Annual Softball Tournament Rules

Official Tournament Rules:

  • How to determine a winner: Depending on how many teams enter, this year’s games will be 35 +/- minutes long with 5 minutes between games.  If a score is tied or if the game has only gone into the top of an inning, whichever team was leading after the last completed inning (in which there was a leader) will be the winner.
  • Pitching:  We have all kinds of ability levels in this tournament.  The idea is to let people hit.  So we pitch slow and easy–with no 6-12 foot drop pitches.  If you don’t like the pitching, bring it to the attention of the umpire.  He/she has the right to enforce the rule.
  • Boundaries:  The tournament will be played on three fields—each of which has its own peculiarities.  Be sure to check with the umpire for the foul line markers before the game begins.  Fielders:  If you can catch the ball without interference, play it.  Runners:  If an error is made on a throw, the ball remains in play unless it rolls into wooded area or beyond a fenced area.  Only one base is allowed on a ball going out of play.  In play and out of play zones will generally be defined by the extension of the backstops and the bench areas.
  • Stealing/Bunting: Because most catchers will not have complete equipment, stealing and bunting will not be allowed.  Runners may lead only after the ball has left the pitcher’s hand.  And remember that the catcher can throw you out if he/she catches you leading too far or not getting back to base soon enough.
  • Interference:  If there is interference from the players of another game in the outfield area that results in a missed or dropped ball, it will be an automatic double.  Judgement calls on this will be left entirely to the umpire.
  • Shortfielders:  Since softball allows for ten players, teams will be allowed to use a tenth player.  If a team is short-handed or doesn’t wish to use ten players, nine will be allowed.  Teams are allowed to make their own choice.  Note that this is a change from previous years.
  • Foul Tips: A caught foul tip will be considered an out if the foul exceeds the batter’s shoulder height.
  • Substitution:  Note that there is no free substitution.  Players who leave the game for a substitute may not return to play in that game.  This includes pinch-hitters and pinch-runners.
  • Balls and Strikes: The umpire will call strikes, but not balls.  Again remember that we have many ability levels playing.  Some may have never pitched before.  In order to keep the game moving as quickly as possible, all foul balls will be considered strikes (including the third strike).
  1. Infield Fly Rule: There will be no infield fly rule.  Runners may tag up after any ball is caught in the air—including foul balls.
  1. Scoring:  We have official scorers.  It is your responsibility to verify your totals with them each inning.
  1. Sliding into Home Plate:  On close calls to the plate, please slide into home to help avoid accidents between the runner and the catcher.  Running over the fielder may result in an automatic “out” call by the umpire.
  1. Designated Hitter:  There will be no designated hitter.
  1. Umpires:  The plate umpire is the Head Umpire and the final arbiter in all decisions.  As always, those decisions of the umpires are final and incontestable.
  1. Rosters:  The rosters for each team must be turned in to the Official Scorekeeper before the start of game.  Umpires will verify with the Scorekeeper before start of game.
  1. Injuries and Length of Games:  A medic(s) is available to handle any injuries.  While it is possible that injuries may occur which affect more than I field, it is our intent to maintain the scheduled timeframes.  Any exception to this rule is at the sole discretion of Head Umpire.
  1. Appeals:  Any questioning of a call is to be done by the team captain to the home plate umpire.  Inappropriate comments or behavior by players or coaches may result in removal from the game or, in extreme circumstances, game forfeiture.  Remember, our umpires are helping us out by volunteering.  Cut them some slack.
  1. Scorekeepers:  Our official scorers are also volunteers.  Check with them at the end of each half inning to verify your own scoring.  Any discrepancy may be appealed to the home plate umpire.
  1. Sportsmanship Award:   The official scorers at each game will have forms that they will fill out after each game—looking for each team’s enthusiasm for the game, knowledge of the rules, coach’s handling of all disputes, respect for opponents, acceptance of judgment calls, appropriate fan support, winning with character and losing with dignity.
  • Church Affiliation:  While we want to see the unsaved join with us, we need to make sure that each team has the protective covering of a church or Christian organization.
  • Captains:  Captains are responsible for ensuring that their teams are familiar with the rules.  They are also responsible for their team member’s behavior throughout the tournament.  Any appeals to the plate umpire must be presented by the captain.