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CHESTER MENDHAM SOFTBALL RULES AND GUIDELINES

 

All rules for play are those stated in the official BABE RUTH book for fast pitch softball except for those rules amended here for league play.

 

  1. All games should start at the prescribed time per the Master Schedule. This includes weekday games starting usually at 6:00 PM. If a team cannot field a minimum of 9 players or amount depending on league by 6:15, the team with lesser players can still play an official game under these scenarios (forfeits should look to be avoided):
    1. For Juniors, Majors and Minors, the team missing players can start play with less than 9 players assuming players arrive by the third inning.  (Some outside teams may demand 9 players from the start).
    2. For Juniors, Majors and Minors, upon agreement from the coach of the team with more than 8 players, he or she can allow the other team to borrow players.  This rule applies only when playing against another CM team or if agreed upon up front with an outside town coach.
    3. Pool players, those designated to play on multiple teams if needed, are allowed.
    4. Here are Pool Players rules:
      1. Pool players may not pitch.
      2. Pool players should be put at the end of the batting order.
      3. Pool players should not take playing time (unless agreed) from the team's regular players.
    5. For Farm, teams may play with as few as 6 players and not incur a forfeit but all teams are encouraged to play with at least 10
    6. For Kinder, the team can play with less players and players can be borrowed – Kinder Games should essentially never be forfeited (unless there are not more than 3 players) - Kinder can play with less players.
  2. Accidents that result in bleeding require the player to be temporarily removed from a practice or game until the bleeding wound has been addressed. Anyone tending to an injured player is strongly encouraged to use protective gloves when addressing a bleeding wound. Any clothing that has been bloodied must be removed before the player can return to the practice or game.
  3. For any situation where a concussion is suspected the procedures as documented in the HEADS UP training should be followed.
  4. Every effort must be made to get all scheduled games played.  The following game change / cancellation / exception policy apply:
    1. Practice Cancellations are at the discretion of the coach or coaches having the field.  Notice must be given to the Field Scheduler once the decision is made not to have practice.
    2. Practice Reschedules will work similar to practice cancellations, but a reschedule request needs to be coordinated through the Field Scheduler.  Note that the Field Scheduler may work with you to sure up a field in another town if no field is available in Chester or Mendham.  Similarly the Field Scheduler may engage another coach if a ‘swap’ of fields and/or times is considered (coaches can also work directly on this). 
    3. Game Reschedules (not due to weather) requests need to be made at least 72 hours (3 days) before the regularly scheduled playing of that game.  Both teams/coaches need to be in agreement with the proposed change and the coaches should come up with options BEFORE going to the Field Scheduler.  The request to cancel and change a particular game needs to be made through the Field Scheduler and may involve other town coaches and field schedulers so the change is fully communicated.  It is also the responsibility of the coaches to contact the umpire – when an umpire is used.
    4. Game Reschedules and/or Game Cancellations (due to inclement weather) are determined based on notifications from Chester Mendham Baseball & Softball Club along with the respective Boroughs and Townships on field not being playable, for any reason.  A notice will be made on the website (www.cmbaseballsoftball.org).  Coaches should take their lead from this site. Email and texts will be communicated after 3:00pm on weekdays and starting at 8:00am on weekends going throughout the day.  Umpires must be communicated to on cancellations due to weather.   NOTE THAT A GAME CALLED IN ONE TOWN DOES NOT MEAN THE GAME IS CALLED IN ANOTHER TOWN, AND COACHES MUST CONFIRM.
    5. Game Stops due to inclement weather during a game in progress is based on the umpires who will determine that weather conditions are not in the best interest of safety which warrants suspension of play.  ALL LIGHTNING AND THUNDER IS UNSAFE AND PLAY MUST STOP.  If less than four innings have been played, the game can be postponed and rescheduled through the field scheduler.  IF FOUR (4) OR MORE INNINGS HAVE BEEN PLAYED, THE SCORE REVERTS TO THE LAST FULL INNING PLAYED AND IS CONSIDERED FINAL, EXCEPT FOR PLAYOFF GAMES AS DESCRIBED BELOW.
  5. Farm, Minor and Major League games are 6 innings (In Farm and at times Minors, if both coaches agree to end earlier, that is okay). Junior League games are 7 innings.  An official game is 4 innings (3.5 inning if home team ahead) for Minors and Majors and 5 innings (4.5 inning if home team ahead) for Juniors.  If a game is postponed due to darkness or the game has exceeded the league time limit (two hours - 2  hours in CM) 4 innings have been played, the game is considered official and will not have to be rescheduled. For Kinder, games are usually 3 innings or the amount that is under 90 minutes for the complete session (including any pre-game drills).
  6. On weeknights, in CM, no new inning may start after  7:45PM and no game may continue past 8:00PM. If an inning continues past  7:45PM, but is not completed by  8:00PM, the score reverts back to the last full inning of play.  (Outside teams may have different time restrictions that need to be followed for those towns.  These should be discussed and fully agreed up front.)
  7. For day games, in CM, each game will adhere to the  two hour (2- hour) rule. This means that no new inning may start after 1 hour and 45 minutes of play and each game has a HARD STOP at 2 hours of play. If the game is not completed after the 2 hours, the score reverts back to the last full inning of play.  (A longer timeframe in CM is acceptable if both coaches AND THE UMP agree to extend this AND if there is no game on the field after).  (Outside teams may have different time restrictions that need to be followed for those towns.  These should be discussed and fully agreed up front.)
  8. Any playoff games will be played to completion of the 6 innings (Farm, Minors and Majors) and 7 innings (Juniors) and into extra innings, if necessary, until there is a winner. If the game is suspended before its conclusion, it will resume from the point it was suspended on another scheduled day.
  9. All innings of the playoff games and All-Star games should be completed, regardless of the score.
  10. A maximum of 10 players may be in the field at any time for Farm, Minors, Majors and Juniors (some towns have max of 9 for Majors and Juniors). Of these, only 4 may be infielders (excluding the pitcher and catcher) stressing positional play and the outfielders must start off on the outfield grass. 
  11. Coaches and/or team members may coach first and third base while their team is at bat.  Players who coach MUST wear a helmet.
  12. Players, parents, and coaches may not stand behind the backstop while a team is at bat. The umpire may suspend play if anyone is behind the backstop.
  13. Swinging of bats outside of the on-deck cage (if one exists) is strictly prohibited. It is all coaches’ responsibility to enforce this rule and ensure swinging of bats only occurs in the designated on-deck area if applicable.  Only team players and coaches are allowed in and around the dugout areas unless a player is sick or injured, then parents can entire the dugout or field. It is all coaches’ responsibility to enforce this rule for the safety and enjoyment of everyone involved. All players must stay on the designated bench area during the entire game except for players batting, playing the field or coaching a base.
  14. Coaches are responsible for the behavior of their players, fans, and parents.  UNSPORTSMANLIKE CONDUCT WILL NOT BE TOLERATED.
  15. Usually league games are not scheduled on Sundays. However make-up games may be scheduled if agreed to by both coaches and the Field Scheduler.  Regular league scheduling procedures have to be followed and the request must be approved by the Field Scheduler prior to the game taking place. This includes the notification of the umpire coordinator for the Minors, Juniors and Majors divisions.
  16. In the event of a cancellation for any reasons, umpires must be notified in a timely manner.
  17. If a team is ahead by more than 10 runs after 4 innings of play, the team ahead by 10 runs is the winner (Mercy Rule) – this applies to Juniors, Majors, Minors and Farm.  Both coaches can agree to increase this but not more than 15 runs and this must be done up front.  
  18. Ties are allowed and need not be broken in regular season games.
  19. If a game starts late due to weather or lack of players, the official start time of the game does not change to when play actually started.
  20. Catchers cannot be changed in the middle of an inning unless the catcher has been injured or has been removed from the game for unsportsmanlike conduct.
  21. Jewelry is NOT to be worn during practices or games (including necklaces, bracelets, watches, and earrings).
  22. Middle school players may not play games in their middle school uniforms.
  23. Any player removed from a game due to injury that requires medical attention, can return to the game. If a time at bat comes up while the player is receiving medical attention (or cannot return to the game), the player’s spot is skipped without penalty.
  24. Starting lineups must be recorded in both team’s scorebooks with each players’ name and number.
  25. Players must play a field position a minimum of three (3) innings per game.
  26. Though Farm has 10 players in the field, free substitution is allowed and reentry rule not in effect, substitutions need not be announced. 
  27. Bunting is allowed in the Minor, Major and Junior leagues only. No fake bunt then swing.  (Not Farm)
  28. Stealing home is always allowed for Junior league only. Outside teams allow stealing at Majors levels.  CM vs CM Majors game should usually not allow stealing home.  Whether to have stealing for Majors should be discussed and determined prior to the game.  No Stealing Home for Minors or Farm
  29. League rules may be reviewed by league officers during the season and changed if necessary.  Coaches may not change rules at their own discretion.  These rules are applicable as of 4/15/2017.
  30. Coaches must carry a copy of the rules with them to all games.
  31. The home field coach must measure the bases and pitcher’s mound. The standard field measurements for our fields are as follows and should be adjusted based on league provisions.
  • Minors – Mound is 35 ft. and bases are 60 ft.
  • Majors – Mound is 40 ft. and bases are 60 ft.
  • Majors – Mound is 43 ft. and bases are 60 ft.

 

EQUIPMENT:

 

  1. It is required that pitchers wear a fielder’s face mask for Minors, Majors and Juniors (and Farm if a kid ever pitched.  It is also recommended that a HEART-GUARD PROTECTOR be worn for pitchers.   It is also required that all infielders also wear face masks.  Outfielders do not need to wear face masks, but it is recommended.
  2. Batters must wear protective helmets with protective face shields.
  3. Players must wear a team shirt (pool players where there original team shirt).  If shirts are not yet available, the players should try to wear the same color.
  4. Metal spikes are not allowed.
  5. Base runners must wear helmets while on base.

 

PITCHING:

 

  1. Babe Ruth Softball rules for fast pitch shall be used, thus allowing the use of windmill or slingshot styles.
  2. As part of the delivery the pitcher can step back with the non-pivot foot prior to or simultaneous with the hands coming together then take a forward step with that foot and deliver the ball. Once the hands are together no further backward step is allowed.
  3. The pivot foot must remain in contact with or push off and drag away from the pitching plate prior to the front foot touching the ground, as long as the pivot foot remains in contact with the ground. When the pivot foot leaves the ground, it is considered a ‘leap’ and is considered an illegal pitch.
  4. The pitcher must have her hands separated when stepping on the rubber (ball can be in throwing hand or in glove) and receiving sign from catcher/coach. The pitcher must receive the sign AFTER stepping onto the pitching rubber. Once stepping onto the pitching rubber. After receiving sign, the pitcher shall bring hands together in front of body for no less than one second and not more than 10 seconds before starting the delivery. (The step back may occur before or simultaneous with the hands being brought together while the pivot foot must remain in contact with the rubber at all times prior to the forward step).
  5. For the pitcher to remove herself from the pitching position after the hands have been brought together, but prior to the start of the pitch, the pitcher must legally STEP BACK from the pitcher’s plate with the pivot foot first.
  6. The pitcher must not make a stop or reversal of the forward motion after separating the hands.
  7. No double windmill or reverse windmill pitching is allowed.
  8. Since this is fast pitch league, high arc pitching is not allowed. The trajectory of the ball should be straight and not exceed 6 feet high at any point after the release.
  9. Intentional walks are not allowed. If an umpire suspects that a pitcher is intentionally walking a batter, each pitch may be declared an illegal pitch and is not counted as either a ball or a strike.

 

BATTING:

 
  1. All players present at the game must be placed in the batting order (Cinderella batting).
  2. Players who arrive late must be placed at the end of the batting order.
  3. If there are inning run limits, it applies for all innings including the last.
  4. CM vs CM Majors games should have a 5 run inning limit.  CM vs CM Juniors game can have a 7 run inning limit if both coaches agree.  When playing outside towns, run limits should be discussed prior to the game, but the 2017 rule is no run limit for Majors and Juniors and Minors have a 5 run limit.  Keep in mind there is the 10 run mercy rule that would avoid lopsided scores.
  5. There is no batter limit per inning for Minors, Juniors and Majors.  For Farm, there is a 10 batter limit per inning.  The inning will end after 3 outs are recorded or after 10 batters come to the plate, whichever comes first.   The 10th batter is treated like there are two outs.
  6. For Kinder, batting in an inning can at most be once around the order. In this situation, coaches must advise the other team that the last batter is up.  The last batter may strike out or walk.  Any ball put in play by the last batter must be must be played to conclusion.
  7. Courtesy runners are permitted to speed up the game for pitchers/catchers only.
  8. In Kinder, the coach can have the last batter round all the bases.
  9. If a batter is hit by a pitch they are awarded first base.  All runners advance if forced.  If a pitch hits the ground and then hits the batter, they may be awarded first base per umpire's discretion.
  10. A batter must attempt to avoid any pitched ball.
  11. If a player needs to leave during the game, their lineup spot will simply be skipped and no out charged. 

 

Addendum to Chester Kinder League

 

The Kinder League consists of players from pre-K to K and some 1st graders as a first foray into softball.  The Kinder league will usually have one ‘session’ a week.  Per the coaches’ discretion at a ‘game’, the teams may share the field for a period of time (around 20 minutes) for ‘station drills’.  These drills include fundamentals of throwing, catching, batting, fielding and base running.  After, the teams play a ‘game’ - usually 3 innings.  The game itself should not go more than an hour and the whole session should be 90 minutes or under.  Some sessions will be clinic only, this may be at the season beginning and/or when there are not teams to play.

 

 

Farm Game Format:

  1. Batting will usually be coach pitch or off a tee.  A maximum of 5 pitches should be thrown.  Use a Tee for the batter to hit off of if contact is not made after 5 pitches (coaches can throw more if pitches are bad).
  2. During game play, emphasis should be on the proper techniques taught through the drills and practices.   Coaches can stop the game at any time for ‘teaching’ moments.
  3. During games, the coach should introduce the importance and fundamentals of position play.
  4. A maximum of 11 players may be in the field at any time. Of these, only 5 may be infielders (including one or two players at the pitcher’s mound position). 
  5. With less players the outfield can be reduced and then infield at the coach’s discretion.
  6. The ‘Outfielders’ can be on the infield dirt, but should be behind the infielder.
  7. Per coach’s discretion, outs can be counted (remove a base-runner that is out) and three outs should end an inning unless both coaches agree that a team is not getting a sufficient amount of at bats.
  8. Games should be a minimum 3 inning game and a maximum of 5 with each player batting the same amount of times as much as possible (as long as it’s not over the time limits mentioned).
  9. Base distance is 40 feet.
  10. Pitcher position distance is 35 feet. If/when coach pitch can pitch as close as 30’ if necessary.
  11. Coaches are allowed in the field.
  12. No scores are kept
  13. No game and practice combined time should exceed 90 minutes and can be less.
  14. Runners can only advance one base on overthrows.
  15. If a batter hits the ball into the outfield (including as a result of an error), they have the option to advance 1 additional base (Example: home to second). 
  16. A current base runner should advance 1 base only when the batter hits the ball into the infield.  However, if the batter reaches the outfield, any existing base runner should advance 2 bases (
  17. Balls used are size 11 soft softballs for all practices and games.
  18. Coaches act as umps
  19. When coaches pitch, a second coach can be positioned behind the catcher to help field to speed up the game. A coach pitches to their own team.
  20. A player must be positioned next to the coach pitching.  That player can catch throws from the catcher if there is one (coach’s discretion).

 

 

Addendum to Chester Farm League

 

The Farm League consists of players from 1st to 3rd grade.  The Farm league will usually have one game and one practice a week.  Games are coached pitch and can be up to 6 innings.  10 players are expected, but a team can play with 6 or more.  Though emphasis is on fun and learning, scores are kept.

 

 

Farm Game Format:

  1. 11” rubberized balls shall be used.
  2. There will usually be a single junior ump at games.
  3. Ten players in field, free substitution, reentry rule not in effect, substitutions need not be announced.  Only 6 players, including the catcher, are allowed to be positioned in the infield at the start of the play.  The fielder playing the pitching position cannot be positioned closer than the pitching rubber. The infield extends 10 feet beyond the base path.
  4. Teams may play with as few as 6 players and not incur a forfeit but all teams are encouraged to play with at least 10
  5. No Infield fly rule and no dropped third strike.
  6. Coaches will pitch to their own players from 30-35 feet.  (Rubber will be set at 35 feet but coach may get 5 feet closer if they wish.)
  7. Walks are not allowed so balls and strikes will not be called. 
  8. The batter shall be called out after she receives 7 good pitches and does not put the ball into play.  If the last pitch is fouled off, the batter shall be given an additional pitch
  9. The coach who is pitching must make every effort to avoid interfering with the defensive play on a batted ball. 
  10. All players bat (Cinderella Batting)
  11. 10 batter limit per inning.  The inning will end after 3 outs are recorded or after the 10 batters come to the plate, whichever comes first. 
  12. Leading – Runners may not leave the base until the ball crosses the plate
  13. No bunting allowed.
  14. No stealing allowed.
  15. Courtesy runner may be used for the catcher at any time.  The courtesy runner is the last batter to make an out.
  16. End of Play- Base runners are limited to one base on all batted balls hit in the infield. No advances are allowed for overthrows to any base on balls hit in the infield.   Base runners may take additional bases on all batted balls hit into the outfield, as defined by any ball that goes 10 feet beyond the base path or any ball that is fielded by an outfielder.  Once the ball is returned to the infield and has been secured by an infielder, base runners must return to the previous base if they are not more than halfway to the next base. If they are more than halfway and continue, pitcher can attempt to get them out but that runner and other runners cannot take additional bases if there’s an overthrow. Base distance is 40 feet.
 

 

Addendum to General Rules for MINOR League

 

The Minor League consists of players from 3rd to 5th grade.  The Minor league will usually have three activities a week (e.g. 2 games and one practice).  Games are kid pitched (barring intra-town exceptions) and are 6 innings.  10 players are expected.  Scores are kept.

 

  1. Base distance is 60 feet.
  2. Pitching distance is 35 feet.
  3. Balls used are size 11 inch regular ‘hard’ softballs for all games.
  4. Extra-inning games are allowed it time permits, but games can end in ties.
  5. Five run limit per team per inning.  This includes the last inning.
  6. No pitcher may pitch more than 4 innings of the first 6 innings or 4 innings of a set of extra-inning games.  Pitchers can re-enter in following innings but not the same inning.  Outside towns may allow unlimited pitching.
  7. A ‘hit by pitch’ is determined at the umpire’s discretion and includes a potentially dangerous pitch. A warning will be issued to both benches after the pitcher after 2 hit batters per inning or 3 per game by a potentially dangerous pitch.  Upon a third batter being hit in a game, the pitcher will be removed from pitching, but is eligible for re-entry into any position other than pitcher.
  8. If a batter shows bunt, pulls back and swings, the batter is automatically out, runners on base cannot advance, and the ball is declared dead.  Swinging after showing bunt is illegal and dangerous.  
  9. A batter may square to bunt and pull back with no consequence.
  10. Runners can advance on overthrows until ball is returned to pitcher within 8 feet of the mound. If a ball goes beyond the fenced boundaries of the field, it becomes a dead ball. Time out is called by the umpire and the batter is awarded a ground rule double and all runners are allowed to advance to the base they were headed to plus 1 base. Runners standing on a base are awarded only one base.
  11. The batter may not advance on a dropped third strike pitch.
  12. In games allowing coach pitching which is all CM vs CM games and games agreed by all coaches when playing outside teams, the offensive team coach will pitch to a batter once four balls are reached in the count.  The balls do not have to be thrown consecutively.  The count continues where it was (strikes really) when the coach comes in.  In games with no coach pitching, walks do apply.
  13. In games allowing coach pitching which is agreed upon CM vs CM games and games agreed by all coaches when playing outside teams, no walks are permitted so the coach or player completes the at bat until the batter strikes out or puts the ball in play. 
  14. There will be no infield fly rule.
  15. To steal a base, a base runner cannot leave their base until the pitched ball has reached the batter. Base runners can steal 3rd base only and the runner cannot advance home on an overthrow.  Coaches please encourage the catcher to make the throw.  Some leagues/towns allow stealing of second also, but never home.  (Some outside towns may allow stealing second and home, specifics on this should be determined before the game).
  16. When an overthrow occurs attempting to pick off a base runner leading off a base, runners cannot advance.
  17. Base runners cannot advance on a catcher’s overthrow back to the pitcher.
  18. Sliding is permitted and a player must slide to avoid any contact on an attempted play to any base.
  19. Runners must avoid contact with a defender who is attempting to make a play on a ball. Any contact considered maliciously intended by the runner will result in that runner being called out. This determination is made by the umpire. The defensive player must give the runner access to the base.
  20. End of play occurs when the ball is in the possession of the pitcher in the 8 foot circle surrounding the pitcher’s mound after a play. At that point the umpire calls time and all runners that are more than ½ way to a base will be awarded that base and all runners less than ½ way to a base will return to the previous base.
  21. For each game there will be one or two paid umpires and they will have final say over all plays.
  22. Scores must be reported to the league coordinator within 48 hours by the CM coach when playing outside or winning coach within CM.  Alternately the applicable coach can enter the scores if access is available.
  23. Prior to the start of a game the coaches and umpire are required to review the rules as well as any special situations that pertain to the field they are playing on.
  24. Batting helmets with protective masks are required.
  25. Pitchers must wear a face guard and heart guards are recommended.
  26. Infielders must also wear face guards and it’s recommended for outfielders too.

 

 

Addendum to General Rules for MAJOR and JUNIOR Leagues

 

The Major League consists of players from 5th to 7th and Juniors is 7th to 8th.  The Majors and Juniors league will usually have three activities a week (e.g. 2 games and one practice).  Major’s games are 6 innings and Juniors 7.  10 players are expected (though some towns have 9 for Juniors). 

  1. Base distance is 60 feet.
  2. Pitching distance is 40 feet for Majors and 43 feet for Juniors.
  3. Balls used are size 12 regular softballs for all games.
  4. Extra-inning games are allowed, time permitting but games can end in ties
  5. A ‘hit by pitch’ is determined at the umpire’s discretion and includes a potentially dangerous pitch. A warning will be issued to both benches after the pitcher after 3 hit batters per inning or 4 per game by a potentially dangerous pitch.  Upon a fourth batter being hit in a game, the pitcher will be removed from pitching, but is eligible for re-entry into any position other than pitcher.
  6. A batter may square to bunt and pull back with no consequence.
  7. Runners can advance on overthrows until ball is returned to pitcher. If a ball goes beyond the fenced boundaries of the field, it becomes a dead ball. Time out is called by the umpire and the batter is awarded a ground rule double and all runners are allowed to advance to the base they were headed to plus 1 base. Runners standing on a base are awarded only one base.
  8. The batter may advance on a dropped third strike pitch if no runner is on first or if there are 2 outs.
  9. Base runners can lead on the pitchers release of the ball (all bases)
  10. To steal a base, a base runner cannot leave until the release of the ball.   
  11. For Juniors, base runners can steal all bases.  Coaches can determine up front if coming home on an overthrow of third on a steal is allowed.
  12. For Majors, base runners can steal all bases.  For CM vs CM or when agreed with outside towns, stealing home could be not permitted.  Coaches can determine up front if coming home on an overthrow of third on a steal is allowed.
  13. When an overthrow occurs attempting to pick off a base runner leading off a base, runners can advance, but for Majors not to go home.
  14. Base runners can advance on a catcher’s overthrow back to the pitcher, except in Majors the runner cannot advance to home
  15. Sliding is permitted and a player must slide to avoid any contact on an attempted play to any base.
  16. Runners must avoid contact with a defender who is attempting to make a play on a ball. Any contact considered maliciously intended by the runner will result in that runner being called out. This determination is made by the umpire. The defensive player, however, must give the runner access to the base
  17. End of play occurs when the ball is in the possession of the pitcher in the 8 foot circle surrounding the pitcher’s mound after an attempt at playing a runner has been made. At that point the umpire calls time and all runners that are more than ½ way to a base will be awarded that base and all runners less than ½ way to a base will return to the previous base.
  18. For each game there will be one or two paid umpires and they will have final say over all plays.

 

  1. Scores must be reported to the league coordinator within 48 hours by the CM team coach for external games or winning coach for games within Chester / Mendham.  Alternately, the applicable coach can enter the score direct if access is given.
  2. Prior to the start of a game the coaches and umpire are required to review the rules as well as any special situations that pertain to the field they are playing on.
  3. Batting helmets with protective masks must be used.
  4. Pitchers must wear a face guard and heart guards are highly recommended.
  5. It is also required that all infielders where a face guard and its recommended for outfields.