Standard softball rules apply, for the most part. HOWEVER, some rule modifications are required in order to comply with the Ontario Government's Phase 3 Team Sports requirements.
All players must read and follow FCSSC's SOFTBALL RULE MODIFICATIONS in order to ensure the safety of all players and staff. Should these rule modifications not be followed, players and/or teams will be ejected from the league without refund. Risking player & staff safety, and/or the viability of the league, will not be tolerated.
THE RULE THAT SUPERSEDES ALL OTHERS - NO COMPETITIVE OR PHYSICALLY AGGRESSIVE PLAY!
Play that is competitive, overly aggressive, rough and/or unsportsmanlike such as pushing, shoving, elbowing, shouldering, tripping, hacking, slashing, sliding, tackling, ball blasting, chirping, name calling, threats and intimidation, is prohibited and will not be tolerated by FCSSC. FCSSC IS FIRST-AND-FOREMOST-FOR-FUN. ANY ROUGH OR PHYSICAL PLAY WILL RESULT IN IMMEDIATE EXPULSION FROM THE GAME, THE LEAGUE, THE CLUB AND/OR ALL OF THE ABOVE. All players should go out of their way to avoid contact with other players and/or eliminate actions or behaviours that could jeopardize player safety. If accidental contact occurs it is expected that players will apologize for that contact, ensure everyone is alright and stop the game to seek appropriate help as required. This rule supersedes all others.
SPIRIT POINTS: An integral part of all the sports that the FCSSC offers. It is based on FCSSC's primary focus, first-and-foremost-for-fun. Our priority is safety and fun for all members.
1. Equipment/Field Set-Up: Team captains are responsible for bringing a catcher's mask and a bat. It is the teams' responsibility to bring their own gloves and bats to all games as well as any extra softballs if the original three are lost. Lines should be drawn in the dirt for the “commit” line and one at home plate for the runners to cross.
(Updated August 12, 2020) Only bats that are on the NSA Canada Approved Bat List, with logo certification from either the United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA 1.20bpf), National Softball Association (NSA) or American Softball Association (ASA) can be used.
(Updated May 2011) Unless the infield is already marked with base locations, the bases should be laid down 60 feet apart, which is approximately 30 paces, and the distance from home plate to the mound should be 40 feet, about 20 paces. If the size of the diamond requires it, adjust paces down while still respecting the ratio (for example, 50 feet [25 paces] between bases and 33 feet [~16.5 paces] between home and the mound)
2. Game Time/Default:
- Please arrive 15 minutes early so that you can start your games on time. Games are 7 innings in length with a time limit of 1.5 hours. A default will occur if any team cannot field a squad by 15 minutes after the official start time.
- If the team that was first to bat is losing after the top of the 7th inning, they have the choice to call the game or let the other team bat.
- Games that are forced to be cut short due to time or dangerous playing conditions (ie. weather) will end with the final score being the score at the end of the previous completed inning.
- No new inning can start with 5 minutes left before the formal end time.
- During playoffs, if the game is tied after the completion of 7 innings, or the expired time, teams will utilize the following format. The team that is up to bat will start the inning by placing their 'last out' from the previous inning on 2nd base, with 2 outs. Once 3 outs have been reached, the other team will then place their 'last out' from the previous inning on 2nd base (also with 2 outs) and proceed to bat until 3 outs is reached. Teams will take turns doing this until the score is settled upon the completion of a full inning.
- Teams are comprised of nine (9) players total including 1 rover(optional). There must be a minimum of three (3) of each gender playing when a team in is the field. A team can play with a minimum of 7 people, as long as there are two (2) of each gender. A team can also play with 8 people if they only have two of one gender (i.e. 2 women), BUT a team of 9 or more players that only has two women can only have 8 players on defense (you will be playing short 1 person on defense).
3. Alcohol: THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO DRINKING OF ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES PERMITTED WHILE PLAYING!! ANY OFFENDERS WILL BE ASKED TO LEAVE THE LEAGUE WITHOUT REFUND. No exceptions.
4. General Rules:
- A coin toss should determine the home team (except during playoffs, when the higher ranked team will have the choice to bat 1st or 2nd
- The catcher must wear the provided mask during pitching. The mask can be removed after the ball has been hit and the batter has dropped the bat. This rule is in place and must be followed to ensure player safety.
- The rover may play anywhere on the field with the exception of the catcher's position and within the baselines before the ball is hit. (Clarification Added May 2011) The rover must be in the outfield while the batter is at bat but can move to anywhere in the infield or outfield once the ball is in play.
- Each inning is played with 3 outs or when a team scores a maximum of eight (8) runs. EXCEPTION: A team has no run limit in the final inning of the game.
- 1st base and home plate will have "safety bases". As such, there will be a base for the first baseperson and the catcher to touch and a separate base for the runner to step on. For the other bases, fielders should be touching 1 side of the base allowing a baserunner to touch the base without interference.
- There is absolutely no sliding. Any base runner that slides is automatically out.
- There is a "no return-line" halfway between 3rd base and home plate marked with an extra base. Once the runner has crossed this line, they cannot return to 3rd base. If they do, it is an automatic out.
- A "force out" will always be in effect between 3rd base and home plate once the baserunner has crossed over the "commit line", meaning that a team can touch home plate with the ball rather then tag the runner to achieve an out.
- A player can overrun 1st base without being tagged out if they continue to follow the foul line or stay to the right of it.
- The team at bat provides there own pitcher. The pitcher can pitch from wherever they chose but should pitch from the mound (approximately 20 paces from home plate) when possible. If a hit ball touches the pitcher, the ball is declared dead and the pitch is redone – base runners return to their previous bases and the pitch count is restored. (Pitchers should do their best to avoid making contact with a hit ball).
- Every batter can receive a maximum of three (3) pitches. All foul balls, wild pitches, strikes and balls count as one of the three pitches. The only exception is a ball that hits the pitcher (see rule 11). (Clarification Added May 2011) There are no walks allowed.
- There is no bunting or faking to bunt. However, a ball that is hit with a full swing, but does not go past the pitcher IS a live, playable ball.
- The batting order is two (2) men followed by one (1) woman - but teams that have more women than men can alter this format. The male order and female order must always stay the same, although the order when mixed may change depending on the male/female ratio. A team must use their full roster for batting (i.e. players cannot only play defense), and all players must bat before a player of the same gender can bat for the second time (this may change the male/female order). If a team only has two women present, the batting order will be 2 men, woman A, 2 men, woman B, 2 men, woman A etc. The spot where woman C should have been will NOT be an automatic out. The batting order should remain intact from inning to inning. Any players arriving after their team has batted in the first inning, will be inserted into the bottom of the gender batting order. The first player to bat in an inning is the person following the player who recorded the last at bat from the previous inning.
- Mercy rule: If a team is up by 15 runs or more after the 5th inning of play, the losing team has the option of calling the game or choosing to continue.
- There are no leadoffs for base runners and no stealing of bases; you must wait until contact with the ball is made.
- Foul ball calls (balls that are hit outside of the base lines) should be made by the catcher. Controversial “out” or “safe” calls at each of the bases should be made by “base-coaches” – i.e. extra players on the offensive team. If base-coaches are not being used, all controversial calls should be made by the pitcher. Please do your best to ensure that the game is being called in a fair manner.
- A 'foul ball' pop-up behind home plate can only be caught for an out, if it goes higher than 3 metres (10 feet). A ball not exceeding this height is considered a 'strike'.
- Players on base are allowed to “tag-up” on a pop fly. Base runners must not leave the base until the fielder has caught the ball.
- There is no “infield-fly” rule in effect. However, it is poor sportsmanship to purposely drop a ball to try and get a double play.
- If a ball is overthrown at 1st or 3rd base and goes 'out of play' - which is over the fence, into the dugout, beyond the extended backstop ect., then the base runners can advance 1 'free' base. If the ball stays in play (hits fence, etc) then the ball is live, and the runners can advance at their own risk.
- Baserunners must stay along the base paths. They cannot move more then 3 feet away from an imaginary line or they will be deemed out.
- Pinch runners should only be pinch runner if the batter is injured on a play. They are only allowed to substitute for a player once the batter has reached first base.
- Players in the field are not allowed to stand inside the baselines before a player attempts to hit a ball. ie. Rover can't come up and stand beside pitcher before batter has swung at ball.
- No metal cleats are allowed.
5. Ground Rules: Captains should decide prior to the start of the game if they are going to play any ground rules with regards to boundaries. Please make sure that both teams are aware of these rules.
Click here for a pdf version of the rules.
This league will play at White Oaks Park, Diamonds 1 & 2. White Oaks Park is located in the south end of the city, behind the Jalna Branch of the London Public Library.