Donegal Rheems Girls Youth Softball Fastpitch League

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Updated: 3/16/2020

PLAYING RULES

The Donegal Rheems Girls Softball League will follow the USA Softball organization (USAS -https://www.teamusa.org/USA-Softball) Fast Pitch rules and regulations for girls youth softball, except for the following League rules, which will supersede any specific USA rules. As of 2018, DRGSL has transitioned from ASA to USA Softball. Here is the link to USA Softball bylaws and rules: https://www.teamusa.org/usa-softball/about-usa-sb/governance

  1. Age Groups - The League will follow USAS Article 301 Eligibility D. Player Eligibility 05. Proof of Age a. Junior Olympic Age Qualifications, which states that the player's age on January 1 of the current year determines the age classification in which the player is eligible to participate. The League will sponsor League play for the following age groups:
    • 8U (Coach Pitch)
    • 10U – Minor & Major Divisions (Kid Pitch: Minor is geared towards younger/newer players to 10U and Major is geared towards older more experienced players)
    • 12U – A & B Divisions
    • 14U – A & B Divisions
    • 18U (This division has its own rules and regulations)
  1. Players may play up one age group above their actual age group (as outlined in Rule 3.c. below.)
  2. Any violation of the age limit rule will result in the forfeiture of all games involving the player which caused the violation.  (Associations may complete a waiver form to roster a player up one age level for the current season)
  3. A waiver may be obtained for any player with a physical, emotional or psychological disability to play one age below their actual age group. The waiver must be filled with the league secretary and approved by the league's executive committee.
  1. Team registration fees are $185.00 per team and must be paid to the League Treasurer by the Coach meeting typically in April. The 8U division will pay $25 registration fee to cover costs.  (18U registration may be different and at different times of the year)
    1. Proof of insurance is required from each association for all teams.  Due by April's Coaches' Meeting.
  2. Team Rosters- the League's standard roster must be submitted to the League by the April meeting.
    1. Players may not change teams within the same age group once rosters have been submitted to the League. Any player must play for an association or team within the high school district they reside. Any exception to this rule must be presented to the League for review and approval of a Waiver.
    2. As of March 2019, the League has passed a revised Waiver procedure to promote players participation within the school district/association of residence. This will not be enforced with regards to private schools that have teams within the association that use players from any school district or if multiple associations come together to fill a roster when in need of players to make a team at any particular age group.
    3. New players may be added to a roster until May 15 of the playing season. No players may be added to a roster for any reason after this date. The League must receive notification in writing of any new player being added to the roster before that player is eligible to play.
    4. Players must be rostered in their age appropriate group within their Association. The girl’s age determines her primary team.  A player may only be rostered on one League team. (Associations may complete a waiver form to roster a player up one age level for the current season.)  A player may play up to the next age group without being rostered at the above level. This rule is to supplement the number of players at each age group to limit the number of forfeits. If a player plays up and enough girls at the proper age are present, she only plays the minimum number of innings as outlined in Rules 4.d.1. and 4.e.1.  No player can play up if there are 12 or more of the age appropriate players at the game. Any deviation of this rule needs Association and League approval.
    5. Playing of players not properly on a team's roster will result in the forfeiture of all games involving the improper players which caused the violation.
    6. Rosters containing player names and birth dates for any team will be available upon request from the League Secretary.
  • INTERPRETATION for Rule 3.: Players rostered on an "A" team may not play with a "B" team within the same age group.  Players rostered on a B team may not play with an A team within the same age group.
  • INTERPRETATION for Rule 3.: Pick up players “when in need” to field a team so as to not forfeit must come from a lower age group. "A" teams cannot pick up "B" players from the same age group and vice versa. For Example: if a 12U A team needs a player that player must come from a 10U team. This does not apply to 10U Minor and Major or 8U teams.
  1. Minimum Player Participation (does not apply to 8U):
    1. Each team shall field ten players, however, prior to each pitch, no more than six players may play in the infield, and outfielders must be at least 10 feet from the baseline. A team may, due to injuries or shortage of players, play a game with eight players with the ninth position being an automatic out. If a team cannot play eight players it will forfeit the game.
      1. As of March 2019, it is now optional for 12U A and 14U B to play 9 players in the field if they so choose, coaches must inform the umpire and other coach at the ground rules before the game. This does not affect the continuous batting order of all players present. Also, one team may choose to play 9 in the field and the other team may choose to play 10. Once a game is started with either 9 or 10 players, they must maintain those numbers of players in the field until completion of the game unless a player is injured or has to leave the game for any circumstances. (Note: teams can go from 10 to 9 players in the field but not 9 to 10)
    2. Coaches shall have the right to bench a player as a disciplinary procedure. Such a player must be identified to the umpire and the other team's coach prior to the start of the game.
    3. Courtesy Runners – May be used for the pitcher and catcher only (unless injury occurs) and they may only be the last player who made an out (second to last player who made out if previous player who made out is already on base) when using a continuous batting order. In the case of 14U-A when not using a continuous batting order that must be a player from the bench.
    4. 8U, 10U, 12U and 14U-B
      1. All players on a team's roster who are present at the start of the game must play at least two innings in the field.
      2. Each team must maintain a continuous batting order of all players present. Any player arriving after the start of the game is to be added to the bottom of the batting order. Any player leaving the game early is to be deleted from the batting order without penalty.
      3. Free substitution is allowed.
      4. 12U and 14U will be split into A/B divisions accordingly to player’s ability.  If there are multiple teams for an association, one must be an “A” team.
      5. Coaches- All head coaches must be eighteen years old or older before January 1 of the playing season.
    5. 14U-A:
      • All players on a team's roster who are present at the start of the game must play at least two innings in the field and bat once. However, a coach may elect, prior to the start of the game and upon notification to the umpire and the other team's coach, to use a continuous batting order of all players present. (A player arriving after the start of the game is to be added to the bottom of the batting order, and any player leaving the game early is to be deleted from the batting order without penalty.)
      • Offensive Substitution (for teams not electing a continuous batting order): All players may be re-entered in the game one time after being substituted for. A player may only be re-entered in their original position in the batting order.
      • Defensive Substitution: Free defensive substitution.
      • Coaches- All head coaches must be eighteen years old or older before January 1 of the playing season.
      • 14U will be split into A/B divisions accordingly to player’s ability. If there are multiple teams for an association, one must be an “A” team.
  • Clarification:  Both teams do not have to choose the same batting order method.  One can play continuous while one plays standard USA which is 9, 10 or 11 players with a DP or Flex added to the 9 in the field.
  1. Equipment and Fields
    1. The League will furnish each team with 12 size-appropriate balls.
    2. Only balls that are identical in make and manufacturer to the balls provided by the League are acceptable for game use.
    3. As of 2003, all 10U, 12U, 14U and 18U will use only ASA approved bats.  10U may use Tee-ball bats. Tee-ball bats may be no longer than 26 in. and must say "Little League" on them.
    4. ASA 2000 stamped bats will be permitted in League play.
    5. Fields must be furnished with a double first base.
    6. Batting helmets must have mask/guards attached and helmet straps.
    7. Metal cleats are not allowed in any division except 14U-A or B.
    8. No Jewelry of any kind will be permitted to worn by players including anything on their wrist. Umpires will warn/notify players/coaches first if any jewlrey is showing but you could be penalized for a subsequent violation.
  2. Games
    1. All games will be played as scheduled unless postponed by inclement weather or unplayable field conditions. Such postponed games will be rescheduled as set forth in Rules 6.b and 6.c.
    2. Within one week following the originally scheduled game, the home team coach will notify the commissioner of the makeup date, time and location which was mutually agreed upon by both head coaches. The commissioner will inform the umpire scheduler of the time and location of the makeup game. Failure by either team to play the makeup game as rescheduled will constitute a forfeit.
    3. If within one week following the originally scheduled game, the coaches are unable to mutually reschedule the postponed game, the commissioner will reschedule a makeup game for the teams. Failure by either team to play the makeup game as rescheduled will constitute a forfeit.
    4. Practice time prior to the start of games: The visiting team shall be allowed a minimum of 15 minutes access to the playing field in the 20 minutes preceding the scheduled start of the game (however, late arrival of the visiting team will not extend this time and games will start at the scheduled time, regardless if late team has had time to warm up on the field). In situations where the field is unavailable to either team prior to the start of the game, each team will receive equal time on the field (even if such time is zero).
    5. A team which is 15 or more minutes late following the scheduled game start time, will forfeit the game. The late team will be obligated to pay the umpire fee(s).
    6. All regularly scheduled games will be 7 innings (6 for 10U, no requirement for 8U), however, no new inning may be started after 2 hours from the start of the game. If a game is suspended by the umpire due to weather or player injury, the game clock will also stop until the umpire resumes play.
    7. All games will be completed unless forfeiture by the losing coach at the time of stoppage or at the umpire's discretion. A game called by an umpire shall be ruled complete if 5 or more complete innings (4 for 10U) have been played, or if the home team is winning after 4-1/2 innings (3-1/2 for 10U), or if the game has been played for 90 minutes or more.  See USA rules for scoring a game stopped for time or conditions.  (This rule does not apply for 8U.  Coaches will decide if they will call it a game or continue play at an agreed upon time.)
    8. Tied games: USA tie breaking rules will be in effect for games which are tied at the end of the 7-regular innings (6 for 10U) if time limit has not expired. See USA Softball for specific tie breaker rules – which states that the runner who starts at 2nd base is the player preceding the first batter of the inning. So if your #4 hitter is the first batter for the inning, then your #3 batter starts on second base. Regular season games can finish as a tie after time limit or at the umpire’s discretion.  The time limit DOES APPLY to playoff games but the game CANNOT end in a tie.  See rule 10.c.  (This rule does not apply for 8U.)
    9. 10U will play 6 innings.  12U & 14U will play 7 innings. For 10U, there is a 5 run limit on every inning except for the 6th inning where there are unlimited runs. For 12U-A&B and 14U-B, there is a 5 run limit every inning except for the 7th inning where there are unlimited runs. 14U-A will have no per inning run rule. If the 6th inning is not reached in 10U or the 7th inning in 12U and 14U-B, then the run limit still applies.  (This rule does not apply to 8U.)
    10. 10U, 12U-A&B and 14U-A&B will play a 15 Run Ahead Rule- A game will be called complete when a team is ahead by 15 runs after 5 innings (4 for 10U), 4-1/2innings if the home team has the lead (3-1/2 for 10U), provided all players plhave batted and played at least one inning in the field.  (This rule does not apply to 8U.)
    11. The game score is to be reported to the designated Scorekeeper by the winning team within 24 hours following completion of the game. Scores will be reported via the Report a Score option on the website. Any score unreported after the season deadline, will be posted as a 7-7 tie for playoff seeding.
    12. The League’s Division champion will be determined by the team with the best record at the end of the regular season. In the event of a tie, the winner and final League standings will be determined as follows.
      1. Percentage (Wins/Games)
      2. Head to head record in regular season.
      3. Least amount of runs allowed by teams tied.
      4. Least amount of runs allowed overall in regular season.
  3. Playing Rules
    1. 8U (Coach Pitch)
      1. Pitching Rubber: 35 Feet
      2. Bases: 60 Feet
      3. 11 Inch Soft Touch IncrediBall or similar ball will be used
      4. Minimum of 6 players are needed for each team to play a game which is enough to field an infield.
        1. It is recommended that no team should have more than 12 players on an 8U Roster
        2. A maximum of 10 players can take the field with 4 outfielders that are positioned at least 10 feet behind the base path.
      5. No Walks.
      6. No Stealing of Bases. Runners can only advance when after the ball is put into field of play.
      7. No base runner may advance to any additional bases to which they are approaching when an infielder throws the ball. On a ball hit to the outfield, no base runner may advance any additional bases after the ball has entered the infield regardless of possession.
        1. One Hit, One Base
        2. Example: Runner on 1st and 2nd, the ball is hit to the shortstop who attempts to throw the ball to second base, but overthrows the ball into the outfield. Ruling: runner stays at 2nd and also at 3rd while batter is safe at 1st. When a ball is hit to the outfield, all runners may advance to and only to the bases they are going to at the time the ball enters the infield area regardless if the ball stays in play or not. This rule forces the outfielders not only to go after and field the ball, but to throw the ball into and toward the bases .
      8. 8U Coaches will pitch to all batters. This will be the Offensive Team Coach who will pitching to their own team. The ball must be a flat pitch with no significant arc. Coach should be standing within the 35ft pitching circle and pitch only. The coach pitching should make NO attempt at fielding a batted ball. During coach pitch the defensive pitcher needs to be standing on either side of the pitching coach inside the 8’ circle. Coach should be throwing a straight pitch to best of their ability, with the intent to let the player swing and hit the ball. It is important for all players to be aggressive at the plate and swing at pitches.
        1. If the Coach Pitching comes in contact with a batted ball, the batter will be considered out and no runners can advance.
      9. After 5 pitches (give or take (max 6)– try not to make any at bat last too long), the batting T will come into play and should be placed squarely on home plate. The player will then have an opportunity to hit off the batting T. If the batter shows the ability to put the ball in play by fouling off pitches, latitude can be taken with the 5 pitch rule but the coach should be cognizant of the time allotted per batter and let the batter know of the last pitch before the batting T comes into use.
      10. No bunting or half-swinging will be allowed. Warn and let the player re-bat.
      11. Players are not to leave their base until the ball is hit. On all fly balls that are caught, runners must stay tagged or re-tag their base to advance. This tagging procedure must take place during or after the ball is first touched by the defense. No infield fly rule in effect.
      12. No metal cleats are allowed.
      13. No bat throwing is allowed. Coaches should warn the player one time per game and call the player out on all subsequent infractions.
      14. Catcher will wear helmet and stand back by backstop to be safe from thrown bat.
      15. Batters and base runners are to keep helmets on at all times they are inside the fence line of the playing field.
      16. All baselines should be clear of fielders. Both fielders and runners should have a fair chance to make a play on a ball or run to the intended base. Any fielders that are standing on the base line not waiting for a play can be called for obstruction and the runner will be granted the base.
      17. Will have a one hour and forty-five minute (1:45) time limit.
      18. No new inning should start at the 1:45 time limit.
      19. At the 1:30 minute time limit, the coaches are to confer and determine, based upon the time each inning has taken, whether a new inning can/should begin.
      20. No Umpires are provided nor are necessary for 8U Coach Pitch. A coach who is pitching or coaching at 1 st or 3 rd base should make determinations on any Safe/Out, Fair/Foul calls. Try to be fair remembering that this is an instructional level and that scores are not kept determining a winner/loser of each game.
      21. The batting team may score a maximum of 5 runs per inning or the offensive team has batted through their lineup whichever comes first. Finish all plays but only 5 runs count but keep in mind no official score is kept or recorded. If the defensive team is able to record 3 outs in the field of play then the inning will be over.
        1. The batting team should not have any one player bat more than once an inning. If the defense has not recorded 3 outs nor has the offense recorded a max of 5 runs, the inning will end with the last batter before batting around.
      22. A maximum of 2 defensive coaches can go on the field to instruct, but this should be primarily to keep the girls engaged and aware of game situations.
      23. Playoffs/Post Season Tournament
        1. Any 8U team that wishes to participate can play in the Post Season Tournament. The Head Coach shall inform the Commissioner for 8U that your team will play.
        2. For the Post Season Tournament, the following are additional rules:
          1. Games will be 2 hours or 7 innings.
          2. There is no unlimited run rule in the 7 th inning for 8U.
          3.  If darkness is approaching, the coaches will decide mutually which inning will be the last inning. If the full inning is not played, then the score will revert back to the previous full inning unless the home team is winning.
          4. A game will be considered official after the 4 th inning in the event weather or conditions prevent completion of the game on that scheduled date. There is no continuation of the game unless less than 4 innings are completed.
          5. If the event of a tie, the last batter for each team will be place on 2 nd base and play will resume. Follow standard tie breaking rules.
          6. For the Championship Game, an official umpire will call balls and strikes. (Still No Walks are allowed)
    2. 10U (Kid Pitch)
      1. Pitching Rubber: 35 Feet
      2. Bases: 60 Feet
      3. Bunts are permitted only when a player is pitching.
      4. No dropped third strike rule.
      5. No infield fly rule.
      6. 5 runs per inning except only the 6th inning is unlimited
      7. 15 Run Ahead Rule after 4 innings, 3 ½ innings for the home team.
      8. Stealing of 2nd and 3rd base only, no stealing of home plate. Only one base stolen per pitch is permitted. A runner who is stealing 2nd or 3rd base can only score when a ball is batted into fair territory. A runner can score from 3rd base only on a fair batted ball by pitch or tee or when the bases are loaded and the batter is hit by a pitch. (No out of play ball can score a runner from third or stealing third).
      9. NO WALKS.
      10. If any one player pitcher has recorded 3 hit by pitches of the batter in any one inning, the coach of the pitching team will be required to remove that player from the pitching position for the remainder of the inning. That same player can return to the pitching position in a subsequent inning.
  • An offensive coach will pitch after the player-pitcher pitches 4 called balls.
  • The pitcher coach must be at least 18 years old.
  • The coach must pitch a legal pitch from the pitcher's plate.
  • The strike count is kept when the coach enters to pitch.
  • The umpire remains in position to call pitches delivered by the coach.
  • On the third strike, either called by umpire, an attempted swing and miss or foul tip and catcher catches, the batter is out.
  • While the coach is pitching the batter will be allowed to remain as the hitter during the at bat if the third strike is fouled off and not put into play without a fielder recording an out.
    • (i.e. There is no longer a limit on the number of coach pitches, the batter will be allowed to remain hitting if fouling off third strike pitches. Previous rule stated that batter only got 3 strikes regardless if the ball is put into fair play. This is no longer the rule as of 2/1/2018)
  • While the coach is pitching, base runners cannot leave their bases until the bat contacts the ball.
  • There are no steals while the coach is pitching.
  • There is no bunting while the coach is pitching.
  • There is no hit by pitch while the coach is pitching.
  • The coach pitcher is considered a member of the offensive team.  Therefore, if he/she is hit by a batted ball, USA rules for interference apply.  (Offensive interference results in dead ball, the batter-runner is out.)
  • When the coach pitcher comes into pitch, the player pitcher must start with both feet in the pitcher’s circle but should be positioned to the back and side to avoid the pitching rubber. 
    • 12U
      1. Pitching Rubber: 40 Feet
      2. Bases: 60 Feet
      3. Infield fly rule does apply for all of 12U both A and B levels.
      4. 12U may steal multiple bases plus home and dropped third strike USA rules apply.
      5. 5 runs per inning except only the 7th inning is unlimited.
      6. 15 Run Ahead Rule after 5 innings, 4 ½ innings for the home team.
    • 14U
      1. Pitching Rubber: 43 Feet per PIAA rules.
      2. Bases: 60 Feet
      3. 5 runs per inning except the 7th inning is unlimited (14U-A have no runs per inning rule).
      4. 15 Run Ahead Rule after 5 innings.
      5. As an exception to rule 4.a., 14U-A will field 9 players instead of 10.
  1. Protests- Proper USA protest rules and guidelines must be followed at and during the game, then written notice of protest must be filed with the League President, Vice-President, or Secretary within forty-eight hours following the game being protested. All properly filed protests will be acted upon in accordance with the League's By-Laws.
    1. Matters that may be protested are governed by USA rules.
  2. Umpires
    1. Whenever possible, USA certified umpires will be used for League scheduled games, except for 8U.
    2. Each League regular season game will be officiated by one umpire, except that umpires in training may accompany an umpire at no additional cost to the teams. Playoff games will be officiated, as much as possible, by two umpires. The League is responsible for paying the umpire fees during the playoffs.
    3. Umpires who are not USA certified must be at least 18 years old to umpire behind the plate and base umpires must be at least 16 years old. When no USA certified umpire is available, the person selected shall be mutually acceptable to both teams prior to the start of the game.
    4. The home team is responsible for paying the Umpire fee prior to the start of the game. (Exception- late teams resulting in a forfeit.  See rule 6.e.)
    5. As of the 2020 Season, all Umpire Fees will be $50 in cash.
  3.  Post Season Playoffs
    1. All age groups will have post-season playoffs, except 8U which will have an optional end of season tournament.
    2. Post-season playoffs will be conducted in accordance with the schedule arrangement made by the league each year. A- division and B- division will have separate playoffs.
    3. All rules apply to post-season games except for rule 6.h.  Post-season games cannot end in a tie.  If the game is tied after 2 hours of play, USA tie-breaker rules go into effect.  See USA Rules for tie breaker rules.
    4. Championship games do not have time limits.
    5. Championship games will be full games with no limitations. 7 innings will be played for 14U and 12U (6 1/2 if the home team is winning. 6 innings will be played for 10U (5 1/2 if the home team is winning).
    6. As of the 2020 Season, a new rule has been passed that states the following: At the 12U B and 14U B divisions (assuming there is a B division, if there is no B Division at this level then this rule does not apply), the top # of teams in each division(s) that have a winning percentage greater (ties count as 1/2 a win) than 75% (not equal to) will now be automatically moved up to the 12U/14U A Playoffs.                                                                                                                                                                            * This will mean that all teams in the 12/14U A divisions will make the playoffs as well no matter their record.
  4. Code of conduct
    1. All coaches, players, parents, and spectators who attend or participate in our league's girls softball games are required to follow and honor the articles, rules and regulations established by the organization or club that they represent, the Donegal/Rheems Girls Softball League and USA Softball Misconduct and unsportsmanlike behavior, including threats of any nature towards opposing coaches, players, fans, or umpires is unacceptable at any youth sporting event and will NOT be tolerated in this league. All reports of unsportsmanlike conduct received by league officers will be seriously and immediately dealt with. Any disciplinary action will first be addressed by the organization within the league that the offender represents. Any further disciplinary action that may be determined by the league's Board of Directors based on the league's By-laws could result in a suspension from attending all league activities for an amount of time to be set by the league.