3-Pitch Softball Rules
THREEPITCH & SLOPITCH SOFTBALL RULES COMBINED
(Updated August 2021)
1. Each team can submit a maximum of 25 players. The 25 players can include both full time and reserve players. Your friends and family are welcome to join the team if the company team allows it. All team captains can access a player list online for teams in their division to identify other team players. Teams must have their own set of bases (double bag system for 1st base, a orange/white combination bag is mandatory for all games), bats, gloves and game balls.
2. All teams/captains/players must register online and sign our waiver. Players MUST sign the waiver, there are no exceptions. Changes to your team roster will be allowed at the midway point of the season. The changes to your roster must be done after the game where you’ve reached half games played, and changes finalized before the next game. After this midway point, no other roster changes are allowed. Only opposing team captains or assistants will have the authority to question any other team’s player(s). Photo ID must be produced by the player(s) in question within 5 minutes of the challenge. If the player questioned cannot produce photo ID, then that player cannot participate in the game and the game may resume. If an invalid player is proven to be participating, the game is automatically forfeited as a 7-0 score regardless of the score at the time. All players must be 18 years of age or older to participate.
3. Teams may only use players identified from their online team roster provided at the beginning of the season as well as player changes identified in the mid-year roster changes. Non-roster players are not permitted to play in official games. The only event in which non-roster players are permitted to play, is if the game is ruled a default, and teams want to play for fun. ALL non-roster players who want to play for fun must still be signed up on our website. Companies with more than one team may not share players, unless the two teams are in opposite types of softball. Companies may not share players from other companies or other teams, unless the sharing teams are in opposite types of softball.
1. The umpire will be responsible for making all calls. The umpire’s call is final. No player or spectator is allowed to voice any obscenity or comments about the call or the other players. Players must remain in the dugout during the discussion. The umpire has the authority to remove any player for un-sportsmanlike conduct. The MBSL is a member of NSA Canada. Umpires will enforce MBSL rules, however should a MBSL rule not be available, umpires will refer to NSA rules as needed.
2. All of the facilities that we use are under bylaws restricting the smoking or vaping of any substance. The use of any illegal substance (not limited to alcohol, drugs, etc.) on the field, dugout, stands, parking lot, and sidewalks will not be tolerated before, during or after any MBSL game. Any player or spectator (fan) observed by any league official (Umpire, UIC, Director or President) partaking in such, will be asked to leave the permitted facilities immediately. In the case of this occurring during a game, the player or players on a team or teams that are observed by the umpire, will result in the game be called and the guilty team will forfeit the game or in the case of both teams it will be recorded as a double default. In addition, either the team or teams will be asked to justify their reasoning directly to the league. The league will have the option to suspend the team or teams up to a maximum of 5 regular season or playoff games as well as the option to ban the team or teams from the league indefinitely.
1. Metal cleats are not allowed. If caught you will be ejected. Soccer, football or baseball shoes with rubber studs are allowed.
2. Pitcher masks are not mandatory, but STRONGLY RECOMMENDED.
FIELDING A TEAM
1. 3-Pitch Division: Each team can field 5 men and 5 women. If you do not have a full team, you may field a maximum of 5 men and a minimum of 3 women. You must have a minimum of 3 women to avoid default, and cannot replace the fourth and/or fifth women with men. Teams with more women than men can replace up to 4 of their men with women players, but, you must have 1 male to constitute a coed team.
Slo-pitch Division: The rule differs in the Slo-pitch Division, you can field 6 men and 4 women. You still need a minimum of 3 women and a minimum of 8 total players to continue play.
In either division, if you have less than 8 total players to start the game, after the grace period, this constitutes a default, unless an injury or ejection brings the total number of players below 8.
1. Teams must have their own set of bases, (double bag system for 1st base), 2 foot x 3 foot non-notched mat (if playing in Slo-pitch Division), bats, gloves and game balls.
2. The designated home team must supply an acceptable league approved ball for the game. The following balls are used by the MBSL for all play.
• 12″ Worth Hot Dots .52/275,
Failure by home team to produce acceptable league approved ball will result in default. Opposing captains have option to overrule the default and provide the ball, however this is at their own discretion and are not obligated. Home team supplies the ball, bases and mat (if applicable) for that game, however, both teams must co-operate if not enough bases are available.
3. All bats used in MBSL play must have the “Thumbprint” logo (see website for Bat Rules), exception, wood bats that are Softball bats, no hardball bats allowed. If a non-approved bat is identified, and used in the game, the non-offending team will have the choice of taking the result of the play or have that player called out. A second offence during the game will result in an out being called and an ejection of the player. For bats that are legal for use, please see Bat Rules that are currently on the MBSL website.
1. The batting order allows you to bat 2 males in a row. You are allowed to “box” your female or male batters. This simply means that you do not need to have a name associated with a position in the batting order when you are “boxing” that gender. All eligible players who show up to the game are able to participate at any point in the game and must be placed on the team line up. All players are required to bat (based on their position in the batting line up) and must remain in the batting line up unless injury or ejection forces a player out.
2. Slo-pitch Division: If you walk a male batter he automatically receives 2nd base if followed by a female. The female batter then has the option to either take her at bat, OR she can take 1st base instead.
3. If a bat is considered thrown by the batter and it makes contact with a defensive player or umpire, the batter is automatically out and will be ejected. If the bat does not make contact, batter is provided with one warning. This warning will also be considered a team warning. The next thrown bat will result in the batter being called out.
1. 3-Pitch Division: In this division, your pitcher will pitch to you while your team is at bat. Lob ball only meaning that there must be only one single motion by pitchers arm to deliver the ball to the plate underhanded (no windmill type pitches like in regular softball). The velocity of the ball delivery to the plate can be at any speed. There is no required arc rule. All players are allowed 3 pitches before an out is recorded. If you fail to get a hit after the allotted number of pitches you are out.
Slo-pitch Division: In this division, an opposing pitcher is required to pitch the ball with an arc between 6 and 12 feet. If ball hits mat it is considered a strike. If it misses the mat it is considered a ball unless the batter swings. In this division all teams are required to have a 2 ft. x 3 ft. non-notched mat.
2. 3-Pitch Division: In this division the pitcher is not allowed to touch a ball hit by the batter. If the ball should hit the pitcher, the ball is dead, the pitch counts towards the total of 3 permitted per batter. The pitcher must also make an effort to remain clear of the defensive play once the ball has been hit including clearing way for any infield throws between bases. Defensive team must have control of the ball in the infield for the play to be discontinued.
Slo-pitch Division: In this division, the pitcher may field the ball. Any pitcher/catcher defensive combination can be used by teams (ie. male/male, male/female, and female/female).
3. For both divisions, pitchers must begin their pitch with at least one foot in contact with the pitching rubber OR both feet can start behind the pitching rubber. If there is no rubber, or the rubber is not at 50 feet, a line will be drawn by the umpire 50 feet from home plate (at some parks this may be well behind the pitcher’s rubber). Umpires will call the pitch illegal if the pitcher is pitching from within 50 feet of the batter, a warning will be issued to team pitcher if infraction is repeated, if this is repeated a number of times, the pitcher will be removed from the pitching position for the remainder of the game.
RULES OF PLAY
1. Each game will consist of 7 innings. The game is allotted 1 hour and 15 minutes to complete. Games will start exactly at designated start time. No Grace period will be allowed to start the game. There will be no new inning started after 1 hour and 5 minutes, with no pitch called by the umpire after the allotted match time. We will revert back to the last completed inning if in the middle of an incomplete inning at 1 hour and 15 minutes. If the full 7 innings cannot be completed because of time, rain, darkness, or other unexpected reasons, then the score at the end of the last full inning will stand. A minimum of 4 full innings must be completed (unless the home team is winning) for the game to be considered a complete game. If the game must be suspended, and 4 full innings were not completed the game will resume from where it was halted, at a later date, if possible. If this is not achievable, a tie will be recorded.
2. Bases are 65 feet on all diamonds.
3. Scoring Rule – Match 5. Batting teams cannot exceed 5 runs per inning. After scoring 5 runs, the batting team is out and the opposing team comes to bat. The opposing team can then score 5 runs and the same process will be repeated. There will be an Open Inning during the last inning of the game where both teams can score as many runs as possible.
4. If the away team is losing after the top of the last inning, the game is over. The home team does not go to bat in the bottom of the inning.
5. HR Rule – Match +2 (fenced fields only): No team can be up in home runs over the other team by more than two during any point in the game. An out will be applied if a home run is hit by any team once the Match +2 rule is applicable. A home run is considered a ball hit over the outfield fence on the fly in parks with an outfield. “Hit and Sit” shall be enforced, after the home run is declared by the umpire, all runners return to the dugout immediately and the batter who hit the home run, will retrieve the ball and return to the umpire before the teams next defensive inning. The rule does not apply to inside the park home runs hit at any park. This rule applies to all divisions. Teams must keep track of home runs hit by opposition to ensure accuracy.
6. Substitute runners are only allowed if a player has an existing injury or suffers an injury during the game. If a team begins the game with enough players and, through injury(s) falls below the minimum number of players (men or women) the game can proceed to the end without default. Teams must use the last guy/girl out as the substitute runner. Anyone requiring a substitute runner due to an existing injury must be identified before the game. Substitute runners must be of the same sex. Teams cannot replace runners already on base with a new runner unless an injury has occurred. If an injury occurs to any offensive or defensive player during the game, that player may be taken out of the game and replaced with another player due to the injury.
7. Anticipation is not allowed and runners may advance only after the ball has made contact with the bat. Runner(s) leading-off or anticipating from any base are automatically out (it is a dead ball and the pitch will not count against the batter). A lead off or anticipation is considered when the runner’s foot leaves the bag before the ball is struck.
8. Stealing and bunting are not allowed. A bunt is defined as an infield hit in which the batter does not follow through with a full swing of the bat. The result of this infraction will be declared a “dead ball” and the batter will return to the plate to continue their “at bat”. A warning shall be issued to the batter, the pitch shall count against them and if they do it again during their “at bat”, they will be called out.
9. To avoid collisions at first base, a double bag system will be used. One bag must be on the inside of the foul line and one bag must be on the outside (foul territory) of the foul line. To record an out at first, the defensive player must touch the bag on the inside of the foul line before the runner has reached the bag on the outside of the foul line. Defensive players are not allowed to tag the runner going to first. On a base hit, to the outfield, the runner can touch either orange or white.
10. Sliding is allowed at 2nd and 3rd base. Sliding is NOT allowed at 1st base or home. Because sliding is not allowed at home, a player running from third base must cross a line of commitment, which will be 4 feet from the scoring line. Once the runner crosses the commitment line he/she must continue home. The runner must cross the safe line and be in contact with the ground to score a run. The line must be drawn from the front of the plate back toward the screen. If the ball is caught by the catcher and the catcher is touching home plate or mat, depending upon the division of play, the runner failing to cross the safe line is out. No tagging of the runner is allowed after they cross the commit line. Runners touching or sliding at home plate/mat OR SCORING LINE are automatically out.
11. No blocking by the defensive player of the bases is allowed. Base runners are given priority to the base if a throw to the base is not forthcoming. If the defensive player interferes with the base runner, a delayed dead ball, interference call will be made by the umpire and the appropriate bases will be awarded when play has stopped. Base runners are not allowed to interfere with the defensive play whatsoever including slide rolls or waiving hands in the air in an attempt to obstruct the defensive play. If this occurs, they will be deemed automatically out and the next base runner closes to home will also be called out.
12. Outfielders, including rovers, are not allowed to line up defensively on the dirt portion of the infield. During a play, outfielders and rovers may enter the dirt portion of the infield. Outfielders are not allowed to throw a ball from outfield directly to first base to record an out on any batter runner. Also, all infield players must line up behind baseline prior to ball being hit. Only exception to this rule is pitcher.
13. Teams will report the final score to the umpire for that game. It will be the umpire’s responsibility to give the scores to the league. All teams may utilize the official association score sheets or provide their own sheet and will retain the sheets for each game in the event of any issues requiring league inspection.
SCHEDULES, WEATHER AND CANCELLATIONS
1. Game times, dates, locations will not be altered for any reason from the set schedule. Starting times are indicated on schedule posted on our website www.markhambsl.ca. There is a grace period of 10 minutes allowed during the regular season or playoff games. Should umpires not show up for a scheduled game, teams have the option to reschedule or start their game without an umpire using their own designated umpires. Both teams must agree to play without an umpire otherwise match will be rescheduled.
2. Rainout/Weather cancellations: Teams should always be prepared to be at the diamond ready to play at the assigned time unless the league has advised you of a permit/game cancellation. League will notify teams by 4:00 pm if a permit has been cancelled by the Town of Markham. IF, you do not hear from the league prior to 4:00 pm, you are expected to show up for your scheduled game. IF, the field conditions at game time are deemed unsafe and the field unplayable by the umpire, the game will be cancelled. This being said, the league will be using a dedicated “Weather Hotline”, which will give teams scheduled to play on that particular night, a recorded message clarifying on whether or not games are cancelled that evening (please do not leave a message, as this line is not monitored). This goes for all time slots and diamonds for that evening. This method of letting teams know in real time if they should proceed to their scheduled game is the only communication the league will offer after 4:00 pm. If a game has been cancelled, the league will reschedule. Should a team not comply by being available at the diamond for play and a decision by the umpire is made that the game could be played, the offending team will default. If both teams are not present and a decision is made by the umpire that the game could be played, the game will be recorded as a tie.
1. Teams will not be provided with specific special request game times/dates or locations during playoffs. Game times during playoffs will be allotted 1 hour 10 minutes and no new inning after 60 minutes. The league has the right to assign and/or change game times/dates/locations during the playoffs to accommodate league scheduling. Playoff format will be provided to the teams prior to the season starting. Playoff schedule will be provided when all regular season games have concluded.