Softball Minors Rules
Minors Softball Rules of Conduct
Teaching and enforcing good sportsmanship and abiding by the motto "FUN, FRIENDSHIP and FUNDAMENTALS" MUST be the primary goal of ALL coaches.
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.
Players, coaches and spectators are not permitted behind the backstop while the game is in progress. It is up to the umpire, as well as the coaches, to enforce this rule.
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.
After one (1) warning, the umpire may ask a coach to remove an offending fan from the Park or risk a FORFEIT. It is the responsibility of the coach to remove an offending fan. Failure to do so may, at the umpire’s discretion, result in a FORFEIT.
ALL decisions of the umpire are FINAL!! No protests or appeals are permitted.
Only the head coach, or assistant coach, may have a discussion with the umpire regarding a call or rules interpretation.
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.
A 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.
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.
If any player or coach throws a bat, helmet, or other piece of equipment 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.
!!! 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!!!
Minors Softball Game Rules
1. The official softball shall be an 11-inch RIF softball provided by the league.
2. All players should be in uniform (consisting of cap, jersey and pants). The catcher MUST wear a chest protector, catcher’s mask, and shin guards. Catchers MAY NOT use their batting helmet in place of a catcher’s mask. Each batter, including the on-deck batter, must wear a caged helmet. Base runners must wear a helmet. NO metal spikes are allowed.
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. NO metal spikes are allowed, bats must be stamped as softball rated.
5. The bases are 60 feet apart. The pitcher's rubber "mound" is 35 feet from the back tip of home plate. The coaches or parents pitching to their teams must keep one foot on the rubber and pitch with an underhand motion. No overhand pitching is permitted.
6. The HOME team occupies the third base dugout, provides the game ball (1), sets up the field, returns all equipment to the storage box after the game, and returns the diamond area to a clean condition.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. EACH player MUST play on defense. No player should sit out on defense a second time until every other player has sat out once. The coaches, who must balance the goals of SAFETY, TEACHING and WINNING, determine Player positioning. No player may play the same position for more than two (2) innings in any game. The spirit of this rule is to encourage rotation of all players to play all positions, unless safety is a concern. Pitchers may pitch 3 innings per game, but if removed as pitcher may only re-enter to pitch one more time. A single pitch counts as an “inning”.
10. Each player is included in the batting order and bats in turn even if she did not play in the field the previous inning.
11. A minimum of 7 players is required to start a game, and to continue at the start of each inning. Teams unable to field the minimum number of players within 15 minutes of the scheduled game time are subject to forfeit. Teams with 7 or 8 players are NOT required to have a catcher, coach(s) for the team with 7 or 8 players will catch and CANNOT make a defensive play once the ball is in play.
12. If a team cannot field ten players for a scheduled game, they may call up a player(s) from the ESAA Intermediate Softball League only, using a list of substitutes provided by the league Commissioner. Call up players must be placed at the bottom of the batting order and are required to play in the outfield. In no case may a substitute player be used as a pitcher, catcher or infielder. Teams are limited to a maximum of 3 call-up players for any game. During the playoffs and championship game all call ups must have prior approval of the league commissioner.
13. 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.
14. Games called because of darkness or weather are official after 4 innings, or after 3 ½ innings if the home team is ahead. This rule does not apply to playoff games. Playoff games must be completed at a later date from the exact point the game was suspended. Once a game has started, if it is postponed by inclement weather before it is an official game, it will be a suspended game and resumed from the point it stopped.
15. 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. This rule applies throughout the playoffs.
16. Each team can field a maximum of ten (10) players. In addition to the nine (9) traditional positions a "shortcenter" or midfielder is allowed. The midfielder plays the infield WITHIN 5 feet behind second base. Outfielders must play at least twenty feet past the baseline.
17. The infielders may shift their positions slightly, but not as to place any player in harm's way. Infielders must be within 5 feet (in front or behind) of the baseline prior to the pitch crossing home plate. The umpire will have wide discretion regarding this rule. The outfielders must remain in the outfield (generally on the grass or 20 feet behind the baseline) and the pitcher must remain on the mound. It is the responsibility of BOTH coaches to position their players to avoid collisions (i.e. out of the base paths unless making a play).
18. At the discretion of the umpire, and after one warning, the umpire may award the batter first base whenever the defensive team shifts illegally toward home plate.
19. A runner is not allowed to proceed to the next base on overthrows of any kind. The purpose of this rule is to encourage fielders to make throws without penalty.
20. On a ball hit to the outfield, any runner more than halfway to the next base when the ball is secured by a fielder within the infield, may continue to the next base at their own risk. If the runner is less than halfway, and proceeds to the next base safely, they will be returned to the previous base. An exception to this is if the runner is required to proceed to the next base because of a force situation (ie – the bases behind the runner in question are occupied). If the runner is less than halfway, but proceeds to the next base and is tagged out, she will be called out.
21. Bunting is not allowed. Batters must attempt to take a full swing. Unintentional weak hits are considered "in play". Intentional bunts or "half swings" (in the judgment of the umpire) are considered strikes.
22. No leadoffs are permitted.
23.Starting June 1st, Runners on base may steal the next unoccupied base up to third base (no double steals), at third is a wall no further stealing is allowed. The runner may steal when the pitched ball crosses home plate and is allowed only one base at a time. There will be no further advancement should an overthrow occur during the put out attempt. If the runner leaves early at the umpire’s discretion they will be sent back with one warning; on a second early leave the runner will be called out. Delayed steals are not allowed; 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.
24. The infield fly and dropped third strike rules will NOT be in effect. Base runners may not leave the base until the pitch crosses home plate. Base runners that leave the base early may be called out at the umpire's discretion.
25. On the first occurrence of a thrown bat, the batter will be issued a warning. Each subsequent time that a player who has received a warning throws her bat, that player will be ruled out.
26. 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. In addition, if there are two outs and either the team's pitcher or catcher are on base they will be substituted with the last batted out in order to keep pace of game.
27. In the event of injury or other non-performance related reasons (such as a bathroom emergency), players may be substituted for a bench player during their innings on defense.
28. If a player arrives after the first pitch of the first inning, but before the first pitch of the fourth inning, she shall be inserted at the bottom of the batting order. Players may not be added to the lineup after the first pitch of the fourth inning. A violation of this rule will constitute a "batting out of order" ruling and an automatic out.
29. 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 cancelled; however, if the commissioner is unable to inspect a field before game time, the decision should be made by the coaches. If the coaches cannot agree, the final decision shall 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 the game will be continued or postponed. In an effort to make sure all games are played, attempts should be made to play games even if this requires playing the game in the grass outfield. However, the safety of the players must take precedence. If a game is postponed, the home team coach must notify the Commissioner immediately so it can be rescheduled. Cancelled 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 cancelled due to weather.
30. 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.
31. Three strikes constitute an OUT. Foul tips and foul balls are counted as first and second strikes but not the third strike. There are balls and called strikes.
32. 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. During the regular season, batters who are hit by very slow pitches, pitches with significant arc, or pitches that bounce or roll 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.
33. Opening Day through May 31: No walks permitted. Instead of a walk, the coach will enter to pitch. The strike count is maintained and the at-bat will continue until the first of the following occurs: her 3rd swinging strike, she has received 3 more pitches, (both of these are a ‘strike out’) or has put a fair ball in play. Fouled off 3rd strikes will be permitted to keep the at-bat alive and the batter will continue hitting until one of the following occurs: a pitch is not swung at, a final swinging strike, or the ball is put in fair play., This will stop on June 1st when walks will be permitted.
June 1st to Championship Game: Walks are permitted unless bases are loaded. If ball four is called with the bases loaded, the batter will not be awarded first base. Instead of a walk, the coach will enter to pitch. The strike count is maintained and the at-bat will continue until the first of the following occurs: her 3rd swinging strike, she has received 3 more pitches, (both of these are a ‘strike out’) or has put a fair ball in play. Fouled off 3rd strikes will be permitted to keep the at-bat alive and the batter will continue hitting until one of the following occurs: a pitch is not swung at, a final swinging strike, or the ball is put in fair play.
This rule is designed to prevent the tedium of the game that occurs when pitchers walk many consecutive batters.
The entire season: If the ball hits the coach pitcher, it is a dead ball and a do over unless the umpire rules intentional interference (in this case the batter will be called out). When the coach pitcher is pitching, the player pitcher may be positioned on either side of the mound, but must start the play from within the 8 foot pitcher's circle or approximate if not drawn on the field.
34. If the league fails to provide an umpire for a game, then each team will supply one umpire. Each inning these umpires will rotate between home plate and the bases.
35. For safety reasons no player may wear jewelry of any kind.
36. 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.
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. Pitching Rules - Innings - A pitcher may pitch a maximum of three innings per game. All partial innings count as full innings. A pitcher may be removed and re-enter a game one more time as a pitcher, but not in the same inning.
39. 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.
Wide discretion will be used until June 1 interpreting this rule, however in all cases, one (1) 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.
40. Pitching Rules - Motion - A windmill Motion must be used. The ball must extend above the pitcher's head during the motion.
41. 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 in accordance with Rule 38. No restriction on how many hit batters in a game, other than 2 per inning.
42. The championship game will be held at the annual picnic at Wildwood Park, 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.
CONCUSSION PROTOCOL FOR ESAA. IF A PLAYER IS STRUCK IN THE HEAD IN ANY FASHION WHILE IN THE ACTIONS OF THE GAME OUR UMPIRES RESERVE THE RIGHT TO REMOVE THE AFFECTED PLAYER FOR THE REMAINDER OF THAT CONTEST.
IT IS THE PARENTS OF THE AFFECTED PLAYER'S DECISION TO LET PLAYER RESUME PLAY AT THE NEXT SCHEDULED TEAM EVENT.