Rules

LIVINGSTON LITTLE LEAGUE AND SOFTBALL

GIRLS’ SOFTBALL PROGRAM RULES

2019

Rule #1 – INTENT OF PROGRAM

A.        The prime intent of the program is to teach children the fundamentals of the game of softball, as well as rules while having a good team and maintaining control of the game.  Actions on the part of the managers and coaches which are deemed to violate this intent, shall be grounds for a hearing for the possible the expulsion of the manager or coach by the LLLS board.

B.      No negative cheering.

Rule # 2 – DIVISIONS WITHIN THE PROGRAM

The Program shall be divided into five (5) levels, based on the school grade level of the player as follows:

A.         Lady Bugs- Kindergarten

B.         “A” Level – First Grade girls

C.         “AA” Level – Second Grade girls

D.         “B” Level – Third and Fourth grade girls

E.         “C” Level – Fifth and Sixth grade girls

Except as otherwise expressly stated within these rules, all rules shall apply at all levels.

Rule # 3 GAME DURATION AND PLAYER PARTICIPATION

A.       On all teams, a maximum of ten (10) and a minimum of seven (7) players shall be on the field at the start of the game. All players shall be in the batting order. No player shall sit out for the second time unless everyone has been out once. No player shall site out for the second time unless everyone has been out twice.  Unless prior arrangements are made with the manager of the team on which the child is a member, a child who does not appear on the field by the completion of the third inning may (in the discretion of her manager) not be allowed to play in the game.  A manger may, in his or her discretion, require that a child on his team must be present at the game to count the inning on the bench as an “out” inning.  (Therefore, if the child has not shown up, she has not been out.) This shall be in her manager’s discretion and may not be enforced by the opposing manager.  The visiting team (the team to bat first) may start with less than seven players but, after batting, they must have the required seven players to go into the field in order to avoid a forfeit.  During the regular season (but not in the playoffs), if the home team has less than seven players and the visiting team has seven or more players present at the start of the game, the two teams shall switch positions as home and visiting teams so that the team without seven players has the opportunity to bat first.  If at any point during the game after this point either team is unable to field at least seven players, the game will considered a forfeit.

B.      If a game is officially forfeited and the two managers wish to have a fun game anyway, the results of the fun game will not count in the standings.  This is not an option and cannot be changed by the managers, umpire or board members present on field duty.  A potential advantage has been shown to go to the team with the least players, thus making it unfair.

C.   When a player plays an outfield position for an inning, she must next play an infield position      prior to playing another inning in the outfield.  If, after being in the outfield it is her turn to go to the bench, the next inning will be an infield position.  For the purposes of determining this rotation the short center field position shall be considered an infield position. During the regular season, if the manager of one team feels  that the opposing team is not abiding by this rule they (and not a spectator) may keep track on paper each inning of the opposing team’s outfielders and should let the umpire know that he/she is doing so.  During the playoffs, the umpire will always keep track on paper of each team’s outfielders each inning.  If there is a violation, it will result in one out the next inning for the offending team.  If there is a second violation it will result in the ejection of the offending manager.

D.      At  "C" level where a pitcher may pitch 4 innings (in any order). At “B” level where players pitch, any player on the roster may pitch.  A pitcher may not pitch more than 3 innings in a game, and may pitch those three innings in any sequence. A single pitch shall count as an entire inning. At AA level a pitcher may not pitch more than 1 inning (as we want every girl to have an opportunity)

E.       If a pitcher is removed within an inning and then returned within the same inning after another pitcher had difficulty in that inning, it shall count as two (2) innings pitched for the original pitcher and one for the original replacement pitcher, even though you are still within the       same inning.

F.        The manager shall be permitted to visit any one pitcher twice in any inning, but, on the second visit to the pitcher’s mound, the pitcher must be removed.  The manager shall meet the pitcher either on the pitcher’s mound or at the baseline and no other player, except the catcher, shall join in the meeting.  A visit to an injured player shall not count for the purpose of this rule.

G.       Except in the case of injury, no substitution in the middle of an inning will be allowed.  No defensive position changes will be allowed. Thus, a player is assigned that position for the entire inning.  The pitcher’s position is an exception in that pitchers that are removed  within an inning are to exchange positions with another pitcher/player coming on to pitch from the field.  No double switches are allowed.  If an injury removes the pitcher from the field, the substitute player can be a pitcher whose turn it was to sit on the bench.  In the case of an injury to a pitcher, causing her to leave the game, the replacement pitcher maybe either the new player coming off the bench or any other player then on the field, in which case, the player coming off the bench shall take the position of the player coming in to pitch.   

H.       A game shall consist of six (6) innings. Games called on account of darkness or weather conditions shall revert back to the last complete inning, or if the home team is winning, the bottom of the inning being played.  In the event a game is called on account of darkness or weather conditions, the game shall be deemed a completed game and shall be counted in the standings provided a minimum of three (3) innings have been completed.  In the case where a weekend game is “called” due to time limit or a midweek game is “called” due to darkness, if the game is called in the bottom of an inning with the home team batting after starting their at bat with the visiting team in the lead, and if the home team takes a lead and the game is “called” with less than 3 outs, the home team will be deemed the winner of that game.  The inning will not revert to determine the winner in this example. Given this same example, if a game is stopped in the bottom of an inning with less than 3 outs and the home team has scored runs and come from behind such that the score is a tie, then the game shall be ruled a “tie”.

ON THE WEEKENDS ONLY. If you are the last game on the field for the day and the horn goes off, you are REQUIRED to finish the inning that you are playing (except if the home team is ahead or goes ahead in the bottom of the inning the game is over). This applies to both boys and girls games.  Travel (Thunder) practices do not count, they will wait until your game is completed. Other Rec games and Travel games DO count as scheduled games and you must end your game when the horn is sounded or you are instructed by the board member on duty.

ON WEEKNIGHTS. Games are not over until the horn sounds or you are instructed to end by the board member on duty, if the board member on duty does not see that the light is on bring it to their attention. But the game continues until the horn sounds.  

I.         All players not involved in the game will remain totally within the dugout area.  On the batting team, the batter, the on-deck batter and any base runners are the only children allowed out of the dugout, all with helmets on.  This will be enforced by the manger and/or his coaches.  Players cannot go to the snack bar or eat food in the dugout area during a game.  Also, no one other than coaches and players shall be in the dugout during a game.

RULE # 4 – UNIFORMS AND EQUIPMENT

All Batters and runners shall wear helmets with face masks.  The catcher shall wear shin guards, chest protector, mask, and helmet.  The warm-up team member must wear the necessary protective gear to warm up a pitcher before an inning starts.  A coach or manager may warm up the pitcher, provided a mask is worn.

A player who is out of uniform will not be permitted to play until the uniform is complete, unless permission is obtained from a board member on duty. A uniform shall be comprised of a shirt, pants and socks at a minimum.  Any additional layers worn for warmth are to be worn under the shirt and pants and are to be solid black in color.  Visors are highly recommended to be worn, but in no case shall another type of hat/visor be worn other than the LLLS visor.  If visors are worn, they must be put on properly and can not be worn backwards.  Children shall not wear jackets on the playing field unless, in the opinion of the Board members then on field duty, weather conditions justify the wearing of jackets.

RULE # 5 – UMPIRES

An umpire or umpires must be approved and assigned by the Board (at B Level and C Level), an authorized and paid umpire or another LLLS board member if neither of the above are available, as the last alternative.

RULE #6A – HIT BY PITCH --  At B & C level, if a batter has been hit by  a pitch, she is awarded first base. Umpires will be reminded that a batter must make an attempt to avoid being hit by the pitch. If, for example, a ball is thrown slowly and bounces multiple times from when it leaves the pitcher (most likely in B level) and the batter does not actively attempt to move away and is hit, the pitch is called a “ball” and the batter remains at the plate.

RULE #6B – SLIDING INTO HOME PLATE --    A runner must slide into home plate in order to avoid a collision; if the runner does not slide and a collision occurs, the runner shall be called out. However, if there is no contact, the runner in NOT out.

RULE #6C – DETERMINING WHEN THE PLAY IS OVER --   The play is over and runners may not advance further once the ball is in the possession and control of an infielder who is positioned within the infield.  If a runner is in between bases at the instant when an infielder gains possession and control of the ball, the runner must immediately commit to either advance to the next base or return to the previous base.  If, in the opinion of the umpire, the runner fails to     immediately commit one way or the other, the umpire shall call the runner out.  If, in the umpire’s opinion, a runner has advanced after the ball was in the possession and control of an infielder in violation of this rule, he shall order the runner to return to the previous base.

RULE # 7 – MANAGERS’ RESPONSIBILITIES

A.      The manager shall be responsible for notifying all players of the full schedule of practices and games and for making certain that his coaching staff is present in sufficient numbers at each practice and game to assure proper supervision.  It is expected that the manager will schedule a minimum of one practice each week, when at all possible.  This applies to the pre-season as well as the regular season of play.   In addition, the manager shall be expected to attend all coaching clinics provided by the  League and shall use his best efforts to encourage as many of his coaches and players to attend these clinics as possible.

B.     The manager shall be responsible for the team equipment bag and all the equipment included in it.  The manager should check the equipment at the beginning of the season, as he will be responsible for any missing item when the bags are turned in at the end of the season.  In the event any equipment is in poor condition and requires replacement, the manager should immediately bring this to the attention of the Board, and the equipment will be promptly replaced.  DO NOT return equipment bags at the end of the season and just drop them off inside the league clubhouse.  Wait until you are notified by the board member handling equipment to send notice to you about end of season bag & equipment return so that things are done in an orderly fashion. Equipment bags must be cleaned properly when returned.

C     The manager is responsible for arriving at the field at least ten minutes prior to the start of each game.  If, occasionally, the manager finds that he will not be able to arrive before the start of the game, he must arrange for one of his or her coaches to arrive ten minutes before the start of the game with the equipment bag.

D.   The manager shall be responsible for the decorum of his or her coaches, players and the parents of his or her players.  He or she shall be responsible for making sure that both the spirit and the letter of RULE # 1 are observed.  Problems regarding decorum should immediately be brought to the attention of the Board member acting as coordinator of the level of the manager’s team.

E.      As part of the winning managers responsibility, the score report must be reported.  This applies to levels B & C. Send an email to our LLLS website within 24 hours of your game with the teams and score (you can click on our website to easily send these emails).   Check our web site for accuracy of your scores.  If a game result score does not appear accurate, contact your board member level coordinator.

RULE # 8 – COACHING STAFF

The coaching staff of any given team shall consist of a manager and official coaches ONLY.  The offensive team shall be allowed to have two coaches on the field; namely, a first base coach and a third base coach. All other coaches shall remain in the dugout, except at the A and AA levels, where defensive coaches shall be allowed to station himself or herself in the outfield (two at A level, one at AA level).  Team managers shall be permitted outside the dugouts, along the sidelines in front of the dugouts, but should not station themselves close to the batters box than the near side of the dugout.  There will be no more than 4 assistant coaches on the field at any point in the game. Extra coaches should take turns sitting outside the field of play.      

SPECIAL RULES FOR EACH LEVEL

 “A” LEVEL:

No bunting, leading or stealing.

Each team shall supply the pitcher when it is at bat.  The pitcher must be a coach or manager.  While it is desirable to teach the skills necessary to play the position of catcher, a coach or manager should act as catcher.

An 11 inch (Soft safety or similar “reduced flight”) ball will be used at this level.

 In each ½ inning, each and every girl on the team which is then at bat shall have a turn at bat.  Once each girl has had a turn at bat, that ½ inning shall be over, regardless of the number of outs.  “Flip-Flop” your batting order each inning so that the player you have batting in the # 1 position will bat first one inning, and in the next inning will bat last by batting in position from the bottom of the order to the top.

After a batter has been allowed eight (8) swinging strikes, a coach from that batter’s team will assist the batter in hitting the ball.

The infield fly rule shall not be in effect.

On an overthrow to a base, no runner may advance to any additional base.

Outfielders must be positioned on the outfield grass.  Infielders may not be positioned closer than a visual line drawn from three feet in front of first and third base crossing the pitching rubber.  All girls present will play the field each and every inning (unless they request to remain in the dugout) but no additional infielders may be used other than those designated in these rules.  All additional players must be positioned in the outfield.  Players should be rotated each inning with no girl playing an outfield position in consecutive innings.  Additionally, no girl shall play the same position (infield or outfield) in consecutive innings.  In other words, do not put your best players in the same position all time – Rotate the girls.  This will help to keep their interest in the game of softball.   Also, for safety reasons to avoid injury, it is advisable NOT to have a girl play first base if she can not catch a ball thrown to her.

Score shall not be kept or reported and there will not be team standings at this level.

The short-center fielder may be positioned immediately behind second base, or anywhere in the outfield, but may not start to play on or in front of second base.  An additional two infield positions serve to replace the pitching position which is occupied by the coach of the team which is batting.  The “Left Pitcher” will be positioned even with the pitcher’s mound half way between the pitcher’s mound and third base.  The “Right Pitcher” shall be positioned half way between the pitcher’s mound and first base. 

Up to two coaches of the team which is playing in the field shall be permitted to position themselves on the field of play, preferably just beyond the infielders.  The coaches may then coach the players in the field from those positions but will avoid interfering with the fielders as a play is being made on a batted ball.  The idea is to instruct your fielders as to the game “situation” to teach them what they should be doing with the ball what fielders should be covering what base in order to try to make an out.

Batting tees should be used in the games for girls who consistently have great difficulty  making contact with the ball within 8 swings.  However, girls should be weaned off the tee as soon as possible.

A batter who has made an out by the fielding team successfully recording an out or the fielding team getting an out at another base if there are runners currently on the base paths shall be an “out”.  However, the player that is “out” may remain on the bases.  Again, at this level, there are not 3 outs to a ½ inning to be over as all batters get the opportunity to bat each inning.    

The coach/manager that is pitching each half inning will also be responsible to be the “umpire” by ruling whether a player is “safe” or “out”.

“AA” Level:


No bunting, leading or stealing.

On an overthrow to a base, no runner may try to advance any additional bases.  Once the overthrow occurs, the play is over and time is out until the next pitch.

An 11 inch (Soft safety or similar “reduced flight”) ball will be used at this level.

Will play a “real” game with three outs to be made until the other side bats.  If the fielding team is having trouble making outs then the offensive team will be retired when they bat 10 batters or their entire lineup, whichever is greater (i.e. - if the batting team has more than 10 players at the game).

A player shall strike out on the sixth swinging strike provided that the sixth strike is not a foul ball.  No balls or non-swinging strikes shall be called.

Pitcher shall pitch from the start of the season.  A player for the team in the field shall be    permitted up to four pitches to each batter batting in that inning.  After the fourth pitch, if the batter has not batted the ball into play, a coach of the team at bat shall continue to pitch to that batter until the at-bat has been completed (but no more than six subsequent swings.  After that the batter is struck out).  This coach will be positioned on the pitcher’s mound just behind the pitcher and will not be involved in any way with the fielding of a batted  ball. Once a batter faces 6 pitches or gets 3 swinging strikes she will be called out (no called strikes, coaches should be able to throw consistent strikes from 25 feet).  If the 6th pitch is fouled off, the batter will get another pitch.  There will be no walks. Coaches are encouraged to assist the player/pitcher in any practical way possible in order to avoid any unnecessary slow down of the pace of play.  

A batter who has made an out by the fielding team successfully recording an out or the fielding team getting an out at another base if there are runners currently on the base paths shall be an “out”.  At AA, this batter/runner is removed from the bases once they are out

The infield fly rule shall not be in effect.

Outfielders must be positioned on the outfield grass.  Infielders may not be positioned closer than a visual line drawn from three feet in front of first and third base crossing the pitching rubber.  The short center fielder may be positioned immediately behind second base or  anywhere in the outfield, but may not start the play on or in front of second base.  In order to maintain a progression from A to AA level, the girls should be placed in proper positions (i.e 5 infielders and one girl at the pitchers spot).  Extra players should be placed in the outfield only. We should NOT have extra infielders or two players at the pitcher spot.

Score may be kept, but will not be reported.  There will not be team standings at this level.

Each team shall provide a first base coach and a third base coach when they are up to bat.  In addition, the team in the field may provide one coach positioned in the outfield, to provide instruction.  The “outfield coach” shall not interfere with the batted ball and shall not interfere with any players.

Each team will have a player designated as the catcher each half inning. The catcher shall wear protective gear provided in each manager’s equipment bag when they are behind the plate (i.e., catchers mask, chest protector and shin guards.) A coach from the team at bat shall position themselves immediately behind the catcher and retrieve all pitches which are not fielded by the catcher and return them to the pitcher’s mound.  This rule should be strictly enforced in order to avoid any unnecessary slowdown of the pace of play.

The coach who is pitching will be the umpire for that half inning.

NOTE:  In an effort to differentiate AA Level from A Level, we would like players to be prepared for the following season in B Level. Managers will be asked to begin having the girls pitch from start of season. Therefore, each manager should be practicing pitching with the players.  It is expected that once the girls begin pitching, that ONLY girls capable of reaching the plate and being somewhat close to the strike zone should pitch in a game.  Practices should be used to teach ALL the girls how to pitch with ALL girls given the opportunity to practice pitching if they have a desire. There will be a pitchers plate on Schlein Field at an appropriate distance from home plate. The girls MUST pitch from the pitchers mound. This is a safety issue. If the girl cannot reach the plate, she should not pitch. It is simply not safe to have the pitcher too close to the batter

“B” LEVEL:

Pitching Innings- A pitcher shall be able to pitch a total of 3 innings per 6 inning game. If a game goes into extra innings than a girl maybe able to pitch a 4th inning only (in any order). *Most likely playoffs.

Pitching Distance: 35 feet

No bunting, leading or stealing.

An 11 inch ball shall be used at this level.

A maximum of four (4) runs may be scored in any ½ inning.

A four (4) balls – three (3) strikes rule shall be in effect.

The infield fly rule shall not be in effect.

***Important – On an overthrow to a base all runners may try to advance one base but it shall not be automatic.  No more than one overthrow per play, no matter where the ball is then thrown. Once the player has successfully advanced one base, the play is over and time is out until the next pitch.  Coaches should encourage runners not to try to take bases that they would not be able to take safely if the play was properly made.  An overthrow is defined as any throw which crosses into foul territory or goes into the outfield.  A ball thrown in from the outfield that does not get caught by an infielder is considered a live ball – not an overthrow.  When a runner is attempting to advance on an overthrow, she is at risk of being put out.

Outfielders must be positioned on the outfield grass.  Infielders may not position closer than a visual line drawn from three feet in front of first and third base crossing the pitching rubber.  The short center fielder may be positioned immediately behind second base or anywhere in the outfield, but may not start the play on or in front of second base.

Base Running – Very Important

No runner shall advance more than one base during an infield play made without error.  (For example, a ball is hit to the shortstop and she knocks the ball down.  She picks up the ball and throws the ball to the first baseman who fields the ball without an overthrow or without dropping the ball.  A runner advancing from second base will not advance beyond third base; a runner advancing from first base will not advance beyond second base; the batter will not advance beyond first base.)

No runner shall advance an extra base once an infielder has possession and control of the ball within the infield.

A runner may advance an extra base during a play, i.e., a rundown or tag play at a base.

A runner may advance if an infielder has possession of the ball in the outfield.

Whenever the short center-fielder makes a play within the infield, she will be considered an infielder for purposes of applying the guidelines set forth and described in items (a) through (d) above.

If a team is losing by sufficient runs after the completion of the fifth (or even the fourth) inning so that it is impossible for that team to win or tie the game, the game is over.

The strike zone “B” Level shall be defined from the bottom of the chin to the top of the shin and the width of the plate shall be extended on either side by the width of one softball.  If the ball hits the plate, it must be called a “ball” (no exceptions) *Unless the batter swings at the pitch.*  It should be noted that, although our program is considered a “fast-pitch league”, there is no height restriction on a pitch.  If a pitch crosses the plate in the strike zone, it should be called a strike regardless of the height of that pitch at any point on its way from the pitcher’s mound to the plate. 

The infield is defined as starting at the edge of the outfield grass (where it meets the infield dirt) and includes the entire infield all the way to the backstop including foul territory.

There is a “hit by pitch rule” at “B” level.  A batter hit by a pitch shall be granted a “walk” to first base, unless the batter does not attempt to get out of the way of the ball, at the umpire’s discretion.  Please see Rule 6A for details.

A pitcher that hits two batters with a pitched ball in an inning will be removed as a pitcher for that inning (and it shall count as a full inning against her innings pitched) .  If a pitcher hits 3 batters over the course of a game she shall be removed as a pitcher for the remainder of the game.

“C” LEVEL: 

A pitcher may pitch 4 innings (any order)

Pitching Distance:  40 feet

If a team is losing by sufficient runs after the completion of the fifth (or even the fourth) inning so that it is impossible for that team to win or tie the game, the game is over.

Bunting IS permitted

No leading or stealing after the ball crosses the plate shall be permitted.

On an overthrow into fair territory, a runner may try for all the bases she can get.  If the overthrow is into foul territory, the runner is entitled to try for one base only.  This is not automatic.  The runner may be thrown out.

The regulation softball (12 inch) shall be used at this level.

A maximum of  six  runs per ½ inning may be scored.

All pitches will be called balls or strikes.  Four (4) balls is a walk, three (3) strikes is an out.

The infield fly rule shall not pertain at this level.

Outfielders must be positioned on the outfield grass.  Infielders may not position closer than a visual line drawn from three feet in front of first and third base crossing the pitching rubber.  The short center fielder may be positioned slightly behind second base or anywhere in the outfield, but may not start the play on or in front of second base.

Base Running

No runner shall advance more than one base during an infield play made without error.  (For example, a ball is hit to the shortstop and she knocks the ball down.  She picks up the ball and throws the ball to the first baseman who fields the ball without an overthrow or without dropping the ball.  A runner advancing from second base will not advance beyond third base; a runner advancing from first base will not advance beyond second base; the batter will not advance beyond first base.)

No runner shall advance an extra base once an infielder has possession and control of the ball within the infield

A runner may advance an extra base during a play, i.e., a rundown or tag play at a base.

A runner may advance if an infielder has possession of the ball in the outfield.

Whenever the short center-fielder makes a play within the infield, she will be considered an infielder for purposes of applying the guidelines set forth and described in items (a) through (d) above.

There is a “hit by pitch rule” at “C” level.  A batter hit by a pitch will be awarded first base.

A pitcher that hits two batters with a pitched ball in an inning will be removed as a pitcher for that inning (and it shall count as a full inning against her innings pitched) .  If a pitcher hits 3 batters over the course of a game she shall be removed as a pitcher for the remainder of the game.

      

      

      

     

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