2023 Local Softball Rules

West Windsor Little League

2024 Softball Rules of Play


All teams are provided with the Little League Softball Official Regulations and Playing Rules. All managers and coaches should get to know the important rules that the league is required to abide by. As a guide, we have summarized some of the important rules and regulations from the handbook and have added one or two additional rules that West Windsor Little League Girls Softball will follow. The Official Regulations and Playing Rules apply in all cases unless superseded below.

In games against teams from other towns, these rules do NOT apply; District 12 Rules apply instead.

West Windsor Little League General Softball Rules

  1. 1. Home team will take the first base dugout and should provide the umpire with game balls. Visiting team will take the third base dugout.
    1. Game balls are signed out by Home Team manager from Kelly Score booth.

2.    No inning may start after one hour and fifty minutes has elapsed from the start of the game. A new inning is deemed to have started when the third out (or final run, in the case of the run rule) of the previous inning isregistered. There is a two-hour drop- dead time limit on all games.

3.    If a game is tied after six innings or time expiring, the International Tie-Breaker will be utilized for regular season games only. Starting with the top of next inning, and each half inning thereafter, the offensive team shall begin its turn at bat with the player who is scheduled to bat last in that respective half inning being placed on second base. If the tie is not broken before the time constraints are met, then the game will be continued at a mutually agreed upon time. The league coordinator must be notified about the scheduling of the suspended game, to arrange for umpires.

  1. Batting Order: Managers must place all players present in the batting order, which will be continuous. Players arriving late will be placed at the bottom of the batting order.

5.    No food is permitted in the dugout. Each team must clean the dugout area prior to leaving the area. Please encourage the girls to clean up.

  1. On-Deck: There is no on-deck position. A bat should not be touched until the batter is ready to come to the plate.
  2. The home team must line the base lines and the 8 foot pitching circle before each game. The visiting team must rake the field and clean out both dugouts after each game.
  3. In the event of poor weather, the day of a game, the league coordinator will determine if the fields can be played on. Once the coordinator gives the “okay”, it then becomes the responsibility of the home team manager to decide if the

conditions have changed. If the umpire gets to the field and decides the fields are unsafe, the umpire’s ruling supersedes all previous decisions.

  1. If games are cancelled due to poor weather, the 2 managers must agree to a new date and inform the VP of Fields/Facilities, who will arrange for a field and umpire for the new date.
  2. It is the responsibility of the home team to either select an adult volunteer to fulfill / directly supervise the announcer booth and scoreboard duties or to complete this responsibility themselves. If the “booth” duties are not supervised properly, the entire league can potentially lose the privilege of the use of the booth and the scoreboard.
  3. Abuse of umpires will not be tolerated. We will at all times have either an adult umpire or another adult in charge of the game who will work with our youth umpires to ensure that the games are umpired in a professional manner. Any coach or manager ejected from a game for abusing the umpire will be automatically suspended from the following game, will have to leave the complex at which the game is being played and will not be allowed at the complex at which the next game is being played. Additionally, any manager or coach that is ejected must meet with the VP of Softball, the appropriate League Coordinator and the Player Agent prior to resuming managerial duties for games or practices. The umpire will notify the Umpire Coordinator of the ejection promptly.
  4. Pitchers innings and pitchers rest are done solely according to the Official Little League Softball Rule Book. No deviations are permitted for any reason.
  5. Delivery of one pitch is considered as pitching one inning.
  6. Defensive Players: There will be a maximum of 9 and a minimum of 8 defensive players on the field at any one time with no more than 6 infielders. The outfielders must be positioned beyond the infield dirt. A team having 9 or more eligible players must field 9 defensive players.
  7. Bunting: Bunting is permitted. Fake bunting is permitted.
  8. Slap bunting is not permitted and will result in an out. Slap bunting is when the hitter “shows” bunt by taking a bunting stance and then pulls the bat back and hits away, usually “slapping” at the ball.
  9. Slap hitting IS permitted. Slap hitting is where the batter, from the left-handed batter’s box, takes a half swing at the ball trying to hit it while starting to run towards first base.
  10. No Base on Balls Continuation: A runner advancing to first on a base on balls may NOT advance to second base until the next pitch, unless there is an attempted play in the field at the time of the base on balls (e.g. an attempted pickoff attempt at third by the catcher or errant throw back to the pitcher).
  11. Courtesy Runner: A courtesy runner is allowed only for the player who will catch the next inning. The purpose is solely to avoid unnecessary delays when switching sides after the side is retired. The substitute runner must be the player that made the last batted out. In addition, the last batted out may be substituted as a runner for an injured runner.
  12. No Jewelry – Medic Alert bracelet is an exception.
  13. The red safety base at first base at Ward Field is to be used for a batter/runner's

initial run to first base when running through the bag only. See LL Rule 7.15

  1. Intentional walks are not permitted.
  2. Slide or Avoid: Players must follow the “slide or avoid” rule. Players may not attempt to knock over or hurdle the fielder. Failure to follow this rule may result in the player being called out, at the sole discretion of the umpire.
  3. Obscenities and/or poor sportsmanship by players, coaches, managers, or parents will not be tolerated. Do not make disparaging comments about the other team, umpires, or anyone else. Managers, coaches or players using obscenities will be promptly removed from the game. Your coordinators will promptly resolve all issues brought to the League’s attention as well as notify the VP Softball and Player Agent.

Majors Local Rules

  1. Girls eligible to participate must be Little League Age 10, 11 or 12 (as measured on January 1 of this year) or have played at least 2 years in WWLL Minors.
  2. Minimum Play: No player may sit out (a) more than two innings per game or
  3. (b) two innings in a row. Each player must play at least one inning in the infield and one inning in the outfield.
  4. No new batters after 6th run scores; a play must be made. (Up to 9 runs can be recorded in an inning)
  5. Mercy Rule: If a team is winning by 15 or more runs after 3 innings, or 10 or more after 4, the game is ended. Teams may continue to scrimmage if both managers and the umpire agree.
  6. Stealing is allowed. The runner must maintain contact with the base until the pitcher has released the ball.
  7. Infield fly rule is in effect.
  8. Dropped Third Strike is in effect
  9. “Look Back Rule” in effect: Once the ball is in the control of the defensive team in the circle, a runner may not come off the base. If the runner comes off the base at that point (with no play made by the pitcher) the runner is out. In the same manner, if a runner is off the base and the ball comes under the control of the defensive team inside the circle (with no play being made by the pitcher), the runner must immediately decide to go forward or back to the previous base. They cannot go forward or backward, make a stop, and reverse their direction. If they do not, the runner is out. Warnings will not be given by the umpire.
  10. Warnings for rules violations are at the umpires sole discretion.

Minors Local Rules

1.      Minimum Play: In addition to the general Minimum play requirement for all levels,

No player may sit out (a) more than two innings per game or

(b) two innings in a row. Each player must play at least one inning in the infield and one inning in the outfield. No player may play more than two innings at any one position during the game during regular season (more than 3 innings at any one

position for playoff or Championship games), provided, however, a player may play up to three innings at catcher. Managers should ensure that positional playing time requirements are satisfied by the end of the 4th inning since games often end early due to the 10-run rule, time limits, or weather. 10- run rule, time limits or weather

2.      No Infield Fly Rule

3.      No Dropped Third Strike

4.       Run Maximum: Before May 2, 2024, a modified five-run rule will be in effect. No batter may bat after the fifth run scores in an inning. In a situation where a team has scored four runs in the inning and there are runners on base, runners on third or second base may attempt to score on the next ball put in play, but no more than six runs may score in the inning. The inning ends when the 6th run scores, or after five runs have scored there is a defensive out or when the play is dead. A runner may not score the 6th run in an inning unless she is at second base when the ball is put in play. (This prevents the offensive team from sending runners, including the batter, around the bases once the fifth run

has scored – only runners who were in “scoring position” when the ball is put into play may attempt to score the 6th run in an inning). The lone exception to this rule is if the batter hits a home run over the fence, in which case the batter and all runners may score even if the total runs scored exceeds 6.

On May 2, 2024 (corresponding with the transition to all Player Pitch), the maximum runs able to be scored per inning will be 3.

5.      Leading and Stealing: There is no leading. Base runners may not leave the base until the pitch crosses the plate. Stealing is permitted as follows. A maximum of 2 attempted steals of second base and 2 attempted steals of home per inning per team will be allowed. Unlimited steals of third are allowed. Advancement on a wild pitch, passed ball, or an error on any “live” throw from the catcher to the pitcher after a pitched ball is considered a steal. There is no stealing when coach pitching is in effect.

6.      Overthrows: To encourage throws down to second or third, no base advancement is permitted on overthrows or errors during a stolen base attempt. However, if a player attempts to advance she is at risk of being tagged out; if she’s not tagged out, she will be sent back to the base she shouldn’t have left. Base advancements that occur between the time a ball is put in play by a hitter and the time the ball is returned to the pitching circle under any defensive player's control are not considered steals. Examples: advancement on an overthrow during a play is not a steal.

7.      Defensive Coach: To give defensive direction, one coach of the defensive team may stand in the outfield during the beginning of the season. After May 1, 2024, no defensive coach is permitted on the field.

Pitching Rules

1.      If three batters are hit by a pitch thrown by the same pitcher during a game, that pitcher must leave the mound for the remainder of the inning once the third

batter is hit. A new pitcher will come in to complete the inning. Once the inning is complete, the previous pitcher may come back to pitch at any time. Once any pitcher hits a maximum of five batters in a game, she may no longer pitch during that game. This includes pitches that bounce before crossing the plate. Batters must attempt to avoid being hit by pitched balls at all times in accordance with reasonable standards interpreted by the umpire. If, in the sole opinion of the umpire a batter purposely is hit by a pitch or fails to avoid being hit by a pitch, then that will not count against the pitcher’s hit batsmen limit. Unless the umpire determines otherwise, if the batter is hit by a pitch, the batter is to take first base.

2.      During regular season and playoffs, for in-house games a pitcher may pitch a maximum of 3 innings in a game but only 2 consecutive innings before inning 5 of the game.

Before May 1, 2024:

1.      Each batter will be pitched to by a pitcher who is a player on the opposing team. Upon ball 4 the count is retained, and the hitting team's coach will throw anywhere from 1 to 6 additional pitches to the batter who will either strike out or put the ball in play. The coach must pitch from the 35-foot rubber. The umpire will continue to call balls andstrikes. A batter can strike out looking or swinging on a coach pitch, but she cannot walk. If the third strike occurs, the batter will be called out on strikes. If the batter puts the ball in play, the at bat ends with the result of the play. If the ball is not put in play after the 6th additional pitch, the batter will be called out. NOTE: When the batter gets to the point where it is the final pitch of her at bat, the coaches should encourage her to swing at the pitch no matter where the ball is located. No extra pitches awarded due to a bad last pitch. This rule is in place to keep the game moving and not cause the game to be delayed.

2.      A foul ball on the 6th coach’s pitch will not count and the coach will continue to pitch until the ball is hit fairly, not swung at or missed.

3.      Coach pitchers must make an attempt to get out of the pitching circle after a ball is put in play. In addition, the coach pitcher must make every reasonable attempt to avoid interfering with a defensiveplay.

4.      A ball accidentally fielded by the coach pitcher shall be considered an out.

5.      No coaching from the pitching circle.

Beginning on May 2, 2024: Games will shift to all player pitch (coach will no longer come in after the 4th ball). Upon Ball 4, the batter will walk.

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