** - Indicates new or modified rule for the 2010 Summer 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.
A designated hitter (DH) is a player who bats instead of a player playing the field (similar to the American League). An extra hitter (EH) is simply an extra lineup slot – i.e. an 11th batter in the lineup, who does not play the field.
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). The other team will NOT supply a catcher.
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 (infield or outfield). The other team will NOT supply a catcher.
iv) Should a team have only seven players, then that team is still eligible to play, although that team will play without their eighth fielder (infield or outfield). The other team will NOT supply a catcher.
v) 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.
vi) If a team fails to produce at least seven players from their team during a game, then that team forfeits that game ten minutes after the official game time. The umpire (or Commissioner) will determine when ten minutes 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.
iii) Any changes to a team’s roster must be submitted to the Commissioner prior to the appropriate deadline.
iv) No roster spots may be changed after the final playoff roster deadline.
v) A team’s roster may not exceed twenty players.
vi) For a player to be an eligible player in a playoff game, that player must be on that team’s final playoff roster, and have played in a minimum of TWO DIFFERENT regular season WEEKS (not just games) in that season. Playing in one doubleheader does NOT satisfy this requirement. Captains may not internally agree to override this rule.
i) Games shall be nine innings long.
ii) No team is allowed to forfeit a game unless they have played at least five innings (unless they do not have enough players to play).
iii) Only the captain of a team may decide to forfeit a game.
iv) ** During the Regular Season:
a) If a team is leading by 15 or more runs after BOTH teams have batted for at least 5 innings, then that team wins the game. That means that if the home team is trailing by at least 15 runs after they have batted in the bottom of the 5th inning, they lose the game. If the away team is trailing by at least 15 runs after the bottom of the 5th inning, the game continues. This rule only applies to the regular season.
b) If a team is leading by 12 or more runs after the other team has batted in any inning in the 6th inning or later, then that team wins the game. This rule only applies to the regular season.
c) If a team is leading by 10 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.
d) To summarize, the “mercy rule” for the regular season is, 15 runs after 5 innings (away team leading only), 12 runs after 6, and 10 runs after 7.
v) ** During the Playoffs:
a) 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 playoffs.
vi) ** 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 Thursday at 10:00 PM ET. There is a monetary penalty for the team of $50 to be enforced for any such forfeit in advance.
vii) ** If a team forfeits a game, but not in advance (before the previous Thursday 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. There is also a penalty for the team of $100 to be enforced for any such forfeit.
Article IV - Strike Zone:
i) The league's proscribed strike zone shall be between the batter's upper chest (commonly known as the “letters”) and knees, and the two sides of home plate. The ball must cross the plate on a fly to be a strike. Umpires should be somewhat more liberal with the strike zone height.
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.
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 unintentionally, then that batter will receive a warning. If a batter throws his bat intentionally, than the Umpire can call him out or eject him (Umpires judgment call).
ii) Should a batter be caught throwing his bat for a second time in a game for throwing his bat, then that player will be automatically ejected from the game.
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 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:
i) Runners are allowed to lead/run AFTER the pitcher has RELEASED the ball towards home plate for a pitch.
ii) If at any time a runner is off the base (because he ran after the ball has been released, 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. The only exception is if the ball does not change direction and merely grazes a leaf on the tree then it shall be deemed a fair ball. The umpire will make his own judgment call to determine the affect the tree had on the ball.
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 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 unintentionally will be automatically a ball.
iii) If a pitcher intentionally hits a batter, then that batter will be awarded first base, and that pitcher can be ejected from the game at the discretion of the umpire.
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. If a player becomes injured on the base path after the 7th inning then the opposing team can choose any player from the injured players team to run for him (providing there are no pinch runners available).
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!
Article XXII – Courtesy Runners:
i) ** Two players (at most) may have the option of having a courtesy runner run for them, if they have reached base. These two players do not have to be declared prior to the game to be allowed the use of a courtesy runner.
ii) ** If you have already used courtesy runners for two players during the game, and there is an injury to a different player – that player must still run the bases. If it is an emergent injury – one which requires that player to leave the game, then the opposing team may select any courtesy runner that they want to run for the injured player.
ii) If a player (as above) has reached base safely – and has been selected to have a courtesy runner run for him, then:
a) Either the last batted out, or
b) Any player on the team’s bench who is not currently in the lineup
may run instead of that player, as a courtesy. The courtesy runner may only enter the game only after time has been called, and only after any live play has ended. The courtesy runner must immediately be declared to both the umpire and to the opposing captain.
iii) In terms of statistics, the courtesy runner will not count as if he is a pinch runner. For example, if the courtesy runner scores a run, the courtesy runner is not credited with a run scored, rather it is the player who was run for.
Article XXIII - 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.
Article XXIV - 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 XXV – Specific Field Homerun Ground Rules:
i) Utopia – All homerun fences are homeruns.
iii) Francis Lewis/Cunningham – No homerun fences.
iv) Peck #3 – All Homerun fences are doubles.
v) All other Peck fields (except #3) – 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. Each team is required to supply his catcher with a catcher’s mask. The other team does not have to supply your team with such equipment.
Article II - Bats and Balls:
i) Bats will not be provided. Only metal bats are allowed, wooden and plastic ones are not. Baseball bats are allowed only if the umpire does not object.
ii) The official ball of the league is the “Clincher.”
iii) The league shall provide ten game balls to each team during the season.
iv) Each team must each supply one ball for each game. If any extra balls are needed (lost/unusable balls), the “home” team must supply any additional balls.
It is the captain’s job to ensure that his team brings the necessary equipment to each game. The “home” team is responsible for bringing bases and cones (at least 4 cones - for the foul lines) to their 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.
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.
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 (regular season or playoffs) can be scheduled during that day.
Article II - Official Games
i) During the regular season, if an in progress game must be stopped, either by rain, or some emergency, or an unavoidable situation, then:
a) If a full 5 innings have been played, then the game officially counts. If the score is tied, or if the visiting team took the lead during the top of the last inning played, then the game will be suspended.
b) If a full 5 innings have not been played, then the game will be suspended.
ii) During the playoffs, if an in progress game must be stopped, either by rain, or some emergency, or an unavoidable situation, then the game will be suspended (regardless of inning).
iii) In a completion of any suspended game, the lineup must remain the same as it was when the game was suspended. Any pitcher who was taken out of the original suspended game, may still come back in and pitch when the game is to be completed.
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.
9) Robins get the tie breaker advantage
10) Coin Toss
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 three first place teams (in their respective divisions) will be declared "Regular Season Division Champions." They will be assigned the #1, #2 and #3 seeds in the playoffs, ranked as above.
ii) ** The next two highest ranking teams (other than the division winners), will be assigned the #4 and #5 seeds in the playoffs, as ranked above.
iii) ** The next highest ranking team (6th ranking team) will be assigned the #6 seed if either the 7th ranking team has a lower overall winning percentage than the 6th ranking team, or if the 7th ranking team has a lower head-to-head record than the 6th ranking team, or if the 7th ranking team has a lower divisional record than the 6th ranking team. If either of the above is true, then the 7th ranking team will not make the playoffs.
iv) ** If the 7th ranking team has the same overall winning percentage as the 6th ranking team, and the 6th ranking team does not have a better head-to-head record, nor a better divisional record than the 7th ranking team, then the two teams will play a one game playoff to determine the 6th and final spot in the playoffs. This stipulation is intended to prevent the #6 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 6th ranking team).
vi) ** In the first round of the playoffs, called the “Wildcard Playoffs,” the #3 seed will play the #6 seed, and the #4 seed will play the #5 seed. (The #1 and #2 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 #2 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.
xi) ** For a player to be an eligible player in a playoff game, that player must be on that team’s final playoff roster, and have played in a minimum of TWO DIFFERENT regular season WEEKS (not just games) in that season. Playing in one doubleheader does NOT satisfy this requirement. Captains may not internally agree to override this rule.
Last Updated on: June 23, 2010 at 3:00 PM EDT by Ariel