the HOME TEAM setting up the field to determine playability of that field. The Executive Board Member who is at the field should communicate the decision to the rest of the Executive Board with pictures and description of the field conditions.
    2. The HOME TEAM for the first game on a field is responsible for sending team representatives to setup the field. The home team (as indicated by the schedule) will prepare the field for play before each game. Each team must use league-supplied softballs.
  10. Game Rules
    1. Starting Count
      1. For the D-Division only, the batter shall assume a one (1) ball and one (1) strike count upon entering the batters box with one (1) free foul ball given after the second strike .
    2. Run Rule
      1. Complete Innings must be played and the game will end once the home team has batted in the bottom of the 7th Inning, unless the Run Rule comes into affect and supersedes the need for a full game to be completed. The Run Rule will be enforced when the home team is leading after the top of the 7th inning is played and there is no need to play the bottom half of the 7th inning. Additionally a Run Rule will be enforced when any team is ahead 20 runs after 4 innings and 15 runs after 5 innings. The team leading by 20 runs after 4 innings of play or 15 runs after 5 innings of play will be declared the winner.
    3. Tie Games
      1. If after 7 innings, the game is tied and if time remains, international rules will be utilized, in accordance with ASA rules. It will continue to be utilized until a winner is determined or the time limit has been reached.
    4. Courtesy Runner
      1. Courtesy runner may be used for a base runner who is unable to run the bases.  There is a limit of 1 courtesy base runner per inning.
      2. A courtesy runner whose turn at bat comes up while on base:
        1. The player who the courtesy runner is running for will be called out.
        2. The courtesy runner will be removed from the base and take their turn at bat.
        3. A second courtesy runner or a substitute is not permitted at this time.
    5. Home Run Rule
      1. The following out of the park home run rule will apply: C – 1 and D – 0. In the C Division, exceeding the home run rule will result in an out. In the D Division, this will be a half-inning ending out.
    6. Base Running and Fielding
      1. The batter must remain in the batter’s box until the ball passes the plate or is hit. A batter will be called out if he or she steps on home plate while hitting the ball. A foul ball on the third strike is an out.
      2. The throwing of a bat can be grounds for ejection from a game.
      3. The batted ball will be considered in fair play until the umpire calls it foul. On a fair or foul fly ball, a runner may tag up after the ball is touched.
      4. A base runner is allowed to overrun first base. They will be called out if after overrunning first base the runner attempts to advance to second base and is legally touched with the ball while not in contact with the white first base bag. For the runner to be tagged out, the runner must have intent to advance beyond first base.
      5. Runners cannot overrun second or third base.
      6. Foot Off the Bag Rule: Clarification of the rule as noted in the 2009 ASA Official Rules of Softball (page 92; Section 7/R): The runner is out (slow pitch) when the runner fails to keep contact with the base to which they are entitled until the ball is batted, touches the ground, OR reaches home plate. (new, 2010) What does this mean? If the batter swings and misses the ball and the runner steps off the bag AFTER the ball is batted, touches the ground, OR reaches home plate; the runner is safe. The umpire can call the runner out if they believe the runner left the bag BEFORE the ball reached the front plain of home plate. Recommendation: The judgment call falls upon the umpire, so best bet is to not lift your foot off the bag until the ball is hit.
      7. The infield fly rule applies when a runner is on first and second base, or bases are loaded (there must be a force out at third base), and a fly ball is hit into the infield and there are less than two outs. The umpire will call the batter out. The purpose is to prevent the fielding team from bobbling the ball and forcing a double play.
      8. Unless a fielder is in the process of going for the ball or making a play, the base runner has the right of way. If the fielder is making a play, the runner must not interfere with the fielder.
      9. If there is going to be a close play at home plate, it is recommended, but not required, for a runner to slide into home. If a collision occurs at home plate, the umpire will decide if the base runner should have slid according to the ASA Collision rule in the ASA handbook. Sliding at second and third bases is recommended to prevent injuries if a play is being made on those running to these bases. If a runner causes interference with a play by not sliding, the umpire will call it and the runner will be out.
      10. Sliding Bag Rule: If any base runner that through the act of sliding into a base, advancing to the base, or rounding a base moves the sliding base more than one foot from its original position:
        1. If the runner slides into the bag, is considered safe, and ends their slide within contact where the bag originally was, the movement of the base shall not change the safe/out call regardless of the location of the base after movement. Player movement to the moved bag will not alter the safe/out call.
        2. A runner advancing to the bag without sliding – standing up – may not move the bag with their momentum beyond one foot of its original location, or they will be deemed to have over run the bag and they can be tagged out regardless of the continued contact with the moved bag.
        3. If the runner has rounded the bag, or gotten up after a safe slide, and attempted to advance and is now returning to the base, but it has moved, the runner will return to where the base was originally and the umpire will make the best judgment call possible relative to the location of where the bag should there be a play on the runner returning to the base. (new, 2010)
      11. Base Stealing: Base stealing is not allowed. 
      12. Base coaches must not aid the base runners; once the play is determined over and time is called by the umpire, the base coach may positively encourage/congratulate the base runner.
    7. Grace Period
      1. A team that does not have at least eight (8) players at the playing site may request up to a ten (10)-minute delay of game. There is a five minute grace period after the game start time for a team to field a full team. (revised at the 4/6/2010 managers meeting) stated 10 minutes.  If the 9th player arrives before the end of the five (5) minute grace period, the game must begin without further delay. After the lineup cards become official and the team has not gone through their batting order, if a 10th player arrives, they must immediately be added to the starting lineup. Any additional player may only be added as a substitute.
      2. There will be a 5-minute rest period between games that are past the scheduled start time of a game. At the discretion of the umpire in charge, this can be extended on days where heat is considered to be a safety factor. If a game is over more than 5-minutes ahead of the scheduled start time of the next game, that game may start early if the umpire and both managers are all in agreement.
      3. The grace period applies to regular season league games only. During the End of Season Playoffs, grace time is forfeit time.
    8. Forfeits
      1. Game Day Forfeits
        1. A game is forfeited if, after the grace period, a team cannot field eight players. The opposing team will be declared the winner and the score will be recorded as 7-0. If both teams are short at the end of the grace period, a double forfeit is declared.
        2. Each team must have a copy of the others teams roster listing their players in attendance.
        3. The umpire or a member of the executive board must sign both teams’ score sheet immediately below the last listed name. Nicknames are not allowed.
        4. If there is not an umpire or executive board member available then both team managers must sign both rosters.
        5. If the rosters are not properly signed, the players on the said rosters risk losing playoff eligibility at the discretion of the Board of Directors.
        6. Only players listed on both teams roster are eligible for playoffs.
        7. In the case of a double header an additional ten minutes will be allotted to allow the teams to field nine players before a forfeit is called for the 2nd game.
      2. Each team must have a copy of the others teams roster listing their players in attendance. The umpire must sign both teams’ score sheet.  Nicknames are not allowed. If the umpire is not available, then both team managers must sign both rosters. Only players listed on both teams roster are eligible for playoffs.
      3. In the case of a double header an additional ten minutes will be allotted to allow the teams to field nine players before a forfeit is called for the 2nd game.
      4. Prior Game Forfeits: The opposing team will be declared the winner and the score will be recorded at 7-0 for each game forfeited. The forfeiting team loses player eligibility for the forfeited games. All players on the team forfeited to will have eligibility for the forfeited games for playoffs.

        1. Games forfeited in advance must be canceled at least 24 hours hours in advance to ensure umpire fees are not applied.
        2. PRIOR GAME FORFEITS: The opposing team will be declared the winner and the score will be recorded at 7-0 for each game forfeited. The forfeiting team loses player eligibility for the forfeited games. All players on the team forfeited to will have eligibility for the forfeited games for playoffs.
          1. Fees paid to umpires will be paid by the forfeiting team for any cancellation of the game that results in a fee being paid by the league to umpires.
          2. Fines are on a per occurrence basis and a team must pay their fine prior to their next scheduled games.
          3. If the fee is not paid in full before the team’s next scheduled game, those games will also be considered forfeits.
          4. A game canceled due to inclement weather will be rescheduled at the next available opening with no exceptions. Appropriate team managers and coaches will be notified as soon as possible. Changes will be noted on the website and phone line.
      5. Fees paid to umpires will be paid by the forfeiting team for any cancellation of the game that results in a fee being paid by the league to umpires.
      6. Fines are on a per occurrence basis and a team must pay their fine prior to their next scheduled games. If the fee is not paid in full before the team’s next scheduled game, those games will also be considered forfeits.
      7. A game canceled due to inclement weather will be rescheduled as soon as possible. Appropriate team managers and coaches will be notified as soon as possible. Changes will be noted on the website and phone line.
    9. Ejections
      1. Any player ejected by an umpire is automatically suspended from the team’s next game and may be subject to further actions by the Board after an investigation of the incident is completed.
      2. There is absolutely NO DRINKING during your game! This will be an automatic ejection! Recreational drugs are also not allowed at the fields or in the stands.
      3. Players are not permitted to play while intoxicated or under the influence of recreational drugs.
      4. Verbal abuse or swearing at the umpire or opposing players are grounds for ejection from the game.
      5. Only the manager or coach represents the team in all discussions with officials and the opposing team.
      6. All paid playing members must sign and acknowledge the Member Code of Conduct prior to completion of registration. Acknowledgement of the Member Code of Conduct counts as first warning.
  11. Official Scorekeeping
    1. The Home team will be the official scorekeeper of the game. If the home team does not have a scorekeeper, the visiting team may keep official score.
    2. The official score will be recorded by the umpire on the lineup card and submitted to the SCSL after each game.
  12. Protests
    1. Any team manager can lodge a protest on regularly scheduled season games against another team for failing to comply with ASA rules, NAGAAA and/or SCSL constitution by filing a formal signed protest with the commissioner and opening a $50 escrow account with the Treasurer.
    2. The Executive Board will then review the appropriate governing documents and rule on the applicability of the protest.
    3. Upon its ruling, the Executive Board will also determine the appropriate restitution if any.
      1. If the protest is found to be without merit by the Board, the team placing the protest will forfeit the $50 escrow held by the Treasurer.
      2. If the protest is found to be with merit, whether or not restitution is deemed necessary, the $50 escrow will be returned to the team.
      3. In any case, the decisions of the Executive Board are final.
    4. An official protest involved a question about a rule interpretation, an illegal player, or an ineligible player. Judgement calls by the umpire cannot be protested. Only the team manager may notify the plate umpire of his/her intent to play the game under protest. An official protest must be registered to the umpire before the next pitch or before the umpires leaves the field. The protest must be noted on the lineup card, along with the details of the protest, the inning, number of outs, ball and strike count, position of base runners, and time. If the protest cannot be resolved immediately, the game should go on.
    5. Any player who is challenged on eligibility will be requested to show proof if ID to the umpire. The umpire will designate the player in question on the lineup card. If the player does not have ID, he/she must sign the lineup card or forfeit the game. All information must match the official SCSL roster.
    6. After properly notifying the plate umpire, all protests (including player eligibility) must then be submitted in writing accompanied by a $50 fee and received at the SCSL mailbox within two business days following the protested game; otherwise, the game will stand as played. The information will be assessed and ruled on by the Board who will then respond within 72 hours of receiving the protest. If the protest is upheld, the protest fee will be returned. If denied, the fee will revert to the SCSL.