The following rules / modifications to the Little League Official Regulations and Playing Rulebook (to be handed out to all managers) will be in place for the 2018 softball season:
Pitchers will be limited to three (3) innings per game - Pitching a single pitch will constitute pitching an inning. If a games goes extra innings, the starters may re-enter the game and again pitch 3 innings
Pitching Distance will be set at 40 feet
When batting, unless there is a play /passed ball, one (1) foot must be kept in the batter's box between pitches. Failing to do so may result in the umpire calling a strike on the batter. Batters may ask an umpire for time, however it is up to the umpire whether or not to grant it.
A manager/coach may visit a pitcher one (1) time in an inning to visit with the pitcher. On the second (2rd) visit (in the same inning) the pitcher must be removed as pitcher, but may play any other position. A manager/coach may visit the mound two (2) times in one game . On the third (3rd) visit, the pitcher must be removed as a pitcher. This rule applies to each pitcher who enters the game.
Runners will not be able to leave the base on a steal until the pitcher releases the ball.
When 1st base in not occupied, the dropped 3rd Strike rule will be in effect for the entire season.
Continuous batting order will be in effect.
Infield fly rule will be in effect for the entire season.
NO head first sliding will be permitted into bases BUT a runner may return head first into a base they previously occupied. (Throw back rule)
No fake bunting - once a player squares to bunt they are not permitted to take a full swing at that pitch. Any batter that swings after squaring to bunt will be called OUT for that at bat even if they don't make contact.
Any pitcher that hits three batters in a single game shall be removed from the mound and not be allowed to pitch any further for that game. They will however be allowed to remain in the game and play other positions.
** NOTE any pitched ball hitting the ground prior to striking the batter: while this WILL constitute a “hit-by-pitch” and the batter will be allotted first base, this WILL NOT count toward one of the three batters.
All catchers must have a dangling throat protector no matter what style helmet/mask
Mercy Rule (as stated in LL Rulebook) – “If after four (4) innings, 3 ½ innings if the home team is ahead, one team has a lead of ten (10) runs or more, the manager of the team with the least runs shall concede victory to the opponent.” “Note: If the visiting team has a lead of ten (10) runs or more, the home team must bat in its half of the inning.”
(NEW) Minimum Playing Time – All Teams will be required to have eight (8) players present at the start of the game and play a minimum of 3 innings/ 1 at bat if the game goes a full 6 innings. These innings played do not need to be continuous.
(NEW) If a team knows in advance that they will not have 8 players to start, managers should reach out to the softball director or NLL player agent to secure a substitute player. Substitute players may only play in the outfield and must bat last in the batting order.
Game Time Limit - if a game has not gone 6 innings, a new inning cannot be started once the game time has reached 2 hours. Scorekeepers should note the actual start time of the game in the scorebook as confirmed by the home plate umpire.
Only a manger and two coaches are allowed in the field complex along with the players. All coaches and managers must be preapproved by the board prior to the start of the season.
The Home Plate Umpire is the chief authority on the field. Showing the players how to interact with the umpires is as important as instructing them on the game itself. The example you set when dealing with the umpires is usually under heavy observation by the players and fans. For this reason, Managers and Coaches should not display verbal or physical disagreement with an umpires call. Any questioning of a call should be made during a called time out or at the end of the 1/2 inning. All questions MUST be addressed to the adult home plate umpire. There will be zero tolerance to any deviation from this rule.
The rules as stated above will be in place for the entire 2021 softball season, unless revised by League Coordinator, Softball Coordinator or any other higher ranking NLL official.
Playoff rules will be announced prior to the playoffs.
Both teams are expected to “keep the book”. Any questions regarding score, number of outs, number of steals and batting order can easily be answered if the book is done in an orderly manner. If numerous or repeated discrepancies are found, punitive action may be taken by the members of the Board of Directors.
Manager’s challenge - A manager will be given two challenges per game. If there is a play that you feel needs help to determine the correct call, only the manager will have the opportunity to bring their challenge to the head ASA umpire. He will discuss the play with the youth umpire and determine the right call. Coaches are not allowed to appeal or demonstrate any action that would influence a call. If a coach is guilty of challenging or influencing a call, he/she will be ejected for the remainder of that game. They will also not be available to coach the following game.
Thank you for volunteering!! Best of luck for a fun season!!
Brian Dudek - NLL Softball Director - firstname.lastname@example.org