Softball Minors Rules & Guidelines
- The Minors division is intended to prepare players both mentally and physically to play in Majors.
- Players will start to become specialized in their fielding positions, and will become more aware how their level of commitment and ability, relative to their peers, affects where and how much they play.
Schedules will be listed as AWAY @ HOME
The AWAY team will occupy the first base dugout and the HOME team will occupy the third base dugout.
Managers only should meet with the umpire at home plate prior to the start of the game to go over ground rules.
Game Scoring & Playoffs (if applicable):
- Mercy Rule: If a team is losing by 10 runs or more after completing their fourth half-inning at-bat, the umpire will declare the game over.
- Run Limits: There is a 4-run limit per half inning.
- All-Star team: Team managers vote to select an All-Star team (first) and then the team manger. Ballots are sent to the division director (player agent if the division director is a manager in the division).
Pitching & Catching:
- Minors pitching distance is 35' with an 11" ball
- Players should be held out from pitching or catching until they can throw with control and catch/block the ball. However, coaches should attempt to cultivate these skills with all interested players to the point that they are prepared for game play.
- Player Pitch. After four walks (including hit batsman) in a inning, the coach of the batting team comes in to pitch the remainder of the inning. Coaches may not walk their own batter. There is no stealing during coach pitch. The pitcher may resume pitching the next inning.
- No one pitcher may pitch the entire game. Managers should be developing a variety of pitchers.
- Each player on the team will be included in the batting order regardless of playing a field position (continuous batting order).
- No on-deck hitters
- Reasonably fixed batting orders can be used, but coaches should take every opportunity to move players up in the order as they do well in games or work hard in practices.
- To reduce the perception of favoritism, managers should allow assistant coaches the opportunity to set the batting lineup at least occasionally.
- Batters must wear a helmet with a cage.
- Nearly all players should play at least 2 innings in the infield every game. However, a player who cannot reach first base from the left side of the infield should not play 3rd or shortstop. Similarly, a player who cannot safely catch a throw from the hardest throwing infielder should not play first base. Thus some players may not be skilled enough to play 2 innings in the infield.
- The wearing of a face mask is required for all fielders (infield and outfield).
- When games are shortened by rain, darkness, or the mercy rule, coaches should make up for lost playing time in subsequent games.
- No player should sit out more than twice as many innings as any other player over the course of the season.
- 4 outfielders are used and should be taught to back up plays and follow the ball. The must be positioned with their feet on the outfield grass.
- Coaches should be particularly diligent about teaching their fielders not to inadvertently obstruct baserunners.
- A team can play with less than 10 players, The opposing team does not have to play with less than 10 players.
- The ball is live until the pitcher is in the circle and the catcher is set behind the plate.
- Sliding is always okay, although runners can simply avoid the tag as well.
- Head-first slides are not allowed, except when returning to a base.
- Runners who turn to their left after over-running first are not automatically eligible to be tagged. They must also make an attempt, in the umpire's judgement, to advance to second.
- Steals are permitted, one base per batter. No steals of home.
- Runners cannot leave the base until the pitch crosses home plate.
- The ball is live on overthrows by the catcher, but a runner may not run home (this would be a delayed steal; not steals of home). Runners may advance to second or third as long as that is their one base per batter.
- Advancing 1 base on an error is permitted.
- Once the pitcher has the ball is in the pitcher's circle, all runner's must hold.
Umpiring, balls & strikes:
- Only team managers are allowed to speak to the umpire. Coaches must relay their concerns through the manager.
- Managers can not contest judgment calls by the umpire or balls and strikes. Umpires will make mistakes, but that's part of the game. It is critical for coaches to model the best possible sportsmanship for their players.
- A manager may approach an umpire if a rule has been overlooked. However, any interpretation of such rule must be left to the umpire.