Hillcrest Softball League


League Rules Spring 2007



** - Indicates new or modified rule for the 2007 Spring season.



                                    Section I - Rules of the Game:




The rules of a regulation game of the Hillcrest Softball League will be the same rules as a standard regulation softball game, unless the rule is in conflict with, or supplemented by this document.


Requirements for the Game:


Article I - Number of Players:


i)          All teams will play with either nine or ten fielders with the option of adding a designated and/or extra hitter.

ii)         Should a team have only nine players, then that team is still eligible to play, although that team will play without their tenth fielder (short center).

iii)         Should a team have only eight players, then that team is still eligible to play, although that team will play without their ninth fielder (catcher). The other team will then supply a catcher, who is there for the sole purpose of returning balls to the pitcher.  He many not be involved on any play in the game where there is a live ball.

iv)        Should a team have only seven players, then that team will play also without their eighth fielder (either in the infield or in the outfield).

iv)        Once the eighth/ninth/tenth player of a team arrives, he may immediately enter the game and will be automatically inserted into the lineup at the end.

v)         If a team fails to produce at least seven players from their team during a game, then that team forfeits that game one quarter hour after the official game time. The umpire (or Commissioner) will determine when one quarter hour has passed.


Article II - Eligible Players:

i)          There is no distinction between a regular and an alternate player at any game.

ii)         Only a player who is on the team's official team roster may play. If a non roster player plays in any game, then that team shall automatically forfeit that game. Only the Commissioner may override this rule. Captains may not internally agree to override this rule.


Article III - Game Length and Forfeiting:


i)          Games shall be nine innings long.

ii)         No team is allowed to forfeit a game unless they have batted for six innings (unless they do not have enough players to play).

iii)         Only the captain of a team may decide to forfeit a game.

iv)        If a team is leading by 12 or more runs after the other team has batted in any inning in the 7th inning or later, then that team wins the game. This rule only applies to the regular season.

v)         A team may forfeit a game in advance.  Only the captain may choose to forfeit the game, and he must do so before the previous Wednesday at 10:00 PM ET.

vi)        If a team forfeits a game, but not in advance (before the previous Wednesday at 10:00 PM ET), then that team will be penalized an extra loss, which will count as both a head to head loss against any and every team, and also a division loss.




Article IV - Strike Zone:

i)          The league's proscribed strike zone shall be between the batter's shoulders and knees, and the two sides of home plate. The ball must cross the plate on a fly to be a strike.

ii)         If the ball hits the plate, it is an automatic ball.

iii)         Note: Should a batter try to shorten the strike zone by squatting or crowd the plate, etc., this will have no bearing on the size of the strike zone.  The strike zone will be as if the batter did not squat.


Article V - Caught Foul Ball:

Should a ball be hit into foul territory and is caught, then it must reach six feet in height above ground to count as an out.


Article VI - Third Strike:

i)          Should a batter foul tip a third strike into the catcher's glove, the batter is out. (The ball need not reach six feet above ground.) 

ii)         Should a batter swing and miss at a third strike, the batter is out regardless of whether or not the ball was caught by the catcher.


Article VII - Bunting:

i)          Should a batter bunt a ball, then it counts as a strike. 

ii)         Should a batter with two strikes bunt a ball, then it counts as the third strike and that batter is out.


Article VIII - Delay of Game:

Should a batter intentionally or unintentionally delay the game, then that batters team may be penalized one out (at most) at the umpire's discretion.


Article IX - Thrown Bat:

i)          Should a batter throw his bat after swinging or checking his swing either intentionally or unintentionally, then that batter receives an automatic out, which counts as a strikeout.

ii)         Should a batter be called out for a second time in a game for throwing his bat, then that player will be automatically ejected from the game.



Base Running:


Article X - Base Leading 1:

The league's position regarding leading off any base is that it is NOT allowed. (We don't care if you can't run) Should a batter from any team be leading from any base (except home plate, wisenheimer!) then the umpire either may give that runner's team a warning, or he may call that runner out, at his discretion.


Article XI - Base Leading 2:

Runners are allowed to run on the SWING, not on the pitch. If at any time a runner is off the base (because he ran on the swing etc.) The batter must return to the base which he left. If the ball arrives at that base before he does, the runner is out. There is a force to the base. (The fielder need only step on the base.) If the catcher overthrows the ball to a base, the play is considered live. The runner, however, must step back on the bag before running to the next base. If the catcher throws the ball back to the pitcher (not to a base), then the play is dead.


Article XII - Base Running:

If a runner moves any part of his body in order to interfere with a throw of a fielder making a play at another base (the fielder is either in the act of throwing the ball, or has already thrown the ball), then unless the interference was unavoidable :

1) The runner who has interfered with the play is automatically out.

2) The runner who was approaching the intended target base of the throw of the fielder is automatically out, unless he has already touched or nearly touched the base safely at the time of the interference.

This rule is intended as a safety rule, in order to prevent runners from raising their arms, or moving their body in order to break up a play. Note that if a runner simply stands, runs, or slides in the normal base path, this does not constitute interference.


Article XIII - Sliding:

i)          At Grass/Dirt Fields:

For any close play at a base other than first base, a base runner should slide into the base.  If the runner does not, and he noticeably interferes with the fielder's ability to make the play, then the runner is out.  What constitutes as interference will be determined by the umpire.

ii)         At all other Fields:

Sliding is optional, although not recommended. For safety, we recommend that a fielder should not 'block' the base, thereby avoiding a potentially dangerous collision.


Article XIV - Time Out:

i)          Time out before or during a play can only be called by an umpire. A player can only request that time out be called out.

ii)         During a play, time out should only be called only if the ball is in the possession of a fielder either in or approaching the infield, and is approaching the pitcher's mound, and all base runners are relatively close to their respective bases, and do not appear to be advancing.

iii)         It is an umpire’s job to call time out at the proper time. If however, an umpire fails to call time out at the proper time, he may return the base runners back to where they were when time out should have been called.





Article XV - Infield Fly Rule:

The infield fly rule IS in effect in all games, although whether or not this rule has been violated shall be determined by the umpire. (The umpire shall call "Infield Fly.")


Article XVI - Interference by a Tree:

i)          Should a ball hit a tree that has roots in foul territory, even if the tree overlaps into fair territory, that ball shall be rendered foul and unplayable.

ii)         Should a ball hit a tree over-hanging the homerun fence, and bounce back onto the field (foul or fair territory), then that ball will be played as if it had hit the homerun fence.

iii)         Note: If the ball hits the homerun fence, then that ball is still in play, even if a fielder catches it on a bounce off the fence.




Article XVII - Automatic Balls:

i)          A pitcher must release the ball having one foot either on or behind the pitching rubber.  Failure to do so will result in an automatic ball.

ii)         A pitcher must release the ball with an underhand motion. That means that a pitcher may not dramatically spin the ball, pitch overhand or pitch sidearm.  Failure to do so will result in an automatic ball.

iii)         A pitcher may not use a windmill windup to pitch the ball. Failure to do so will result in an automatic ball.


Article XVIII - Hit Batsman:

i)          A hit batter will not be awarded first base automatically.  If the ball was in the strike zone, then it will count as a strike, and if not it will count as a ball.

ii)         A hit batter in the head will be automatically awarded first base.

iii)         If a pitcher intentionally hits a batter, then that batter will be awarded first base, and that pitcher will be automatically ejected from the game.


Lineup Changes:


Article XIX - Relief Pitchers:

            If a captain makes the decision to replace his pitcher, that same pitcher may not at any time re-enter the game as a pitcher. The relief pitcher is allowed ten pitches to warm up and then the game must resume.


Article XX - Pinch Hitters and Runners 1:

i)          A captain may only use pinch hitters or runners, if he has an available player on his bench that is not in the lineup.  i.e., If a player is already in the lineup, then he cannot pinch hit or pinch run for another player in the game.

ii) **    In an emergency, as deemed by the umpire, the last player to bat (who is not currently on base), may pinch run for another player, provided that there is no alternative solution.

iii)         An emergency must be a moderate to serious injury. Pulled muscles or back aches or cramps, etc. do not constitute as emergencies.

iv) **   If a player comes out of a game due to injury, then he may not return to the game for at least three full innings (top and bottom) - for any reason.  This rule is intended as a safety rule.

v) **    There are NO courtesy runners allowed.


Article XXI - Pinch Hitters and Runners 2:

i)          A pinch hitter/runner may be used to pinch hit/run twice in a game.  After the half inning in which a player has pinch hit/run, either he or the original player in the lineup will remain on the bench, and the other will stay in the game. 

ii)         The player who remains on the bench will be allowed to pinch hit/run one more time during the game.  After the second in which he pinch hits/runs, the pinch hitter must remain in the game, and the player in which he substitutes for will be out of the game for good.


Article XXII - Emergency Situations:

i)          If a player must leave the game due to an emergency and there are no players present on the bench, then that players spot in the lineup will be skipped.


Ground Rules:


Article XXII - Ground Rule Changes:

i)          If both captains agree to a ground rule change, then they may change any ground rule which they both desire to change.  They must notify the umpire of any such change.


Article XXIII – Specific Field Homerun Ground Rules:

i)          Utopia – All Homerun fences are homeruns.

ii)         173rd Street – Shots over the centerfield fence between the left of the leftmost basketball backboard and the right of the rightmost basketball court is a double.  All other homerun fences are homeruns.

iii)         Francis Lewis/Cunningham – No homerun fences.

iv)        Peck #3 – All Homerun fences are doubles.

v)         All other Peck fields – All Homerun fences are homeruns.

vi)        All other fields - All Homerun fences are homeruns.



              Section II - Equipment, Dress Code, Injury and Conduct:


Article I - Gloves and Safety Equipment:

All players are required to bring their own softball/baseball glove to every game. Any safety equipment required shall be provided by you! (The league will NOT provide any safety equipment).  The opposing team will not provide any equipment.


Article II - Bats and Balls:

Bats will not be provided.  Only metal bats are allowed, wooden and plastic ones are not.  (Baseball bats are allowed if they are metallic.)  The official ball of the league is the “Clincher.” The league shall provide a game ball.  If a ball is lost, or unusable, you shall provide the extra balls. You shall provide any practice balls.


Article III - Captains and Equipment:

It is the captain’s job to ensure that his team brings the necessary equipment to each game.


Article IV - Injury:

WARNING!!! The league is not responsible for any injures! You are playing at your own risk! All safety equipment you require should be brought by you, with you to all games. The league will not be held liable for any and all injures.


Article V - Discrimination:

Should any player be unfairly discriminated against regardless of ability or otherwise then that player may address his/her complaints with the commissioner. Should that person's complaints prove valid, then that person may accept the commissioner's address and rectification of their problem, or accept a refund.


Article VI - Alcoholic Beverages

There will be NO alcoholic beverages permitted at any field during a game by any player. Failure to adhere to this article will result in an automatic suspension or expulsion from the league by the Commissioner, effective immediately.


Article VII - Conduct

            There is to be no arguing with umpires.  Only the CAPTAIN may appeal a GAME RULE.  Judgment calls may NOT be appealed.  An umpire may eject an unruly player at his discretion.



                Section III - The Season Schedule:


Article I - Number of Games and Rain Outs:

i)          Each team shall play ten games.

ii)         Should there be rain, and the game is unable to be played at all, the Commissioner will decide if and when the game is made up.  There are rain dates in the schedule to account for rain outs.  Since rain is an unexpected occurrence, please check with you captain as to whether or not the game will be played on a rainy day.

iii)         On any official week of the season or rain date, an official game can be scheduled during that day.


Article II - Official Games

i)          If an in progress game must be stopped, either by rain, or some emergency, or an unavoidable situation, then:

            a) If a full 7 innings has been played, the game officially counts.

            b) If a full 5 innings has not been played, then the game will not officially count. The game will be treated as if it were a rain out.

            c) If a full 5 innings have been played but not a full 7 innings, then it is up to the Commissioner to decide as to how to count the game.


Article III - Standings:


These are the rules for determining the order of the league standings:


i)          The overall record (winning percentage) is the chief factor in determining the standings.  A better record means a higher ranking.

ii)         If two teams have the same record, then the tie will be broken as follows:


            The higher ranking team shall be the team with the better statistic in (in order of tie breaker):


            1) Head-to-Head record

            2) Divisional record

            3) Head-to-Head runs scored vs. runs allowed differential

            4) Divisional runs scored vs. runs allowed differential

            5) Overall runs scored vs. runs allowed differential

            6) Head-to-Head scoring differential against the highest already ranked team in the division. (If tied, then next highest ranked team.)

            7) Head-to-Head scoring differential against the highest already ranked team in the league. (If tied, then next highest ranked team.)

            8) 3-7 replaced with runs scored per inning batted.


iii)         If three or more teams have the same record, then the tie will be broken as follows:


            The highest ranking team shall be the team with the better statistic in [If there is no highest, then the lowest ranking team with shall be the team with the worse statistic in] (in order of tie breaker):


            1) Head-to-Head record against the other two teams

            2) Divisional record

            3) Scoring differential among the tied teams

            4) As above (as 2 teams) with Head-to-Head being against the tied teams


            Now, after a ranked team is decided, then the same procedure is used to rank the other remaining teams with the same record.


Article IV - The Playoffs:

i)          At the end of the regular season, the first place team will be declared "Regular Season Division Champions."  They will be assigned the #1 seed in the playoffs, ranked as above.

ii)         The next five highest ranking teams (other than the division winner), will be assigned the #2-#6 seeds in the playoffs, as ranked above.

iii) **    The next highest ranking team (7th ranking team) will be assigned the #7 seed if either the 8th ranking team has a lower overall winning percentage than the 7th ranking team, or if the 8th ranking team has a lower head-to-head record than the 7th ranking team, or if the 8th ranking team has a lower divisional record than the 7th ranking team.  If either of the above is true, then the 8th ranking team will not make the playoffs.

iv) **   If the 8th ranking team has the same overall winning percentage as the 7th ranking team, and the 7th ranking team does not have a better head-to-head record, nor a better divisional record than the 8th ranking team, then the two teams will play a one game playoff to determine the 7th and final spot in the playoffs.  This stipulation is intended to prevent the #7 seed to make the playoffs by a run differential tie-breaker.

v) **    The bottom two teams in the league will not make the playoffs (even if the bottom teams have the same overall winning percentage as the 7th ranking team).

vi) **   In the first round of the playoffs, called the “Wildcard Playoffs,” the #2 seed will play the #7 seed, the #3 seed will play the #6 seed, and the #4 seed will play the #5 seed.  (The #1 seeds get a “Bye.”)  The winners will move on to the next round of the playoffs, and the losers will be out.

vii)        In the second round of the playoffs, called the “League Semi-Finals,” the #1 seed will play the lowest ranking team left in the playoffs, and the next highest seed will play the other team remaining in the playoffs.  The two winners will then play in the League Championship Game, to determine the League Champions.

viii)       In all playoff games, the higher seeded team has the home field advantage (bats last).

ix)        In all playoff games, the higher seeded team, will choose the field that the game is played, if that field is available.  The Commissioner reserves the right to overrule any field selection, and choose the field himself.  (One such example is if a field selection is in conflict with another playoff game’s field selection.)

x)         The higher seeded team will NOT choose any playoff game date or time.  The Commissioner will choose the game date and time.



                                    Section IV - Final Note:


These rules absolve the league of any liability and are subject to change at any time, and cannot be used in a court of law or against commissioner Ariel Cohen and any of his not named conspirators at any time, place, or event.



Last Updated on :
March 11, 2007 at 10:00 AM ET