Softball Rules

(updated 1/10/2018)

1. GENERAL RULES

1.1 No strike mat will be used. A legal pitch must be within a 6’-10’ arc.

1.2 A coin flip with determine home and away

1.3 Games are 55 minutes with a maximum of 7 innings. The inning in progress at the end of 55 minutes will be the last inning and completed. (An inning starts once the third out of the previous inning is called.) The ump will enforce this rule and will keep teams informed of time remaining.  NOTE: due to differing circumstances in each and every game, some games will finish short on an hour in length, while others might run over the hour mark. Please respect your ump's call in this matter, as they must keep all games on time in fairness to teams playing later hours and due to facility permit restrictions.

1.4 Regular season games may end in a tie.

1.5 In the case of rain or other event, the league has the right to call a game as official if more than 30 minutes has elapsed. In this instance, the final score will be counted at the end of the last completed inning.

1.6 10 players (maximum six males in coed) are allowed on the field at a time.  A team may play short if less than 10 players are present.  THERE ARE NO POSITION REQUIREMENTS of any players.

1.7 Completed lineup cards must be presented to the umpire before each game.  

1.8 Once the lineup cards have been submitted to the umpire, they become official and you may add players to the bottom only. All substitutions must be given to the umpire as they are made.

1.9 There will be a 10 run limit per inning; unlimited runs may be scored in last 10 minutes of the game, or in any extra innings.

1.10 Pitchers will have the option to use a pitching screen to protect themselves from balls hit up the middle (if available at the facility).  If a batter hits the pitching screen, the ball will be dead and the count will remain the same.  If a batter hits the pitching screen a second time in the same at bat, the batter will be called out.  The pitcher will be allowed to make defensive plays.  If a defensive player hits the screen with a thrown ball, the ball will remain live and runners may continue to advance. The pitching screen is considered part of the field.

2.ROSTERS / SUBSTITUTES

2.1 All players must be signed onto a roster/waiver for that night.

2.2 For all leagues, a team may play a legal game with six players from their roster. If a team has less than 10 players, they can pick up players from another team.

2.3 The first pick up player is free.  Each pick up player after the first will add 2 runs to the opposing team's score.

2.4 Any pickup player must be a signed player on another team’s roster that night.

2.5 Teams may not pick up players to go over 10 or have substitutes.

2.6 No outside (unsigned) subs are allowed.

2.7 Only players on the roster are allowed to play in the playoffs. Teams can add to their roster any time prior to the end of their final game of the regular season.  

2.8 Once a player has signed their team’s roster they CANNOT be replaced or removed from the roster.

2.9 Players added at the first game or mid-season may not get shirts but will have the option of having one sent to them for $5 (shipping costs). Order your shirt by a link on the FAQ page on the website.

2.10 Roster Checks:  Players have the right to ask for a roster check of the opposing team after the start of the game and before the end of the game.  These requests must be made with the coordinator during game play, and if it is found that the opposing team is playing with an “illegal player”  (i.e. not on that team’s roster or not signed) then staff reserves the right to remove the player and/or forfeit the game.  Club Sport staff decisions are final and roster checks may not be made by players once the game has finished.

3. EQUIPMENT

3.1 All players are encouraged to wear Club Sport jerseys at every game for the entire season.

3.2 NO METAL SPIKES ARE ALLOWED.  If a player is caught wearing metal spikes during the game, the player will be called out and will be immediately ejected from the game.

3.3 Club Sport will provide all the balls for the league.

3.4 Bats: Legal bats are as defined by ASA rules. Bats not following these rules may not be used for SoCo Sports play. This    information can be found at http://www.softball.org/about/certified_equipment.asp. More info can be found here too: Graphics/bannedbats.pdf.  The first time a team comes to the plate with an illegal bat, the batter will be called out. The second time the team uses an illegal bat; the batter will be called out and ejected, with possible league suspension.  Each individual is responsible for using legal bats.

3.5 Club Sport and the umpires reserve the right to disallow a bat should it be thought the bat may have been doctored.  If a bat is used and proven to be doctored (i.e. painted over, "corked", shaved, etc) this will result in the immediate ejection of the person using the bat and the owner of the bat, and the owner/user may possibly be suspended for the remainder of the season or longer, as this is a safety issue.

3.6 PITCHING MASKS: Pitching masks or face guards are REQUIRED for all leagues in the City of Tampa and highly suggested for all other softball leagues. Team are required to provide their own masks, however, Club Sport staff may have masks to borrow depending on the field. Any team not using a mask in a league that requires it, will be forfeited – Effective for all leagues starting in 2018.

4. FACILITIES / ALCOHOL

4.1 Only one player will be allowed outside of the dugout while batting.  All other players besides the on deck batter must remain in the dugout.

4.2 Alcohol is allowed at Sarasota County Parks for participants that are at least 21 years old.  No glass bottles please.

4.3 Alcohol is NOT allowed on the playing field at any time during the game.

5. LINEUPS

5.1 Prior to game time, ask your ump for a line up card. The captain must fill out the official lineup card prior to the game and this will be kept by the ump. A copy of your line up should also be kept by the team.

5.2 All players in the field must be listed in the batting order.  There are no “designated fielders” allowed.

5.3 BATTING RATIOS: batting order can be random with no specific sex order as long as you follow your over all ratio. When batting 4 women you may bat up to 7 men, when batting 5 women you may bat up to 8 men, when batting 6 women you may bat up to 10 men.  You may always bat more women then these ratios, but not more men.  

5.4 To allow "extra" men to bat you are:

5.5 MINIMUM PLAYERS: A minimum of 6 players from the team's roster must be present at game time or the team will forfeit the game. When the women who are not there would normally be up to bat they are automatic outs. The pitcher may not intentionally walk a player to get to an automatic out (if umpire feels the walk was intentional then the automatic out is waived).

5.6 LATE PLAYERS: Any players arriving after the first pitch of the game (not already placed on the line-up card) must be placed at the end of the batting order. If the player bats in any other spot, it is considered an automatic out. If a girl shows up late, they may go into the automatic out spots on the line-up card. Captains must notify umpire of any changes to line-up cards.

5.7 INJURED PLAYERS: If a player is injured during a game, captain must notify umpire to remove injured player from line-up card with no additional penalty (unless the injured player is a female and her removal falls behind the required ratio -- then becomes an automatic out). An injured player that has been removed from line-up cannot return to the game.

6. OFFENSE

6.1 All batters will start with a 1-1 count (1 ball and 1 strike).  A batter with two strikes is allowed one courtesy foul ball.  Two fouls with two strikes and the batter is out.  

6.2 If a male is walked and a female follows him in the batting order the male will automatically go to second base.  If this situation occurs with 2 outs the female will have the option to either take first base or hit.

6.3 HALO RULE: In order to provide a safer environment to players, if a batter hits a ball sharply (line drive or “one hopper”) through the pitching “halo” (extending 2 feet beyond the pitching rubber on both sides, and one foot above the pitcher’s head) the umpire will immediately signal a dead ball out (whether the pitcher has the chance to turn a double play or not).  If the same batter hits through the “halo” later in the game they may be subject to ejection (and possible suspension).  Arguing of this rule by either side will not be tolerated as this is a judgment call by the umpire and excessive arguing is grounds for player ejection.

6.4 No lead offs or stealing is allowed. Runners may leave the base once the ball crosses the plane of the plate or is hit by the batter. If a runner is leading off,  the ball is dead and the runner is declared out. If a runner leaves early (after the pitch is made but before it reaches the plate), this play must be appealed by the defense.

6.5 Courtesy runners: Players requesting a courtesy runner must do so BEFORE their at bat.  A player needing a courtesy runner will not be allowed to advance past first base, save for an over the fence home run or a walk (where a male is awarded two bases with a female behind him in the line-up.) NOTE: Umpires and/or TBCS staff can overrule courtesy runners to ensure fair play. Runners will be the same sex/last out (or furthest in lineup card if no out was recorded).

6.6 Base runner to defensive player contact will be closely watched by the umpire. Any excessive contact or collision will result in an out and/or ejection. This includes contact with the catcher.

6.7 Sliding is allowed. Any sliding into a base to break up a double play, or any intentional interference with the defensive player will result in the runner and the batter being called out.

6.8 HOME RUN LIMIT-

 6.9 Base runners on first and third base will be allowed to stand in foul territory before a pitched ball is hit.  They must retouch the base before proceeding.

7. DEFENSE

7.1 Thrown balls are deemed out of play when:

7.2 This imaginary line applies to overthrows and caught fly foul balls.

7.3 If the ball is overthrown and hits the fence behind the 1st or 3rd base lines but does not travel out of play, this is NOT considered out of play but the runner may advance at his/her own risk.

7.4 On overthrows out of play, the runner is granted the base he/she is going to (at the point of the throw) plus one base. Note: in cases where a base runner runs past first base, he/she must make a clearly aggressive turn towards second base to be granted 2nd and 3rd in overthrow situations.

7.5 First basemen must have a foot on first base (not the safety bag) in order to make an out.  The runner will be safe if the first baseman does not touch first base before the runner.

7.6 On an infield fly the batter is automatically out and runners can advance at their own risk.

7.7 Pitches must be between a 6' and 10' arc.  If a pitch is deemed illegal, the umpire will yell 'ball' or 'illegal pitch'.  The batter reserves the right to swing at an illegal pitch but the result of the swing will stand.

7.8 All 4 outfielders must remain behind the painted “outfield line” (or cones) when a female is up to bat. There cannot be more than six players in the infield at any time. Once contact has been made, the outfielders may cross the outfield line. If an outfielder crosses the line before contact has been made and makes the out, then the female will be awarded first base.

8. SPORTSMANSHIP & EJECTIONS

8.1 At Club Sport, we facilitate fun! We hope that all participants keep that in mind when becoming involved in our leagues and social events.  Although the games may become intense, you still can be competitive while maintaining good sportsmanship.  

8.2 Any behavior deemed unacceptable by staff may result in ejection from the game and/or suspension from a game or the league, even if the event did not result in an ejection at the time.  

8.3 Any player or fan is encouraged to root for their own team but rooting against teams or use of disparaging language is discouraged and could result in penalties of players or dismissals of fans. Any fans of teams may be asked to leave by Club Sport staff. Refusal to leave could result in forfeiture of games

8.4 Fighting is not allowed and will NOT be tolerated. All parties involved in fighting will be subject to ejection from the game at the umpire’s discretion and subject to ejection from the league at the discretion of Club Sport.

8.5 Any player that gets ejected from a game may face league suspension for one or more games.

8.6 Club Sport reserves the right to remove a player or team from the league after just one incident depending on the severity of the situation.

8.7 Multiple ejections, even across multiple seasons, may result in permanent suspension from all Club Sport activities.

9. FORFEITS

9.1 Game time is forfeit time.

9.2 If the opposing team wishes to grant time for their opponents to show up, the game clock will be started and the team will be given a 10 minute grace period to get their full team on the field ready to play.  

9.3 Teams may pick up substitute players during the regular season in order to field a legal team. Substitutes will not be allowed during playoffs.  

9.4 All substitutes must be signed onto a roster/waiver for that night.

9.5 If a team forfeits a game, their opponent will be awarded a 7-0 win.

9.6 If you know in advance that your team is going to forfeit a game then we encourage you to call our office so we can inform your opponent.

9.7 If your team forfeits a match during the season, the following rules apply:

10. SCHEDULE/STANDINGS

10.1 League Schedule and Standings will be posted on-line throughout the season.  

11. PLAYOFFS

11.1 All eligible teams (teams that have not abused any policies are eligible) make the playoffs.

11.2 Only players on the roster are allowed to play in the playoffs. Teams can add to their roster any time prior to the final game of the season.  

11.3 Once a player has signed their team’s roster they CANNOT be replaced or removed from the roster.

11.4 If it is deemed that a player is not on a roster or has not signed the roster before the end of the game, the player will be removed and team penalized up to and including a forfeit of the game.  This will be determined by Club Sport Staff.

11.5 It is the responsibility of the team captains to make sure all players in their line-up card are eligible players for all games.

11.6 Playoffs are single elimination.  

11.7 Mercy Rule: Any team up 10+ runs after 5 innings will win the game.

11.8 If a playoff game is still tied after 55 minutes have expired, the extra innings run a “Texas Tie Breaker” where each team will start the inning with a runner on second base (the last out of the previous inning).  This will continue until there is a winner.

11.9 Depending on schedule and facility constraints, some teams may need to play more than one playoff game per day.

11.10 Teams are ranked according to (1) winning percentage, (2) head to head record (with 2 tied teams), (3) run differential, (4) Most Runs Scored 5) coin flip.