Posted Nov 2, 2014
VGSA LEAGUE RULES (revised 6/17/20)
Phase 2 - Covid practice guidelines
2020 USA Softball Rule Changes with Comments as of November 15, 2019.
NOTE: All changes in comments in PDF are EFFECTIVE January 1, 2020 unless otherwised noted.
All teams will provide concession stand workers and trash pickup workers on the dates and times designated by the VGSA League Schedule. Failure to do so will result in a forfeit of the game scheduled for that day. The minimum age for concession stand workers will be established by the concession stand manager in compliance with County and State health regulations.
The Home Team will occupy the 3rd base dugout. The Visiting or Away Team will occupy the 1st base dugout.
The managers and/or coaches from The Home Team are responsible for preparing their field for gameplay, including raking the field, chalking batter's boxes, foul lines, 8-foot radius around pitcher's plate, coaches' boxes, on-deck circles and half-way marks (if required) 12 inches in length between 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and home. Games will start upon approval of field conditions by the umpire.
Both teams are responsible for cleaning in and around their dug-out and bleacher areas after each game and/or practice.
The Visiting or Away Team is responsible for putting away all bases, any other softball equipment, and tools at their field following the last scheduled game of the day on that field. This includes raking or brushing the field, plugging the base receivers and removing and storing portable pitching plates.
*Should roles need to be reversed for the day, a gentlemen’s agreement may be reached between coaches as long as the field is playable by game time, and returned to pre-play condition afterward.
For all league play youth players MUST wear a USA Softball approved batting helmet with a face mask while on the field of play. Removal of the helmet while on the field of play by an offensive player shall result in an out being charged to the offense.
(NOTE: Under this rule, it is possible for the offense to be charged with two outs on one play. i.e. A batter strikes out and removes her helmet while returning to the dugout.)
The double first base (safety base) will be used in all games.
Any youth warming up a pitcher within the Salmon Creek Sports Complex shall wear a catcher's mask. Both pitchers and catchers warming up in violation of this rule may be subject to an immediate one-game suspension. No first warning is required.
All players shall have their jerseys tucked in while they are on the field of play. Refusal to comply may result in player ejection.
No child with an arm, wrist, hand or leg cast will be allowed to play without a written verification from her physician that the child can play fastpitch softball. The cast must be sufficiently padded, per ASA rules.
If a player throws a bat they may be called out, and a warning will be issued to both benches by the umpire. Any subsequent infractions will result in an out being called, and the offending player may be ejected.
- Games shall begin promptly when scheduled. There will be a ten (10) minute grace period allowed for the purpose of fielding a team. At the end of the grace period, the team in default shall forfeit the game, 7-0.
- Games forfeited because of too few players may be played as practice games if the "short-handed" team borrows player(s) from the opposing team. Each team must be able to field eight (8), players. The grace period will count as playing time. Teams with more than 8 players must field at least 9.
A pregame conference will be held with the umpire(s) prior to the start of each game. The conference will be attended by managers, coaches and may include Team Captains. One item that will be covered is the application of the “Run Ahead Rule”. Unless both teams specifically agree that they desire to play the full one hour and forty- minutes, the “Run Ahead Rule” will be in effect. However, if a run-rule threshold is reached during the game, the team losing at the time has the option to declare it does not want to continue play.
Open substitution and re-entry will be allowed only for those teams who bat their rosters. VGSA requires T-Ball, 8U, 10U and 12U teams to bat their rosters.
The "Designated Player Rule" is permitted only for the 14U age division and above.
For league play, Training League, 8U and 10U may field ten (10) players on.
For T-Ball a full team consists of all players present at the game on defense. The opposing team shall also field all players that are present on defense. The defense shall consist of seven (7) infielders, the remainder of the players are to be placed in the outfield.
TIME LIMITS (updated for the 2019 Season)
A) For T-Ball, one hour and fifteen (1:15) minutes shall constitute a regulation game. No new inning shall be started after the one hour and fifteen (1:15) minute time limit. An inning in progress shall be completed unless the home team is at bat and is winning.
B) For Training League, one hour and twenty minutes (1;20) shall constitute a regulation game. No new inning shall be started after the one hour and twenty (1:20) minute time limit. An inning in progress shall be completed unless the home team is at bat and is winning.
C) For 8U, one hour and thirty (1:30) minutes shall constitute a regulation game. No new inning shall be started after the one hour and thirty (1:30) minute time limit. An inning in progress shall be completed unless the home team is at bat and is winning.
D) For 10U through 14U Leagues, 4 innings shall constitute a regulation game. No new inning after 1 hour, 40 minutes. In all divisions, the umpire has the authority to declare an inning near the 1:40 mark the final inning. In 12u and above, the final inning (7th inning or final inning declared by the umpire) will be open for both teams – meaning the 5-run maximum per inning does not apply.
At the discretion of the umpire(s), if inclement weather, darkness, or other factors should shorten the game to less than four (4) full innings (a regulation game), the game MAY get re-scheduled. One minute transition time between innings. Umpires will keep games moving to allow a sufficient amount of game time advantage for both teams.
E) TIED GAMES - For league play, games in all age divisions may end in ties.
Once either team is ahead by an insurmountable number of runs, the game is considered unwinnable. (Insurmountable number of runs equals 15 after 3 innings, 12 runs after 4 innings, 8 runs after 5 innings.) Unless rescinded at the pre-game conference the “Run Ahead Rule” shall apply and the game will be stopped when reached. If you want to play out the time limit you must tell the umpire at the plate conference.
Teams will be limited to the following number of runs per time at bat.
- T-Ball and Training League --- Teams bat their rosters each inning
- 8U, 10U, 12U, 14U,– FIVE RUNS PER AT BAT
- 12U -14U - FIVE RUNS PER AT BAT but last inning will be an open inning.
PITCHING & BASE DISTANCE
The distance between bases and the distance from the apex of home plate to the front of the pitching plate shall be as follows:
A) T-Ball, Training League and 8U: Bases at forty-five (45) feet and pitching plate at thirty (30) feet.
B) 10U, 12U, 14U, 16U, and 18U – Based are USA regulation distance of 60 feet.
C) 10U - Pitching is at 35 feet
D) 12U - Pitching is at 40 feet
E) 14U - 18U - Pitching is at 43 feet.
DUGOUT ASSIGNMENT & PREGAME PRACTICE
The visiting team is assigned the first (1st) base dugout and the home team is assigned the third (3rd) base dugout. Teams participating in doubleheaders shall remain in their originally assigned dugout for the second game regardless of their home or visiting team status.
Teams are allowed pregame practice only in the area outside the 1st & 2nd and the 2nd & 3rd base paths following the completion of field preparation.
LEAGUE PLAY REQUIREMENTS
For league play 12U, 10U, Training, 8U, and T-Ball coaches must bat their entire roster. For the 14U division, coaches can either bat 9 or elect to bat their entire roster at the game and should tell the umpire and opposing team at the plate conference.
During league play all eligible players must play in not less than two (2) full innings in a 4/5 inning game, or three (3) full innings in a 6/7 inning game. Managers and/or coaches not complying with this rule may be subject to disciplinary action at the discretion of the board.
All official protests must reach a VGSA Executive Board member within twenty-four (24) hours of the game, accompanied by a signed letter of protest with a full explanation, and a five dollar ($5.00) protest fee and the scorebooks from both teams (photo-copies preferred). The protest fee may be refunded at the board discretion. The board's review and decision on the validity of the protest are final.
ADDITIONAL RULES FOR 10U PLAY
Offensive teams will bat their entire roster, including substitutes. If the third out is obtained before the five (5) run limit is achieved, the inning is ended and the offensive team resumes the batting order where it left off, their next at-bat.
The following pitching rules apply: Pitching will occur in all games with the standard amount of pitches per batter. Per USA rules, up to six pitches - 3 balls, 3 strikes; 4 balls, 2 strikes (more if fouled off). Three (3) strikes will be out.
In each half inning, a youth pitcher can only walk two batters. The next batter to receive ball 4 (after the initial two walks), that batter's coach will pitch a maximum of three (3) additional pitches from the pitching plate. Any strikes on the batter will carry over to the coach's pitches. (NOTE for 2019 SEASON - the teams that asked to use coach relief in the pre-season survey must tell the umpires at the plate conference or they will be playing strictly by USA Softball rules)
- If the batter strikes out or fails to put the ball into fair play during the coach's three additional pitches, the batter is out.
- Only those batters struck by a pitch from a youth player shall be awarded first base.
- There will be no base coaching from the pitcher's circle when the batter's coach pitches the additional three pitches.
- The pitcher resumes pitching to the next batter and coach will assist again if additional walks incur until the inning is over. The next inning it will start over and coach assistance will not be needed until the third walk.
All standard USA pitching rules apply.
In-field Fly Rule will be in effect.
ADDITIONAL RULES FOR 8U PLAY
- No new inning after one hour and thirty minutes (1:30) hard stop at 1:40
- Games may end in a tie
- Bases to be at 45 feet and the pitching mound at 30 feet. An 11-inch safety ball will be used during games.
- A player may lead off, no more than the distance of the halfway mark. The runner may be picked off, she has to return to the base if an attempt is made on the runner. No base stealing allowed advancement is only made on a hit ball.
- Three outs or a 5 run rule to be considered a complete inning.
- A batter will not be allowed to hit from a Tee.
- The infield fly rule will be in effect.
- Bunting is allowed.
- No drag bunting or slap hitting will be allowed in the games. A coach may teach these fundamentals but they will not be permitted during league play.
- No extra bases allowed on an overthrow (changed for 2019 season)
- On a hit to the outfield, the batter can run until an outfielder secures and has control of the ball. The runner is entitled to the base she is headed to if she has rounded the previous base (e.g., if a player has rounded second before the outfielder has control of the ball, she can advance to third) (changed for 2019 season)
- No obstruction calls will be made.
- If a player makes an attempt to avoid being hit by a pitched ball from a pitcher (not a coach) and is hit by the ball while in the batter’s box she is then awarded first base. If the batter does not try to avoid contact with the pitch then it would be either a ball or strike depending on the umpire’s call. Umpire discretion will be used.
- Teams may use either a player or coach as a pitcher. There will be no walks. A player must put the ball into play, foul or strikeout.
- The same 10U pitching rule will apply (3 strikes, 4 balls), except that no player will be allowed to walk, therefore, if a player receives 4 balls she will then receive the appropriate number of pitches from her coach.
- If a coach is required to pitch to their players for 4 continuous batters than the coach will remain as a pitcher for that inning. The pitcher that was replaced by the coach may return as a pitcher for the new inning or be substituted by another player.
- The batter is not limited by the number of foul balls hit.
- When utilizing the coach as a pitcher, the coach is required to pitch from the rubber.
- The defensive pitcher must be within the pitcher’s circle when the coach pitches.
ADDITIONAL RULES FOR TRAINING LEAGUE AND T-BALL
For Training League, each batter will receive four (4) attempts to hit the ball. The coach will pitch three pitches to each of his batters. If a batter fails to hit one of the three pitches, they may choose to either hit off the tee or receive one more pitched ball for their final attempt. Any pitch hit into the fair territory is considered a ball in play. For a ball hit off the tee to be considered in play, the ball must be hit on or beyond the 10-foot arc. If the ball is not put into play on the fourth attempt the batter is out.
For T-Ball, each batter is allowed four (4) attempts at a ball on the Tee. If the ball is not put in play on the fourth attempt the batter is out. The ball must travel on or beyond the ten (10) foot arc to be considered in play.
The offensive team will bat the entire line up in each inning. Scorekeepers will count runs to the same number of batters. A team’s "At Bat" is over when the last batter in the line up has batted and the catcher has touched home plate to end the inning.
A player must play two different positions per game. No player is to play one position for more than two complete innings. A complete inning is when every offensive player batted.) Once a girl has played one position she may not re-enter that position unless there are no other players available to fill that position. The intention of this rule is for all girls to be exposed to a variety of infield and outfield positions.
Coaching must be done from a team's assigned side of the field and dugout, unless time is called to go onto the field. When a team is on the field, a coach, manager or parent may not go over to the opposing team's fence line and coach from that position. There will be no base coaching from the pitcher's circle when the batter's coach pitches. Games will be self- umpired with duties shared by both coaching staffs.
Below is listed VGSA’s policy concerning UNSPORTSMANLIKE CONDUCT/BEHAVIOR. It is being provided here as an informational item only. As a policy it will be rigorously adhered to, especially in light of events surrounding incidents that have occurred recently at youth sporting events. We know each of you appreciates this and we rely upon you for your full co-operation and compliance.
During the playing season: any coach, player or fan who is ejected from a ball game or asked to leave the complex because of unsportsmanlike conduct or behavior shall be subject to the following:
- If a coach is ejected for his/her own personal conduct, the coach may be asked to sit out the remaining of the game and the next game pending review by the board. At least 3 board members will discuss options.
- For 2nd infraction: they will be suspended from that game as well as the next game AND routinely may not participate in any subsequent games until after they have appeared before the VGSA Board of Directors for a hearing concerning their behavior.
- For 3rd infraction: typically, in addition to the first infraction penalty, ejection for a 3rd time routinely results in the offender being restricted from involvement in *any* VGSA functions (including auctions, meetings, tournaments, etc.) for a period of one calendar year.
The decision of the VGSA Board of Directors is final.
END VGSA RULES