Oak City Softball League Rules of Play

Our Spring 2024 Rules of Play, governing our games, are modified ASA/USA Softball rules; our Open (Coed) Division has a minimum requirement of 2 female players on the field at all times (although we strongly encourage more). Please note that these rules are subject to be revised before March 17, 2024, (and on an as-needed basis by the league leadership team to address specific issues that arise).

All games are played on Sundays between 9AM-6PM, unless specified on the season schedule.

All games will follow modified ASA/USA Softball rules, as described below.
Game play rules may be subject to modification by league staff due to conditions
or events that occur during regular season play.

  • Pitch Height: Between 6-12 feet.
  • Game Balls: Our Competitive and Rec+ Open Divisions will use 12″ ASA/USA softballs; our Women’s Division will use 11″ ASA/USA softballs.
  • Game Time: No new inning will start after 50 minutes. In the event of a tie after the 55-minute time period has expired, the game shall proceed as provided below under the “Tie Breaker” section. The game clock will only stop for injured players and appealable arguments.
  • Pitch Count: Batters will start with a 1-1 ball-strike count with 1 courtesy foul ball allowed.
  • Tie Breaker: Any game that is tied after regulation play will continue using the following tie breaker format: The game will continue for a single (half) inning for each team with the pitch count as defined in the aforementioned 1-1 pitch count rule. The last out from the previous inning will be placed as a runner on second base (this may be a courtesy runner if necessary) to start any tie breaker inning (also known as the international rule).
  • Stealing Bases: Stealing bases is not allowed.
  • Home Runs: 3 home runs are allowed per team; after a team has hit 3 home runs, any more hits over the fence will result in an automatic batter out; baserunners stay put.
    Rec+ Division ONLY: The first over-the-fence hit counts as a home run; the next 2 allowable over-the-fence hits count as doubles.
  • Courtesy Runners: A player may be a courtesy runner only once an inning for any player other than the pitcher; any other players can run for the pitcher anytime the pitcher is on base.
  • Illegal Bats: All bats must have an ASA/USA Softball stamp AND not be on the current banned bat list ( https://www.usasoftball.com/certified-equipment/ ). We will ONLY use bats with ASA/USA Softball stamps on them that are not on the banned bat list. Bats from other organizations (such as NSA or USSSA) that don’t have an ASA/USA Softball stamp on them will not be allowed to be used in league play. Any player batting that uses an illegal bat will be considered an automatic out and all runners will return to their original base before the at-bat. If that player is discovered a second time using an illegal bat, the Oak City Softball League’s Code of Conduct punitive measures will come into play, with the possibility of a permanent ban.
  • Shoes: Metal cleats or any type of shoe that has metal on the sole, other than a rivet, are not allowed. Any player found violating this rule will be ejected from the game.
  • Infield/Outfield playing positions: No infielder may have any part of their body in the grass playing area of the field until the batter has made contact with the pitch. No outfielder may have any part of their body in the dirt playing area of the field until the batter has made contact with the pitch. 
  • Number of players on the field: The maximum number of players on the field at any one time is 10, including at least 2 females in our Competitive and Rec+ Open (Coed) Divisions. In regular season play, the minimum number of players in any starting line-up is 9. 
  • Number of Players in the Batting Order/Line-up: In order to encourage maximum participation, teams may bat more than ten players (up to a maximum of 17, the limit of team rosters in Oak City Softball League).
  • Short-Handed Rule: A team must have a minimum of 9 players to start the game in regular season play (in our Competitive and Rec+ Open (Coed) Divisions, 2 players must be females). If a team has at least 6 of their own players, then may pick up players registered with the league from other teams to make 9. If a team has at least 7 of their own players, they may pick up players registered with the league from other teams to make 10. If a player from the team’s roster shows up, they must immediately take the place of a pickup player. If a team does not have 2 female players of their own and has to pick up female players to meet the Coed requirement, the total number of players in the lineup will shift to 10, with the other 8 players being male/non-binary; all other male/non-binary players beyond 8 will be sat, and can be considered subs for the 8 that are in the lineup.
  • Substitution Rule: In order for a player to participate in a game, the player name MUST be on the line-up card prior to the start of the game. If you have a player that you know will be late, place the player name on the line-up card as a sub prior to turning in your line-up and that player can participate when they show up. Any player not listed as a starter or sub prior to game start will not be eligible to participate in that game.
  • Forfeit Time: A 10 minute grace period will be allowed from the scheduled start time for any team which does not have enough players for the first game of the day only. After that, a forfeit will be declared. There is no grace period for any games other than the first game of the day.
  • Player Ejections: If a player is ejected from a game, that player must exit the dugout and leave the field complex for the remainder of the day. If a player is ejected from a game, the Oak City Softball League’s Code of Conduct punitive measures will come into play, with the possibility of a permanent ban.
  • Line-up Cards: Line-up cards will be filled out before the start of each game (first name/last initial and number). Teams are responsible for their own line-up card. All changes to your line-up must be reported to the umpire and the opposing team. The honor system is used for line-up cards; if you feel another team is not honoring their line-up card, please bring it to the umpire’s attention immediately. Runs are recorded via flip scoreboard on the ground behind home plate; it is the responsibility of runners who have scored to visit the scoreboard and record runs. Teams must keep scorebooks while games are underway to record their runs (and stats if they feel this is necessary). 
  • Batting Out of Order (from USA Softball 2010 rules): If an incorrect batter completes their turn at bat and then is discovered by the defense before a pitch to the next batter; or before all infielders have vacated their normal fielding positions, the player who should have batted is ruled out and the out would be recorded in the proper batter’s position in the line-up. Any advancement by a runner(s) or any run(s) that scored because of the incorrect batter becoming a batter-runner would be nullified. Runners would return to their base(s). Any outs made because of the improper batting stand. The next batter to bat would be the player whose name follows that of the batter who was declared out for not batting in proper order with one exception. The exception would be if the incorrect batter is called out as a result of their time at bat and is the next scheduled batter. Simply skip them in the batting order as they have already been credited with an out, and the next person in the line-up would be the next batter.
  • Scoring: Runs are recorded via flip scoreboard on the ground behind home plate; it is the responsibility of runners who have scored to visit the scoreboard and record runs. Scorebooks are mandatory (beginning Fall Season 2022); these will be kept by team captains and/or designated person(s) on each team; runs scored are the main focus, but stats are welcomed if desired. Home team scorebooks are the emphasis and the scorebook of record for each game. Umpires also have a clipboard where final scores are recorded for each game.
  • Rainout/Time Expiration during a Game/Inning: If a rainout occurs while a game is in progress, four innings must be completed for the game to count. If a home team is ahead after the completion of the top of the 4th inning, this constitutes a complete game. The umpire’s clock is the game clock and they will inform both teams when the game has started.
  • Lightning: Umpires must call games a rainout in the event of a first visible lightning strike; in the interest of safety, this can be reported by league officials (including umpires) or players.
  • Runs per inning: The maximum number of runs per inning is 10; if 10 runs occur during any half inning, then teams will switch between offense and defense. In the event that either team (home or visitor) is down by more than 10 runs going into the final inning of play, the 10-run rule will not be in effect.
  • Run-Ahead (formerly Mercy) Rule: 20 runs after three innings, 15 runs after four innings, or 10 runs after five innings. Complete innings must be played unless the home team scores the run-ahead limit while at bat. When the visiting (away) team reaches the limit in the top half of the inning, the home team must have their opportunity to bat in the bottom half of the inning.
  • Double First Base: Two bases exist at first base to avoid collisions. A batted ball hitting the inside base will be declared a fair ball. And a ball hitting the outside orange base will be declared foul. The runner must tag the outside base only when running to first and no advancement towards 2nd base is possible. The 1st base defensive player must tag the inside bag to avoid any collisions. If the 1st base defensive player tags the outside base, the runner can be awarded first base. If the runner tags the inside base with no attempt at advancing to 2nd base, they can be called out. Once a runner has reached 1st base and attempts to go beyond that base toward 2nd base, the inside base is the only playable portion of 1st base.
  • Forfeit Notification: If you know in advance that your team is going to forfeit a game, you MUST contact us by 8PM on Saturday by using the team captain GroupMe. It is not considered notification unless you receive an acknowledgement in GroupMe from league staff. Once the league is notified you are forfeiting, it is then official and the other team will be notified.
  • Trees in Field of Play: If a batted ball hits a tree or part of a tree, the ball is considered dead and the batter will resume previous count.
  • ADA Accommodation: Players who need ADA accommodation with base running must have a document that serves as attestation by a medical provider that the player has a permanent disability that prevents or inhibits movement necessary for playing softball, specifically base running. Once a player provides Oak City Softball League with a required document from their medical provider stating they have a permanent disability and qualify for an accommodation, this accommodation is permanent as it pertains to play in our league, and is not a temporary solution; this means that the player presenting this accommodation request will be permanently attached to this accommodation, and this will apply every time this player is at bat, from accommodation acceptance forward. Our accommodation, which is meant to keep people in the game who have permanent disabilities, provides for a runner who must stand in a designated spot near home plate (see our league ADA document with diagram); the player with an ADA accommodation bats at home plate, but does not run – the designated base runner runs as a fair ball is hit by the accommodated batter. If the batter runs, that batter is designated out (1 out). This ADA accommodation does not replace the allowed (1) courtesy runner per inning when a team is batting; the same penalty is in place for an ADA accommodation runner that is in place for a courtesy runner – if they are on base and their at-bat comes up, they are out.