Rules

(As of April 2017)

1. Equipment/Field Set-Up:

Field equipment (such as softballs, bats, and bases will be provided). Volunteers to help bring this equipment to and from each game are welcome! Please help to make the work of setting up the field before the game, and cleaning up the field after the game a collective activity.

Other player equipment (such as softball gloves) will not be provided by the league. If you have extra gloves or other softball equipment please feel free to contribute them to the league’s equipment share!

Base Distance:  

Softball bases should be placed roughly 15-20m (20-30 paces) apart, or whatever works best given the size of the diamond. Both teams should agree on the placement of the bases.

Bats:

Only aluminum softball bats are permitted for league play. Wooden bats/aluminum baseball bats are not to be used.

Head Protection:

Players pitching to their teammates must wear the batting helmet provided.

 2. Game Time/Default:

Please try to arrive 15 minutes early so that we can start our games on time. Games are seven innings in length with a time limit of 1.5 hours (8:00pm -9:30pm and 9:30pm-11:00pm). If a team cannot field a lineup of 7 players by the scheduled start time the team may borrow players from teams playing before/after the game. Alternatively, a team that does not have 7 players may borrow players from the opposing team to complete a defensive line-up (i.e. players waiting to bat for the offensive team, play in the field for the team that is short players). The number one priority is to avoid games being cancelled due to a shortage of players. 

i) Games that are forced to be cut short due to weather, or are not complete in the 90 minute game time will end with the final score being the score at the end of the previous completed inning. However, if the game ends with the score tied or the home team in the lead without finishing the inning, the score will be taken as it stands at the time the game is called. 

ii) If the lights at your diamond go out after the allocated 90 minute game time (your game is scheduled from 9:30-11pm – and the lights go off at 11:03pm) than the result of the game will be the score at the end of the previous completed inning. However, if the game ends with the score tied or the home team in the lead without finishing the inning, the score will be taken as it stands at the time the game is called. 

iii) No new inning can start within 5 minutes of the scheduled end time of our games.  It is important that all four teams have the opportunity to play complete 1.5 hour games.

 3. Food and Drink:

It is important to note that alcohol consumption during our games can jeopardize the standing of our permit with the City of Toronto.

Due to allergy concerns, peanut products are also not permitted at our games.

If you would like to help contribute to providing refreshments for our games, please contact our social committee!

4. General Rules:

i. There is absolutely no sliding. Any base runner that slides is automatically out.

ii. The catcher must wear the provided mask.

iii. The rover must be located in the outfield at all times.

iv. Metal cleats are not allowed

v. 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 (or line) for the runner to step on (run across).  If the runner steps on the base that is designated for the catcher, the runner is out and the run does not count.

vi. There is a commitment 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.

vii. A “force out” will always be in effect between home plate and first base. (i.e. the defensive player only has to touch their base and not tag the runner to achieve an out). As well, a force out will always be in effect between 3rd base and home plate once the runner has crossed over the commitment line.  All plays at home are force-outs (the runner may not be tagged once he passes the commitment line). The catcher must stand on home plate for plays at home.  There is no force out at 2nd or 3rd base unless the bases before them are full (e.g runner on 2nd must run to third since runner at 1st base is coming to 2nd) – these players must be tagged.

viii. A player can overrun 1st base ONLY, and they must stay in foul play when doing so.  If you overrun 1st base into fair play, you can be tagged for an out.

ix. The team at bat provides their own pitcher. The safety of all pitchers is a priority in our league!  We recommend the following steps to help minimize the risks with pitching in our leagues:
– We strongly recommend a minimum pitching distance of roughly 12 paces from home plate
– We recommend pitchers consider wearing either a helmet, a catcher’s mask, or a combination of both
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, but please protect themselves if necessary on a hard-hit ball).

x. 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 ix). Players who self-identified as “beginners” when signing up for the league may self-identify as such if they have not hit the ball into play after 3 pitches and receive a 4th pitch if they choose. 

xi. 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.

xii. Batting Order – Team captains will arrange a batting order prior to the game. There are no rules about the gendered order of batters in this league! Teams might consider batting orders based on alphabetical order or uniform number. Other tips for how to strategically set a batting order will be circulated during the season.

xiii. Teams may not have players dedicated to offence or defense; that is, players must both bat and field in order to be an eligible member of the roster for that game. A player may not play ONLY defence or ONLY offence; they need to play both. (Updated June 11th, 2014)

xiv. A team can only score a maximum of five (5) runs in one inning. EXCEPTION: If a team requires more than 5 runs to tie or win a game in the last inning they may do so.

xv. There are no leadoffs for base runners; you must wait until contact with the ball is made first.

xvi. The Infield Fly Rule (IFR): IFR is in effect when there are runners on first and second, or if the bases are loaded with less than two out.  In these situations, if a fair pop-up is hit that, in the pitcher’s judgment is catchable by an infielder with ordinary effort, the batter is out regardless of whether the ball is actually caught in flight. To invoke the rule, the pitcher must loudly announce, “Infield fly” when there is a pop-up in the infield.  If this occurs, the batter will automatically be out, even if the ball is not caught. Runners can attempt to tag up on any caught ball, or attempt to advance if the ball is dropped (although the force place is removed since the batter is out).

NOTES:
–  If the pitcher does not announce “Infield fly,” then play is live with no IFR.
–  IFR does not apply to foul balls.
–  IFR does not apply to line-outs or fly balls in the outfield.

xviii. Foul ball calls should be made the catcher. If the catcher is unsure as to whether the ball was fair or foul, they may check in with the pitcher. Safe and out calls on the bases should be made by the pitcher. Players making officiating calls on the field should not feel pressured or uneasy about getting the call “wrong.” Close plays are called “wrong” in baseball all the time, it’s part of the game, and over the course of the season close safe and out calls tend to cancel each other out!

xix. 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 desired height, is considered a ‘strike’.

xx. A base runner who is hit by a batted ball in fair territory is declared out for interference.  This ruling stands even if the base runner is in contact with a base (the base is not a safe haven and is in fair territory).  Any other runners on base at the time interference is called must return to their base.  In addition, the batter is awarded first base, as long as the interfering runner is not the third out of the inning.

EXCEPTIONS:
– A runner is not out if an infielder makes a play on the ball and misplays it prior to the ball hitting the runner.  This includes: intentionally or unintentionally allowing a ball to pass by, a deflection of any kind of an infielder prior to hitting the runner (NOTE: This does not include the pitcher)
– If a fair batted ball touches two runners, only the first runner is out, as the ball is dead as soon as it touches the first runner
– A runner is not out if they are touched by an infield fly, so long as they are in contact with a base

Please Note: if a ball is deflected off an infielder and hits a baserunner, the ball is live and play continues until the play is dead.

xxii. Pinch Runners:  If the batter would like a pinch runner to run in their place when they hit the ball, the last player who was recorded out may run in their place.

xxiii. Outfielders must not encroach within 6m (20 feet) of the baselines (the baselines spanning 1st and 2nd or spanning 2nd and 3rd) while the ball is being pitched to a batter.  The Rover must remain in the outfield (as per Rule 4.iii.).

xxiv. All infielders must remain on or behind the baseline until the ball is hit.

xxv. Basepaths: If a fielder is not involved in the play, they must not be in the way of the baserunner.  So, if the ball is not near a fielder or is obviously not going to be thrown to them, they may not obstruct a baserunner by standing on a base or in the basepath.  Conversely, if a fielder is attempting to field the ball, a baserunner may not interfere with the fielder.

xxvi. There is no homerun fence at Trinity Bellwood’s, however, ground rules may be set by both teams before the game that inforce an automatic homerun, similar to a homerun fence (e.g. if the ball flies into the trees and is not fieldable, it is an automatic homerun).

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 so there is no confusion.
i) The area behind the backstop, dugouts, home run fences and/or the fences running along first/third base is out of bounds, and the ball is dead when it goes in those areas.  Additionally, for the fenceline that runs along first and third base, when the fence stops, imagine the line if it kept going (parallel to the foul line)…if the ball goes behind this line then it is out of bounds and play is dead.  If the ball goes out of bounds while an active play is going on (i.e. an overthrow to first base) then the baserunner(s) will advance one extra base.

6. Rough Play: 

All players should go out of their way to avoid creating an unsafe play.  This rule supersedes all others.