Softball Rules- Applicable for Coed Softball
Each team consists of ten fielders and unlimited batters. The minimum number of players needed to start a game is 8 for coed (a minimum of three of both genders). If a coed team plays with the minimum number of players then it must provide a pitcher and catcher and each open position in the batting order corresponding to the gender of the missing players is an automatic out. Fielding substitutions are unlimited. If a team utilizes an unlimited batting order, then every player must play the field for at least one inning of the game. If a team uses a limited batting order, then a substituted player can reenter the batting order in any position provided the team has completed one rotation of the batting order from the players original position. A maximum of six of either may play the field in coed softball. The coed batting order may contain only two consecutive male batters or the automatic out(s) corresponding to the missing player(s). The captain is the representative of the team and must register the team on the score sheet prior to the game and update any batting order changes during the contest. Also, only the captain may courteously address the umpires on matters of rule interpretation or to obtain essential information.
The game consists of seven innings. Extra innings are played to break ties. A team is allowed three outs per inning. Each batter is allowed a maximum of three balls and two strikes. A batter can not be called out on fouls unless the ball is legally caught. Base stealing is not permitted. A base runner must remain on the base until a pitched ball is hit. If during the course of a game players from an adjoining field become involved in a play by altering the path of the ball and/or impeding the range of a fielder the umpire may judge that if: the fly ball was catchable then replay the pitch with no penalty to the batter or pitcher; the fly ball was uncatchable then to ‘continue play’ uninterrupted; the grounder in front of the fielder was altered by contact then to award the runner or runners the base to gain; or, the grounder beyond the fielder was altered by contact then to award the runner or runners the base gain plus one additional base.
Teams are expected to be at the fields and ready to begin play at the time designated on the schedule. If at the starting time a team has the minimum number of players then the game must begin as soon as possible and the automatic out policy will be used until additional players arrive. If a team has fewer than the minimum at the designated stating time then the start of the game will be delayed and the late arriving team will be penalized as follows. Mens: up to 10 minutes after the original starting time the first inning is eliminated and two runs are awarded to the opponent; after 10 and up to 20 minutes after the original starting time the first and second innings are eliminated and a total of four runs are awarded to the opponent; finally, at 30 minutes after the original starting time the game is forfeited and a win is awarded to the opponent. Coed: up to 10 minutes after the original starting time the first inning is eliminated and three runs are awarded to the opponent; after 10 and up to 20 minutes after the original starting time the first and second innings are eliminated and a total of six runs are awarded to the opponent; finally, at 30 minutes after the original starting time the game is forfeited and a win is awarded to the opponent. If both teams are late in arriving then only the innings are deducted until 30 minutespast the scheduled start at which time the game is declared a double forfeit and both teams receive losses. On the days of scheduled double headers when all teams show for the first set of games the second set of games will begin immediately after the conclusion of the first set of games, thus, the games may begin earlier of later than
All undergraduate students and persons officially associated with a residential college who meet general eligibility requirements except former softball and baseball varsity award winners and current softball and baseball intercollegiate team players are eligible to participate. Current players are those people who practiced, played or were on the active team rosters after March 1. Any instances involving exceptions require a review by the Athletic Secretaries Eligibility Committee.
DEFINITIONS & RULES
Ball: A pitch which is not swung at and is not in the strike zone.
Base: One of four points that must be touched by a runner in order to score a run. Runners must maintain their order while progressing from base to base. If a trail runner passes the lead runner, or, both runners occupy the same base when a tag is made then the trail runner is retired.
Base Path: An imaginary path that the runner must maintain while advancing around the bases. The base path is a direct line between bases approximately three feet wide.
Base on Balls: A base on balls permits a batter who does not hit a fair ball to gain first base without liability after three pitches are judged to be out of the strike zone.
Batter’s Box: The imaginary zone that restricts the position of the batter. This box is located on either side of, but not touching home plate and is approximately 7 feet long and 3 feet wide.
Batting Order: The official order that the offensive team must maintain when coming to bat.
Bunt: A bunt is an illegally batted ball not swung at but intentionally met with the bat and tapped within the infield. Bunts and attempted bunts are considered fouls.
Catch: A legally caught ball held in the hand or glove. If the ball is merely held in the fielder’s arm or prevented from dropping to the ground by some part of the body or clothing it is a trap, not a catch. If a player drops a caught ball in the act of throwing, it remains a valid catch. It is not a catch if a fielder touches a fly ball which then hits a runner or an umpire and then is caught by another defensive player.
Deliberately Dropped Ball: When an infielder deliberately drops a fly ball or line drive while a runner is on base, with the intent of gaining the advantage of a force out. It results in the umpire calling the batter out, the ball dead and the runners back to their original bases.
Fair Ball: A batted ball that settles inside or on the first and third base lines or touches any base or bounces at least once inside or on the outfield foul lines. A fair fly ball shall be judged according to the relative position of the ball and the foul line, not as to whether the fielder is on fair or foul territory.
Foul Ball: A batted ball that settles outside the base lines or hits home plate.
Foul Tip: A batted ball that goes directly from the bat, no higher than the batter’s head, to the catcher. A legally caught foul tip on the second strike completes the out.
Illegally Caught Ball: When a fielder catches a ball with his/her cap, mask, glove or any part of the uniform while it is detached from its proper place. It results in the batter being awarded the base he/she was running toward and all runners advance in relation to the batter.
Infield Fly: A fair fly ball (not a line drive) which can be caught by an infielder, when first and second or all bases are occupied, before two outs. Once the umpire declares “Infield Fly” the batter is automatically out, the ball is considered alive, and runners may advance at their own risk.
Interference: The act of a fielder which hinders or prevents a batter from striking the ball, and, results in awarding the batter a free base. Or, the act of an offensive player, which hinders or confuses a fielder while attempting to execute a play, and, results in the runner being retired. When a fielder is in the base path and waiting for a batted ball the runner must proceed behind the fielder.
Legal Touch: When a runner who is not touching a base is touched by the ball while it is securely held by the fielder. It is sufficient for the runner to be touched with the hand or glove in which the ball is held. The ball is not considered securely held if it is juggled or dropped after the touch unless the runner deliberately knocks the ball from the grasp of the fielder with his/her hand.
Obstruction: The act of a fielder, while not in possession of the ball or in the act of fielding a batted ball, which impedes the progress of a runner. The runner is awarded the base to gain.
Out: One of three required retirements of the team at bat. A putout is the act of a fielder in retiring a batter or runner. A tag out is the retiring of a runner who is not touching a base. A force out is when a runner fails to reach the next base before a fielder tags him/her or the base after the runner is forced to advance because the batter became a runner. A legally caught fly ball is an out.
Over the fence: When a batter hits or a fielder misplays the ball over the fence in fair territory on the men’s field it results in a ground rule double.
Overslide: When the base is dislodged and moved from its position after a runner slides. If in the judgment of the umpire the runner and/or succeeding runners in the same play remain within reach of the base’s original position he/she is safe; or, if the runner is outside the reach of the base’s original position and is touched legally, he/she is retired.
Overthrow: When the ball is thrown to a fielder to retire a runner who is off base and it goes into foul territory beyond the boundary of the playing fields. All runners are automatically awarded one base.
Pitch: The pitcher must face the batter with the his/her shoulders in line with first and third bases. The pitch starts when the pitcher makes any motion that is part of the wind-up. The ball must be pitched underhand at moderate speed and at delivery:
1. the wind-up allows no more than one revolution of the arm;
2. the pitcher shall not take more than one step which must be forward, toward home plate, before releasing the ball, then, after releasing the ball the pitcher may follow through with another step;
3. at release the hand is below the hip, and the wrist not farther from the body than the elbow;
4. the follow through of the hand and wrist must be forward past the line of the pitcher toward home plate, and,
5. the ball must be delivered with a slight arc (min of 3’ - max of 10’ above the ground) from the point of release. If the umpire determines a pitch is illegal then he/she calls ‘no pitch’ which immediately stops play and the batter is awarded a ball.
Strike: A pitch which is swung at and missed, or not swung at but is in the strike zone. A foul ball is a strike, but it cannot be the second strike.
Strike Out: The result of the pitcher getting a second strike charged to a batter. The batter is retired and runners cannot advance regardless of the status of the ball.
Strike Zone: The space over any part of home plate which is between the batter’s highest shoulder and the top of the knees when the batter assumes his/her natural stance.