SEBA Softball Rules (not updated for 2016 yet)
See all proposed rule changes by year
Rules of Association
The SEBA Softball League, hereafter called the League, shall be governed by a Board of Managers made up of the manager from each team and the non-voting (except in the case of a tie) league Commissioner, who shall act as Chairman, and a non-voting SEBA liaison.
The Board of Managers shall meet as needed and as called for by the Chairman.
The rules shall be reviewed each year and may only be revised before the start of the regular season. If the rules need to be amended during the season due to a special situation, then a unanimous decision is required for the vote to be approved.
All decisions by the Board of Managers shall be decided by a simple majority vote of the Board members or their assigns. In case of a tie vote, the Chairman shall cast the deciding vote.
A quorum shall be more than one-half the Board members.
The Board of Managers is the sole authority for changes in rules, schedules, or any other decision affecting play in the league.
A commissioner will be elected by the Board of Managers at the beginning of each season. Any SEBA member is eligible to run for commissioner. If the elected commissioner is also a coach, then the coaching duties should be passed off to someone else on the team.
An assistant commissioner may be elected by the Board of Managers at the beginning of each season. Any SEBA member is eligible to run for assistant commissioner.
The Format and Schedule for both the regular season and any tournament(s) including number of teams, number of games, and days of the week played, will be determined by the Board of Managers prior to the season.
The Regular Season Champion will be the team with the highest winning percentage. In the event of a tie between two teams, the tiebreaker shall be as follows: 1) Head to Head record, 2) Number of runs scored in head to head games, 3) coin flip. In the case of a tie between more than two teams the tiebreaker shall be as follows: 1) Head to Head record against both opponents combined, 2) Number of runs scored in head to head games combined, 3) coin flip.
The game will begin promptly at "game time" or whenever both teams have at least the minimum number of players needed (see League Rules of Play section), whichever is later, up until "forfeit time"
If at "forfeit time" either team has fewer than the minimum number of players, needed to start the game (see League rules of Play section), that team forfeits the game (with the score of 15-0) and the umpire is excused. If neither team has the minimum, the coaches may decide whether to reschedule the game or have both teams forfeit (with a score of 0-0).
Roster Members: Any SEBA member is eligible to play on any team in the League. The lower age limit is 14, however players may not play an infield position (except Catcher) until age 16 and over. There is no upper age limit.
All players must be card-carrying SEBA members.
Shaone Morrison Rule (a.k.a. - The Mo Rule): Each team shall be allowed to allow one professional athlete, who would otherwise not be eligible under league rules, to play one regular season game per year. The athlete can be from any of the following leagues: ATP, LPGA, MLB, MLS, NASCAR, NBA, NFL, NHL, PBA, PGA, WNBA or WTA. If a team uses this exemption, they must notify 1) the opposing coach before the game and 2) the commissioner within 2 days following the completion of the game.
Submission of Rosters: Preliminary and Final rosters with SEBA numbers must be submitted to the commissioner as determined by the Commissioner and Board of Managers before the start of the season.
Penalties for Use of Illegal Players: Flagrant abuse of roster rules could result in forfeiture of games played or other punitive action as determined by the Board of Managers.
Player Eligibility for Tournament: All players must be on the final roster and play in at least one-third of the scheduled games rounded down to the nearest whole number to be eligible to play in the post-season tournament.
Safety is a primary interest in setting ground rules for this league. Therefore, the abrogation of these rules by mutual consent of the managers and/or the umpire will not be tolerated.
Suspended Games: Umpires are encouraged to suspend games when thunder or lightning are in the area or when it becomes too dark to continue a game safely. Games suspended will be continued at a later date from the point in the game when it was suspended. Managers should re-create the lineups as closely as possible with the players available at the continuation.
Out-of-Play-Line: The lines parallel to the foul lines and extended from the side fences are to be considered Out-of- Play-Lines. Overthrows are out of play when they cross these lines either by rolling or on the fly. Runners get two bases from the last Base attained at the time of the throw. A thrown ball which is caught in play and then carried out of play is NOT an overthrow (see Balls Carried Out of Play).
Batted Balls crossing Out-of-Play-Line: A batted ball that is fair but crosses the Out-of-Play-Line before a fielder fields the ball is considered a "Ground Rule Double". The Umpire shall call "Dead Ball. Out of Play" and award the batter 2nd Base. Any runners on base are awarded two bases from the base they were on when the ball was hit. A batted ball that crosses the Out-of-Play-Line and is foul is considered out of play. As soon as the ball crosses the line, the umpire shall call "Out of Play" and fielders shall not make any attempt to field the ball. The ball is considered a foul ball strike.
Fair balls: Balls that are fair but hit deer, geese, etc. shall be declared a dead ball and not count. All runners shall return to the base they were on before the pitch and the batter shall receive another pitch with the previous count. Balls that are fair but hit trees remain in play but are not outs if caught before hitting the ground.
Balls Carried Out of Play: A ball is said to be carried out of play by a fielder when a fielder in possession and control of the ball steps into an out of play area. As soon as this occurs, the umpire should call "dead ball" Any runners should advance to the next base. If the umpire determines that the ball was carried out of play intentionally by the fielder, the runners may advance two bases from the last base attained.
Bunts and Altered Swings: A batter that bunts a ball is "out" and must be called so by the umpire.
A Batted Ball Coming to Rest on the Foul Line is fair and must be called so by the umpire.
Leading-Off Base and Stealing: A base runner may not leave the base until the ball crosses home plate or is hit by the batter. A baserunner may not steal a base except during an appeal to the umpire. Any baserunner leading-off or stealing is "out" and must be called so by the umpire.
Safety Rules: This is a brief synopsis of the rules regarding collisions between baserunners and fielders. For more detail see the Official National Softball Association (NSA) Softball Rule book.
Rule (1993a): Runners are to avoid all collisions. When the fielder has the ball, runners either give themselves up by running out of the way, or they can slide into the base (not through the base). If the catcher does not have the ball and the runner beats the throw but misses home trying avoid the fielder, then the runner is safe. This rule supersedes all "rule book" rules.
A baserunner, seeing that the fielder has the ball and is going to attempt to make a tag, must either slide or "give himself/herself up" he may not "run over" or otherwise, in the judgment of the umpiring, intentionally collide with the fielder for the purpose of jarring the ball loose. If the umpire determines that the collision was intentional, the baserunner will be called out and in some instances maybe ejected from the game.
A fielder may not make a "fake" tag for the purpose of making a baserunner slow down, slide, or stop. If he does so, the umpire may award the baserunner additional bases and in some cases (e.g., the baserunner slides and is injured) the fielder may be ejected from the game. The "fake" tag is considered unsportsmanlike conduct.
Plays at Home Plate: Perhaps more than at any other base, plays at home plate should be governed by the Safety Rules. Injuries due to "unnecessary roughness" WILL NOT be tolerated by the league. The strike mat is considered to be an extension of the plate for the runner when there is a play at the plate.
Obstruction: The only times that a fielder has the right to position himself between a runner and the base to which the runner is going is when
1. The fielder has the ball and is prepared to tag the runner
2. The fielder is fielding a batted ball.
Note that in the second case, the runner is not required to run in the base path unless an attempt to tag him is being made. If the runner is able to avoid the fielder he must do so. On the other hand, a fielder may not station himself in the base path ahead of time, claiming he is fielding the ball when it is reasonably possible to field the ball without obstructing the runner.
If, in the judgment of the umpire a fielder obstructs a baserunner, the umpire immediately signals "OBSTRUCTION" by extending his left fist straight out to the side, but no call is made until the play is over. When the play is over, the umpire may award to any runners any additional bases that, in the umpire's judgment, they would have obtained had no obstruction occurred.
For example: the first baseman obstructs the batter as he rounds first base. The umpire signals "OBSTRUCTION" The runner continues to run but is tagged out going into third base. The umpire may overrule the out call and award the runner third (or even home) if in his opinion the runner would have made it had the obstruction not occurred. If, however, the runner is thrown out at third and the umpire (even though he has signaled "OBSTRUCTION" determines that the runner would not normally have attained third, the umpire may let the out call stand.
Interference: Interference can be thought of as sort of the opposite of obstruction. There are basically two situations when interference can be called: when a baserunner intentionally interferes with a fielder fielding a batted ball, and when a baserunner intentionally positions himself in the path of a thrown ball.
In both situations, the runner is immediately called "out" In the both situations, the umpire may also call other runners "out" if in his opinion they would have been out had the interference not occurred.
For example. With a runner on first, the batter hits a ground ball to the shortstop who fields it and throws to the second baseman for the force at second. The second baseman then throws toward first to attempt to make the double play. The runner from first, however, sticks out his hand and knocks the ball down. The umpire may also call the batter out at first base. In addition, had the runner not actually hit the ball, but instead only made the second baseman "start" or pause for an instant, the umpire may still call the batter out at first.
Double First Base: On ground balls hit in the infield where there is a possible play at first the batter should use the outside (orange colored) bag when running to first. This is to prevent any collisions between the batter and first baseman. On balls hit to the outfield the batter should use the inside bag when rounding first.
Equipment Bins: After the game, the bases and any other balls, bats, bases, etc. that came out of the equipment bin should be returned to the equipment bin.
Trash: Please place all trash in trash cans after game.
Rainouts: All effort should be made to play the games when they are originally scheduled. Please do not be too hasty in "calling" a game. If a game is "called", it should be reschedule as soon as possible. It is advised that you check with the Commissioner for available dates for make-ups. When a new date is agreed upon, you must inform the Commissioner and the team that is to provide the umpire. In some cases, when necessary, the Commissioner may make a new umpiring assignment.
Setting up the field: The home team shall be responsible for setting up and cleaning up the field before and after each game. The duties include setting out the bases and strike mat as well as making sure that there is enough dirt around the bases. After the game, the duties include placing the bases and strike mat back into the Equipment bin and placing the base plugs back into the slots in the infield, and hand dragging the infield.
League Rules of Play
The Official National Softball Association (NSA) "General Slowpitch Softball Playing Rules" shall be the guideline for any situation not specifically covered herein.
The No-Contest Rule: The game is over if one team has a lead of 15 or more runs after 5 innings (4 innings if the home team is leading). The umpire is excused, and any further play is regarded as practice.
The No-Contest Rule addendum (2013): If a team is ahead by 15 or more runs before 5 innings have been played, the team that is ahead is limited to scoring 10 additional runs per inning until such time as the team that is behind is able to come within 15 runs later in the game.
Minimum Arc on Pitches: All pitches must attain a minimum height of 6' from the ground. The umpire does not call the pitch illegal until after the catcher has the ball. (From currently adopted rule book. Amended '93)
Maximum Arc on Pitches: The maximum arc on pitches is 10' from the ground.
Strike Mat: A strike mat will be used to determine balls and strikes. Any pitched ball that touches any part of the strike mat is a strike; otherwise, the pitch is a ball. Catchers must therefore allow pitches to hit the mat in order to obtain a strike call. The plate is not considered part of the strike mat.
Third Strike Rule: After a batter has two strikes, any ball not fairly hit is considered the third strike and is recorded as a strikeout unless the game is being played as a fast play game. (See Fast Game Play)
The Encroachment Line is an arc inscribed in the outfield which is 165 ft from the point of home plate. No more than 6 defensive players, including the catcher, may be within the line at the time the ball is pitched. If 6 defensive players are inside the line, one must be the pitcher and one must be the catcher. If more than the maximum number of defensive players is within the line at the time when the ball crosses the plate and the ball is hit, the batter may elect to take either the result of the hit or an automatic walk.
Bats: A legal bat is one that has been approved by the National Softball Association (NSA). It shall be illegal for any player to use a bat that has not been approved by the NSA. It is the responsibility of the each manager to make sure that illegal bats are not being used by his/her team. It is the umpires' duty to enforce this rule. If umpire determines a bat to be illegal prior to a batter getting a hit then the batter is given opportunity to change to a legal bat. If illegal bat is used and a hit occurs with the bat then batter is considered out. Any runners on base must return to base they were at prior to hit. If it is unclear whether a bat is legal/illegal then the bat in questioned shall be considered illegal until final ruling by commissioner prior to next game. The list of approved bats is located on the NSA web site at https://www.playnsa.com/PrintableBatList.aspx. If a dispute occurs that requires the intervention of the commissioner, the list on the web site will supersede any list printed and displayed at the softball fields.
No metal spikes allowed.
Minimum Playing Time: Any player on a team's roster who arrives at a game before the beginning of the game, and wants to play, shall have the opportunity of 2 at-bats or 1 at- bat and 3 innings in the field. Exceptions may occur if the bottom of the 7th inning is not played or if the No-Contest rule is invoked.
Minimum Number of Players Needed to Start a Game: A team must have a minimum of eight (8) players. No players will be provided by the opposing team to make the minimum of eight. The game will begin at the later of "game time" (see Schedule section) or when both teams have at least eight players. If a team has fewer than eight players at the "forfeit time" (see Schedule section), they must forfeit the game. If it appears that either of the teams is stalling in order to allow more players to arrive before starting the game, the umpire shall begin calling "balls" (if the team in the field is stalling) or "strikes" (if the team at bat is stalling) every 15 seconds until the team stalling takes a position ready to play. If both teams are stalling, the umpire will alternate calls of "balls" and "strikes" beginning with "strikes."
If a team falls below eight players due to injury or any other reason, they may be replaced first by any normal substitution, then by any roster member present (whether he/she has been in the game yet or not). If no other roster members are available, the team must forfeit.
Maximum Number of Players in the Lineup: A lineup may consist of up to twelve (12) players, 10 defensive positions plus 2 additional offensive positions. At any time during the game, any 10 of the up to 12 players may take defensive positions (including switching in the middle of an inning) without change to the lineup.
If a lineup becomes smaller due to injury or any other reason the player may be replaced first by any normal substitution, then by any roster member present (whether he/she has been in the game yet or not). If no substitutes are available, the position in the batting order is skipped; there is no penalty.
Starting a Game at Less Than Maximum Strength: If a team starts a game with less than 10 players, they may, as more players arrive, add them to the lineup at any time (including into defensive positions in the middle of an inning). If enough players are present, the team must have at least 10 players in the lineup. If enough players become available to include any DH positions, they must be immediately added to the lineup or the team forfeits the right to those positions. Any players added are placed at the bottom of the batting order.
For example. A team starts the game with eight players. Part way through the first inning, while the team is in the field, another players arrives. The player must be added to the bottom of the batting order and may immediately take a position in the field. A short while later, two more players arrive. The manager must put one of them in the lineup right away. The second player need not be added to the lineup immediately, however, if he is not, the team may not use a DH for the remainder of the game. If he is also added, if a fourth player arrives, the manager also has the option of adding this player to the lineup as a second DH.
Any team with less than 9 players and more than the minimum number of players will be provided a catcher from the other team for the sole purpose of throwing the ball back to the pitcher after each pitch. The complimentary catcher shall have no other responsibilities for the opposing team and may function in a full capacity for his/her own team.
Re-Entry Rule: Starters who have been replaced in the lineup by substitutes may re-enter the game in any position in the lineup provided that that position has appeared at the plate since the starter left the game. A player may only re-enter the game once. Substitutes that are subsequently replaced by yet another substitute, may not re-enter the game except as noted in the rules regarding injuries and minimum number of players.
Umpiring Assignments: The team scheduled to umpire a game must provide at least two (2) umpires who should arrive prior to "game time".
Penalty for Forfeits and Missed Umpiring Assignments: This league depends on the cooperation of all its teams and players. One of the reasons that the league has continued to survive after many years in a basically unchanged format is that it has continued to have enough conscientious participants available to perform the sometimes unenviable task of umpiring a game. In order for the league to continue this level of participation must not wane. In the long run, then, the penalty for not providing an umpire could well be the collapse of the league. In light of that, the short term penalties must necessarily be as severe: any combination of missed umpiring assignments and forfeits adding up to 3, will automatically eliminate a team from the post-season tournament. A team thus determined ineligible may make an appeal through the Commissioner to the Board of Managers.
An excessive number of forfeits and missed umpiring assignments could result in the elimination of the team, as an entity, from the league.
Suspension: When a player is ejected from a game for any reason, it is the umpire's responsibility to notify, in writing, the Commissioner including the date, the name of the player, the team for which he plays, the name of the opposing team, and the incident for which the player was ejected. The Board shall review all ejections as soon as possible to determine if any other punitive action is warranted. The person that was ejected has the right to appear at, and bring witnesses to, the review in his own behalf. The player may continue to play until a decision is reached by the Board.
Protests: Protests are not generally allowed. Protests are handled by a "Protest Board" consisting of the Managers of the teams not involved. The Protest Board reserves the right to correct the umpire's mistake and at its discretion may order the game to be continued from the point of the mistake.
If a protest is going to be made, the following steps must be adhered to:
The judgment of the Protest Board will be binding upon all the teams involved in the protest. A protest will be said to be disallowed if not more than one-half the Protest Board members are in favor of allowing the protest. The remedy will be determined by the Protest Board and must be approved by more than one-half the Protest Board members.
Team Ineligibility for Tournament: See Penalty for Forfeits and Missed Umpiring Assignments (above).
Fast Game Play
In the case of limited time to play a game, the managers of the involved teams may choose to use one of the two Fast Game Play Options.
1 and 1 Count: Each batter starts their at bat with 1 ball and 1 strike. After reaching two (2) strikes, the batter is allowed one foul ball per at bat called a courtesy foul. After this, the Third Strike Rule applies. All other rules apply as normal.
1 Pitch: Each batter starts their at bat with a full count (3 balls, 2 strikes) and receives one pitch. The Third Strike Rule is in effect. All other rules apply as normal.
Tournament Game Play
Weekday Games: Weekday games shall be governed by the normal game rules.
Saturday Games: Saturday games shall be played under normal rules, except in that no inning may start more than 1 hour after the first pitch of the game. The 1 hour count should be paused in the event of an uncontrollable delay to the game (e.g. rain, injury), but should be restarted as soon as the game resumes.