Softball Majors Rules & Guidelines
- The Majors division is intended to introduce players to competitive softball!!
- Game scores should be maintained and all official little league rules should be honored.
- 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.
Game Scoring & Playoffs:
- 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 5-run limit per half inning, except for the 6th inning.
- 6 inning games, no time limit.
- Playoff seeding: Playoff seeding will be based on regular season won/loss record.
- All-Star team: Team managers and the Division Director meet at the end of the season to select an All-Star team.
Pitching & Catching:
- Majors pitching distance is 40' with an 12" ball
- Player pitch only; no pitch/inning limit
- A pitcher may exit and re-enter a game
- Both feet are not required to be incontact with the pitching rubber(pivot foot in contact with the pitcher's plate, either on or partially on the top surface of the plate; the non-pivot foot must be on or behind the pticher's plate-sect 8.01, Official Softball Rulebook, 2015).
- 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.
- Each player on the team will be included in the batting order regardless of playing a field position (continuous batting order).
- Free substitutions are allowed.
- Batter's helmet must have face guards (cages)
- 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.
- The dropped 3rd strike rule is used. (See Sect 6.09 Official Softball Rulebook, 2015)
- Infielders cannot be closer than the pitcher; they can charge after a pitch is thrown when there is a bunt (no slap bunting or slashing allowed)
- 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.
- 4 outfielders are used and should be taught to back up plays and follow the ball
- Coaches should be particularly diligent about teaching their fielders not to inadvertently obstruct baserunners.
- A minimum of 8 players is required to start the game, or else be subject to forfeit. A team can play with less than 10 players; the oppossing team does not have to play with less than 10 players.
- The ball is live until controlled by the pitcher on the rubber
- Sliding is always okay, although runners can simply avoid the tag as well. If contact is made and the runner does not slide, the runner is automatically out.
- 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.
- Unlimited steals are permitted per inning, including steals of home.
- Runners cannot leave the base until the pitch releases the ball.
- The ball is live on overthrows by the catcher.
Umpiring, balls & strikes:
- Only team managers are allowed to speak to the umpire. Coaches must relay their concerns through the manager.
- Managers should not contest judgment calls by the umpire. 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.