There is only one format of Men’s Softball under Nation Leagues rules. It is described in its entirety below.
All Softball games are 1 hour and 40-minutes in length, with no new inning after 1 hour 30-minutes. Please arrive early to ensure you get the full use of your allotted diamond time. Regardless of when your game begins your game will always end on time to allow the succeeding games to begin at their scheduled time.
Time Keeping: The on-site Nation Leagues staff member will be keeping track of time with the assistance of the umpire and will determine the end of your game. In this instance, the umpire will notify you when heading into the last inning.
Defaults: A default will occur if any team cannot field a squad by 20 minutes after the official start time. A team must have a minimum of 7 players in order to start a game. Defaults are beyond the control of the league, and there will be no refunds for defaults.
A full squad consists of nine (9) players on the diamond at once.
All softball diamonds vary in size and there is no set standard for Nation Leagues Softball Surfaces, however, all bases must be set out to Nation Leagues standards. There is no set-up required for Softball. All equipment will be provided and will be set up by Nation Leagues staff. The umpire will determine any specific ground rules in regards to the specific diamond before the game begins unless otherwise stated in the rules (i.e. home runs)
Softball bases should be placed roughly 65 feet apart, or whatever works best given the size of the diamond.
All softball bases will be provided and set up by the Nation Leagues on-site staff member. Teams are responsible for bringing their own bats, gloves, helmets, protective equipment and provided softballs to league games.
No Metal cleats allowed.
- Only bats approved by the ASA or the USSSA, and which don’t appear on a list of banned bats, will be deemed legal. All bats must be softball bats (cannot be baseball bats).
- ASA Banned bat list can be found here. http://usa.asasoftball.com/e/build_batlist_one_page.asp (Revised: January 26th, 2016)
- USSSA Banned bat list can be found here: http://web.usssa.com/usssa/usssa-general/Withdrawn&Non-CompliantBaseballBats.pdf (Revised April 6th, 2017)
- More information can be found here: http://www.teamusa.org/USA-Softball/Play-ASA/Certified-ASA-Equipment.aspx (Revised: January 26th, 2016)
- Most approved softball bats have the following logo's:
- The official softball of Nation Leagues and SSG Softball Leagues is the Worth Red Hot Dot Softball.
No jewellery is allowed.
Helmets must be worn on base, at bat and while on deck.
Back catching equipment must be worn. This includes the face mask, chest protector and shin guards.
The home team presents umpire with 2 game balls (They don’t have to be brand new but must be in good quality)
Teams are required to bring both light and coloured shirts to every game. Team colours are posted on the Nation Leagues website in your schedule. If two teams have the same colour the team captains should contact each other to ensure that each team knows what colour to wear.
Defaults: There is no default for players that don’t wear the right colour. However, that player must do everything they can to ensure it’s not confusing for the opposition. Whether this means wearing a pinny, a hat, a teammate’s shirt, etc. Under no circumstances can a player purposefully deceive the opposition.
The goal of Softball is to score more runs than the opposition. A run is scored if a player touches each base and home plate safely. Nation Leagues Men’s Softball will follow a modified fast pitch delivery.
There are three major parts to a modified fast pitch delivery: the starting position, the back-swing up to the top of the windup, and the forward swing down to and through the release.
A. STARTING POSITION
- The pitcher MUST:
- Must start with both feet on the rubber.
- Have their hips and shoulders fully square to home plate.
- Pause while holding the ball in front of the body. (The ASA requires a 1-to-10 second pause before the pitch. However precedent is for only a brief but distinct pause. The intent of the rule is to prevent the pitcher from gaining unfair momentum for the pitch, or "quick-pitching" a batter.)
- The pitcher MAY:
- Hold the ball in either the glove or the pitching hand.
- The pitcher MUST:
- Start the backswing directly out of the paused position.
- Move the pitching hand backwards to start the delivery.
- The pitcher MAY:
- Take the ball behind the back, outwards (within reason)
- Lift their front foot high off the ground.
- Slide or drag the pivot foot, so long as it remains in constant contact with the pitching rubber.
- The pitcher MAY NOT:
- Step backwards or sideways off the rubber.
- Bring the arm above the shoulder line.
- Use a "rocker" motion to start the windup.
- Use a “windmill" motion. (In a windmill motion, the backswing and delivery are in one continuous circular motion.)
- Use an obvious "slingshot" motion - bending the elbow AND rotating the body significantly towards first or third base. (The intent of the rule is to prevent a pitcher from using significant forward motion of the hands to gain momentum for the backswing. Many pitchers have a small forward hitch in their hands prior to the backward motion. This is OK) All pitchers bend their elbows and turn their bodies to some extent. In an illegal slingshot, these movements are very pronounced so as to allow the pitcher to "whip" the ball around
- Pitching hand cannot go further than 6' from the thigh.
- The pitcher MUST:
- Deliver the ball in a full underhand motion. (Sidearm pitches are illegal)
- Release the pitch on the first forward movement past the hip.
- Roughly square the shoulders to home plate at the point of release. (No pitcher squares the shoulders fully at the time of release, owing to the effects of the stride. The intent of the rule is to eliminate cross-body slingshot deliveries.)
- The pitcher MAY:
- Take one forward step. The foot must come down within the 24" width of the pitching rubber.
- Throw any legal softball pitch such as a curve ball, drop ball, slider, knuckleball, etc. (Needless to say, spitballs, foreign substances, 'scuffballs', and the like are illegal)
- Point the palm downward upon release.
- The pitcher MAY NOT:
- Have the ball significantly outside the wrist during the downswing and release. (Sidearm pitches are illegal.)
- Use a crow-hop delivery. A "crow hop" is defined by the ASA as jumping off the pitching rubber and re-planting the back foot before releasing the ball. It effectively shortens the distance to home plate and is illegal in all forms of fastpitch.
- However, it is legal to "leap" off the rubber during the delivery so long as the pitch is released while in the air and the pitcher does not re-plant the pivot foot.)
- The batter must stand in the designated batting area. The batter cannot step on the plate when swinging the bat.
- The batter must not throw the bat.
- Infield Fly Rule is in effect.
- There is a 7 run maximum for innings 1 through 4. Innings 5, 6 and 7 are open innings.
- An outfielder is permitted to throw the ball to first base.
PLAYS AT THE PLATE
- Rules for the Runner
- There is a commit line 2/3rds down the 3rd baseline. Once a player passes that line they must continue home.
- The player must pass the home plate line to score a run. A player must NOT touch home plate.
- Rules for the Catcher
- The catcher must be touching the plate while holding the ball to record an out.
- The catcher cannot tag a player once the player attempting to score has passed the commit line.
TAGGING UP, STEALING SLIDING, LEADING OFF, COURTESY RUNNERS AND BATTING
- Tagging up from any base is allowed
- A player may only attempt to steal once the pitch has passed the plate
- A player may slide into 2nd and 3rd. Not 1st or Home.
- A runner may lead off base when pitch passes the plate.
- A player leaving the bag before the ball has passed the plate/has been hit will be called out.
- A team may use 4 courtesy runners.
Nation Leagues Rules and Exceptions
- Has a home run fence. Balls hit over it are deemed home runs.
- There is an imaginary home run line drawn from the yellow foul poles, connecting to each light post.
- Balls hit past the imaginary line will be deemed home runs, even if caught past this line.
- Balls that roll past this line:
- a) If playable will be live.
- b) If unable to be played will be deemed a ground rule double.
- c) If the umpire feels an intentional error occurred to force the ground rule double, they may issue an extra base.
Regular Season Matches
All regular season matches can end in a tie.
There must be a winner in a playoff match. The home team is the higher seeded team from the regular season. In the event that the match ends in a tie, teams will partake in the following tie-breaker until a winner is determined:
In the playoffs, if a game is tied after 7 innings or 1 hour 30 minutes, then the game will continue until the tie is broken with each half-inning consisting of 2 outs instead of 3. The last batter to have completed their at-bat of the previous inning starts the inning on 2nd base. This format is continued until the tie is broken.
Any rough or physical play will result in immediate expulsion from further league play and may result in a lifetime league expulsion. Please see the Sport and Social Club General Policy for our official guidelines on this subject. It is recognized that incidental contact between players is inevitable; however, all players should go out of their way to avoid creating an unsafe play. This rule supersedes all others.
Please note that on-site staff and umpires have full autonomy when supervising games. Games may be stopped entirely, players may be asked to leave the playing area or be removed from the game entirely under their discretion.
There are absolutely no alcoholic beverages permitted on Nation Leagues property. Any offenders will be asked to leave the league without refund. No exceptions.