League Rules

Philosophy

Moody Softball has three goals:

Games are primarily social, not primarily competitive. The idea is to play softball with fellow believers from The Moody Church in a stress-free, supportive environment.

However, our goal as a fellowship league is not inconsistent with the spirit of competition. As Christians, we are to strive for excellence in everything we do, that we may bring glory to the Lord. Therefore, our league keeps score, publishes standings and statistics, and conducts playoffs. This is important in measuring success and improvement. Furthermore, teamwork and sportsmanship are vital aspects of good competition. All players and coaches are expected to set these examples for anyone who may be watching.



Rules

  1. FORFEIT TIME IS GAME TIME! Players should arrive early to avoid forfeiture.
  2. Each game shall last one hour ("game time"). No new inning will commence in the last 10 minutes of the game.
  3. In the event the game time has elapsed, the team leading at the end of the last full inning (or half-inning if the home team is leading) is called the winner. If the game hour is elapsed and the home team is trailing and has not bat yet in its half of the inning, the home team shall be allowed to bat to complete the inning.
  4. In the event the game time has elapsed and the game is tied, the game shall finish in a tie.
  5. Bases shall be 65' apart; pitching rubber 42' from home.
  6. The team that plays the last game one week and the first game the next week shall be responsible for taking the bases/equipment home following the last game and setting up the bases/equipment prior to the start of the first game the next week.
  7. Home team of the first game shall have use of the field from 7:25-7:40am; visiting team of the first game shall have use of the field from 7:40-7:55am. Teams in subsequent games may only have use of the field for warmups/practice if the previous game finishes early.
  8. Home team shall furnish a new 12-inch softball (300/.52 ASA-certified) to the umpire before the game. Only league-provided game balls are acceptable.
  9. Home team sits in the 3B-side dugout; visiting team sits in the 1B-side dugout.
  10. Males and females do not need to alternate in the batting order. A team may, for example, bat 6 males first, followed by 4 females.
  11. All eligible players must be placed in the batting lineup.
  12. All eligible players must play a minimum 3 innings on defense.
  13. Managers may elect to manage only and not play. The manager must make this determination before the start of the game and notify the opposing manager.
  14. No pinch hitters are allowed. New batters are added to the bottom of the starting lineup.
  15. A maximum of ten (10) players is allowed on defense. These are the standard baseball positions plus a short-center-fielder (SC), aka "rover", who can position him/herself anywhere on the field.
  16. A minimum of eight (8) players is required on defense. These are the standard baseball positions less the catcher. If a team has more than 8 eligible players, they must all play defense up to the allowed maximum. That is, a team may not start only 8 players on defense if it has 10 players available.
  17. A minimum of one girl is required on the field at a non-catcher position at all times. If a team has no girls for its game, that team may play only a maximum of eight men on the field, thus forfeiting two defensive positions. Of the eight men on the field, one of them must be catcher. That team also takes an automatic out after the last batter in the order.
  18. If a team cannot field a minimum 8 of its own rostered players when it is their turn to take the field at any point in the game, they may recruit up to three subs, who must be Moody league players. Any subs must be approved by the ump and the opposing team's manager and assistant manager, regardless of the opposing team's record. If the team's player(s) arrives after the game has started, the sub(s) must be removed from the game and replaced by the incoming team player(s) at the next dead ball situation. All subs must bat at the bottom of the batting order. Furthermore, all subs cannot play more defensive innings than any of your own players. For example, if one of your team players is on the bench for three innings, your sub(s) must also be on the bench a minimum of three innings.
  19. If a team cannot field a minimum 8 players even with subs, the team shall forfeit the game, which will result in a loss in the standings. In the event of a forfeit, the teams may agree to play a scrimmage during their time slot and the team that has forfeited may be allowed to recruit any subs of its choice (including non-league players) up to maximum of 10 total players. Stats for a forfeited/scrimmage game will not count toward the official stats as tracked by the league web site.
  20. If a team only has 8 players, that team forfeits the rover and catcher positions. The opposing team shall supply a temp-catcher whose only role is to return non-batted pitches back to the pitcher. The temp-catcher shall not be involved in any plays at the plate.
  21. If a team begins a game with the proper number of players but a player must then leave the game for whatever reason and no legal substitute is found, everyone below that player in the order moves up a spot. Subsequent players must be added to the bottom of that lineup rather than replace the vacant player's spot in the order. If a team starts with 8 players but loses one or more players during the game, the team may continue play with the remaining players.
  22. A batter who bats out of order shall be declared out. The opposing team, not the umpire, is responsible for detecting out-of-order violations. If the out-of-order batter reaches base and is detected later in the game, s/he shall be immediately ruled out and removed from the bases; if s/he scored, the run shall not count.
  23. During the game, players may leave and re-enter the game defensively as often as desired at either the same or a new defensive position. This defensive switching may occur while still on the field. However, all players must remain in the same batting order spot.
  24. Courtesy runners are allowed for players who have a leg injury or are recovering from a known leg-related injury (e.g., surgery). Courtesy runners are not allowed for players simply due to age. The courtesy runner shall be the person who made the last out (even in a prior inning).
  25. After each half-inning, each team's scorekeeper shall confer with the opposing team's scorekeeper to ensure everyone has the same score. The umpire is not responsible for keeping score.
  26. Each game consists of seven (7) innings (or as many innings needed thereafter to determine a winner), or the game time limit, whichever comes first.
  27. Infield and outfield warm-up balls will be allowed before the start of every innning. The pitcher may have 5 warm-up pitches prior to each inning, or when a new pitcher enters the game. In the interest of keeping the game within the game time limit, the umpire reserves the right to limit or ban warm-up pitches before an inning.
  28. Arguing with the ump over judgement calls (balls/strikes, safe/out, fair/foul, etc.) by anyone is strictly prohibited. Only managers or assistant managers (not players) may discuss with the umpire about rule clarifications if a rule is perceived to be applied incorrectly. Violation of this rule will result in a warning to both teams for the first occurrence and an ejection of the arguing person for any subsequent occurrence.
  29. All batters start with a 1 ball, 1 strike count (the 1-and-1 rule).
  30. A two-strike foul ball will be considered a strike out.
  31. A strike mat will be used for balls and strikes. A strike will be called if, in the umpire's sole opinion, a pitched ball hits any part of the strike mat or home plate. The strike mat is NOT home plate for purposes of scoring a run; runners must touch home plate.
  32. A pitched ball shall have a maximum height of the top of the batting backstop. The umpire reserves the sole right to make this judgement and must call the pitch "illegal" while the pitch is still in the air. The pitch will be considered a ball unless the batter swings.
  33. A pitched ball must have a perceptible arc (generally, at least as high as top of the batter's head). This is to prevent strikes from being called on unhittable "flat" pitches that clip the front part of the plate. The umpire reserves the sole right to make this judgement of flat/unhittable pitches. The umpire must call the pitch "illegal" while the pitch is still in the air. The pitch will be considered a ball unless the batter swings.
  34. A defensive team may issue one (1) intentional walk to the opposing team per game without penalty. This first intentional walk may be either declared by the defensive team (to speed up the game), or may be so judged by the umpire. The umpire reserves the sole right to decide whether a pitcher is intentionally walking a batter. Attempting to intentionally walk more than one batter in a game will result in a warning to the defensive team. After the warning, every intentional walk beyond the first allowed intentional walk will result in the loss of one out during the offending team's next at-bat, unless the violation(s) occur in the last half-inning of the game (in that case, the batting team receives an extra out for every intentional walk over the one allowed). Note: this does not ban intentional walks but discourages its abuse.
  35. A double first base shall be employed for player safety. Batters may touch either the regular first base or the orange safety base when running to first, though the runner is strongly encouraged to touch the orange base. However, fielders must touch the white base (not the orange base) in order to record the out.
  36. A batter/runner who beats the throw to 1B on a batted ball may not be tagged out, regardless of which direction they turn, unless the umpire determines there was intent to advance to 2B.
  37. Baserunners may not lead off prior to delivery of the pitch. They must have one foot on the base when the pitch is delivered. Baserunners may leave the base when the ball crosses home plate or is hit by the batter. If the baserunner leaves before the pitch crosses home plate, the baserunner shall be called out and the pitch/play shall be called dead.
  38. No base stealing is allowed.
  39. If a baserunner tagging up leaves the base before the fly ball is caught, the opposing manager may appeal to the umpire, who will declare the runner out if the umpire agrees. The opposing manager, not the umpire, is responsible for raising this appeal, which also applies to runners not touching a base.
  40. Infield-fly rule is in effect with runners on 1st and 2nd, or bases loaded and less than two outs remaining. If a fair fly ball is hit that, in the umpire's judgment, is catchable by an infielder with ordinary effort, the batter is out regardless of whether the ball is actually caught in flight. The umpire must make this call while the fly ball is still in the air. Runners may advance at their own risk on an infield fly situation.
  41. Any batted ball that hits any part of a tree below the top of the fence is a live ball and shall NOT be ruled a ground-rule double.
  42. Any batted ball that hits any part of a tree above the top of the fence in fair territory and falls over the fence shall be ruled a home run, even if it lands in foul territory. However, if the ball hits a tree over the fence in fair territory and falls into the field of play, it shall be ruled a ground-rule double.
  43. Bunting or chopping down on the ball will result in a dead ball with the batter called out on strikes.
  44. Sliding is allowed and encouraged but not required.
  45. As fellowship is part of playing the games, no slaughter rule is in effect. Each game will be played to the full 7 innings or the game time limit, whichever comes first.
  46. Due to the game time constraint, each team is limited to 5 runs per inning for all innings except the last inning ("the 5-run cap"). The last inning is defined as either the 7th inning, the final inning played in the last ten minutes of the game time, and any extra innings. Unlimited runs may be scored in uncapped innings. In capped innings, the inning is immediately over when the 5th run has scored for his/her team and subsequent runs in that same at-bat do not count unless the batter hits a home run over the fence. For example, Team A has already scored 4 runs in the inning and the bases are loaded. If the next batter hits a double into the gap, the inning is immediately over when the 5th run scores even if the other two baserunners could have scored on that double, and the batter is credited with only 1 RBI. However, if the batter hits a home run over the fence, Team A is credited with 7 runs in the inning instead of 5, and the hitter is credited with 3 RBI, not 1. The team's inning then immediately ends.
  47. Pitchers must have at least one foot on the pitching rubber when delivering the pitch. Pitchers must make a fluid delivery on each pitch. Fakes, hesitations, or hitches are not allowed. Each violation will result in a ball added to the count.
  48. A defensive player blocking a base (including home plate) is illegal without the ball. This includes a defensive player reaching across the basepath to catch the ball, as the defensive player should make every effort to catch the ball out of the basepath. If the umpire determines that a player is blocking the base, the runner will be awarded the base. In the interest of player safety, the umpire may make this call before the ball arrives.
  49. The baserunner is responsible for avoiding a collision with a defensive player. If the umpire determines that the player intentionally plows into a defensive player (such as, intending to jar the ball loose or prevent the ball from being caught), the runner shall be called out and the play dead immediately. For the same safety reasons, aggressive sliding is also prohibited. If the umpire deems the slide to be a hard slide with the intent to break up a double play, both the runner and the batter shall be called out.
  50. In the case of foul balls/home runs that clear the fence, the ump shall obtain a used game ball from the equipment bag. The foul ball/home run shall be retrieved in the meantime, if possible, and placed in the equipment bag. Only used game balls (not practice balls) shall be placed in the equipment bag.
  51. The umpire shall inspect all bats prior to start of the game. Only 12" style, ASA-approved softball bats may be used. Absolutely no 16" style, baseball, fungo, or wide-barreled (2.75" or more) bats may be used. Any metal bat without the ASA logo is illegal. Furthermore, bats listed as banned on the ASA web site are also illegal.
  52. All fielders must wear a fielder's glove.
  53. Metal spikes are illegal.
  54. Play is considered dead when the umpire calls time. Generally, time is called when the ball is returned to the infield and play has ceased. Play is also considered dead when a thrown ball goes past the imaginary line extending past the end of the backstop (if there is no fence). At such point, the umpire is responsible for calling the play dead immediately. The runner is granted the next base if s/he has not reached halfway to the next base at the point the ball is called dead. If the runner has run past the halfway mark towards the next base, the runner is granted that base plus one more base. The umpire reserves sole authority to make judgments on who gets what base. If the ball hits the fence, the play is still live.
  55. In games with two umpires, teams are not allowed to appeal an umpire's call to another umpire. An umpire may elect to not make a call and defer it entirely to another umpire if s/he does not feel a fair can be made (e.g., wasn't paying attention, bad angle, view was blocked, etc.). However, once a call is made, it may not be appealed to a second umpire.
  56. All games, including summarized statistics, shall be reported to the league Stat Master no later than two days after the game date. This includes the number of team runs by inning, and at-bats, runs, singles, doubles, triples, home runs, RBIs, sacrifice flies, walks, and strikeouts by player.
  57. In the event two or more teams are tied with the same record at the end of the season, league tiebreakers are as follows: (1) head-to-head record, (2) head-to-head run differential, (3)overall run differential, (4) coin toss.
  58. All teams will enter the playoffs, to be played in the last two weekends of August.
  59. A game is considered official after 5 innings of play (4.5 innings if the home team is ahead) for purposes of inclement weather.
  60. All efforts will be made to make up games that are rained out. Before the start of the first game of the day, the league commissioner will determine if games are rained out, and when rained-out games will be rescheduled. Please check the home page of this web site for the latest status update. Once the game has started, the umpire and the two managers shall decide whether a game should be called due to rain.
  61. Rosters must not exceed 15 players, unless granted written permission by the league commissioner. Two players may share one roster spot, but they cannot play at the same time, and the 3-inning-minimum rule applies to the sum of the shared players' innings.
  62. The league commissioner reserves the right to make the final decision regarding ANY matter, including suspensions, expulsions, scheduling issues, and rule clarifications.
  63. As the league's primary goal is fellowship among all players in the league (goals #1 & 2 above), in the event of a conflict, league events take precedence over team-specific events. All managers and assistant managers shall promote league events to their respective players.
  64. As representatives of the league, managers and assistant managers must take particular care in exercising grace on the field and controlling tempers, whether their own or that of their players.
  65. The Moody Church and its members are not liable for any injuries that occur on the field or for any damage incurred to vehicles parked near the playing fields.
  66. No refunds of entry fees are given once the season starts.
  67. Once rosters are locked, people may sign up for the waiting list. When an appropriate team (as determined solely by the commissioner) has an opening, the first relevant person for that team will be contacted. If such person declines, the next relevant person on the waiting list is contacted, etc.
  68. Swearing or un-Christian conduct (e.g., derogatory insults or comments, or threats or acts of violence) will result in a warning. If such swearing or conduct continues, the umpire reserves the right to eject the player or coach.
  69. An ejected player or coach must leave the field and/or dugout immediately. Failure to do so will result in suspension for the next game.
  70. If the player or coach is ejected for a second time within the same season, s/he will be suspended indefinitely. His/her entry fee will be forfeited and s/he must meet with the league commissioner before being reinstated.
  71. Players and coaches may not be under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Violation will result in an immediate ejection from the game.
  72. Non-over-the-counter drugs are prohibited from the field, the dugouts and the grandstands. By law, alcohol is not permitted on Park District property.
  73. Only players, scorekeepers, coaches and batboys are allowed in the dugout.
  74. Dugouts must be cleaned up at the end of the game. Teams in subsequent games are not responsible for cleaning up your trash. Please help preserve the good reputation of the Moody Church by leaving the field in good condition.

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