Rules – Softball

Softball Rules

Equipment/Field Set-Up:

It is the teams’ responsibility to bring their own gloves and bats to all games. You may want extra balls for warm-up and provide your own catcher’s mask if desired. CSSC strongly encourages the use of the guidelines of Slo Pitch National (SPN) with respect to approved bats and the Amateur Softball Association Non-Approved bat list.


Game Time/Default:

Games are 7 innings in length with a time limit of 1 hour. A default will occur if any team cannot field a squad by 15 minutes after the official start time.

  • If the team that was first to bat is losing after the top of the 7th inning, they have the choice to call the game or let the other team bat.
  • Games that are forced to be cut short due to time or dangerous playing conditions (ie. weather) will end with the final score being the score at the end of the previous completed inning.
  • No new inning can start with 5 minutes left before the formal end time.
  • During playoffs, if the game is tied after the completion of 7 innings, or the expired time, teams will utilize the following format. The team that is up to bat will start the inning by placing their most recent ‘last out’ from a previous inning on 2nd base, with 2 outs. Once 3 outs have been reached, the other team will then place their ‘last out’ from the previous inning on 2nd base (also with 2 outs) and proceed to bat until 3 outs is reached. Teams will take turns doing this until the score is settled upon the completion of a full inning.
  • Teams are comprised of nine (9) players (1 rover) with a minimum of three (3) of each gender. A team can play with a minimum of 7 people, as long as there are two (2) of each gender. A team can also play with 8 people if they only have two of one gender (i.e. 2 women), BUT a team of 9 or more players that only has two women can only have 8 players on defense (you will be playing short 1 person on defense).


General Rules:

Ground Rules

  • A coin toss should determine the home team (except during playoffs, when the higher ranked team will have the choice to bat 1st or 2nd.
  • The rover may play anywhere on the field with the exception of the catcher’s position and within the baselines before the ball is hit.
  • Each inning is played with 3 outs or when a team scores a maximum of five (5) runs. EXCEPTION: A team has no run limit in the final inning of the game.
  • 1st base and home plate will have “safety bases” to avoid contact. At first base, there will be a portion base dedicated to the first basemen and a portion dedicated to the base runner. At home plate, there is a base for the catcher to touch and a line the runner must cross. For the other bases, fielders should be touching 1 side of the base allowing a baserunner to touch the base without interference. There is absolutely no sliding. Any base runner that slides is automatically out.
  • There is a “commitment line” halfway between 3rd base and home plate marked with an extra base. Once the runner has crossed this line, they cannot return to 3rd base. If they do, it is an automatic out.
  • A “force out” will always be in effect between 3rd base and home plate once the baserunner has crossed over the “suicide line”, meaning that a team can touch home plate with the ball rather then tag the runner to achieve an out.
  • A player can overrun 1st base without being tagged out if they continue to follow the foul line or stay to the right of it.
  • The team at bat provides their own pitcher. (this can be changed if agreed upon by captains) If a hit ball touches the pitcher, the ball is declared dead and the pitch is done over – base runners return to their previous bases and the pitch count is restored. (Pitchers should do their best to avoid making contact with a hit ball).
  • Every batter can receive a maximum of three (3) pitches. All foul balls, wild pitches, strikes and balls count as one of the three pitches. The only exception is a ball that hits the pitcher.
  • There is no bunting or faking to bunt. However, a ball that is hit with a full swing, but does not go past the pitcher IS a live, playable ball.
  • The batting order is two (2) men followed by one (1) woman – but teams that have more women than men can alter this format. The male order and female order must always stay the same, although the order when mixed may change depending on the male/female ratio. A team must use their full roster for batting (i.e. players cannot only play defense), and all players must bat before a male player can bat for the second time (this may change the male/female order). If a team only has two women present, the batting order will be 2 men, woman A, 2 men, woman B, 2 men, woman A etc. The spot where woman C should have been will NOT be an automatic out. The batting order should remain intact from inning to inning. The first player to bat in an inning is the person following the player who recorded the last at bat from the previous inning.
  • Mercy rule: If a team is up by 15 runs or more after any inning of play, the losing team has the option of calling the game or choosing to continue.
  • There are no lead-offs for base runners; you must wait until the batter has made contact with the ball. Please respect this rule.
  • Foul ball calls (balls that are hit outside of the base lines) should be made by the catcher. Controversial “out” or “safe” calls at each of the bases should be made by “base-coaches” – i.e. extra players on the offensive team. If base-coaches are not being used, all controversial calls should be made by the pitcher. Please do your best to ensure that the game is being called in a fair manner.
  • A ‘foul ball’ pop-up behind home plate can only be caught for an out, if it goes higher than 3 metres (10 feet). A ball not exceeding this height, is considered a ‘strike’.
  • Players on base are allowed to “tag-up” on a pop fly. Base runners must not leave the base until the fielder has caught the ball.
  • There is no “infield-fly” rule in effect. However, it is poor sportsmanship to purposely drop a ball to try and get a double play.
  • If a ball is overthrown at 1st or 3rd base and goes ‘out of play’ – which is over the fence, into the dugout, beyond the extended backstop etc., then the base runners can advance 1 ‘free’ base. If the ball stays in play (hits fence, etc) then the ball is live, and the runners can advance at their own risk.
  • Base runners must stay along the base paths. They cannot move more then 3 feet away from an imaginary line or they will be deemed out.
  • Pinch runners should only be pinch runner if the batter is injured on a play. You are only allowed to substitute for a player once the batter has reached first base.
  • Players in the field are not allowed to stand inside the baselines before a player attempts to hit a ball. ie. Shortstop can’t come up and stand beside pitcher before batter has swung at ball.
  • No metal cleats are allowed.

Captains should decide prior to the start of the game if they are going to play any ground rules with regards to boundaries. Please make sure that both teams are aware of these rules.

Rough Play:


All players should go out of their way to avoid creating an unsafe play.  This rule supersedes all others.