** - Indicates new or modified rule for the 2014 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 ten fielders with the option of having designated and/or adding an extra hitter.
ii) The maximum number of hitters allowed in the lineup is 11. If you have 11 hitters in the lineup, you may rotate positions freely having 10 fielders - 1 fielder must sit each inning, or 2 fielders sit each inning if you are using both the DH and EH. The lineup must always stay the same. A maximum of 12 players may play at any time, either in the lineup or in the field. (12 if both the DH and EH are used)
iii) If a team has fewer than 8 or 9 players, the other team does NOT have to supply a catcher. If a team has only 7 players, the other team DOES have to supply a catcher, however the catcher will not be involved in any fielding plays. The catcher is there only to return balls to the pitcher after a pitch that has not been put in play.
iv) 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).
v) ** If a tenth (or eleventh) player of a team arrives, he may immediately enter the game and will be automatically inserted into the lineup at the end – up to when the team has reached around to the top of the lineup, after which a team cannot add a 10th player (field or lineup) or 11th player (lineup). At that point, a team may alternatively instead choose to take an automatic out in the 10th or 11th spot in the lineup each time, and when the 10th or 11th player arrives, he may be immediately inserted into the lineup in the 10th or 11th spot, and into the field. However, a 10th or 11th player may only be inserted until the end of the 3rd inning, and which, that spot will continue to be an automatic out for the duration of the game – if the spot was allocated to the player, even after the player shows up in an inning after the 3rd inning.
vi) ** As per subsection v) above, for a player who is not present but is anticipated to come, the captain at the start of the game may choose to slot that missing player in any lineup slot that he chooses, and until the player arrives, the spot will be an automatic out as per the rule in subsection v) above. The captain has to notify the other captain and umpire if he so chooses to exercise this option.
vii) Should a team have only seven or eight players, then that team is still eligible to play, although that team will play without their eighth/ninth fielder (infield or outfield). Once the eighth/ninth player of a team arrives, he may immediately enter the game and will be automatically inserted into the lineup at the end, without a penalty of an automatic out.
viii)** If a team fails to produce at least seven players from their team during a game, then that team forfeits that game 20 minutes after the official game time. The umpire (or Commissioner) will determine when 20 minutes has passed.
ix) **If a team has at least 9 players present at game time, then the game will start on time. If there are 8 players present, the umpire will wait for a maximum of 10 minutes in order to start the game – and if there are still only 8 players, the game will start after 20 minutes of game time. If there are 7 players present, the umpire will wait for a maximum of 20 minutes in order to start the game – and if there are still only 7 players, the game will start after 20 minutes of game time. If there are less than 7 players present after 20 minutes of game time, the game will be forfeited.
Article II - Eligible Players and statistics: **
i) ** During the regular season any player may be used for any team on any week.
ii) ** All captains must keep a scorecard with lineups and record stats. These must be sent to the commissioner each week for playoff eligibility and statistics. Captains should consult with the umpire for a ruling on statistics they are unsure of.
iv) ** Playoff rosters after determined by the commissioner may not be changed.
v) ** A team’s playoff roster may not exceed twenty-five 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, have played in a minimum of THREE regular season games for that team and ONLY have played for ONE team throughout the course of the season. Playoff eligibility will be determined by scorecards handed in after each week. 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) If a team is leading by 10 or more runs after the other team has batted in any inning after the 6th inning, then that team wins the game. (The 6th Inning has to have been completed.) This rule only applies to the regular season.
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 Wednesday at .
vii) 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 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 may take at most 1 step prior to releasing a pitch. A pitcher may not run up to the mound to pitch a ball. Failure to do so will result in an automatic ball A pitcher does not have to start his motion on the rubber.
iii) 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.
iv) 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 re-enter the game as a pitcher, providing he has not been removed from the lineup. The relief pitcher is allowed ten pitches to warm up and then the game must resume.
Article XX - Pinch Hitters and Runners:
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!
v) If the DH is in effect (One player playing the field but not batting), should the player playing the field, who is not in the lineup - pinch hit for a player in the lineup – the player being pinch hit for may still play the field for the remainder of the game, but he may not return to bat in the lineup.
Article XXI – Courtesy Runners:
i) During a game, two players (at most) from each team may be declared to be allowed the use of a courtesy runner. The player requiring a courtesy runner must be declared both to the umpire and to the opposing captain, as soon as he reaches base safely when the play has ended. The players who will be using courtesy runners do not have to be declared prior to the game.
ii) After the declared designated player (as above) has finished any of his at bats, and has reached base safely, then either the last player to bat (who is not currently on base), or any player on the team’s bench who is not currently in the lineup, may run instead of that designated 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. After a pitch has been completed, a courtesy runner may not be used for anyone already on base.
iii) There is no special or additional courtesy runner allowed for the pitcher, in addition to the two courtesy runners allotted. The pitcher counts in the two allotted. However, if both captains agree before the game has started, the starting pitcher shall be also allowed to have a courtesy runner in addition to the allotted two. This declaration must be told to the umpire prior to the game.
iv) A player who is run for as a courtesy, does not have to have a courtesy runner run for him every single time he reaches base. He has the option to have a runner run for him, or he does not have to have a runner run for him – each time he reaches base.
v) A player who is run for as a courtesy, does not have to have the courtesy runner run for him the first time that he reaches base. A player who has reached base twice in the game, can have a runner run for him the 2nd time, even if he did not take a courtesy runner for him the 1st time he reached base.
vi) The point of the courtesy runners is to have a courtesy for a runner if he so chooses here and there, not to disallow the player from running a part or the entire game. A player can choose later on not to be run for, however no courtesy runner can be put in after the next pitch has been thrown.
vii) In terms of statistics, the courtesy runner will count as if he does not have 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 designated player who was run for.
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 (not in the lineup), then that players spot in the lineup will receive an automatic out – whether or not there are 9, 10 or 11 batters in the lineup, or otherwise.
ii) ** If a player is injured during a game to the point that he must leave the game and there is no replacement (no pinch hitter available), there will be no automatic out given for that lineup spot. Injury severity to leave a game will be determined by the umpire. If available, a player that has already left the game (i.e. already pinch hit for), will first assume the injured player’s lineup, rather than the injured player’s lineup spot being skipped. If there is no such player, then the lineup spot will simply be skipped.
Article XXIII - 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 XXIV – 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) Great Neck - All homerun fences are homeruns.
vii) 5 Towns Fields – No homerun fences.
viii) 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:
i) Bats will not be provided. Only certified ASA softball metal bats are allowed, wooden and plastic ones are not. Baseball bats are not allowed. If a player uses an illegal bat, that player may be charged with an automatic out.
ii) The official ball of the league is the “Clincher.” The league shall provide a game ball. If a ball is lost, or unusable, then the home team must provide an extra ball.
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.
i) 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.
ii) ** Offensive behavior and language towards opposing players will not be tolerated. A first offense will be a warning and the second will be an ejection from the game. Repeated offenses can result in suspension at the discretion of the commissioner and no refund will be given.
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) 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 start over or suspended. The game will suspend if and only if there have been at least 3 innings played and there is a substantial run differential between the two teams (at least 5).
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.
iii) In a completion of a 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.
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, 6 teams will make the playoffs.
ii) ** The three highest ranking teams, 1 from each division will make the playoffs. They will be assigned the #1, #2, #3, seeds in the playoffs, ranked as above. The next 3 overall records will be awarded the final 3 playoff spots regardless of division.
iii) ** The bottom 2 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).
iv) ** If the 6th highest ranking team has a better record than the 7th ranking team, or if they have won the season series (no split of the season series, or lost the season series), then the 6th highest ranking team will be the #6th seed, and the 7th highest ranking team will not make the playoffs.
v) ** If the 7th highest team has the same record as the 6th highest ranking team, and has either won the season series, or it has been tied – the 6th and 7th highest ranking team will play an extra play-in game to determine the #6 seed.
vi) In the first round of the playoffs, called the “Wildcard,” the #4 seed will play the #5 seed, and the #3 seed will play the #6 seed. 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 “Semi-Finals,” the #1 seed will play the lowest ranking seed left, and the #2 seed will play the other team left in the playoffs. The winners will move on to the next round of the playoffs, and the losers will be out.
viii) The two winners will then play in the “League Championship,” to determine the League Champions.
ix) In all playoff games, the higher seeded team has the home field advantage (bats last).
x) In all playoff games, the higher seeded team, will choose the field that the game is played, if that field is available and is permitted. 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.)
xi) The higher seeded team will NOT choose any playoff game date or time. The Commissioner will choose the game date and time.
xii) ** For a player to be an eligible player in a playoff game, that player must be on that team’s final playoff roster, have played in a minimum of THREE regular season games for that team and ONLY have played for ONE team throughout the course of the season. Captains may not internally agree to override this rule.
xiii) ** Lineup cards must be shown to umpires and the opposing captain before playoff games.
Last Updated on: March 21, 2014 at 8:00 AM EDT by Ariel