Community Softball League
2022 Eligibility, Playing Rule Amendments, and Clarifications

Diamond Set-up and Pitching Distances

DIVISION

AGES*
PRIOR to Jan. 1st
NO overage allowance

DATE OF BIRTH

BASE DISTANCE

PITCHING DISTANCE

BALL 
SIZE
Core .47

U11 (Mite)

9-10

2011, 2012

45 feet

35 feet

11"

U13 (Squirt)

11-12

2009, 2010

55 feet

38 feet

11"

U15 (Novice)

13-14

2007, 2008

60 feet

40 feet

12"

U17 (Bantam)

15-16

2005, 2006

60 feet

43 feet

12"

U19 (Midget)

17-18

2003, 2004

60 feet

43 feet

12"

U21 (Junior)

19-20

2001, 2002
(NO age extension)

60 feet

43 feet

12"

*NOTE: All ages PRIOR to January 1st, of the current year (2022).

Our focus in CSL is to be a COMMUNITY recreational league with RESPECT for all of its participants.

ELIGIBILITY
The Community Softball League is for house league players only and is meant to be an enjoyable learning experience for all of its participants.  CSL is based on providing a house league recreational experience, for teams and players from London and the immediate surrounding area member associations, as a player's alternative to playing on a competitive (rep/selected) team.  We offer a full season schedule, including a mid-season tournament, and playoffs, to meet the need for play.  It is intended that each team commits to our program, NOT in conjunction with OR in preparation for other leagues of play or competitions (qualifiers or finals).
*Players who played as a member of a “higher level” (above HL) team (previous season), that have TWO or more seasons experience as a player at that level, are accepted at an AGE ABOVE their registration age.
* A 
MAXIMUM of THREE "rep" (league above HL) players (from previous season) will be allowed per team.


1. Any player in the league may participate in a maximum of five* (5) competitive games as a call up player. Any player having participated in six* (6) competitive league games will no longer be eligible to play in the CSL. *A Tournament will count as 1 game.
2. Participation is to be arranged through the CSL coach and must be reported to the Association Convenor.
3. Any CSL team using an ineligible player (as per CSL policies) will forfeit all games that the player was involved in after she became ineligible.
4. The Area Convenor is responsible for keeping, and providing on request, a list of all league players being used on competitive teams including the number and dates of competitive games in which they have played.
5. No new players may be added after June 30th. Finalized rosters must meet the established criteria. Only CSL approved, registered players listed on submitted team rosters will be allowed participation.  A complete and final team list (not to exceed 15 players) of CSL players' names and birth dates must be submitted to CSL by July 1st.
  Community Softball League
Playing Rule Amendments and Clarifications
  (further adjustments/additions to address the Covid-19 situation
  may be required for 2022)

The health and safety of our community is important to us.  To that end, all participants will be required to respect the individual associations' Return to Play protocols, prepared with reference and guidance from the government and health units, as accepted by local authorities (of London and Middlesex).
In the event that issues arise between any individual associations and a resolution cannot be resolved through the convenors of those associations, further attention is to be directed by the convenors to CSL for further attention.  Noncompliance may result in banning from attendance.
Top 10 Misunderstood Rules
(per Softball Ontario/Canada)

These ten rules have been selected as rules about which there are many common misconceptions. These misconceptions then lead to many forms of abuse whether it be heckling from the fans who misunderstand (or don’t agree with) the rule, verbal abuse from coaches and/or players, etc.
     Rule #1:  Obey the rules.
     Rule #2:  Rules are NOT made to be broken.
     Rule #3:  Rules apply to all, not just those who choose to follow them.

Rules and policies are in place to provide an established environment for ALL of our participants (past, present, future) to have an even and fair playing field.  They address circumstances in advance (where possible) to keep "circumstances" from becoming an "advantage" for some and a disadvantage for others.

Base Stealing
Batting Order
Courtesy Runner
Concussion Protocol
Covid-19 Return to Play
Equipment
Game Time
Infield Fly Rule
Jewellery
Mercy Rule
Pitchers
Number of Innings
Number of Players
Rescheduled Game
Run Rules
Scores
Third Strike Rule
Umpires
Uniforms
Unsportsmanlike Conduct
Warming up a Pitcher

Miscellaneous
Extra Information Page

The Top 10 Misunderstood Rules in Softball Are:

Left Hand Turn from First
Check Swing
Award of Bases on Overthrow
Batted Ball hitting Home Plate, First Base, Second Base or Third Base
Batter stepping on home plate or mat or directly in front of home plate or mat
Fair ball bouncing out of play or off a defensive player
Infield Fly
Lead-off (Pitcher’s Circle) - Fast Pitch only
Difference between Interference / Obstruction
Double Base

PLAYING RULES  (updated with new information)

NOTE: Every effort is made, when developing these Rules and Guidelines for the League, to make the game of fastball playable and fun. However, situations may arise that are not covered or are ambiguous. If necessary, the Executive, and/or a committee appointed by the President, will address these situations and provide a decision that will be considered final.

Softball Canada playing rules will apply in all divisions. The Softball Canada rules may be amended, deleted or added to by the operating rules of the Community Softball League. Any amendments, deletions or additions will be found in the following rule amendments:
 
1 GAME TIME
 
1.1.  Games will be forfeited 15 minutes after the scheduled start time found on the game schedule if the team or teams are not ready to play. It would be wise to have teams there at least 30 minutes prior to game time so line-ups can be exchanged

1.2.  Games will have a time limit from the time of the first pitch of:
  • 1 hour and 30 minutes at U11 (Mite), U13 (Squirt), and U15 (Novice) levels,
  • 1 hour and 45 minutes at U17 (Bantam), U19 (Midget) and U21 (Junior) levels, .
NO inning will start AFTER that time has elapsed.  An inning started is to be finished without time restriction. The umpire will be the official timekeeper and will inform both scorekeepers of the official start time early in the game (first inning).  The score at the end of the last completed inning will count in the standings.

1.3. The umpire may start the game earlier than scheduled if both teams are ready to start.
 
2 NUMBER OF INNINGS
 
A full game consists of:
  • U11 (Mite) level: 5 innings OR time limit
  • U13 (Squirt), U15 (Novice), U17 (Bantam), U19 (Midget) and U21 (Junior) levels: 7 innings OR time limit
 
Minimum number of innings:
  • U11 (Mite) level: 3 complete innings OR time limit
  • U13 (Squirt), U15 (Novice), U17 (Bantam), U19 (Midget) and U21 (Junior) levels: 4 innings OR time limit
The umpire may call the game earlier due to rain, lightning and/or darkness that may create a safety concern. If the minimum number of innings have been played, the game will be considered complete. The score from the last complete inning played will be the official score and will count in the standings. Any game not completing the necessary number of innings at the time the game was suspended/called will be rescheduled and played as a new game.
 
3 NUMBER OF PLAYERS
 
3.1. A game will be forfeited if either team cannot field a team of at least 8 players, 15 minutes after the scheduled game time or during the course of the game. There will be no out counted for an absentee 9th player. 

3.1.1  A game forfeited at the diamond (for lack of players or umpires) is to be declared an exhibition.  Teams are encouraged to engage in friendly scrimmage or drills to take advantage of player and diamond time.

3.2. Substitute players may be borrowed from any CSL member association team in the immediate division below, to make a roster of a maximum of 11 players.  Exception: U11 (Mite) ONLY may borrow players from any other U11 (Mite) team (NOT including the opposing team for that game).

3.2.1 All player call-ups are to be arranged through the player's COACH not through the player directly and must be reported to the Association Convenor. The coach is responsible for notifying the convenor of their need for call-ups at the earliest opportunity. If a call up situation arises at game time, the coach may use one available legal player, provided the Coach is notified after the game. Every effort should be made to contact the players' coach ahead of time.

3.2.2 A player may not serve as a call-up at any level when her own team has a game to play.

3.2.3 Call-ups are to be reported WITH the scores, by BOTH teams.

3.3 Borrowed players (including U11 (Mite) are not allowed to pitch.

3.4 One team may call up the same player from a lower division (or other U11 (Mite) division) a maximum of five times (see Eligibility 2).

3.5 Borrowed players will be a regular part of the batting order and defensive positioning on the diamond.

3.6 U11 (Mite) ONLY - An extra "Rover" player may be used in the outfield only. The Rover player may only be inserted at the beginning of an inning or game.

3.7 Coaches must notify the opposition coach 24 hours prior to the scheduled game time if they are unable to field a team and reschedule the game.

**Teams are encouraged to borrow players rather than reschedule or forfeit.**

4  RESCHEDULED GAME
 
4.1 Schedule changes are to be reported to CSL scheduler/scorekeeper, within 7 days of the original game date, by the home team.

4.2 Within 7 days of the original game date, the home team coach is responsible for making arrangements for playing that game before the end of the regular season (of that division).
 
4.3 Season rainouts are to be played WITHIN the regular season.

5 GAME REPORTS
Games not played according to CSL rules are to be declared and reported as exhibition participation.  Make full use of the facility and playing time available to the players for their commitment.

 
5.1 BOTH teams are required to report the results of the game within 48 hours of the completion of the game. Refer to contact information package for website and/or contact information.
 
5.2 Any games that are tied at the curfew will be considered complete and each team will be awarded 2 points.  Exhibition games will count for 1 point.
 
5.3 Games will be scored as follows:
Win (including by forfeit): 3 points
Tie: 2 points
Loss: 1 point
Not played: 0 points 
 
6 MERCY RULE
 
The game will be considered complete and the score will become official if after 5 complete innings for the visiting team and 4½ innings for the home team, there is a 10 point difference or if either team is ahead by 15 runs after 3 complete innings.
 
7 PITCHERS
 
U11 (Mite) ONLY:
7.0 Pitchers are not permitted to pitch in consecutive innings, for the first 3 innings of each game. 
 
U11 (Mite), SQUIRT, NOVICE AND BANTAM
7.1 A MINIMUM of 2 pitchers must be used in a regulation game.
 
7.2 A pitcher can pitch 2 consecutive innings for a total of 4 innings in a regulation game (for U11 (Mite) it is 3 innings maximum WITH attention to 7.1 above).
 
7.3 A single pitch to a batter is considered an inning pitched. If a pitcher is replaced in an inning and returns in the same inning, she will be charged with pitching 2 consecutive innings.
 
7.4 A pitcher who has pitched 2 consecutive innings cannot pitch again until one complete inning has passed.
 
7.5 Coaches and/or team scorekeepers are responsible for keeping track of the number of innings the opposing pitcher has pitched. If a pitcher erroneously pitches in 3 consecutive innings, or for a 5th inning, the pitcher will be immediately removed from the pitching position for the remainder of the game but will be allowed to play in any other fielding position. A warning to the coach will be given and if this player returns to pitch, the coach will be ejected.
 
7.6  At U11 (Mite) or U13 (Squirt) levels, an illegal pitch will be ruled as a "No pitch".
 
MIDGET AND JUNIOR
7.7 Upon the coach's second visit to the mound in the same inning, the pitcher must be removed for the remainder of that inning
 
ALL LEVELS
7.8   Adoption of Softball Canada ruling requires ONE foot to be on the rubber, to start the pitch. The ball is to be presented with hands apart.  After the pause, all motion with feet is to be forward and restricted to the width of the rubber.  In delivering the ball, the pitcher is allowed a single forward step along with release of the ball. No toe drag is required.
 
7.9   ANY pitcher who hits a batter with a pitch three times in the same inning (ball in the air, not rolling on the ground), will be replaced for the remainder of the inning. At the umpire's discretion, this may be waived, IF it is determined that the batters are not attempting to avoid the hit. The pitcher may play any other position in that inning. The pitcher may return to the pitching position in another inning, based on the number of innings already pitched.
 
7.10   NO intentional walks. A batter is entitled to 4 pitches, not rolled or bounced to the plate.
 
8 BATTING ORDER

8.1   The batting order will consist of all players present at the start of the game.
 
8.2   Late comers are to be added to the bottom of the line-up upon arrival.
 
8.3   All players in the line-up are to play a minimum of 2 innings in defensive positions (an exception MAY rarely result in a game of less than 4 innings.)
 
8.4   Any player who must leave the game before completion will be scratched from the line-up without any penalty to his or her team (no out recorded for the player's turn at bat). However, if the 8th player and before the completion of the game, the game is forfeited.
 
8.5   The first time a bat is thrown in a game, the umpire will issue a warning to the player. A second occurrence will result in being "called out". No runner advances. 
 
9 EQUIPMENT

9.1   Regulation approved batting helmets must be worn by all batters, runners, on-deck batters and minor age base coaches.
 
9.1.1 Cages are required on batting helmets at all levels. 
 
9.2   Deliberately removing the helmet on the diamond while the ball is in play is an automatic out.
 
9.3  To ensure the safety of all the batters and base runners, the batting helmet chinstraps must be done up at all times, at all levels.
 
9.4 
Defensive face protection for pitchers (ex. Rip-it) is required in all divisions, as a safety precaution. Requirement for other defensive players is according to the expectation of your Local Association.  Face guards are to be made available for use by all players (as is the case for catchers' equipment). 

9.5   NO METAL CLEATS allowed
on the diamond, at any division.
 
9.6   Softball bats only (not hardball).

Bats will be required to pass a visual inspection.
 
10 INFIELD FLY
 
NOTE: The Infield Fly rule states, "An infield fly is a fair ball (not including a line drive or an attempted bunt) which can be caught by an infielder with ordinary effort, when first and second bases are occupied, before 2 are out. The ball is alive and runners may advan
ce at the risk that the ball will be caught or they may retouch and advance after the ball is touched, the same as on any fly ball." -Softball Canada Official Guide and Rule Book
 
The infield fly rule will NOT apply to the U11 (Mite) and U13 (Squirt) divisions.
 
11 THIRD STRIKE
 
The dropped third strike rule will NOT apply to the U11 (Mite) and U13 (Squirt) divisions.
 
12 BASE STEALING
 
12 Bases will be awarded to all base runners on overthrows out of bounds as per Softball Canada rules (except U11 (Mite) and U13 (Squirt) from 3rd to home).
 
12.1 U15 (Novice), U17 (Bantam), U19 (Midget) and U21 (Junior)
Players may steal a base after the ball leaves the pitcher's hand.
 
U13 (Squirt)
Players may steal a base after the pitch has crossed home plate.

U11 (Mite)
NO
base stealing.


12.2 U13 (Squirt) only

Runners may NOT steal from 3rd to home. One steal per pitch, per player is allowed (i.e. If catcher throws to second and the runner has stolen from 1st to 2nd, that runner may not continue to 3rd).
 
12.2.1 After a pitch and all play has stopped and the catcher is throwing the ball back to the pitcher, the ball will be dead. Anyone stealing on the pitch will be allowed the base, except from 3rd base to home.

 
13 RUN RULES
 
13.1 U11 (Mite) only: The inning is over when 3 outs are made or when 5 runs have scored. (No "open" inning.)
 
13.2 U13 (Squirt) only: 
The inning is over when 3 outs are made or when 6 runs have scored. (No "open" inning.)

13. 3 U15 (Novice) only: The inning is over when 3 outs are made or when 7 runs have scored. (No "open" inning.)

13.4 U17 (Bantam), U19 (Midget), and U21 (Junior):
The inning is over when 3 outs are made or when 8 runs have scored. (No "open" inning.)

14 JEWELLERY RULE

There is no exception for new piercings...it is a safety issue. 
ALL jewellery, except for Medic Alert bracelets/necklaces, MUST be removed (not taped over). Jewellery includes, but is NOT LIMITED TO, earrings, any types of piercing, watches, and bracelets (of any material), etc. This is a safety issue that must not be ignored. Medic alert bracelets and medallions should be worn if required and should not be taped. There is no penalty for medic alert jewellery.
 
15 UNIFORMS
 
15.1 Players are required to wear association uniforms. Long baseball pants must be worn during games at the U11 (Mite), U13 (Squirt) and U15 (Novice) levels. BASEBALL uniform shorts may be worn by individuals at the U17 (Bantam), U19 (Midget) and U21 (Junior) level. No other shorts are to be allowed. Shirttails may be required, by the umpire, to be tucked in.
 
15.2 Only baseball style hats/visors may be worn. "Same team" baseball hats are not mandatory and will be the decision of the team coach. Any baseball hat (including visors) worn, must be in good taste and worn in the proper manner (peak forward and down).
 
16 MISCELLANEOUS
 
16.1 The home team will supply:  two (2) umpires (a minimum of an age division older), one new ball, one good ball and diamond preparation, bases and pegs. A safety bag is required at 1st base.
  • The defensive player (typically the first baseman) must use only the white/fair portion of the base. (see Exception below)
  • The offensive player must use only the orange/foul portion of the base on the player's first attempt at first base when a play is being made on the player. This includes when the batter/runner runs on a dropped third strike. (see Exception below)
  • On a ball hit to the outfield with no play being made at first base, the offensive player may touch either portion of the base on the player's first attempt at first base.
  • Once an offensive player has touched the orange/foul portion of the base on the first attempt at first base, the runner must then use the white/fair portion of the base:
    • Exception: 
      • On any live ball play made from first base foul territory, the batter-runner and the defensive player may use either base. When the defensive player uses the foul portion of the double base, the batter-runner can run in fair territory and if hit by a throw from the foul side of first base, it would not be interference (unless it is an intentional act like throwing up their arms, etc.)
      • It should be clear the runner or the fielder can use either base on a ball fielded on the foul side of first base. Both the runner and fielder could be touching the same base. If the fielder uses the orange base in this situation and the runner makes contact with the fielder it is interference on the runner. If both players use the white portion and the fielder causes the runner to hold up or change direction, it is obstruction on the fielder.

16.2 No smoking and/or liquor and/or drugs shall be allowed on or near the benches or playing and practice areas by either players or coaches (Please also see Rule #21).
 
16.3 Charged conference game limit is waived.

16.4  Sliding is NOT required at any base.

17 PROTESTS
Keep in mind, while practising and playing, that you are participating in a house league situation and any problems that arise should be resolved in a friendly and diplomatic fashion.
 
17.1 Only Softball Canada and CSL playing rules can be protested. 
 
17.2 Protests must be identified to the home plate umpire at the time of the infraction and the umpire must take note of it and notify the other team of the protest being made. The coach requesting the protest will also notify their convenor and the CSL president within 48 hours of the protested game.
 
17.3 A non-refundable fee of $25.00, payable to the Community Softball League, is due at the time of the protest.
 
A protest will be heard by a committee of 3 people, consisting of the CSL president (or appointed by the president) and 2 neutral members of the CSL. The decision will be final.
 
18 UMPIRES
 
18.1.1 IF time is remaining at the last out of an inning, play continues to the next inning (unless waived by agreement of both coaches)
without time restrictions.

18.1.2. (Refer to 1.2)
 
18.2 For safety reasons, the umpire may call the game due to rain, lightning and/or darkness that may create a concern. (see "Number of Innings" for outcomes).
 
18.3 The umpires will identify out of bounds to both teams during the pre-game rules meeting.
 
18.4 Umpires are required to be an age division older than the team players.
 
18.5 Only under extreme circumstance and agreement of both teams, should the umpire be related to a participant in the game.
 
18.6 Reports of player removal, coach ejections, etc., at a game are to be submitted to the association convenor and the league president.
 
19 COURTESY RUNNERS
 
Injured Player: A courtesy runner may take the place of an injured base runner or batter. Please let the umpire and the opposing team know, at either the beginning of the game or at the time of the injury, that you will need to use a courtesy runner. Both the courtesy runner and the original runner are eligible for further participation in the game. The last out prior to the player being substituted for, will be the courtesy runner. The injured runner/batter may advance to 1st base ONLY (if the hit is a double, triple or home run, the runner must stop at 1st base). 
 
Catcher: With 2 outs and the catcher on base, the catcher MAY be substituted with a courtesy runner (the available player who was the last out) to allow the catcher to dress for the next inning. 

20 WARMING UP A PITCHER
 
Any person that is warming up a pitcher in a crouching position, either on or off the playing field, must wear a catcher's mask with throat guard. 
 
21 UNSPORTSMANLIKE CONDUCT
 
All participants (coaches, parents, players, and umpires) need to understand and respect the role of the umpire in exercising judgment and applying the rules set by the league. Only the interpretation of a rule may be subjected to question by the coach.
 
Request for clarification may be carried out by either the coach or the umpire if done in a cordial manner (non-demeaning or challenging manner). RESPECT IS EXPECTED.
 
It is our responsibility to set a good example and be a positive role model for our players. As such, the umpire will warn/eject any coach, parent and/or player who fails to comply with this conduct. The umpire may stop the game if necessary. Foul language, unsportsmanlike behaviour of any kind and/or any conduct deemed detrimental to the CSL will not be tolerated. Any situation of such behaviour should be reported to your convenor and/or the CSL president.
 
No inebriated or inappropriate spectator, coach or player will be tolerated. Coaches should take the initiative to speak to any spectator conducting themselves in an inappropriate manner. The umpires have the authority to eject spectators, parents, coaches and/or players, if necessary. The umpires have the authority to call a forfeit to the offending team, if necessary. The police should and will be called in extreme situations. The CSL will remove a team from the league if it is deemed necessary.
 
Coaches are responsible for their players, coaches, and fans. No disrespect and/or unsportsmanlike conduct toward the umpires/players/coaches/league will be tolerated. 
 
In order to keep the integrity of this league, to create a positive and fun experience for our children, there will be a Zero Tolerance Policy in effect.
 
Suspensions
 
The CSL reserves the right to suspend or expel any team, coach, or player for disrespect and unsportsmanlike conduct or conduct deemed detrimental to the CSL. When a team is suspended, the scheduled games will be forfeited to the opposing teams. Teams using suspended coaches or players shall automatically forfeit the games in which the suspended persons participated. Such teams/players will NOT be eligible for a refund.
 
Teams disregarding CSL policies and decisions are at risk of game forfeits and team disqualifications.

21 CONCUSSION PROTOCOL

Associations are responsible to make sure that all registered athletes, as well as their parent (for athletes under 18), provide confirmation that they have reviewed Concussion Awareness Resources.

Associations must also not allow coaches, team trainers and officials to serve as a coach, team trainer or official unless they have provided confirmation that they have reviewed one of the Concussion Awareness Resources, every year.

22 COVID-19 RETURN TO PLAY

EACH of the participating associations has Covid-19 Return to Play protocols in place, for 2021, that must be respected by all those in attendance.

EXTRA INFORMATION PAGE
NOTE: Every effort is made, when developing these Rules and Guidelines for the League, to make the game of softball playable and fun. However, situations may arise that are not covered or are ambiguous. If necessary, the Executive, and/or a committee appointed by the President, will address these situations. The decision will be final.
 
1. SCHEDULES
  • BE sure to always check the schedule for location, time, etc. of all home and away games. You may have a week with no games or a week with two games. The location of a team's game could be different from game to game.
  • Inclusion into the Community Softball League means CSL games and finals take priority over others.  Rescheduling within the regular season will be accepted but should not interfere with the completion of the season.
 
2. MID-SEASON TOURNAMENT
 

Provided, this year, by B.O.M.B.A and S.L.B.A. for CSL teams
  • all CSL registered teams participation
  • double knock-out format (adjusted as required for number of teams, diamonds and time availability)
  • DATES:
    • June 10th to 12th:  U13 (Squirt), U17 (Bantam), Mid/Jr. divisions
    • June 17th to 19th:  U11 (Mite), U15 (Novice) divisions
3. PLAYOFFS
NOTE: Dates are based on accommodations.
  • Each association is required to provide umpires and on-site assistance during playoffs.
  • Teams not meeting eligibility expectations will be excluded from playoffs.
ALL TEAMS 
 
Final Standings will be available after all scores have been received and tabulated.
 
All scores are to be received by:
  • Aug. 5th (U13 (Squirt), U17 (Bantam), U21 (Junior) divisions)
  • Aug. 12th (U11 (Mite), U15 (Novice) divisions)
Tiebreakers (by need and approval only): following these dates
 
It may be necessary to run some first rounds of playoffs throughout the week before playoffs.
 
2022 Playoff Weekend(s):
  • Aug. 12th to 14th (U13 (Squirt), U17 (Bantam), U21 (Junior) divisions)
  • Aug. 19th to 21st ( U11 (Mite), U135 (U15 (Novice) divisions)
ENJOY A HEALTHY, HAPPY, AND SAFE SEASON!
1.Left hand turn from first. 
A runner forfeits his/her exemption from liability to be put out if, after overrunning first base, he/she makes an attempt to run to second base.

The key to this rule is to continue to second base. There must be at least an attempt towards second base. It does not matter which direction the batter-runner turns after reaching first base if they are coming back to first base without attempting to advance to second base.

2.Check swing.

If it is the plate umpire’s judgement that the batter made an attempt to swing at the ball (but not a full swing), the plate umpire shall call the pitched ball a strike. This call is NOT to be appealed to the base umpire - use the guiding principle that the plate umpire does not call it a strike unless he/she saw the attempted swing - therefore no need for an appeal of what the plate umpire saw.

However, if the batter attempted to swing at the ball but the plate umpire did not see the attempt (perhaps blocked out by the catcher) then a ball shall be called. With this call, the plate umpire does have the opportunity to check with his/her base umpire(s) with or without a request from the defensive team.  The plate umpire may make the request on their own or may choose to make the request when requested to do so by the defensive team. The key to the base umpire is that they shall only answer a check swing request made by the plate umpire - they do not respond to a request made directly to them by a defensive player.

Should the base umpire see the attempt that the plate umpire did not see, they shall respond by calling “yes” and the call shall be changed from ball to strike.

3. Award of bases on overthrow.

 The common misconception with this rule is the old rule of “one plus one,” a rule that was changed long ago. The correct ruling is that when a thrown ball goes out of play (beyond the established boundary lines of the playing field)

  • all runners, including the batter-runner shall be awarded two bases from the last base legally touched based on their position at the time that the thrown ball left the fielder’s hand
  • if there are two runners between the same bases, the award is based on the position of the lead runner  

Keys to remember with this rule:

  • the award is based on their position at the time the throw was made, not at the time that the ball went out of play - watch for that very long overthrow from the outfield
  • the award is two bases from the last base legally touched - if a runner is returning to first base to tag up on a fly ball, they will still be awarded two bases which is second base and third base as the last base that they had legally touched was first base
  • The proper mechanics for this situation are to call “Dead Ball” as soon as the ball goes out of play then award the bases accordingly. Your award should be swift and decisive.
  • With multiple runners or a long overthrow, if you have any doubt consult with your fellow Umpire(s) immediately before the award and get it right the first time.
4. Batted ball hitting home plate, first base, second base or third base.

  Home Plate

  • A batted ball remains alive and in play when it strikes home plate: This is a common misconception - many, many years ago when a batted ball struck home plate it was declared a dead ball.
  • In the event that a batted ball comes to rest on home plate, it shall be ruled a fair ball and the plate umpire shall signal accordingly.
  • Remember, the fair/foul lines come to the back point of home plate so the plate is completely in fair territory.

 First or Third Base

  • When properly installed, first and third base are positioned on the diamond completely in fair territory. A smart Umpire looks around between pitches to ensure this is always true.
  • Once a batted ball strikes first or third base without having been first touched by a player, the batted ball shall be ruled a fair ball regardless of where the ball ends up.
  • Once the ball touches first of third base it does not have to pass the base, touching the base is all that is required to make it a fair ball.
  • The plate umpire should signal fair ball immediately once the batted ball strikes the base

  Second Base

  • Once a batted ball strikes second base without having been first touched by a player, the batted ball shall be ruled a fair ball.
5. Batter stepping on home plate or mat or directly in front of home plate or mat.

  Stepping on Home Plate or Mat

  • the batter is out if any part of their foot is touching home plate or touching the mat when the bat contacts the ball
  • the ball is dead and runners may not advance on the play.

  Stepping directly in front of Home Plate or Mat

  • The batter is out if their foot is completely outside the lines of the batter’s box and touching the ground when the bat contacts the ball - therefore if the batter’s foot is completely in front of home plate their foot is obviously completely outside the lines of the batter’s box.
  • The batter is out if their foot is completely in front or behind the mat touching the ground when the bat contacts the ball.
  • The ball is dead and runners may not advance on the play.

  Points of Emphasis:

  • There is no penalty unless the batter makes contact with the ball.
  • The position of the foot must be judged at the time the bat makes contact with the ball - if the foot is in the air and then comes down on the ground after the ball is hit, there is no penalty.
  • With the exception of the foot touching home plate or touching the mat, the foot must be completely outside the lines of the batter’s box - touching any part of the lines is acceptable as the lines are part of the box
  • The same penalty applies whether the batted ball is fair or foul - “Dead Ball” is called as soon as the batter makes contact with the ball.
6. Fair ball bouncing out of play or off a defensive player.

  When a fair ball bounces out of play, including if it deflects off a defensive player, the umpire shall declare “Dead Ball” as soon as the ball goes out of play.

  • All runners shall be awarded two bases.
  • The award is based on their position at the time of the pitch - not at the time that the ball went out of play.
  • The award is the same regardless of where the ball actually goes out of play.
  • Be prepared that this rule could actually end up bringing runners backwards.
  • A long rolling ground ball goes out of play and the batter is already past second base - the batter goes back to second base.
  • Same play, runner starting at first base is already past third base and on their way to score when the batted ball goes out of play, the runner is returned to third base.
7. Infield Fly.

  Requirements for an Infield Fly:

  • Runners on first and second base OR first, second and third base.
  • Less than 2 out.
  • Not a bunt.
  • Not a line drive.
  • Can be caught by an infielder with ordinary effort this includes the, pitcher, catcher or any outfielder positioned in the infield.

 What should the umpire do?

  • In an infield fly situation, prior to the first pitch of the at bat, the umpires should give the infield fly signal to each other. When it becomes apparent that a batted ball is an infield fly (typically when the ball reaches its’ highest point and is just on its’ way down) the plate umpire shall declare “INFIELD FLY, IF FAIR - THE BATTER IS OUT”

  Once an Infield Fly is declared:

  • if the hit becomes a foul ball, no penalty, treat like any other foul ball
  • if the hit remains a fair ball
  • the batter is out regardless of whether the ball is caught or not
  • the ball remains alive
  • the runners may advance at their own risk
  • if the fly ball is caught, they must tag up
  • if the fly ball is not caught, they can choose to advance but as the batter has already been declared out there is no force play
8. Lead-off (Pitcher’s Circle) - Fast Pitch only.

The Pitcher’s Circle is the area within an 8’ radius of the pitcher’s plate - the lines are considered within the circle.

The common misconception is that if the ball is thrown back to the pitcher and he/she has it in his/her position in the pitcher’s circle before the batter-runner reaches first base that the batter-runner must stop at first base.

Even though the ball may be in the pitcher’s possession in the pitcher’s circle, the batter-runner may:

  • continue past first base.
  • is entitled to run toward second base, as long as he/she does not stop at first base.
  • once the runner makes a stop, he/she must immediately proceed to the next base or return to his/her base UNLESS the pitcher makes a play (including a fake throw) on the runner or another runner.

If the runner stops and simply stands there off the base while the pitcher has possession of the ball in the pitcher’s circle and no play is made - “DEAD BALL - RUNNER IS OUT - LEAD-OFF” If the runner stops and then makes a move in more than one direction immediately after the stop while the pitcher has possession of the ball in the pitcher’s circle and no play is made “DEAD BALL - RUNNER IS OUT - LEAD-OFF”

Points of Emphasis:

  • The pitcher cannot force the first stop by a runner merely by having possession of the ball in the pitcher’s circle. Put another way - the runner is allowed one stop - as soon as he/she stops he/she must make a decision immediately to either advance or return.
  • A play on the runner (including a fake throw) nullifies any penalty - put another way, every fake throw allows the runner one more stop.
9. Difference between Interference/Obstruction

  Interference:

  • Typically an act by an offensive player.
  • Also possible to have umpire interference and spectator interference.
  • Results in “Dead Ball” being called (exception - umpire interference).
  • Results in an out if by an offensive player.
  • Common misconception - catcher’s interference is actually catcher’s obstruction.

  Obstruction:

  • Is an act by a defensive player.
  • Results in a delayed dead ball.
  • Award is determined at the end of the play (exception - if the obstructed runner is called out)
  • An obstruction call does not entitle the obstructed runner to keep attempting to advance until played upon.

  These two rules require:

  • an immediate call when either interference or obstruction occurs - do not hesitate, these are not the type of calls to be made after the fact.
  • A decisive call

Contact does not always mean interference or obstruction occurred. There is such a thing as incidental contact - 2 players both unsure of where to go and contact is made. Rule 8.10(c) states that the runner is not out when more than one fielder attempts to field a batted ball and the runner comes in contact with the one who, in the umpire’s judgment, was not entitled to field the ball.

TIP - when contact occurs and in the umpire’s judgment that neither interference nor obstruction occurred, make a “SAFE” signal with no verbal call - shows that you saw it and you made your decision that no call was necessary.

10. Double Base.

The Double Base is used at first base with the orange portion in foul territory and the white portion in fair territory. Referring to 4. above - a batted ball striking the white/fair portion is declared a fair ball, a batted ball striking the orange/foul portion is declared a foul ball - a batted ball striking the centre of the double base is declared a fair ball as it therefore hits a portion of the white/fair portion of the base.

The defensive player (typically the first baseman) must use only the white/fair portion of the base at all times. (see Exception below)

The offensive player must use only the orange/foul portion of the base on his/her first attempt at first base when a play is being made on him/her. This includes when the batter-runner runs on a dropped third strike. (see Exception below)

On a ball hit to the outfield with no play being made at first base, the offensive player may touch either portion of the base on his/her first attempt at first base.

Once an offensive player has touched the orange/foul portion of the base on his/her first attempt at first base, he/she must then use the white/fair portion of the base:

  • when returning to the base after overrunning first base
  • when taking his/her position prior to the next pitch
  • when tagging up on a fly ball

   Points of Emphasis:

  • the defensive player - when he/she is required to use the white/fair portion, provided any portion of his/her foot is touching any portion of the white/fair portion of the base, he/she is considered to be in contact with the base    
  • the offensive player - when he/she is required to use the orange/foul portion, provided any portion of his/her foot is touching any portion of the orange/foul portion of the base, he/she is considered to be in contact with the base
  • once the offensive player has made his/her first attempt at first base, for simplicity sake the orange/foul portion of the base no longer exists for him/her

   Exception

  • On any live ball play made from first base foul territory, the batter-runner and the defensive player may use either base. When the defensive player uses the foul portion of the double base, the batter-runner can run in fair territory and if hit by a throw from the foul side of first base, it would not be interference (unless it is an intentional act like throwing up their arms etc.)