UNOFFICIAL SOFTBALL PLAYING RULES - DIFFERENCES FROM BASEBALL

LITTLE LEAGUE SOFTBALL (MAJORS) DIVISION, MINOR LEAGUE SOFTBALL, TEE BALL SOFTBALL, JUNIOR LEAGUE SOFTBALL, SENIOR LEAGUE SOFTBALL, BIG LEAGUE SOFTBALL

VI- PITCHERS

(b) If a player pitches in more than one (1) inning one calendar day of rest is mandatory. A player may pitch in a maximum of nine (9) (six (6) for Minors) innings in a game. A player may pitch in a maximum of eighteen (18) (six (6) for Minors) innings in a calendar week, Sunday through Saturday. Delivery of a single pitch constitutes having pitched in an inning.
Junior/Senior/Big League: If a player pitches in less than five (5) innings, no rest is required. If a player pitches in five (5) innings, one (1) calendar day of rest must be observed. A player may pitch in a maximum of ten (10) innings in a day and a maximum of thirty (30) innings in a calendar week, Sunday through Saturday. Delivery of a single pitch constitutes having pitched in an inning.
LITTLE LEAGUE (MAJORS) AND MINOR LEAGUE EXAMPLE -
If a player pitched in two or more innings on (Column A): and is still eligible, that player can pitch again on (Column B):
  Column A   Column B
  Sunday     Tuesday
  Monday     Wednesday
  Tuesday    Thursday
  Wednesday  Friday
  Thursday   Saturday
  Friday     Sunday
  Saturday   Monday
(c) A player, once removed as a pitcher, may not pitch again in the same game. Junior/Senior/Big League: A pitcher remaining in the game, but moving to a different position, can return as a pitcher anytime in the remainder of the game but only once in the same inning as he/she was removed.(d) Little League (Majors) Division Junior/Senior/Big League: Not more than five (5) pitchers per team shall be
used in one game. EXCEPTION: In case of illness or injury to a fifth pitcher, an additional pitcher may
be used..

(e) Violation of any section of this regulation can result in protest of the game in which
it occurs. Protest shall be made in accordance with Playing Rule 4.19.

NOTES:
1. The withdrawal of an ineligible pitcher after that pitcher is announced, or after a warm-up pitch is delivered, but before that player has pitched a ball to a batter, shall not be considered a violation. Little League officials are urged to take precautions to prevent protests. When a protest situation is imminent, the potential offender should be notified immediately.
2. Innings pitched in games declared "Regulation Tie Games" or "Suspended Games" shall be charged against pitcher's eligibility for that week. Note(1): In suspended games resumed in a subsequent week, the pitchers of record at the time the game was halted may continue to pitch to the extent of their remaining eligibility for that game and calendar week, whichever is less. Note (2): Innings pitched in games that do not complete one (1) full inning shall not count towards a pitcher's total for that particular week.
3. Little League (Majors) Division: If doubleheaders are played, the limitation of nine (9) innings (10 innings for Junior/Senior/Big League) in a calendar day would apply to each pitcher. A pitcher who pitches in the first game may pitch in the second game provided that pitcher has eligibility remaining.
4. There is no limit to the number of pitchers of a particular age group on a team that can be used in a calendar week. EXCEPTION: A player who has attained a league age of twelve (12) is not eligible to pitch in the Minor League.
1.04 - THE PLAYING FIELD.

The pitchers plate shall be level with the ground.

The batter's box shall be rectangular 7 feet by 3 feet.  It shall extend forward from the center of home plate 4 feet and to the rear 3 feet.

1.07 - The pitcher's plate shall be a rectangular slab of whitened rubber 24 inches by 6 inches. It shall be set in the ground as shown in the Diagrams, so that the distance between the front side of the pitcher's plate and the home base (the rear point of home plate) shall be 40 feet (35 feet for Minor League)

1.09 - The softball used must meet the Little League specifications and standards. The ball shall not be less than 10-7/8" nor more than 11-1/8" in circumference and shall weigh not less than 5-1/2 ounces nor more than 6 ounces. For Junior/Senior/Big League Softball the ball shall be not less than 11-7/8" nor more than 12-1/8" and shall weigh not less than 6-1/4 ounces nor more than 7 ounces.

1.10 - The bat must be a softball bat which meets Little League specifications and standards as noted in this rule. It shall be a smooth, rounded stick and made of wood or of material tested and approved acceptable to Little League standards. It shall not be more than thirty-three (33) inches (34 inches for Junior/Senior/Big League) in length, not more than two and one-quarter (2-1/4) inches in diameter, and if wood, not less than fifteen-sixteenth (15/16) inches in diameter (7/8 inch for bats less than 30") at its smallest part.

1.11 - (a) 1. All players on a team shall wear numbered uniforms identical in color, trim and style.  The wearing of hats or visors is optional for each player while on defense.
          (h) Shoes with metal spikes or cleats are not permitted.

1.12 - The catcher must wear a mitt of any shape, size or weight consistent with protecting the hand. This may be a first baseman's mitt or fielder's glover.

2.00 - Definition of terms

CROW HOP is defined as the act of a pitcher who steps or hops off the front of the pitcher's plate, replants the pivot foot, establishing a second impetus (or starting point), pushes off from the newly established starting point and completes the delivery. (Illegal Pitch - See Rule 8.05).

DROPPED BALL is a ball which slips from the pitcher's hand after the pitcher takes a position on the pitcher's plate, or goes directly from the pitcher's hand straight to the ground during the pitcher's motion. This can be while the pitcher is just standing on the pitcher's plate, during the back swing or up to the delivery of the pitch in the windmill motion. A drop is distinguished from a pitch in that a pitch must have lift and carry past the release of the hip and a drop slips from the hand and/or goes straight and direct to the ground. Penalty: See 8.07(a)

ILLEGAL PITCH is (2) when the pitcher delivers the pitch with a foreign substance applied to the ball.  Rosin can be plied to the hand; (4) a pitch not made in accordance with the pitching rule (8).  Penalty: The pitch shall be called a ball, unless the batter reaches first base safely on a hit, an error, a hit batter or otherwise, and all base runners advance at least one base safely, in which case the play stands and the illegal pitch is nullified.  Note:  There are no balks in softball.

LEAPING is an act by the pitcher which causes the pitcher to be airborne on his or her initial move and push from the plate. The momentum built by the forward movement of the pitcher causes the entire body including both the pivot foot and the non-pivot foot to be in the air and moving toward home plate as the delivery is completed. With this style of pitching, the pitcher will release the ball simultaneous with his or her return to the ground. (Illegal Pitch See Rule 8.05)

7.00 - The Runner

7.08 - Any runner is out when -

(a) (5)the runner fails to keep contact with the base to which that runner is entitled until the ball has been batted or reaches the batter or in Junior/Senior/Big League, the runner fails to keep contact with the base to which they are entitled until the ball has been released by the pitcher. When a runner is off a base after a pitch or as a result of a batter completing a turn at bat, and while the picther has the ball within the eight (8) foot radius circle, the runner must immediately attempt to advance to the next base or return to the base the runner is entitled. Note: If the pitcher has possession of the ball within the pitcher's circle, and is not making a play (a fake throw is considered a play), runners not in contact with their bases must immediately attempt to advance or return to base.
Penalty: The ball is dead. "No Pitch" is declared, and the runner is out. The eight (8) foot radius circle must be properly marked.

7.13 - When a pitcher is in the eight (8) foot radius circle and in possession of the ball, base runners shall not leave their bases until the pitched ball has been batted or reaches the batter. (Junior/Senior/Big League base runners shall not leave their base(s) until the pitched ball has been released by the pitcher) See Rule 7.08(a)5 for Penalty.
Note: In Tee Ball, base runner must stay in contact with the base until the ball is hit. When players have advanced as far as possible without being put out or having been retired, the umpire shall call "Time" and place the ball on the tee.

8.00 - The Pitcher

8.01 -
(a) A Legal pitching delivery shall be a ball that is delivered to the batter in an underhand motion.
(b) Both feet must be on the ground within the 24-inch length of the pitcher's plate.
(c) The shoulders shall be in line with first and third base.
(d) The pitcher shall take a position with his/her pivot foot in contact with the pitcher's plate. This contact must be on or partially on the top surface of the pitcher's plate. The non-pivot foot must be on or behind the pitcher's plate.
(e) While on the pitcher's plate, the pitcher shall take the signal or appear to be taking the signal with the hands separated. The ball must remain in either the glove or the pitching hand.
(f) The pitcher shall hold the ball in one or both hands in front of the body for not less than one second and not more than 10 seconds before starting the delivery.
(g) A backward step may be taken before or simultaneous with the hands being brought together. The pivot foot must remain in contact with the pitching plate at all times prior to the forward step.
(h) The pitcher shall not be considered in the pitching position unless the catcher is in position to receive the pitch.
(i) The pitcher may not take the pitching position on the pitcher's plate without having the ball in his/her possession.
(j) The pitch starts when one hand is taken off the ball after the hands have been placed together.
(k) The pitcher must not make any motion to pitch without immediately delivering the ball to the batter.
(l) The pitcher must not use a pitching motion in which, after having the ball in both hands in the pitching position, the pitcher removes one hand from the ball, and returns the ball to both hands in front of the body.
(m) The pitcher must not make a stop or reversal of the forward motion after separating the hands.
(n) The pitcher must not make two revolutions of the arm in the windmill motion. A pitcher may drop the arm to the side and to the rear before starting the windmill motion. If the windmill motion is not used, the ball must be delivered toward home plate on the first forward swing of the pitching arm past the hip.
(o) The delivery must be an underhanded motion with the hand below the hip and the wrist not farther from the body than the elbow.
(p) The release of the ball and follow through of the hand must be forward and past the straight line of the body.
(q) In the act of delivering the ball, the pitcher may take one step with the non-pivot foot simultaneous with the release of the ball. The step must be forward and toward the batter within the 24-inch length of the pitcher's plate. NOTE: It is not a step if the pitcher slides the pivot foot across the pitcher's plate toward the batter, or if the pivot foot turns or slides in order to push off the pitcher's plate, provided contact is maintained with the plate. Raising the foot off the pitching plate and returning it to the plate creates a rocking motion and is an illegal act.
(r) Pushing off with the pivot foot from a place other than the pitcher's plate is illegal. This includes a "crow hop" as defined under rule 2.00.
(s) The pivot foot must remain in contact with or push off and drag away from the pitching plate prior to the front foot touching the ground, as long as the pivot foot remains in contact with the ground. When the pivot foot leaves the ground it is considered a "leap" and is considered an illegal pitch. See definition under rule 2.00.
(t) The pitcher must not make another revolution after releasing the ball.
(u) The pitcher shall not deliberately drop, roll or bounce the ball in order to prevent the batter from hitting it.
(v) The pitcher has 20 seconds to release the next pitch after receiving the ball or after the umpire indicates "play ball".
PENALTY: The penalty imposed for violation of all subsections of rule 8.01, with the exception of subsection (h), is an illegal pitch. Violation of (h) is ruled as No Pitch. The illegal pitch shall be called a ball. If a play follows the illegal pitch, the manager of the offense may advise the plate umpire of a decision to decline the illegal pitch penalty and accept the play. Such election shall be made immediately at the end of the play. However, if the batter hits the ball and reaches first base safely, and if all base runners advance at least one base on the action resulting from the batted ball, the play proceeds without reference to the illegal pitch. NOTE: A batter hit by an illegal pitch shall be awarded first base without reference to the illegal pitch.
 

8.02 - The pitcher shall not -

(a)
(1) Apply a foreign substance of any kind to the ball, pitching hand or fingers. Under supervision of the umpire, powder rosin may be used to dry the hands; NOTE: A pitcher may use a rosin bag for the purpose of applying rosin to the bare hand or hands. Neither the pitcher nor any other player shall dust the ball with the rosin bag; neither shall the pitcher nor any other player be permitted to apply rosin from the bag to their glove or dust any part of the uniform with the rosin bag.
(2) wear a sweat band, bracelet or similar type items on the wrist of forearm of either arm;
(3) deface the ball in any manner;
(b) Intentionally delay the game by throwing the ball to players other than the catcher, when the batter is in position.
PENALTY: If, after warning by the umpire, such delaying action is repeated, the pitcher can be removed from the game.
8.03-
(a) At the beginning of each inning or when a pitcher relieves another, no more than one minute may be used to deliver not more than eight (8) preparatory pitches to the catcher or other teammate acting in the capacity of catcher.
(b) The catcher shall return the ball directly to the pitcher after each pitch.
(c) Big League Intentional Walk Rule: Before a ball is delivered to the batter, the catcher must inform the umpire-in-chief that the defensive team wishes to give the batter an intentional base-on-balls, The umpire-in-chief waves the batter to first base. The ball is dead.

8.04 - "No Pitch" shall be declared and the ball is dead when-
(a) the pitcher pitches during the suspension of play;
(b) the runner is called out for leaving the base too soon;
(c) a catcher's feet (both) are not within the catcher's box while the pitcher has the ball and is ready to pitch. Once the ball is released, the catcher may step outside the box.

8.05 - An illegal pitch is -

(a) a pitch delivered to the batter when the pitcher does not have his/her pivot foot in contact with the pitcher's plate;
(b) when the pitcher delivers the pitch with a foreign substance applied to the ball; (Rosin can be applied to the hand)
(c) a "quick" return pitch; Umpires will judge a quick pitch as one delivered before the batter is reasonably set in the batter's box.;
(d) a pitch not made in accordance with the pitching rules.
PENALTY: The illegal pitch shall be called a ball. If a play follows the illegal pitch, the manager of the offense may advise the plate umpire of a decision to decline the illegal pitch penalty and accept the play. Such election shall be made immediately at the end of the play. However, if the batter hits the ball and reaches first base safely, and if all base runners advance at least one base on the action resulting from the batted ball, the play proceeds without reference to the illegal pitch. NOTE: A batter hit by an illegal pitch shall be awarded first base without reference to the illegal pitch..
NOTE: There is no balk in softball.
8.07 - Dropped Ball
(a) If the ball slips from the pitcher's hand during the delivery, a ball is declared on the batter. The ball will remain in play and the runners may advance at their own risk
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Page last updated June 28, 2004 for the 2004 season.