2011 Season Schedule
RCC 4-Pitch Division
Official Rules and Regulations
REGULATIONS – SECTION 1
1 -1 LEAGUE – responsible, competent and reliable adults should govern a softball league. It can be part of an existing organization or part independent with its own officers.
1-2 THE GAME – Softball is a game of baseball between two teams of 10 players, with sufficient number of alternates under the direction of a competent and reliable manager and coaches played in agreement with the Official Playing Rules under the authority of an Umpire(s) on a recommended Softball field.
It is designed to get young people interested in the game of softball by stressing and maintaining active participation of all players: with mandatory alternation of players at a game, (Rule 4-3) with the offensive team utilizing players as batters to score as many runs as possible, and the defensive team using one extra outfielder (Rover), to make 3 outs as quickly as possible in an inning in accordance with the rules.
1-3 INSURANCE – Accident Insurance must be carried by all softball Leagues. This affords protection to all players on the regular roster; as well as managers, coaches and officials.
1 -4 OFFICIAL PLAYING RULES – 4-Pitch Softball is a game of baseball played in accordance with regular baseball rules with the incorporation of the following rules.
1-5 PLAYERS – Any player who will attain the ages as defined by the League (6 – 9) unless abilities otherwise dictate shall be entitled to compete. (Exceptions to this may be made on an individual basis with Executive Approval)
1-6 TEAMS – Each team may have a maximum of four coaches with a maximum roster of 15 players.
1-7 FIELD DECORUM – See League Rules
EQUIPMENT – SECTION 2
2-1 UNIFORMS - See league rules.
2-2 GLOVES – The Catcher may wear any type of baseball glove, while the First Base person shall be permitted to wear a trapper glove if available. All other members of the fielding team must wear fielder’s gloves (Fingered).
2-3 HELMETS – Each team must be supplied with at least six protective helmets with chinstraps. The players must wear the helmets c/w chinstraps as specified in League Rules.
2-4 FOOTWEAR – Shoes with metal cleats are prohibited. Shoes with molded rubber cleats may be worn.
2-5 CATCHER’S EQUIPMENT – Shall consist of a chest protector, shin guards, and a helmet/ mask combination, which must be worn during practices, game warm-ups and during games. A metal fiber or plastic cup-type athletic support shall be worn as specified in League Rules.
2-6 THE BALL – The ball used shall be a League issued ball and must measure not less than 11” or more than 11 1/16” in circumference.
2-7 THE BAT – Shall be round and made of Aluminum. Wooden bats are not permitted. It shall not be more than 33” in length nor more than 1 ¼” in diameter at its largest part and not less than 1 1/16” in diameter at its smallest part.
2-8 THE PLAYING FIELD – The regulation 4-Pitch field shall be laid out with the following measurements given:
a) The distance between all bases shall be 45 feet.
b) The distance between the point of home plate and the pitcher’s rubber shall be 30 feet, with the pitcher’s circle to be 8 feet in diameter at the 40-foot mark.
c) Batter’s boxes shall be 3 feet wide and 6 feet long. The inside line shall be parallel to and 4 inches away from the outside of home plate. It shall extend 3 feet in front and 3 feet behind the mid point of home plate.
d) The coach’s boxes shall be 4 feet wide and 8 feet long and shall not be closer than 6 feet to the base lines where space permits
DEFINITIONS – SECTION 3
3-1 OUTFIELD LINE – is not chalked in and is set 93 feet from the plate.
3-2 FORFEITED GAME – a game declared ended by the umpire for violation of the rules. The score will be recorded as 5 – 0 in favor of the offended team.
3-3 FAIR HIT BALL – is a legally batted ball that lands in fair territory in the outfield, or lands fair but crosses foul beyond the 1st or 3rd base bag.
3-4 DEAD HIT BALL – is a legally batted ball that in the umpire’s opinion the batter made an illegal swing.
3-5 DEAD BALL - could be called if the batter has one foot entirely outside the lines of the batter’s box.
3-6 ILLEGALLY BATTED BALL – is when the batter hits the ball either fair or foul with one or both feet on the ground entirely outside the lines of the batter’s box.
3-7 INFIELDER’S CHOICE – when any defensive player has control of the ball in the infield area and in judgment of the plate umpire there is no attempt to make a play on any of the base runners and the lead runner has stopped running. The umpire will call “TIME” and using his/her judgment will hold the base runners to the bases they last occupied or were approaching at the moment when “TIME” was called
3-8 INFIELD AREA – is the area in the judgment of the plate umpire in which the defensive infielders would normally play in performance of their duties. It also includes the adjacent foul territories, which are encompassed by the playing line being extended to the playing field boundaries.
3-9 AN APPEAL - must be made by a player or coach before “Time” is called for the next pitch.
3-10 LEADOFF – when a runner is off his/her base prior to when the batter hits the ball.
3-11 BATTER’S BOX – is an area on each side of home plate within which the batter shall have a portion of both of his/her feet during his/her time at bat.
3-12 ILLEGAL SWING – when the batter does not, in the judgment of the plate umpire take a full swing at the ball to the best of his/her ability.
3-13 PLAYING LINE – is an imaginary line that extends from the point of home plate across the center point of the 2nd base bag and beyond.
GENERAL RULES – SECTION 4
4-1 In 4-Pitch, the offensive team pitches to itself. Only 4 pitches will be thrown to the batter during his/her turn at bat, unless the 4th pitch is a foul ball. Should the 4th/last pitch be foul, then the pitcher will continue pitching until either the ball is hit fair, or the pitched ball gets passed the batter without contact being made by the bat. Bunting is not permitted, nor shall any batter be awarded a base on balls.
4-2 NEW! Coach will be permitted to pitch 5th pitch if player is unable to hit 4th pitch. The object of this rule is to ensure that we do not encourage players to swing at balls over their head or on the ground.
4-3 Each team shall have a starting line-up of 10 players. But, if due to unavoidable circumstances, either team has less then 10 players but not less then 7, the game shall be played as an official game. The opposing team will be permitted to put its full complement of players on the field. The short-handed team shall not be penalized by having automatic outs in its batting order. If at the scheduled start time of a game, a team does not have the minimum number of 7 players available, then a 15-minute grace period will be permitted for additional players to arrive. If after this grace period, or at any time during the game, the minimum number of 7 players for either team becomes unavailable due to injury, illness, ejection or any other reason, then the plate umpire shall declare the game forfeited to the short-staffed team, awarding the victory to the opponent (provided they have the minimum number of players available) and a score of 5-0 shall be declared to the winning team. At this time a fun game may be played. If both teams do not have the required number of players, then a tie game shall be declared with the score being recorded as 5-5.
4-4 All players listed in the game line-up in which their team is participating must be scheduled to play in at least 2 innings of a 5-inning game. It is compulsory that players play a complete inning when substituted, and they must be put in at the beginning of an inning.
4-5 10 minutes before the game begins, the Coach must give a copy of his/her line-up for each of the 5 innings to be played to the opposing Coach. A player must be listed to bat in the same batting position throughout the game. After the game begins, changes to this line-up must be made immediately after having “Time” granted to both the plate umpire and opposing Coach.
4-6 BATTING ORDERS – must be followed for each inning. A batter who has been discovered to have batted outside the proper order shall be declared out, after appeal from the Coach of the defensive team before the following player has received a pitch. However, should the improper batter be discovered before completing his/her at-bat, then the proper batter can resume his/her turn at bat assuming the current count (# of pitches). If the improper batter becomes a base runner or is put out and the proper appeal play is made, then the umpire shall:
a) Declare the proper batter out.
b) Nullify any advances or scores made by the base runners because of a ball batted by the improper batter.
c) The next batter will be the player in the batting position following the player who was called out as a result of missing his/her turn at bat.
NOTE - If the appeal is made too late, then the improper batter becomes legal and the player in that batting position is considered to have completed his/her turn at bat. The next batter will be the batter in the position directly following the batter who was declared legal.
4-7 EACH DEFENSIVE TEAM shall have:
a) Catcher: who shall play a position normally taken by the catcher behind home plate, far enough back so that he/she does not interfere with the batter while swinging.
b) Pitcher: who shall play in the infield, and must assume a position behind the Offensive Pitcher staying within the confines of the circle until the ball has been hit.
c) 1st, 2nd and 3rd Baseman and a Shortstop: all who shall play in positions regularly played by these infielders and they shall not cross the playing line until the ball is hit.
NOTE: Prior to the ball being hit, the 2nd baseman must stay on the 1st base side of the 2nd base bag, and the Shortstop must stay on the 3rd base side of the 2nd base bag.
Penalty – In the event a defensive team player crosses the playing line prior to the ball being hit, the umpire will call “TIME” immediately and the play will be dead. The offending player(s) are warned, and if the offense continues, the offending player(s) shall be removed from the game.
d) Rover: who will play in the area regularly played by the outfielders.
e) Outfielders: who will play in their respective areas of the outfield, that being Right Field, Left Field or Center Field. All outfielders must be standing in the outfield area prior to each pitch being released.
f) Once a player assumes a defensive position at the start of the inning, he/she may not be assigned another position in the field during that inning: Exceptions: Injury, Illness, Ejection, and Pitching Change.
g) Coaches must remain in the dugout area when the defensive team is on the field to a maximum number of 4 declared adults in the dugout.
4-8 THE OFFENSIVE TEAM shall have two coaches in the dugout and will only be
allowed one Coach in each of the coaching boxes near 1st and 3rd base.
a) Remain in their designated areas at all times will play is going on.
b) Not physically assist any runner while the ball is in play. (In the event that this happens then the umpire will call the runner out at time of infraction.
c) Coach members of his/her team only.
4-9 A REGULATION GAME
a) Will consist of 5 complete innings provided one team has scored more runs than the other has. If the game is tied at the end of 5 innings, a 6th and final inning may be played if time and conditions permit. If the game is still tied at the end of the 6th inning, the game will be declared a tie game and each team will receive one point. Exception: Play-offs, where a winner must be declared.
b) In the event the umpire terminates the game before the end of the 5th inning and there has been at least 3 completed innings played, the score will revert back to the score of the last completed inning.
c) Any game, which does not meet the 3-inning minimum, shall not be declared a regulation game and shall be replayed from the beginning where possible. Should it become impossible to have the game replayed, then it shall be declared a tie game with the score 5 – 5.
4-10 PROTESTING A GAME – The coaches of the contesting teams only shall have the right to make protests. A protest will not be considered on a decision involving umpires’ judgment, but only when based on a violation or misinterpretation of a playing rule, or the use of an ineligible player, or in the instance of a player not playing at least 2 innings of a 5 inning game. Protests shall be made as follows:
a) The protesting coach shall immediately and before any further play continues, notify the plate umpire that they are playing the game under protest.
b) Following such notice, the umpires shall consult with one another, and if they are convinced that the decision is in conflict with the rules, then the decision shall be reversed. If however, after consultation, they rule that the decision is not in contravention of the rules, then the coach will be given the opportunity to call for a qualified Executive Member. If after this, no resolution is made, then the umpire shall announce that the game is being played under protest, and play will then continue without prejudice. In the event that a qualified Executive Member is not available, then play will continue and the Coach must file his/her protest in writing within 48 hrs. to be valid.
c) Protests for the use of an ineligible player must be made to the umpire before the conclusion of that half inning. Protests for the use of a player not appearing in the minimum number of required innings, must be made to the umpire prior to completion of the last inning declared or understood of the offending team.
PLAYING RULES – SECTION 5
5-1 To begin the game – the plate umpire shall call for coaches and captains of both teams and discuss the ground rules, and any rules that the umpire feel may need clarification prior to the game starting, answering any questions that may arise out of said discussion. The umpire will ask opposing coaches and captains to shake hands and request that the home team take their defensive positions on the field. The umpire will then call for the “Batter” and announce “Play Ball” to start the game.
5-2 THE BATTER BECOMES A BASE RUNNER WHEN –
a) The batter hits the ball in fair territory.
b) The catcher interferes with the batter while the batter is attempting to hit the ball. The ball is dead, the batter is awarded first base and no runners are permitted to advance unless forced to do so as a result of the batter becoming a base runner. In the event that the batter, in spite of the interference, hits the ball fair and reaches any base safely, then the coach of the offensive team has the option of accepting the results of the plays, or having the catcher’s interference called and placing all base runners where they were prior to the ball being hit unless they are to do so as a result of the batter becoming a base runner.
5-3 THE BATTER IS OUT WHEN –
a) His/her fair hit or foul fly is caught before it strikes the ground by a member of the defensive team. The ball is alive and in play until “TIME” is called.
b) He/she hits the ball illegally, the ball is dead and runners may not advance.
c) The batter has 4 Pitches called on him/he (exception foul ball on last pitch), the ball is dead, the batter is out, and runners may not advance.
5-4 A BASE RUNNER IS OUT –
a) On a force play.
b) When he/she is tagged with the ball.
c) When running more than 3 ft. off their natural baseline to avoid a tag.
d) When hit by a fair-batted ball, while off his/her base, before it has touched or gone through an infielder trying to make a play on the ball, not including the pitcher. The ball is also dead and no runner may advance unless forced to do so.
5-5 LEAD-OFFS – No player on the offensive team, while a base runner, shall take a lead-off from the base he/she occupies until the batter hits the ball. When any runner has taken a leadoff, the umpire shall immediately call the runner out, and play continues and all other runners are in peril.
5-6 INTENTIONALLY DROPPED BALLS – If a fielder, in the judgment of the umpire, intentionally drops a fly ball or a line drive, provided 1st base is occupied, the force play is removed, and the base runners will have to be tagged to be put out. The Umpire must yell “NO Force”; however failure to do so will not alter the play.
5-7 OVERTHROWS – In the event a throw to any base or home plate results in an overthrow that stays in play, the base runner shall be permitted to advance as many bases as possible until such time as a defensive player has control of the ball in the infield area, and all base runners have, in the judgment of the umpire, stopped attempting to advance to the next base.
In the event that the ball leaves the field of play, the base runners shall be permitted to advance to the base they were approaching at the time that the ball was thrown, plus one more, regardless of whether the throw was made from the infield or outfield areas.
5-8 THE OFFENSIVE TEAM’S TURN AT BAT ENDS WHEN –
a) The batter is called out on pitches resulting in the third out being made.
b) The third out is made.
c) The offensive team is the home team and has taken the lead in the final inning.
UMPIRES – SECTION 6
6-1 Once the batting line-ups have been exchanged, the plate umpire takes charge of the game and takes his/her place behind home plate.
6-2 The decisions of the umpires shall be final; however, the coaches of each team shall be entitled to ask for permission to approach the umpire(s) for an interpretation of the rules. Judgment calls are not cause for such conferences, and abuse of this action could result in the offending coach being ejected from the game. No umpire has the authority to over-ride the decision of another umpire, and may only be brought into the discussion at the request of the other umpire.
6-3 The umpires are the only ones that can call “TIME”, coaches may only request that time be granted.
6-4 To resume after “TIME” has been called the plate umpire will call for the next batter, and after the batter has stepped into the batter’s box, the umpire will then call “PLAY BALL” and play will resume.
6-5 The plate umpire must call out all pitches, dead hits and foul balls. He/she must do so as soon as possible.
6-6 The plate umpire shall notify opposing coaches of any changes or additions to the original line-up as reported to him/her.
6-7 Base Umpires shall:
a) Judge the position of the runners when the ball is thrown outside the playing area.
b) Watch for and indicate lead-offs, and immediately call the runner who has led off out. Play is live, and all other runners may advance at their peril.
c) Watch for, and be prepared to rule if appealed to, for any runner(s) that does not retouch their base when a fly ball has been caught.
d) Hold up runners when “TIME” has been called.
6-8 All umpires must make sure that the fielders are all behind the playing line and in their respective positions prior to the next pitch being released.
6-9 The plate umpire may terminate a game before its completion for reasons of darkness, bad weather, dangerous field conditions, forfeitures etc.
6-10 The umpires shall have the authority to rule on any situation not covered specifically in the Official Playing Rules.