Minor League Rules
The primary goal of the Minors Softball league is player development: pitching, hitting, throwing, fielding, catching, running and "thinking" (i.e. softball situational awareness).
In the Minors Softball league, an "ideal" at-bat goes something like this:
- A girl pitcher pitches a ball close enough to the plate to be hit
- The batter hits the ball and everyone on base runs
- Fielders not getting the ball cover their bases or back up a base in case of an overthrown ball
- The fielder nearest the ball fields it and makes a throw to another fielder who tries to catch it and make an out.
In that "ideal" at-bat, all of the players on the field are actively involved in the game.
The game of fastpitch softball revolves around pitching. Learning the fastpitch windmill pitching style is difficult and takes time. Parents need to understand that developing pitchers are going to walk a lot of batters before they begin to master the skills necessary to pitch properly and throw strikes. That can make for some long games. Despite that, we MUST develop pitchers to improve the level of play in our leagues. Good pitchers make for good hitters.
The rules outlined below are intended to promote girl pitching; to ensure the game moves along at a pace which keeps the players interested and involved, and which shifts in emphasis from pitching the first few innings to a more active game with lots of hitting in the later innings.
1) Length of Game
A full game consists of six innings. No new innings will be started after 1 hour and 45 minutes.
2) Batting Order
All players present are placed in the batting order
3a) No walks
3b) No "hit by pitch" - use discretion, girls who are truly hurt may be awarded first base
3c) Girl pitch innings 1-3 (for any team that has players who wish to pitch, otherwise coach pitch)
3d) Coach pitch innings 4-6
3e) Three strike strikeouts
3f) During girl pitch:
1. Batting team's coach stays on the field, out of the way, ready to pitch
2. Girl pitcher pitches until a fair ball is hit or the count reaches three strikes (strikeout - batter is out) or four balls (no walks)
3. After four balls, strike count remains and batting team's coach pitches until the batter strikes out or a fair ball is hit.
4. Defensive team may make one pitching change per inning and may discontinue girl pitching at any time in the interest of keeping the game moving along.
5. Girl pitching MUST be discontinued for the inning after three walks or two batters have been hit by pitches in that inning.
4) Baserunning - Teach the girls to run bases aggressively!
4a) Stealing: Third base only. This MUST be an intentional steal resulting from a signal from a coach. Runners MAY NOT steal simply because a ball gets by the catcher. Runners may not advance home on overthrows to third from the catcher. We allow stealing third base to:
1. Teach baserunners to look for signs from coaches
2. Introduce baserunners to stealing
3. Teach catchers to look for and attempt to throw out runners stealing bases.
4b) Runners should be taught rocker start, advance three steps, decide and should leave their base every pitch. Runners must immediately return to their base once the pitcher has the ball.
4c) Runners may NOT advance on errant throws to the pitcher from a) the catcher; or b) after the runner has stopped advancing- from a fielder in possession of the ball within the infield. (Intent: we want fielders practicing throwing and catching... not running over and handing the pitcher the ball to avoid making a bad throw)
4d) Runners may advance one base on overthrows to first or third base (encourage outfielders to back up throws)
4e) After a hit, runners may (and should be encouraged to) advance until a fielder has possession of the ball within the pitching circle (e.g. within 8 feet of the pitcher's plate). Once a fielder is in possession of the ball within the pitching circle, runners not safely at a base must immediately proceed to the next base or return to the previous one. Runners safely at a base may not advance unless forced to do so.
4f) Sliding is permitted (and should be encouraged). Sliding head first is not permitted (runner is out) and should not be taught at this level of play.
4g) No collisions are allowed (runner is out). Instruct fielders that they may not obstruct base paths if they are not in possession of the ball. In egregious circumstances, award the runner the base they would have obtained had the obstruction not occurred.
5a) Bunting is allowed. Limit of two bunts per half inning. (We want girls to learn to bunt)
5b) No intentional walks.
6) Run Limit
Five run limit per 1/2 inning with continuation - all runs scored on the play in which the 5th run is scored count.