Softball Majors Rules

Majors Softball Rules of Conduct

  1. Teaching and enforcing good sportsmanship and abiding by the motto "FUN, FRIENDSHIP AND FUNDAMENTALS" must be the primary goal of ALL coaches.
  2. All coaches must take the responsibility for controlling the behavior of his/her players, as well as the parents and fans. This extends to the display of good sportsmanship by coaches and players immediately after the game through post game handshakes.
  3. Players, coaches, and spectators are not permitted within ten feet of the rear of the backstop while the game is in progress.  It is up to the umpire, as well as the coaches, to enforce this rule.
  4. Derisive comments (i.e. "jockeying" and "heckling")  about or directed to umpires and opposing players is NOT permitted and is considered unsportsmanlike conduct.  Umpires may EJECT coaches and players for unsportsmanlike conduct.
  5. After one (1) warning, the umpire may ask a coach to remove an offending fan from the park. It is the responsibility of the coach to remove an offending fan that is associated with their team.  Failure to do so may, at the umpire’s discretion, result in a FORFEIT.
  6. All decisions of the umpire are FINAL!! No protests or appeals are permitted.
  7. Only the head coach, or assistant coach, may have a discussion with the umpire regarding a call or rules interpretation.
  8. The responsibility for maintaining an accurate score sheet for each game rests with the two opposing head coaches. It is strongly suggested that the score be verified by the head coaches after each half-inning. Any questions regarding the score should be reconciled at that time with the umpire serving as arbitrator.
  9. A head coach may not hold a player out of a game as a form of discipline without notifying and receiving the approval of the league commissioner.
  10. The prior approval of the league commissioner is required to cancel and reschedule any game, for any reason, other than rainouts formally cancelled by the ESAA, suspended by the umpire, or cancelled by the coaches due to the mutual determination that unsafe playing conditions exist.
  11. If any player or coach throws a bat, helmet, or other piece of equipment that in the judgment of the umpire is in a spirit of anger or disgust, the umpire shall call time and warn both benches that any repeat offense will result in the ejection of the player or coach involved.  If in the umpire's judgment the action warrants, the player or coach may be ejected without any bench warning.
  12. !!! At any time a coach is removed from a game due to an ejection, the offending Coach will be suspended the next scheduled game.  If another incident occurs the coach will be removed from Coaching for the Season.  All cases will be reviewed by the Board to determine further actions!!!

Majors Softball Game Rules

  1. The official softball shall be a 12 inch hard ball.
  2. All players should be in uniform (at a minimum, jersey and pants). The catcher MUST wear a chest protector, catcher’s helmet, and shin guards. Catchers MAY NOT use their batting helmet in place of a catcher’s helmet.  Each batter, including the on-deck batter, must wear a caged helmet.  Base runners must wear a helmet.  NO metal spikes are allowed, bats must be stamped as softball rated.
  3. When a designated warm up area for the on-deck batter is not provided, the on-deck circle will be to the back of the current batter, no exceptions.
  4. The bases will be 60 feet apart. The pitcher's rubber "mound" is measured at 40 feet from the front edge of the rubber to the back tip of home plate.
  5. The Home Team occupies the third base dugout, provides the game ball (1), sets up the field, returns all the equipment to the storage box after the game, and returns the diamond area to a clean condition.
  6. The VISITING team has the right to practice on the game day field fifteen minutes prior to game time. The HOME team is entitled to the field from the time the field is set up until 15 minutes prior to game time.
  7. A game will consist of 6 innings and be considered a complete game after 4 innings, or 3-1/2 innings if the home team is ahead.  An inning ends when: (a) the 3rd out is made OR (b) 5 runs have scored, regardless of the number of batters on either team. The 5 run maximum rule does not apply in the sixth inning or in extra innings.  The 5 run rule applies to all games, including playoff games.
  8. The batting order will be progressive with all players in attendance included. Players arriving after the start of the game will be put in at the bottom of the lineup. If a player arrives after the start of the 4 th inning, she cannot enter the game.
  9. The defensive lineup will consist of 9 players; there will be no short center fielder.
  10. No player shall be out of the game for two consecutive innings. Every player must sit out one inning before any player may sit out a second time. No bench player may enter the game defensively during an inning except for an injury substitution. It is the responsibility of both coaches to monitor that both teams observe the substitution rules and any violations should be brought to the immediate attention of the umpire.
  11. Each player is included in the batting order and bats in turn even if she did not play in the field the previous inning.  Bunting is allowed. Once the batter assumes the bunting position, she must either offer at the pitch or pull the bat out of the strike zone. SHE MAY NOT SLASH HIT/ FAKE BUNT AND SWING AWAY. Penalty: AUTOMATIC OUT.
  12. The strike zone will be the armpits to the knees. There is no limit on foul balls hit.
  13. A batter hit by a pitch out of the strike zone will be awarded first base.  For purposes of this rule it is up to the sole discretion of the umpire as to what constitutes a hit batter.  In general, a batter hit by a very slow pitch, a pitch with significant arc, or a slow pitch that bounces or rolls prior to making contact with the batter would not be considered a hit batter. During the playoffs, batters hit on the fly by a pitch will be awarded first base if they have been judged to have made an attempt to avoid being hit by the pitched ball.
  14. Base Stealing is allowed.  The runner may be played upon by the defense and called out if tagged. Should an error occur when attempting a putout of the stealing runner (overthrow, dropped ball, etc.), the runner, or other runners MAY NOT Advance.  There is a one base maximum per attempted steal. Only the lead runner may steal.  There are no double steals.  Runners MAY NOT steal home.
  15. No Leadoffs. Runner must hold her base until the pitch crosses home plate. Running with the pitch is not allowed.
  16. No delayed steals. A runner must start her steal as soon as legally permissible. No steal is allowed on a missed return throw to the pitcher. If the umpire determines that a runner has attempted a delayed steal that runner will be called out.
  17. While sliding is not mandatory, it is encouraged. Umpires have wide authority to call a runner out who does not slide to avoid contact with an opposing player or uses unnecessary force when sliding into an opposing player. If a runner does not slide and makes contact with the opposing player, she will be called out, there are no appeals for these calls.
  18. COURTESY runners are allowed for ANY injured players, regardless of the source of the injury. In such cases, the COURTESY runner will be the player who made the last batted out prior to the request for a COURTESY runner. When COURTESY runners are utilized, base stealing is not permitted until that runner has either scored or been forced out during the course of play.  Separately, if there are two outs and either the team's pitcher or catcher are on base they will be substituted with a PINCH runner (the last batted out) in order to keep pace of game, there are no restrictions for the PINCH runners. 
  19. The dropped 3rd strike rule DOES NOT apply.
  20. The infield fly rule does not apply.
  21. A minimum of 8 players is required to start a game, and to continue at the start of each inning. If a team cannot field a minimum of 8 uniformed players after fifteen minutes of scheduled game time, the umpire shall declare a forfeit.
  22. If a head coach anticipates their team will not have enough players to fill all defensive positions at an upcoming game, they may call up to two players from the approved call up sheet provided by the commissioner. Even if additional roster players show up, the players called up MUST PLAY in the game like all roster players.  Called up players are limited to playing in the outfield and must bat last in the lineup, no exceptions.
  23. Substituted players may only be called up from ESAA Girls Minor League Softball Division. No call ups are allowed in the playoffs unless approved by the league commissioner. If a team is unable to field enough players, the coaches should attempt to find a mutually agreeable makeup date. If the coaches cannot agree on a date, one will be set by the commissioner and decisions of the commissioner are final.
  24. During the regular season, games are 6 innings long, with the visiting team batting first. The home team will bat in the 6th inning only if trailing. During the regular season, no new inning shall begin after 1 hour and 45 minutes from the first pitch of the game. Coaches and the umpire should agree on the exact starting time of the game and should agree on the designation of last inning prior to the start of the last inning. If a game is tied after 6 complete innings (and time permits as noted here), ONE (and only one) extra inning WILL be played if there are 30 minutes before the next scheduled game. IN ALL CASES, the game will be ended 10 minutes before the next scheduled game. If a regular season game ends in a tie it stands as a tie.  If the game is the last game on the field for a given day, the extra inning can be played until darkness or weather conditions do not permit further play, as ruled by the umpire.  As a general rule, an extra inning should not be started after 8pm on weeknights when school is in session.  In the event the extra inning cannot be completed due to darkness or weather, as determined by the umpire, the game will be declared a tie. NOTE: For playoff games, complete 6 inning games are played and ties must be played out until a winner has been determined.
  25. There are no time limits on playoff games; they are played until a winner is declared.  A playoff game that is suspended due to darkness or weather must be completed at a later date.  The game shall resume from the exact point at which it was suspended.
  26. All games must be played as scheduled unless weather conditions interfere. Games may be postponed for reasons of weather or field conditions, as long as both coaches are in agreement. The Commissioner may determine that all games on a particular day will be canceled; however, if the commissioner is unable to inspect a field before game time, the decision will be made by the coaches.  If the coaches do not agree, the final decision will be made by the umpire. At game time, or at any time during the game, the coaches may agree that darkness, field or weather conditions have rendered the game unplayable. If there is disagreement among the coaches, then the umpire will make the decision as to whether a game will continue to be played or postponed. If a game is postponed, then the home team coach must notify the Commissioner immediately so it can be rescheduled. Canceled games must be made up. The coaches should agree on a time that is mutually acceptable based on available fields as determined by the commissioner. A game that is not made up by agreement of both coaches will be considered a no-contest. Games not made up because a mutually acceptable time could not be agreed upon will be considered a no contest. For the purpose of the standings, a forfeit will be only be awarded to a team if another team does not make a reasonable attempt to make up a game canceled due to weather.
  27. Lightning rule:  The 30 minute rule will be utilized when lightning is sited or thunder is heard.   All on field activity shall be automatically suspended for a minimum of 30 minutes and participants shall seek appropriate shelter.  An assessment of conditions is to be made after the 30 minute wait period.  On field activity shall resume when it is reasonably determined that additional threatening weather is not imminent.  If lightning is sited or thunder after the 30 minute count, the 30 minute count shall be restarted.  Games are resumed at the point at which play was postponed.  If the game needs to be rescheduled, it will be resumed at the point at which play was postponed.  ALL GAMES PLAYED AT THE SAME PARK WILL FOLLOW THESE GUIDELINES EQUALLY, IF ANY GAME IS SUSPENDED AT A PARK ALL GAMES WILL BE SUSPENDED.

  28. Games halted due to inclement weather conditions or darkness will be considered complete if the opposing team has completed at least 4 at bats, providing the home team is ahead. This rule does not apply to playoff games. Playoff games must be completed at a later date form the exact point the game was suspended.
  29. All roster players are eligible to pitch in every game.
  30. Pitching Rules - Innings - A pitcher may pitch a maximum of three innings per game. A single pitch to a batter counts as full inning pitched. A pitcher may be removed and re-enter the game as a pitcher a second time, but not in the same inning.
  31. Pitching Rules - The pitcher must start with one of the following positions.  1.) The pitcher may start with both feet touching the Pitching Rubber and deliver the pitch.   2.) The pitcher may start with both feet touching the Pitching Rubber and step back before delivering the pitch (step back delivery).   3.) The pitcher may start with one foot touching the Pitching Rubber and one foot starting behind the Pitching Rubber before delivering the pitch (start back delivey).  One foot must be touching the rubber upon the release of the ball.  If the pitcher’s rear foot drags off the pitching rubber during release, but remains in constant contact with the ground, it is considered in still contact with the pitching rubber and is legal.  Lifting and replanting the drag foot is not permitted and results in an illegal pitch.
  32. Pitching Rules - Motion - An underhanded windmill motion must be used. The ball must extend above the pitcher's head during the motion.
  33. If a pitcher hits (2) batters in one inning she will retire for that inning, but allowed to come back to complete her three innings. No restriction on how many hit batters in a game, other than 2 per inning. 
  34. The number of warm-up-pitches thrown between innings will not be restricted as long as it does not interfere with the pace of the game. A 2 minute time limit between innings is a general guideline to maintain a quick pace of the game.
  35. Intentional walks are not permitted. If in the opinion of the umpire a pitcher is intentionally not throwing the ball in or near the strike zone, the umpire will warn the pitcher and the head coach, and upon a second occurrence, advance each runner 1 base.
  36. For safety reasons no player may wear jewelry of any kind.
  37. The playoffs are double elimination except for the championship game. If the team from the loser's bracket wins the game against the team from the winner's bracket, they are the champion. There will not be a second game played. The team from the winner's bracket, regardless of regular season record or seed, is the home team in the championship game. The standings during the regular season will be determined by winning percentages. These standings will be used to "seed" the teams for the playoffs. The higher seed for teams with the same winning percentage will be based on a) head-to-head record; b) head-to-head runs scored. Tie games do not affect winning percentage.
  38. The winning team shall post the score of the game to the ESAA website within 48 hours of the game. Both teams are required to post the innings pitched by each of their respective pitchers.
  39. The championship game will be held during the annual picnic day, the time is TBD.  RAIN DATE WILL BE THE FOLLOWING DAY. This will be a winner-take-all game. The home team will be the team coming out of the winner's bracket.