Softball Rules

Updated Tuesday March 15, 2016 by Rick Durbin.

 

Other than the exceptions noted in these amendments, the current year Babe Ruth Softball Rules and Regulations will be followed.

  • First Aid Kit: All Coaches shall have a first aid kit to include: emergency phone numbers, ice pack, band-aids, gauze pads (large size), extra shirt and pants…etc.  Other suggested items: rubber gloves, Ziploc bags, CPR mask.  Assume all body fluid are contaminated and protect yourself and others accordingly.
  • Game Time: All scheduled games shall start promptly at 6:30pm.  Games will be 1 hr. 30 min. in length.  Example…if 3rd out occurs before time limit, a new inning will be played.
  • Rain Out: The home coach will call the visiting coach at least two hours prior to game time to cancel a game due to rain. Please consider the distance of traveling teams.
  • Season Play: Every participant shall play a minimum of 6 defensive outs and 1 at-bat during each game.  While this is the league minimum, each manager is strongly encouraged to exceed this rule as much as possible.  All coaches and scorekeepers must be informed before the game of any disciplinary actions and this shall be noted in the scorebook.  Failure to meet the minimum play requirements shall be subject to protest by the opposing team and could result in a forfeit.  The minimum play requirement does not apply to the game is shortened for any reason.  (Note: If the last half inning of a complete game is not played because the home team is ahead, it DOES NOT count as a shortened game.)
  • Validation may be required by the Babe Ruth District Commissioner regarding protests.  Such validation shall be requested within 24 hours.  Due to time limits on games, you may want to put your substitutes in at the top of the third inning.
  • Game Balls: Each team will furnish one new or “like new” game ball to the umpire during the pre-game warm-up.  Game balls will be returned to the respective coaches at the end of the game.
  • On Deck Circles: The on deck batter may only occupy the on-deck circle to the rear of the current batter, regardless of which bench/dugout her team occupies.
  • Prior to the start of the game, both teams shall provide to the home plate umpire their pitching affidavit.  The umpire shall verify the pitching eligibility of the starting pitchers for each team and give the affidavits to the official scorekeeper.  Whenever a pitching change is made during the game, the scorekeeper will check the pitching record to verify the eligibility of the new pitcher.  The scorekeeper is to notify the plate umpire if there is a problem.  Pitching Affidavits must be filled out in ink.  At the end of the game, the official scorekeeper will sign the affidavits and return them to the managers.  Scorekeepers, verify affidavit accuracy with each manager prior to signing.
  • 10-Run Rule: The 10-run rule as described in the “Local League Options” section of the rule book, will be in effect for all divisions.
  • Extra Hitter: The extra hitter rule, as described in the “Local League Options” section of the rule book, is allowed for the 12U, 14U and 16U divisions.
  • Umpires:
  For 10U/12U games the home team will provide –  One Idaho District III Babe Ruth certified umpire to call the plate. If a certified umpire is not available, the home team coach that has been certified will call the plate. Failure to provide the home plate umpire will result in a FORFEIT by the home team. If the visiting team brings a certified umpire, they may ask that he/she umpire the field.
  For 14U games the home team will provide – Two Idaho District III Babe Ruth certified umpires are required to umpire the game. The home team must provide the plate umpire following the guidelines stated above. If the visiting team brings a certified umpire, they may ask that he/she umpire the field.

8U Rule Exceptions:

  • The Home team shall occupy the third base side of the field and the visiting team shall occupy the first base side. The home team shall provide the official scorebook and scorekeeper.
  • The home team shall furnish an umpire for all league games. If an umpire is not available, the manager or a coach may umpire. It is highly recommended that each team have their coaching staffs umpire certified for cases when an umpire is not available. The umpire will be positioned in the field and will be primarily responsible for making out/safe and fair/foul calls. The umpire will not call balls and strikes.
  • The home team shall provide the game ball(s).
  • Games shall begin promptly at 6:30pm and will continue until 6 innings have been completed or the 1½-hour time limit is reached. No extra innings will be played due to a tie score.
  • Because this is an instructional league and pitching is done by coaches, the coach will be allowed to coach from the mound during the pitch. The pitching machine should be positioned approximately 35 feet from home plate and the speed should be set at 30-35 mile per hour. For pitch consistency, every effort should be made to use 11 inch pitching machine (dimpled) softballs for the 8U division. In cases when inclement weather or malfunction precludes the use of a pitching machine, an adult shall pitch to batters and regular softballs should be used.
  • Each half inning shall consist of ten batters or three outs, whichever occurs first. All rostered players present at each game shall be listed in the team batting order. When an inning reaches the tenth batter, play is over when the third out occurs or home plate is touched by any defensive player in possession of the ball.
  • A maximum of 10 defensive players will be allowed on defense at one time. If used, the additional defender must be positioned in the outfield. Since all players are in the batting order, free substitution is allowed. No player is allowed to sit out on defense more than one inning per game unless a special situation occurs.
  • A maximum of two defensive coaches will be allowed in the field.
  • A maximum of five pitches will be provided to each batter. The batter is allowed to swing at all five pitches.
  • Use of a batting tee during games is prohibited.
  • No walks will be allowed. Each batter will either hit the ball or strike out.
  • No base stealing is allowed.
  • No sliding by base runners is allowed.
  • Only the umpire may call the game due to weather once the game has started.
  • 8U teams may play games with as few as 7 players. Vacant spots in the batting order will result in an automatic out each time a vacant spot is due to bat. Players arriving late can be inserted into the batting order at any time.

10U Rule Exceptions:

  • 5 Run Rule: If a team scores 5 runs in one inning, they will take the field and the defensive team will come to bat.
  • 10U Pitchers are limited to 8 innings per week and pitching distance is from 35 feet.
  • The defensive team will have the option for each pitcher to use coach-pitch, as described below, or player-only pitch. The manager of the defensive team must inform the umpire, prior to the first thrown pitch by each of their pitchers, if the coach-pitch or player-only option is being used for that individual pitcher. The decision for each individual pitcher will remain in effect for the entire game (i.e. if the decision is made to use player-pitch for Pitcher A, the defensive team cannot elect to switch to coach-pitch for Pitcher A at any time during the game. However, the defensive team can elect to use coach-pitch when Pitcher B enters the game).
  • In cases when player-only pitch is used, there will be no limit to the number of base-on-balls the player can issue in an inning. All other rules described in this section, except the coach-pitch option, will remain in effect.
  • For all innings when the coach-pitch option is used, the player will continue to pitch until two batters have received a base-on-balls. After that time, any batter who has acquired four balls will be pitched to by an adult, until the batter hits or strikes out. A batter does not get to take her base if she is hit by a pitch from an adult. A hit-by-pitch thrown by a player does not count as a base-on-balls. When the adult is on the field, they shall remain at the rubber at all and move only when the play is over, or to avoid being hit by a batted ball, or to avoid interfering with a defensive play. The adult will not be allowed to coach during the pitch.
  • Each 10U team may field up to ten defensive players at a time. If used, the additional defender must be positioned in the outfield.
  • The batting order shall consist of all rostered players present at each game. Free defensive substitution will be allowed unless otherwise prohibited by rule (i.e. if a starting pitcher is removed from the game defensively, they may re-enter as the pitcher, unless removed as pitcher due to a second trip to the mound in the same inning).
  • 10U base runners are allowed to leave base when a pitched ball is released by the pitcher. The penalty for leaving the base before a pitch is released will be an automatic out (See Rule 7.13).
  • Base runners may not advance more than one base on a ball that has not been batted, regardless of any attempts by the defense to put the runner(s) out.
  • A player cannot advance to home on a ball that has not been batted unless: 1) the runner is at 3rd base at the time of the pitch; and 2) the defensive team attempts to put the base runner out at 3rd base (i.e. pick-off the runner at 3rd base). Other than the pick-off attempt described above, players can only score on a batted ball or when forced in by a base-on-balls or hit-by-pitch.
  • Base runners may not advance on any ball that is not batted when an adult is pitching.
  • 10U teams may play games with as few as 7 players. Any vacant spot(s) in the batting order will result in an automatic out each time a vacant spot is due to bat. Any player(s) arriving late can be inserted into the batting order at any time.

12U Rules Exceptions:

  • 12U pitchers are limited to 10 innings per week (See Rule 0.06) and pitching distance is 40 feet.
  • For 12U games, a team will be allowed to play a game with not less than 8 players only if due to absence, injury, or illness. A team cannot elect to play with less than 9 players if any eligible player(s) are available at a game. When a team starts a game with 8 players, the 9th spot in the batting order will result in an automatic out each time that position is due to bat, until that spot in the batting order is occupied by an eligible player. If a 9th player arrives at any time after the game begins, that player shall be added to the batting order in the 9th spot and placed in the field on defense. If a reduction to 8 players occurs due to absence, injury, or illness of eligible player(s) after a game begins, the vacated spot in the batting order will result in an automatic out each time the vacated position is due to bat, until that spot in the batting order is occupied by an eligible player. If a 9th player arrives at the game, that player shall be inserted into the previously vacated spot in the battng order and placed in the field on defense.
  • By mutual agreement between managers prior to the start of the game, the following may be implemented: 5 Run Rule: If a team scores 5 runs in one inning, they will take the field and the defensive team will come to bat.

14U Rules Exceptions:

  • 14U pitchers are limited to 12 innings per week and the pitching distance is 43 feet.
  • Girls over the 14U age limit may not pitch on a 14U team.
  • For 14U games, a team will be allowed to play a game with not less than 8 players only if due to absence, injury, or illness. A team cannot elect to play with less than 9 players if any eligible player(s) are available at a game. When a team starts a game with 8 players, the 9th spot in the batting order will result in an automatic out each time that position is due to bat, until that spot in the batting order is occupied by an eligible player. If a 9th player arrives at any time after the game begins, that player shall be added to the batting order in the 9th spot and placed in the field on defense. If a reduction to 8 players occurs due to absence, injury, or illness of eligible player(s) after a game begins, the vacated spot in the batting order will result in an automatic out each time the vacated position is due to bat, until that spot in the batting order is occupied by an eligible player. If a 9th player arrives at the game, that player shall be inserted into the previously vacated spot in the batting order and placed in the field on defense.

End-of-Season Tournament Rules:

  • Forfeit: If a team misses a tournament game it will be forfeited. Please contact the tournament director so the opposing team can be notified. In the event the tournament is called due to weather, rescheduled games will be played at the tournament director’s discretion. Failure to field a team will result in forfeit.
  • Pickup Player: If a team cannot field a team of ten players, this rule applies. A team my pick up NO MORE THAN THREE players for the End-of-Season Tournament. The “pick up” player(s) must be on a Babe Ruth Softball Roster for the league they are picked up by and cannot have played or be playing in the end-of-season tournament with another team. A team utilizing pickup players may not have more than 10 total players on their EOS tournament roster.
  • Innings Played: Mandatory play requirements shall be the same as during the regular season. Every player shall play a minimum of 6 defensive outs and 1 at-bat per game. All coaches and scorekeepers must be informed before the game of any disciplinary actions and this shall be noted in the scorebook. Failure to meet the minimum play requirement shall be subject to protest by the opposing team and could result in a forfeit. The minimum play requirement does not apply if the game is shortened for any reason. (Note: If the last half inning of a complete game is not played because the home team is ahead, it DOES NOT count as a shortened game)
  • 10U teams will follow the number of defenders allowed, batting order, free substitution, and base running rules used for regular season games.
  • Tournament Awards: Individual awards will be provided to each player in each age division of teams placing first, second, and third.
  • The 10-Run Rule, as described in the “Local League Options” section of the rulebook, will be in effect for all divisions.
  • The Extra Hitter rule, as described in the “Local League Options” of the rulebook, is allowed for the 12U, 14U, and 16U divisions.
  • Nine players will be required to start and finish all End-of-Season Tournament games.
  • Pitching Limitations for each age division are as follows: 10U- Each player may pitch a total of not more than 4 innings in 2 consecutive games (e.g. Player A pitches 3 innings in Game 1. Player A may pitch not more than 1 inning in Game 2. If Player A pitches 4 innings in Game 1, Player a may not pitch in Game 2, but Player A would have 4 innings available to pitch beginning in Game 3); 12U- Each player may pitch a total of not more than 6 innings in 2 consecutive games (e.g. Player A pitches 3 innings in Game 1. Player A may pitch not more than 3 inning in Game 2. If Player A pitches 6 innings in Game 1, Player a may not pitch in Game 2, but Player A would have 6 innings available to pitch beginning in Game 3); 14U/16U- Each player may pitch a total of not more than 7 innings in 2 consecutive games (e.g. Player A pitches 3 innings in Game 1. Player A may pitch not more than 4 inning in Game 2. If Player A pitches 7 innings in Game 1, Player a may not pitch in Game 2, but Player A would have 7 innings available to pitch beginning in Game 3). One pitch thrown in an inning counts as a full inning pitched.
  • Players on regular season rosters who have participated in a minimum of 5 regular season games are eligible to pitch in the End-of-Season tournament. Approval from the District Commissioner is required prior to participation of any player, as a pitcher, who does not meet the above eligibility requirement.

Time Limits:

  • Pitcher Warm Ups – Between innings and new pitchers are allowed 1 minute or 5 pitches.
  • Games – No new inning started after 1 hour 10 minutes. If the score is tied at the end of the game, the winner shall be the team with the most runs at the end of the last completed inning when the score was not tied. If no winner determined, then game shall be continued using the international tiebreaker until a winner is determined.
  • No time limit on the championship games.

Printable Softball Rules