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League Rules

Juniors, Intermediates, Majors and Seniors

The following rules are supplemental to the official published rules of "The National Softball Association."
1.    All rules found to be detrimental to the program, or required for improvement to the program, may be changed or added at the discretion of the SAA Softball Board of Commissioners before, during or after the season. League Commissioners are encouraged to meet with managers to assess rules and to suggest modifications.
2.    The season shall consist of a practice period, scheduled games, and tournament.
3.    There will be an end of the season pre tournament meeting where each team in the tournament must be represented by, at the very least, either the manager or coach. If a team is not represented by at least one of them, then both the manager and coach will be suspended for the team’s first tournament game. NO EXCEPTIONS.
4.    Regular season games will not exceed 2 hours in length from the scheduled start time.
5.    A complete Game is when 7 innings have been played (6 in Juniors), or if weather conditions, darkness or other factors interfere with play so that the game is called (ended) by the umpire. It is a regulation game if one hour or more has elapsed from the scheduled start time. Any game ending prior to becoming official, in which there has been less than one hour of play from the scheduled start, will be considered a rain out. There will be no suspended games during the regular season.
6.    Games must start within 15 minutes of the scheduled start time unless delayed by weather or darkness.
7.    The visiting team shall have use of the infield for practice 15 minutes prior to game time. Home team must have all pertinent equipment for the games (bases, pitching rubber, foul line marks, etc.) in place prior to the visiting team's practice time. No home team may practice on the infield within 15 minutes prior to the game.
8.    Every scheduled game will have an umpire assigned. However, if a situation arises where there is no umpire for the game, please recruit a parent to umpire the game. Every effort must be made to play the game. Home team manager is to contact the UIC should this occur.
9.    No new inning will start 1 hour 45 minutes from the scheduled start time. At the two hour limit, the game is over. The start of a new inning will begin when the 3rd out of the current inning is made. Not, when the defensive team takes the field. At the 1:45 mark, the umpire shall notify both teams that the game will end within 15 minutes.
10.    Umpires will have the final decision if darkness or weather conditions become a factor.
11.    Time between innings shall be no more than 1 minute. Each half inning a returning pitcher may throw 3 practice pitches. A new pitcher may throw 5 practice pitches. Players in the field WILL be allowed practice balls during this time.
12.    Mercy Rule: A game will officially end if the home team is ahead by 15 runs and at least 4-1/2 innings (3-1/2 for Juniors) have been played, or if the visiting team is ahead by 15 runs and at least 5 innings (4 for Juniors) have been played. Once the mercy rule is declared by the umpire, the game is officially ended. Practice innings may follow at the discretion of the losing team manager. The umpire is required to stay.
13.    In the absence of the manager, the coach shall be designated as acting manager. In the absence of both, a parent on the team shall be designated the acting manager. Only the manager or acting manager may question the umpire on rule interpretations. A manager or coach will be given one warning by the umpire for conduct unbecoming a manager or coach. Further violations could result in an ejection for the game in progress and for the next scheduled game. No warnings need to be given if a manager or coach questions a judgment call made by an umpire (i.e., balls, strikes, out, safe, fair or foul, etc.).
14.    No protests will be allowed ... PERIOD. Umpires will be required to know the rules for each league and all disagreements will be settled on the field in an appropriate manner.
15.    Each team's continuous batting order will be submitted to the opposing manager or scorekeeper for the game prior to game time. No player shall sit 2 innings before all players have sat out one inning, no player shall sit three innings until all players have sat two innings, and so on. This rule applies to both the regular season and the end of year tournament. Free substitution is allowed, except for the pitcher; however, a player must play 3 consecutive outs in the field. IMPORTANT: All players are to receive equal playing time in the field.
16.    A pitcher may re-enter the pitching position once in each game but may not exceed a total of 3 innings as pitcher (4 in the Seniors). A pitcher may freely substitute at any other position throughout the game. This also applies to international tiebreakers in tournament play.
17.    Any player who arrives after uniform inspection shall be moved to the end of the batting order. It is the manager’s responsibility to report these changes to the opposing manager.
18.    Only players, manager, coach, official score keeper, and one parent helper are allowed in the dugout during the game.
19.    No more than one person will be allowed in each coaching box. All coaches will remain within the prescribed boundaries. No coach will touch a base runner when the ball is in play or the base runner will be called out. If a player is used as a coach, she must wear a helmet with chin strap.
20.    Only girls in full uniform will be allowed to take the field (see uniforms under general information). The opposing manager should be notified prior to game time when a player present for a game will not be allowed to play for any reason. Players will line up on the foul line closest to their dugout. The managers/umpire will check that uniforms are being worn properly during the pre-game meeting. If during the game, a player does not have her shirt tucked in or is wearing a non-provided visor or hat, one team warning will be issued. After that balls and strikes will be called, depending on whether the offense is from a player on the defensive or offensive team.
21.    Players displaying unsportsmanlike conduct or in any way creating a disciplinary problem may be suspended by the team manager for the remainder of the game. The League Commissioner should be notified as soon as possible following the incident. If it becomes necessary to suspend the same player a second time during the season, a written notice of the reason for this action must be provided to the Head Commissioner within 24 hours of the incident. In the case of recurring disciplinary problems, the team manager should consult and elicit the support of the parents of the offending player in an effort to satisfactorily resolve the problem. In all cases, the SAA's Disciplinary Procedures will be followed.
22.    Heckling of players, managers, coaches or umpires, and/or negative cheers against the opposing team is strictly prohibited. Heckling or cheering designed to distract a pitcher in her windup is also prohibited.
23.    Anti-Collision Rule: At any base, the runner must attempt to avoid contact with the fielder. The runner must either slide or attempt to avoid contact by sidestepping. Accordingly, the fielder must give part of the base to the runner. Obstruction and interference rules will be enforced. Every attempt must be made to avoid injuries to any player. The umpire will make the final decision. Coaches should stress the importance of sliding and take ample time to teach it.
24.    There will be no appeal plays requested by the manager. If the umpire observes what would be an infraction, he/she will rule as if there were an appeal at the end of the play. (This rule does not apply to batting order infractions.)
25.    All managers and coaches, with the exception of the base coaches, must remain in the dugout while the ball is in play.
26.    Official 12-inch softballs will be used in the Intermediate, Major & Senior leagues. Official 11-inch softballs will be used in the Junior league.
27.    Bat Throwing Rule: For a batter after swinging at a pitch - 1st offense-batter is warned; 2nd offense-batter is called out, ball is dead; 3rd offense-batter is called out, ball is dead, batter is ejected from game.
28.    No one shall be permitted behind the backstop within 20 feet of the center backstop.
29.    Managers and coaches not only represent their team but the SAA Girls Softball Program as well. To make all managers and coaches easily identifiable to players, parents, spectators, umpires and others involved with the program, wear your coach’s shirt to all games.
30.    Players will be awarded first base when being hit by a pitch, provided, in the umpires judgment, the player has made an effort to avoid the pitch. A player may be considered hit by pitch and awarded first base even if the pitched ball hits the ground first.
31.    A pitcher must be removed from the pitching circle if she hits three batters in a game that have been awarded first base and cannot reenter the game as a pitcher.
32.    The strike zone is that space over any part of home plate that is between the batter's armpit and the top of the batter's knees, when the natural batting stance is assumed. Any part of the ball passing through this strike zone is considered a strike. The umpires will be instructed to determine the batter's strike zone according to the batter's usual stance when swinging at a pitch.
33.    Pitchers are to be taught the proper form and technique for fast pitch softball. Umpires will be instructed to advise managers and pitchers of any pitching violations observed.
34.    First round opponents for the end of the year tournament will be determined by a draw. Rules and explanations will be distributed at the pre- tournament meeting.
35.    Managers need to understand and implement the SAA philosophy in the fast pitch program.
36.    All players should be able to compete at any position that they are capable of playing. This can only happen with instruction and experience.
37.    Any batter stepping into the batters box without a chin strap on their helmet, snapped on both sides, will be given a team warning for the first occurrence, and then strikes called on the batter for any additional occurrences.
38.    Any batting helmet worn by a player in any league MUST be equipped with a face mask. If a player has their own helmet and it is not equipped with a face mask it may not be used at ANY time on the field.
39.    All players are strongly encouraged to touch the orange safety base when advancing to first on a walk. Ejection Clarification: Any parent, spectator, coach or manager ejected during the course of a game for any reason is automatically suspended for at least the next game. Any player ejected during the course of a game for any reason MAY face additional suspension.

Senior League Reinforcement/Supplemental Rules

1.    A pitcher may pitch up to 4 innings per game and may re-enter as pitcher once. This rule applies during the season and includes international tiebreakers in tournament play.
2.    IHSA pitching rules allow for one step back.
3.    All NSA and IHSA fast-pitch rules apply with the exception of these supplemental rules.
4.    All other rules from the Major League apply.

Major League Reinforcement/Supplemental Rules

1.    Eligibility - Girls in the 7th and 8th grades of the current year are eligible to play at the Major League level.
2.    Playing Rules:
a.    All rules are governed by the "Official Softball Rules" adopted, published, and distributed by the National Softball Association of America unless specifically noted in these supplemental general rules.
b.    Three outs per team constitute the end of an inning.
c.    Bunting is allowed.
d.    A runner may lead off when the ball leaves the pitcher's hand and is liable to be put out.
e.    Stealing is permitted to 2nd, 3rd and home.
f.    A pitcher may pitch up to 3 innings per game and may re-enter as pitcher once. This rule applies during the season, and includes the end of year tournament.
g.    The pitcher shall take a position with both feet in contact with the pitching rubber and shall not take more than one step, which must be forward, toward the batter and simultaneous with the delivery of the ball to the batter.
h.    Any legal fast pitch motion can be used. Umpires will be instructed to advise managers and players of any pitching violations observed. Penalties will be assessed in all games after June 11th.
i.    A manager can approach the pitchers mound 2 times per pitcher per inning. However, on the 2nd visit to the mound in one inning, the pitcher must be removed. A reasonable time limit per approach will be enforced by the umpire.
j.    The dropped third strike rule is in effect.
k.    Intentional walks are prohibited.
l.    The anti-collision rule is in effect (see General Rules-All Leagues).
m.    Runners are allowed unlimited advance on all overthrows in the field of play.
n.    There shall be a 16-foot circle drawn around the pitcher's mound, 8 feet in radius. When the ball is in possession of the pitcher within the 16' circle, any runners between bases must immediately advance to the next base, or return to the last base touched, with liability to being put out. If the runner fails to return or advance immediately, the runner will be declared out. However, any defensive attempt made on the runner by the pitcher before the runner either returns, advances or is declared out, absolves the runner of her responsibility to return or advance immediately. This is an umpire judgment call and MAY NOT be questioned at any time.
o.    Every girl must be given the opportunity to play all positions that she desires to play during the season with the exception of first base, pitcher and catcher for safety reasons. There are no team standings during the regular season.
p.    The infield fly rule is in effect.

Intermediate League Reinforcement/Supplemental Rules

1.    Eligibility - Girls in the 5th and 6th grades of the current year are eligible to play at the Intermediate level.
2.    Playing Rules:
a.    All rules are governed by the "Official Softball Rules" adopted, published, and distributed by the National Softball Association of America unless specifically noted in these supplemental rules.
b.    Three outs per team constitute the end of an inning.
c.    Bunting is allowed.
d.    A runner may lead off when the ball leaves the pitcher's hand and is liable to be put out.
e.    Stealing is permitted to 2nd and 3rd base only.
f.    Once the ball is hit by the batter, runners are allowed unlimited advance on all overthrows. However, on plays where the ball is not hit (steals, wild pitches, pick off attempts) a runner is limited to a one base advance from her position when the pitch was thrown. Walk steals are not allowed.
g.    A pitcher may pitch up to 3 innings per game and may re-enter as pitcher once. This rule applies during the season, and includes the end of year tournament.
h.    The pitcher shall take a position with both feet in contact with the pitching rubber and shall not take more than one step, which must be forward, toward the batter and simultaneous with the delivery of the ball to the batter.
i.    The pitcher may use any legal fast pitch motion. Fast pitch with no arc should be emphasized throughout the season. Umpires will be instructed to advise managers and players of any pitching violations observed. Penalties will not be assessed.
j.    A manager can approach the pitchers mound 2 times per pitcher per inning. However, on the 2nd visit to the mound in one inning, the pitcher must be removed. A reasonable time limit per approach will be enforced by the umpire.
k.    The anti-collision rule is in effect (see General Rules-All Leagues)
l.    No dropped third strike.
m.    Intentional walks are prohibited.
n.    There shall be a 16-foot circle drawn around the pitcher's mound, 8 feet in radius. When the ball is in possession of the pitcher within the 16' circle, any runners between bases must immediately advance to the next base, or return to the last base touched, with liability to being put out. If the runner fails to return or advance immediately, the runner will be declared out. However, any defensive attempt made on the runner by the pitcher before the runner either returns, advances or is declared out, absolves the runner of her responsibility to return or advance immediately. This is an umpire judgment call and MAY NOT be questioned at any time.
o.    Every girl must be given the opportunity to play all positions that she desires to play during the season with the exception of first base, pitcher and catcher for safety reasons. There are no team standings during the regular season.
p.    The infield fly rule is in effect.

Junior League Supplemental Rules

1.    Eligibility - Girls in the 3rd and 4th grades of the current year are eligible to play at the Junior level.
2.    Playing Rules:
a.    All rules are governed by the "Official Softball Rules" adopted, published, and distributed by the National Softball Association of America unless specifically noted in these supplemental rules.
b.    During each game a continuous batting order will be in effect. An inning ends when either 3 outs are made by the opposing team or 5 runs are scored. After June 11th, an inning ends only when 3 outs are made.
c.    The pitcher shall take a position with both feet in contact with the pitching rubber, and shall not take more than one step, which must be forward, toward the batter and simultaneous with the delivery of the ball to the batter.
d.    The pitcher may use any legal fast pitch motion, which includes windmill or slingshot. The traditional 3 o'clock or 12 o'clock position can also be used. Fast pitch with no arc should be emphasized throughout the season. Umpires will be instructed to advise managers and players of any pitching violations observed. Penalties will not be assessed at this instructional level.
e.    A pitcher is allowed to pitch a maximum of 3 innings per game and may re-enter as pitcher once.
f.    No stealing will be allowed, no dropped third strike, and no advance on any overthrow.
g.    Bunting is allowed.
h.    A runner may lead off when the ball leaves the pitcher's hand, however the runner is liable to be put out at the base they occupied at the time the runner took their lead-off. NOTE: There is still no stealing and no advancement on any overthrows.
i.    No infield fly rule.
j.    Intentional walks are prohibited.
k.    Every girl must be given the opportunity to play all positions that she desires to play during the season with the exception of first base, pitcher and catcher for safety reasons. There are no team standings during the regular season.
l.    The play will be called dead and runners may not advance any bases when the ball reaches the infield, inside the base line during a defensive play. The umpire is responsible to call the play dead and determine the base runners' positions. This is an umpire judgment call and MAY NOT be questioned at any time.
m.    A manager can approach the pitchers mound 3 times per pitcher per inning; however, on the
n.    3rd visit in one inning, the pitcher must be removed. A reasonable time limit per approach will be enforced by the umpire.
o.    Teams will be allowed three outfield players who must be positioned in the grass. All other defensive players must be positioned in a manner consistent with normal softball player positioning. There will be no Short Center position.

T-Ball and Pee-Wee Leagues General Program

1.    There will be no evaluations. Teams will be formed by the League Commissioner based on proximity of home address and/or attending school of the registrants. Since there are only a certain number of players per team, this rule may have variances.
2.    Fundamentals of softball and sportsmanship will be taught and are the ONLY reasons for establishing the T-Ball and Pee Wee Leagues.
3.    Managers will be appointed by the SAA Softball Board and/or the League Commissioner.
4.    There will be no standings posted or results of games published as all emphasis will be on teaching and fundamentals.
5.    Managers/coaches not presenting a sportsmanlike attitude will be replaced for the good of the league at the discretion of the Head Commissioner and League Commissioner.
6.    Anti-Collision Rule: At any base, the runner must attempt to avoid contact with the fielder. The runner must either slide or attempt to avoid contact by sidestepping. The fielder must give part of the base to the runner. Every attempt must be made to avoid injuries to any player.
7.    Players should always touch the orange safety base when advancing to first base.
8.    Official 10” softballs will be used in T-Ball and Pee-Wees.
ELIGIBILITY
1.    Girls who are currently in Pre-Kindergarten (pre-school) or Kindergarten and are 5 by the September 1 of the current season are eligible to play at the T-Ball level.
2.    Girls who are currently in 1st or 2nd grade are eligible to play at the Pee Wee level.
PLAYING RULES
1.    Any rules that may be found to be detrimental to the program may be changed at any time by the Softball Board of Commissioners.
2.    A game will consist of a minimum of 3 innings, however, no new inning will begin after 1 hour of play for T-Ball, 1-1/2 hours for Pee Wee or if weather conditions, darkness or other factors interfere with play so that the game is called by both teams. There will be no suspended games.
3.    Games must start within 15 minutes of the scheduled start time. Schedule start time for weekday games will be 6:15 PM unless specifically noted. All weekend games will start at the times note on the schedule.
4.    The visiting team shall have use of the field for practice 15 minutes prior to game time. Home team must have all pertinent equipment for the games (bases, pitching rubber, foul line marks) in place prior to the visiting team's practice time. Home team shall have use of the field for practice prior to the visiting team's practice time before each game.
5.    A coach shall be designated acting manager in the absence of the manager.
6.    For both leagues, the side is retired after 3 outs or when eight players in the continuous batting order have batted once. When 3 outs or 8 players have batted, the hitting team is to exit the field. There will be no running the bases. Adjust your batting order each game so that the same players are not the 8th batter.
7.    There will be no scores kept.
8.    Only players, coaches, manager, and a 1-2 team helper(s) are allowed in the dugout during the game.
9.    All players batting, on deck, or on the bases must wear a helmet with chinstrap snapped.
10.    Players displaying unsportsmanlike conduct or kicking or throwing equipment could be benched for that game by the manager. If it becomes necessary to bench the same player a second or additional time during the season, a written notice of the reason for this action must be provided to the Head Commissioner within 24 hours of this and each subsequent occurrence. The League Commissioner should be notified by telephone as soon as possible following the incident. In the case of recurring disciplinary problems, the team manager should consult and elicit the support of the parents of the offending player in an effort to satisfactorily resolve the problem. In all cases, the SAA's Disciplinary Procedures will be followed.
11.    Heckling of players, managers and coaches, and/or negative cheers against the opposing team is strictly prohibited.
12.    Any ball beyond an imaginary line past the actual side fences will be considered a dead ball and ruled out of play.
13.    Bat Throwing Rule to be enforced by the managers: For a batter after swinging at a pitch - 1st offense-batter is warned; 2nd offense-batter is called out, ball is dead; 3rd offense-batter is called out, ball is dead. Managers/coaches must instruct the players and follow this rule for the safety of other players.
14.    When using a tee, an arc 3 feet from home plate will be marked to determine dead balls - regular foul lines also apply. (See diagram in this handbook.)
15.    There will be no lead-offs, no stealing, no infield fly rule, and no overthrows on the infield. Any thrown ball getting past an infielder is a dead ball and no runner may advance.
16.    The play ends and runners may not advance any bases when the ball reaches the infield, inside the base line during a defensive play. Until the ball reaches the inside of the base line, the player can advance to other bases.
17.    Pee Wee only: The player on the pitcher’s mound will attempt 2 pitches. If the ball is not hit into play, a coach will pitch up to 3 more pitches. If ball is not hit into play, they will then hit off the Tee. Foul balls and bad pitches count as pitches.
18.    When hitting the ball off of the tee, one player will assume the pitcher’s position and, without a ball, go through the motions of pitching to a batter when advised to do so by the coach who has placed the ball on the tee.
19.    When hitting the ball off of the tee, a batter may not swing until the "pitcher" goes through the motions of pitching to the batter.
20.    There will be no walks, no strikeouts, and no bunting.
21.    Batter will remain at bat until she hits a fair ball or is out on a foul ball that is caught. A batted ball landing within the arc is a foul or dead ball when hitting off of a tee.
22.    All players present shall bat in a continuous order. Any player reporting late to a game after her designated batting position shall bat in the last position.
23.    If the batter hits the tee or most of the tee instead of the ball, the ball is dead and batter will return to the box to bat again.
24.    When hitting the ball off of the tee, the pitcher cannot take more than one step toward the batter until the ball is hit off the tee. If she does so, the ball is dead and batter will resume her turn at bat. The pitcher cannot make a putout except by throwing the ball to another defensive player or by catching a fly ball.
25.    Every girl must be given the opportunity to play all positions that she desires to play during the season.
26.    Adults will coach first and third bases and 1-2 adults will be in the dugout area. In both leagues, a maximum of 3 adults are allowed on the field by the defensive team to help instruct the fielders.
27.    At any base, the runner must avoid contact with the fielder. The fielder must give a part of the base to the runner.
28.    Teams will be allowed four outfield players who must be positioned in the grass. All other defensive players must be positioned in a manner consistent with normal softball player positioning. There will be no Short Center position.
29.    No more than 10 defensive players on the field at one time. No exceptions. The players must learn to understand the positions and learn to play them.