Washington County Senior Softball
Washington County Senior Softball League
Rules and Responsibilities
Updated July 01, 2021
(Changes are reflected with an asteric *)
Code of Ethics
As a participant in Washington County Senior Softball League, I agree to conduct myself as a gentleman or lady both on and off the
field and when playing I will:
- Abide by the “WCSSL Playing Rules” to the best of my ability.
- Accept the decision of the umpires and my team manager in good sportsmanship.
- No use of Tobacco or Alcohol at any WCSSL field (city and county rules).
- Never taunt nor degrade my opponent.
- Avoid bodily contact that may cause injury to myself or others.
- Never direct abusive or profane language at officials or opponents.
- Exercise control over my family members and friends to the extent possible.
- Never commit any act that could be considered unsportsmanlike conduct.
- Game Rules
- Official Senior Softball-USA (SS-USA) slow-pitch softball rules apply, except as modified/reinforced herein. (see seniorsoftball.com – click on tab Tournaments + Rules).
- There shall be no rule changes on the field.
- All WCSSL players are expected to abide by the Code of Ethics document.
a. All bats used by any player must be certified and approved by the league prior to use in practice or a game. Bats with a BPF rating of 1.21 and on the approved list by SSUSA are authorized for players 70 and older and all FEMALE players. ALL players under 70 shall use bats with a BPF rating of 1.20 and have certifications for ASA/USA Softball. Also, bats certified in prior years remain legal for league use unless an older bat is decertified by ASA/USA Softball due to failed re-testing or if the bat was voluntarily removed by the manufacturer from re-testing.
b. Managers are responsible to assure that players on their team do not use illegal or unapproved bats. The penalty for use of an illegal or altered bat to enhance performance, the player will be called out and no runners on base shall advance. Any repeated offenses will result in the player being ejected from the game. Use of any illegal “loaded” bat will cause immediate suspension.
c. Softballs used for league play are determined by the Board annually. Men hit the 12-inch softball & women hit the 11-inch official softball.
d. Metal Cleats are not permitted.
e. Uniforms- WCSSL acquires team sponsors. Each uniform will have a minimum 5” number on the back and no number shall be the same.
3. The Team
a. All regular team members will be included in the batting order and play at least three innings of the game on defense. All players present will be included in the batting order.
* b. A team may play with no less than nine players from start to finish and may use a volunteer catcher from the opposing team. If unable to play with at least nine players, the game is forfeited. If a team has ten (10) or less roster players available, the manager may acquire the number of Extra Players necessary from teams not playing that day.
* c. Extra Players (EP). Any player from another team not playing that day may be an EP including a manager or coach. The EP shall bat last in the batting order.
d. If a regular team member arrives late, he or she shall be placed at the end of the batting lineup and into the defense. If an EP was in use, the EP shall stay in the game, but will bat only. The EP could return to defense if there is an injury or other reason to necessitate the need.
e. If a player has to leave the game prior to its completion, the team will not be charged an out due to the vacancy. The line-up simply “collapses”.
f. Teams may play with an eleventh player; the “short fielder or roaming player” who may play as an extra infielder or outfielder. This position if used as a short fielder must play in the grass behind the infield and may play in front of the 165 foot line which forms an arc from home plate, which all outfielders must play behind.
4. The Playing Field
a. A commitment line shall be placed between third base and home, marked across and perpendicular to the foul line and placed thirty feet from home plate and 40 feet from third base. Once a runner has crossed the commitment line he/she cannot return to third base and must continue home.
b. A strike zone mat is placed at Home plate to determine the strike zone.
c. A 165 foot arc from home plate is to be placed prior to the game. All outfielders must play behind the arc.
d. Bases shall be set 70 feet apart.
e. There is to be a “double” base at first. All runners must touch the outside base.
f. Home plate for runners is perpendicular from the first base line and 8 (eight) feet from the batting home plate. All runners coming home to score must touch this base.
g. The Home Team sits at the First base “dugout” and the third base side is the visiting team. Exception may be at City Park fields where seating is inadequate or nonexistent.
5. The Game
a. All single games begin at 6:00 PM and will be 8 innings. In the event of a shortened game due to weather or darkness, a game will be considered complete at 5 innings, 4 ½ if the home team has the lead. After 5 innings, shortened games will revert back to the last complete innings unless the home team has the lead.
b. Game cancellations due to inclement weather or extreme heat are determined by the managers. However, managers must adhere to any decision by the Board of Directors or the field maintenance crews regarding fitness of the ground for a game or any cancellation.
c. Flip-Flop Rule-If a team is ahead by 15 or more runs after 7 innings, the team behind may remain at bat after three outs and start the last inning. If the team fails to tie or go ahead, the game ends. However, if the team behind does tie or go ahead, the team that was on the field will take their turn at bat their last inning.
d. Plays at Home Plate: On all plays at home, the defensive player needs only to be in possession of the ball and touch home plate (not the extension plate). An out will be recorded if home is touched before the runner touches the extension plate. Tagging the runner in this situation is not allowed.
e. THE PITCH to the batter must have an arc of at least 6 feet from the ground and no more than 12 feet high. The umpire determines if the pitch is illegal and should make the call as soon as the under 6 or over 12 is determined. If illegal is called, it is a ball. However, the batter may still hit the ball.
f. A strike is called when the pitched ball hits any part of the home plate or mat.
g. Intentional walks are allowed and may be called for by simply a motion by the pitcher.
h. WALK to a male batter, whether intentional or not, if before a female batter, will be awarded two bases. The female then has the option of taking her at bat or accepting a walk.
a. With only a few exceptions, the team batting will provide the umpires during their half of the inning. These Base and Home Plate Umpires are selected by the Managers of each team based on their ability to judge calls and knowledge of game rules. The opposing manager may discretely request the removal of any umpire that they deem incapable or lack the proper knowledge to call a fair game.
b. If necessary, the umpires may confer with each other to make a decision on a call. The manager is permitted to inquire on their interpretation of these rules.
c. Every effort should be made by the Managers to resolve issues and rules interpretations during the game. However, if necessary, the WCSSL Board of Directors will review and make decisions on any rule interpretations and render a final decision.
d. INFIELD FLY - Any umpire may make a call on an infield fly which is deemed as a “fair fly ball”, not including a line drive, which can be caught by any infielder, pitcher or catcher with ordinary effort. This pertains to when the bases are occupied at 1st and 2nd or if the bases are loaded with less than 2 out.
7. At Bat
a. If a foul ball is hit on the third strike, the batter is out. Similarly, for all double-header games, the count will start at 1-1 and a foul on strike three is an out.
b. Any foul tip caught by the catcher before hitting the ground is ruled an out, regardless of height of the foul.
8. Base Runner Rules
a. There shall be NO sliding or diving into or back to a base. If determined by the umpire, the runner will be called out. Exception, sliding into second or third base IS permitted IF necessary to avoid a collision with the defensive player. There shall be NO diving into any base. If that occurs, the runner will be called out.
b. The Batter/runner must touch the “orange” or outside portion of the double base at first base when running thru the base. However, if going for extra bases, may use the “white” or inside base to continue to second.
c. When a runner from third passes the commitment line, he/she MUST continue home. The runner will be called out if returning to third after crossing the commitment line.
d. As described in 4-f, the original home plate is used by the defense. If any runner coming home to score does NOT go to the scoring plate and touches the original home plate, they will be called out.
e. All runners shall advance one base on overthrows. At the time the ball goes out of play, runners will be given the base they were going to PLUS the next base. If multiple runners are on base, the advancement is determined by the position of the lead runner.
f. Avoiding Collisions, A runner must make every effort to avoid colliding with a defensive player while running bases. If, in the umpire’s judgment the runner missed a base to avoid a collision with a defensive player, the runner will not be called out. Furthermore, if a runner is forced out prior to reaching the base on a force play, the runner should peel out so as to not interfere with a double play. In such a case, the umpire may rule the other runner out.
* g. All batters are required to run to first base. The only exception is 70+ players who ask for a Courtesy Runner (CR) from home plate. Additionally, a team may designate ONE player less than 70 that has an injury that prevents running from home. In these situations, the CR will start behind the Catcher with his/her hand on the backstop perpendicular to the first base line and can start AFTER the ball is struck by the batter. The batter/base runner is limited to first base only unless there is an overthrow by the defense that goes out of play.
h. Once any batter reaches first base, they may request a Courtesy Runner.
i. Courtesy Runner (CR) – Any player in the lineup can serve as a CR, however, just one time per inning. Once a CR is on the base for another player, he/she cannot be replaced by another CR. In a situation where the CR cannot continue or if the CR is on base when it is his/her turn to bat, an out is recorded and the CR becomes the batter. The only exception to this rule is when a CR becomes injured or ill while on base. In that case, the injured CR is removed from the game and lineup, a new CR is permitted and no out will be recorded either on the base or when the batter comes up for next at bat.
9. Safe Zone
a. The playing field shall have a marginal line in the outfield in the form of an arc 165 feet from home plate for the purpose of forming a Safe Zone between the infield and outfield. The line shall be clearly marked so that it is understood by all players.
b.All outfielders shall play behind the line until the ball is hit. Likewise, all infielders must remain in the dirt portion of the infield until the ball is struck.
c. If early Safe Zone encroachment occurs by the defense, (judgment of the umpire) the batter shall be awarded first base and any runners on base will advance one base.
d. Batter/Base runner shall be awarded first base when a batted ball reaches the grass in the Safe Zone. Force out play on all other on-base runners can be made as under regular playing rules.
10. Scoring Limitations
a. A team will be limited to scoring 5 runs per inning with two exceptions, the last inning when unlimited runs can be scored and if a team is 6 or more behind. In that case, the team can score more than 5, but no more than to cause a tie game.
b. In extra innings, there are no limitations on runs scored by either team.
11. Make Up Games
a. Games that are not played because of weather or are not completed due to weather or darkness will be played/completed within the next two times that the teams are scheduled to play as a Doubleheader or a standalone game, whichever the coaches agree. As a convenience, either team manager may postpone one time the makeup game. However any delay past two games will be considered a forfeit by the team not willing to participate.
b. Make up Doubleheader games will be 6 innings in length with batters starting with a 1 ball/ 1 strike count. These games will be considered complete after 4 innings or 3 ½ if the home team is in the lead.
c. When a game that was stopped due to weather, when they resume will pick up at the last completed inning. When resuming the game, each team may start with a new line up and will start at the top of the batting order like it was a new game.
Additional SSUSA Rules NOT required by WCSSL.
6.17 Pitcher protective face mask- Recommended only