PITCHING, BASE PATH DISTANCES AND RECOMMENDED FIELD DISTANCES
8-10 & Under, Pitching 35 feet, Base Path 60 feet, Playing Field 200 feet
11-12 & Under, Pitching 40 feet, Base Path 60 feet, Playing Field 200 feet
13-18 & Under, Pitching 43 feet, Base Path 60 feet, Playing Field 200 feet

NOTE: Every effort should be made by the Umpire to obtain the correct dimensions. If the base distances or the pitching distance is found to be at the wrong dimensions during the course of the game, the error shall be corrected immediately, with no penalty. The game shall continue and shall not be protested for this reason.

Section 1:
THE YOUTH FASTPITCH PROGRAM WILL BE DIVIDED INTO THE FOLLOWING CLASSIFICATIONS. A player’s age on December 31, of the previous sanction year determines the age classification in which the player is eligible to participate. Any player 17, or who reaches their 17th birthday, or who graduates from High School in the calendar year of the current World Series, shall be eligible to participate in the Adult Open World Series Tournament.

Section 3:
The Fastpitch season and Team registration will run from August 1 Until July 31. Tournaments and leagues played after August 1, will qualify teams for the following summer’s State and World Series Tournaments. All teams playing between August 1 and December 31 must play by the following year’s eligibility classifications.

2.1 BATTING HELMET:
In the Youth program, NOCSAE approved batting helmets with extended ear flaps, which cover both ears and temples are mandatory for all batters, on deck batters, base runners, non-adult base coach, non-adult bat & ball shaggers in live ball territory, even if the ball is dead. Batting helmets must have NOCSAE approved attached face mask/guard. A commercially manufactured face mask/guard may be attached to a batting helmet, provided it is attached by the manufacture; or a face mask/guard may be attached to a helmet that does not have a face mask, provided the attachment procedure is approved by the manufacture. A chinstrap is optional.

2.2 CATCHER’S EQUIPMENT:
In the Youth program, the catcher shall wear a NOCSAE approved head protector (with dual earflaps), an approved mask with throat protector, a body chest protector and shin guards. If a hockey style NOCSAE approved catchers helmet is used, a separate throat protector is not needed. A male catcher or any male player warming up a pitcher shall wear an approved protective cup.

2.3 THE BALL:
The official ball to be used shall have raised seams and shall be of spherical design with a smooth surface. The center or core of the ball shall be of a material and design traditionally used to make softballs, or of other material, or design, approved by the USSSA. The cover shall be of horsehide, cowhide, or other material approved by USSSA and shall be cemented to the core and stitched with cotton, linen, or nylon or any other material approved by USSSA. A multiple layer core design ball or a multiple material core design ball may be approved in the sole discretion of the USSSA on a case-by-case basis. The stitch color must be blue. The internal composition of the core and the material of the cover must be clearly printed on the ball and the words “Official Fastpitch Softball” must be clearly printed on the ball.
FASTPITCH (12”) OPTIC YELLOW COVER ONLY -BLUE STITCH Ball - must have “USSSA FASTPITCH CLASSIC “, in 1/8” minimum letters and the USSSA logo in at least 1-1/8” diameter. Lettering and logo in blue. Compression: Maximum of 375# COR: 46.25 +/- 0.75 Circumference: 12 +/- 1/8” Weight: 6.6 +/- 0.30 oz.
FASTPITCH (11”) OPTIC YELLOW COVER ONLY -BLUE STITCH Ball - must have “USSSA FASTPITCH CLASSIC “, in 1/8” minimum letters and the USSSA logo in at least 7/8” diameter. Lettering and logo in blue. Compression: Maximum of 375# COR: 46.25 +/- 0.75 Circumference: 11 +/- 1/8” Weight: 6.0 +/- 0.20 oz.
All 10 year old and younger divisions shall use the 11-inch softball. All other programs shall use the 12-inch softball. Altered Balls and the potential of a ball being altered and those suspected of altering, owning or using an altered ball (or determined to have altered, owned or used an Altered Ball) shall be viewed as falling under the same rules in place for Altered bats.

2.4 SHOES:
Shoes are required equipment for all participants. All players must wear shoes with plastic, nylon, canvas, leather or similar synthetic material uppers. Spikes must not extend in excess of 3/4 -inch from the sole and may not be round.
A. (Youth 12U and younger) The sole may be smooth, have soft or hard rubber cleats. Shoe sole or heel protectors other than the standard shoe plate are prohibited. In all divisions 12 and Under and younger, Metal cleats and metal toe plates are prohibited. PENALTY: In divisions which do not allow metal cleats and toe plates, a player who participates with metal cleats or toe plates where prohibited is subject to penalties as per Rule 11 Sportsmanship. Metal cleats and toe plates must be removed prior to continuing play.
B. (Adult or13U and older ) The sole may be smooth, have soft or hard rubber cleats or rectangular metal cleats. Shoes with detachable cleats that screw into the sole of the shoe are allowed. Pitching toes are allowed for all players as long as the pitching toes are securely fastened.

2.5 JEWELRY (Youth only – 18 & Under and younger):
Exposed jewelry, which is judged by the umpire as dangerous, is not permitted and must be removed. Medical alert items are not considered jewelry. If worn, they must be taped to the body so medical alert information remains visible. Flat, unadorned items with no sharp edges or points, such as bobby pins, barrettes, and hair clips (no longer than 2 inches) may be worn as hair control devices. Coaches wristbands (play indicators) are legal but must be worn as designed when batting. Violations are penalized per Rule 11 - Sportsmanship.

2.8 UNIFORMS:
At all national and world qualifying tournaments, teams must wear identical uniforms. This includes jerseys, long pants or shorts and leggings. Whether long pants or shorts are worn, all team members must be uniformed alike. NOTE: Tournament directors may, on an individual basis, permit a player to participate while wearing a different style uniform for religious reasons, inclement weather, etc. Players shall wear uniforms properly and as designed by the manufacturer.
A. Caps are optional, however when worn they must be all alike and worn with the Bill forward. Caps, visors and headbands may be mixed. If worn, a headband must be one piece, and a single solid color. Plastic visors and bandannas are prohibited
B. Any exposed undergarment becomes part of the uniform and must be solid color. All exposed undershirts must be the same color. All exposed undershorts (sliders) must be the same color.
C. Non duplicating numbers will be required at all national and World Series qualifying tournaments. 0 and 00, 1 and 01 are examples of different numbers. The numbers must be minimum of three inches in size and clearly visible.
D. Coaches must be neatly attired. Base coaches do not have to be identically dressed.

2.10 THE OFFICIAL BAT:
Shall be round in cross section, straight in length and measure not more than 34 inches long, including tape or other grip additions to the bat,shall have a knob at the end of its handle, and not more than 2-1/4 inches in diameter at its largest part. Its weight shall not exceed 31-ounces, including tape or grip addition to the bat. The bat shall have a grip of tape or some other material to facilitate holding the bat during the batter’s swing. The grip shall be not less than 10 inches long for 32”-34” long bats and not less than 8” long for smaller bats, nor extend to touch the taper or barrel of the bat. All key graphics, including USSSA and BPF markings, must be permanent and cannot be applied as decals or by any other method that would allow the key graphics to be easily removed or added to the bat.
A. material. THE BAT may be made of hard wood of one piece, or laminated from sections of hard wood bonded together with adhesive in such a way that the grain directions of all the pieces are essentially parallel to the length of the bat. THE BAT may also be made of aluminum or other metals, fiberglass, graphite or composite materials.
B. Construction. The bat may be made in pieces from different materials but must have a closed barrel end, a taper, a handle and a taper. The bat may be modular with interchangeable parts, subject to additional safety and tampering requirements as set forth in the standard USSSA Bat Licensing Agreement. The knob portion must be welded or mechanically attached to the bat. Only USSSA approved bats, USSSA approved weighted bats or USSSA approved bat weight attachments, may be used by the on deck batter while loosening up on the field.
C. Official Softball. Authorized bat manufacturers shall mark their products with the words “Official Softball”. For wood bats only, authorized bat manufacturers may mark their products with the word “Softball”.
D. Other Criteria for Legal USSSA Bats. 1. The performance standard for all non-wooden bats will be a Bat Performance Factor (BPF) of 1.20, or less under the ASTM BPF test as applied under the standard USSSA Bat License Agreement. Only bats made by those bat manufacturers listed on the USSSA website as USSSA Licensed Softball Bat Manufacturers and that have the New USSSA 1.20 BPF Mark on the taper of the bat will be legal in USSSA sanctioned play. Wood bats, however, that are made by USSSA Licensed Softball Bat Manufacturer will be legal in USSSA sanctioned play without any 1.20 BPF mark being required * Any bat on the USSSA Withdrawn And/Or Non-Compliant List shall be an illegal bat. 2. Any addition to the handle or knob area of a bat is altering the bat if and only if it adds any length to the bat or adds more than half an ounce of weight to the bat. Tournament Directors at the request of USSSA National Office may, however, allow for up to an inch increase in length and up to an ounce increase in weight for an addition to the knob area that is placed on bats in a tournament for the purpose of gathering swing/batted ball data (such as bat speed) for USSSA National Office, provided that the Tournament Director insures that the addition is securely added to the knob and will not create any significant safety concern.
E. Altered Bat Director Inspection and Suspension. A USSSA Director may at any time ask to inspect a bat that has been brought into the location of a USSSA sanctioned event or any other USSSA facility. The owner and/or user may either: 1. Withhold the bat from inspection and accept an immediate two year (automatic life for second time offenders under EI and/or E) suspension from USSSA sanctioned activities with no right to appeal; or, 2. Allow the Director to inspect the bat and reach a conclusion as to whether or not the bat might be altered. EI. Altered Bat Determination by Altered Bat Committee Chairman or manufacturer. If, after making the inspection of a potential altered bat, the Director in their discretion decides that the bat might be an altered bat, the suspected offending owner and/or user and may either: 1. Withhold the bat from further examination by the USSSA Altered Bat Committee Chairman or Manufacturer of the bat and accept an immediate two year (up to life for second time offenders under sections E and/or EI) suspension from USSSA sanctioned activities with no right to appeal; or 2. Allow the Director to send the bat to the USSSA Altered Bat Committee Chairman and/or Manufacturer of the bat for a determination as to whether or not the bat is altered. If the Manufacturer or the USSSA Altered Bat Committee Chairman determines that the bat has been altered, the Altered Bat Committee Chairman in consultation with the Director who inspected the bat at the USSSA facility may suspend a first time offender for up to five (5) years from USSSA play. For a second time offender under E and/or EI, any such suspension will be for life.
F. Ownership and Knowledge of Bat Being Altered. The responsibility for knowing whether a bat is altered is that of the users and the owner of the bat. If an individual uses an altered bat in USSSA sanctioned play or is the owner of an altered bat that is brought into a USSSA facility, the suspensions under this Rule 2, Section 10 will be imposed without regard to what the individual actually knew about the altered bat. An individual must know that their bat is not an altered bat, if they bring it into a USSSA facility or used it in a USSSA sanctioned activity. If not, the individual can be suspended from USSSA activities for using or owning an altered bat. The fact that the individual did not know that the bat was altered is not a factor in imposing the suspension. The only question is whether the bat is altered or whether the owner/user has refused to let the bat be examined to determine if it is altered. After the Director, Altered Bat Committee and Manufacturer examination of a bat to determine if it is altered have all been completed, or upon the decision of the owner/user to not allow further inspection of the bat under E or EI, above, the bat shall be returned to the owner. If no one claims to be the owner, USSSA shall retain the bat. Once the bat has been returned to the owner, no appeal can be made with respect to whether the bat is altered or not.
G. Investigation Cooperation. Any coach, manager, player or other person who fails to cooperate in the investigation by USSSA of a potential or actual altered bat shall be subject to an unsportsmanlike conduct suspension. A manager or coach of a team that has more than one of their team’s bats determined to be altered (or not allowed to be inspected upon request for an altered bat inspection under E and/or EI, above) shall be subject to an unsportsmanlike conduct suspension.
H. Awards and Coach Suspensions If an owner/user chooses to submit a suspected altered bat to the USSSA Altered Bat Committee or the Manufacturer no awards will be given to the team until the bat is determined not to be altered. If the bat is found to be altered, no awards or berth will be given and the team will be placed last in the standings and the listed manager and coaches may be suspended for unsportsmanlike conduct.
I. Participation in, Profits from, or Encouraging the Altering of USSSA marked Bats. Anyone who participates in, profits from, or encourages the altering of USSSA marked bats shall be suspended indefinitely from all USSSA activities, until the offending party has satisfied all requests of the Altered Bat Committee with respect to their altered bat activities including but not limited to publicly swearing under penalties of perjury to never again participate in, profit from, or encourage the altering of USSSA marked bats. Violation of such an oath shall result in permanent suspension from all USSSA activities.
J. Compression Testing. Failure of a USSSA approved compression testing device test shall result in the offending bat being removed from play for the duration of the tournament or league game, not longer without the permission of the owner/user—such as in the case of an allowed USSSA altered bat determination under section EI. Multiple failures of such USSSA compression testing may in the discretion of USSSA be viewed as unsportsmanlike conduct of the owner/user, coaches, manager and team.
K. Custom Bats. No approved manufacturer may make a custom USSSA bat for a player or a team. All USSSA marked bats made by a USSSA approved manufacturer must be available to the public for purchase. Individualized graphics (such as a team name, different color, player name or number only changes for a team or player), however, do not constitute custom bats for purposes of this section K.
L. Worn/Abused/Damaged/Foreign Substance Bats Not Allowed in USSSA Sanctioned Play. 1. No bat is legal for USSSA sanctioned play, if it is damaged in any way. Damaged bats include those with damage to the knob or end cap, those which have loose knobs or end caps, and those with cracks or dents in the bat material. The bat shall not have exposed rivets, pins, rough or sharp edges or any form of exterior fastener that would present a hazard. Bats shall be free of rattles and burrs. For example, it the end cap is in any way loose or appears damaged, the bat should be removed from play for being a damaged bat. If an end plug has come out or the knob has come off, the only way that such bat is legal in USSSA play, is if the knob or end cap is replaced by the manufacturer. Replacement by anyone else results in an altered bat with potential suspension for the owner/user of the bat. 2. No bat is legal for USSSA sanctioned play, if any of the graphics of the bat have worn off. For example, even if the only graphics that have worn off are not Key Graphic Information and are only items such as the patent no., a manufacturer logo, or the approval mark of another association, the bat should be removed from play for being too worn. 3. No bat is legal for USSSA sanctioned play, if the paint has been worn through and the actual bat material is showing. For example, if at the end of the barrel next to the taper where there are no graphics the bat paint is worn off and the underlying bat material is exposed, that bat should be removed from play for being too worn. 4. No bat is legal for USSSA sanctioned play, if there is a foreign substance on the barrel or taper of a baseball or softball bat. Foreign substances included among other substances, pine tar, stick-em type products and even dirt or mud, but only if the substance adds to the thickness of the barrel or covers Key Graphic Information such as the USSSA 1.20 BPF mark, the serial number of the bat, the model or manufacturer name, official softball, etc.. Players are responsible for their equipment and must clean such substances off of their bats so that the substance does not add to the thickness of the bat or obscure any Key Graphics Information about the bat. For example, while bats will surely get dirt on them under normal use and may have pine tar added to the grip, if the dirt or pine tar obscures Key Graphic Information or adds to the thickness of the bat, such bats cannot be used in USSSA play until the dirt or pine tar has been removed to the extent necessary to make all such Key Graphic Information readable and the bat not have increased thickness. If Key Graphic Information about a bat cannot be read, the bat should not be used in USSSA play. 5. If any removed bat under these section L rules is brought back into play at any USSSA sanctioned event at any time, the owner and user of such bat may be suspended for up to one year for unsportsmanlike conduct. And if the foreign substance or the wear/abuse/damage is apparent enough that the batter should have been aware of it, the batter may be so suspended for bringing such a bat into the batter’s box without having been warned in advance. Players are responsible for their equipment and must not use equipment that is even potentially illegal for use in USSSA sanctioned play. 6. In addition to the player being suspended for unsportsmanlike conduct, coaches of youth teams may also be so suspended when their players attempt to bat with such bats. Also, coaches of adult teams which have multiple offenses under this rule may also be so suspended for failing to have their team follow USSSA equipment rules. Please be reminded that unsportsmanlike conduct can result in a game or tournament suspension in the discretion of the Umpire or tournament director and up to a year suspension in the discretion of the state director.
M. Youth Player Altered Bats. The parents or legal guardians of a youth player suspended under section E and/or EI shall be suspended for life from all USSSA sanctioned activities. As such, the player even after their suspension has ended under E and/or EI. Can not participate in USSSA sanctioned activities Until the player is 18 years old. In addition to any other penalties under this Rule 2, Section 10, any coach or manager of a youth team that has more than one suspension imposed under sections E and/or EI. will be suspended from all USSSA activities for life.

2.11 BAT WARMERS:
Bat Warmers approved by USSSA are permitted.

2.12 WARM-UP BAT
No player may use more than two bats when warming up in the on-deck circle. A warm-up bat shall have all parts permanently and securely attached at the time of manufacture and at the time of use. Devices added to a bat for warmup purposes shall be commercially manufactured specifically for a softball bat and shall be securely attached, so as not to disengage during use. Such Devices shall take, but not exceed, the general shape and size of a bat including the grip. Only USSSA approved bats, USSSA approved weighted bats, or USSSA approved bat weight attachments may be used in loosening up. Nothing such as a donut or fan may be used when loosening up.

4.3 TIME LIMITS:
Tournament Directors and League Officials may establish time limits such that a game will consist of seven (7) innings or the amount of time specified, whichever comes first. No new inning will begin once the time limit has expired. Any inning which has been started prior to the time limit expiring will be completed. The time begins when the pre-game conference ends and the home team is allowed to take the field. A new inning begins as soon as the third out is recorded in the previous inning. If the game is still tied after the time limit has expired, the tie breaker rule shall be in effect at the start of the next inning.

4.4 RUN RULE:
Awards a win to a team that has a 12 runs lead after 3 completed innings or 2 1/2 innings if the home team is ahead, 10 runs after 4 completed innings or 3 1/2 innings if the home team is ahead, 8 runs lead after 5 completed innings or 4 1/2 innings if the home team is ahead.

4.5 TIEBREAKER:
After the completion of 7- innings, or when time limits have expired, and the score is still tied, the tiebreaker procedure will begin. The player, who had the last completed at bat, assumes a position on 2nd base. A substitute may be inserted. A courtesy runner may be used for the pitcher or catcher. This procedure would be done at the beginning of each half inning; until a winner is determined. If the absent player is scheduled to begin the half inning at second base, no out is declared. The player whose name precedes the absent player in the line-up is placed on second base. If the wrong player is placed on second base, the correct runner should be inserted immediately even if a pitch has been thrown, or the runner has advanced a base. All play made while the incorrect runner was on base stands. It is the responsibility of the Umpire and scorekeeper to notify the teams involved as to which player starts the half inning at second base.

4.6 REGULATION GAME: 
A.) A game ends when the team behind in score has completed its turn at bat in the seventh inning, in any extra inning, or the time limit has expired. If the home team scores a go ahead run in the bottom of the seventh inning, in any extra inning or the time limit has expired the game is terminated at that point. NOTE: See Rule 4-2-B for runs scoring on dead-ball awards in “walk-off” situations.
B.) If a game is suspended and later resumed, it will be continued from the point of suspension, with the lineup and batting order of each team exactly the same as at the point of suspension.
C.) If a game ends because of weather conditions and the Tournament Director feels that the possibility of resuming the game is not likely, it is then a regulation game provided: 1. Three full innings have been played; or if the home team has scored an equal or greater number of runs in two or two and a fraction turns at bat than the visiting team has scored in their three-inning turn. 2. Play has gone beyond three full innings and is called when the teams have not had an equal number of completed turns at bat. The score shall be the same as it was at the end of the last completed inning; unless the home team in its half of the incomplete inning, scores a run (or runs) which equals or exceeds the opponent’s score, in which case, the final score shall be as recorded when the game is called.

4.7 FORFEITED GAME:
A.)
A game shall be forfeited to the offended team by the Tournament Director when a team: 1. Is late in appearing or in beginning play after the Umpire calls “Play Ball.” 2. Refuses to continue play after the game has started. 3. Delays more than one minute in resuming play after the Umpire calls “Play ball” or in obeying the Umpire’s order to remove a player for violation of the rules. 4. Persists in tactics designed to delay or shorten the game. 5. Willfully and persistently violates any one of the rules after being warned by the Umpire. 6. Can not provide the required number of eligible players to start or continue a game.
B.) Score of a forfeited game is 7 to 0 unless the game is forfeited after the number of innings required for a regulation game and the offending team is behind, then the score remains as recorded. If the offending team is leading, the score shall be 7 to 0. All individual and team averages shall be included in the official records, except that no pitcher shall be credited with a victory or charged with a loss in such a game if it is not a regulation game.

4.8 CHARGED CONFERENCE:
A. Defense - Each team when on defense, may be granted not more than three charged conferences without penalty during a seven-inning game to permit coaches or their representatives from the bench to confer with a defensive player or players. In any extra inning game, each team shall be permitted one charged conference without penalty each inning while on defense. The number of charged conferences is not cumulative. A coach, player, substitute or an attendant may make a request for time for a conference. This defensive team charged conference is effective when the ball first becomes live at the start of each half inning. PENALTY: After three charged conferences in a seven inning game, or for any charged conference in excess of one in each extra inning, the pitcher shall be removed as a pitcher for the duration of the game.
B. Offense: Each team, when on offense, may be granted not more than one charged conference per inning to permit the coach or any of that team’s personnel to confer with the base runners, the batter, the ondeck batter or other offensive team personnel. The Umpire shall deny any subsequent offensive team request for charged conferences. This offensive team charged conference rule is effective when the ball first becomes live in each half inning. When a defensive player requests time to speak to one or more defensive players, base runners may not abandon the vicinity of their bases without it being a charged offensive conference. NOTE: If either team is charged with a conference, base runners are no longer restricted to the vicinity of their bases.
C. Not charged 1. Time granted for an obviously incapacitated player shall not constitute a charged conference. 2. A conference is not charged when the pitcher is removed as a pitcher. 3. If a dugout representative confers with any player during a charged conference of the other team and is ready to play ball when the other team is ready.
D. Pre-game Conference - The pre-game conference shall be conducted by the plate Umpire. At least one adult coach from each team must attend. The pre-game meeting should begin approximately five minutes prior to the game and before the home team takes the field. There shall be no ball hit or thrown in live ball territory during this meeting. The purpose of the pre-game conference is to 1. Exchange and check each team’s lineup cards. 2. Discusses ground rules. 3. Identify the head coach 4. Have coaches verify that their players are legally and properly equipped.

5.1 PLAYERS:
A team shall consist of at least nine players, whose positions shall be designated as; (1) Pitcher, (2) Catcher, (3) First Baseman, (4) Second Baseman, (5) Third Baseman, (6) Shortstop, (7) Left Fielder, (8) Center Fielder, (9) Right Fielder. In addition, a team may optionally include a DP/FLEX and/or up to two Additional Players (APs). The maximum number of players in the lineup is 12; the maximum number of batters in the batting order is 11.
A. A team must have the required number of players present in the dugout or team area to start or continue a game.
B. The team’s lineup card shall include first name, last name, jersey number, position and batting order of each starting player and should include each eligible substitute. First and last name of eligible player takes precedence over jersey number if there is a discrepancy on the lineup card. All listed starters must be present in the team area. Lineups become official after they have been exchanged, verified and then accepted by the Plate Umpire during the pregame conference.
C. Eligible roster members may be added as substitutes at any time.
D. (Non-ELITE SELECT divisions): ROSTER BATTING OPTION Teams may utilize additional APs to bat their entire roster (i.e., ALL players present; no DP/FLEX allowed) subject to the restrictions of Rules 5.2 and 5.3. Under Roster Batting, player(s) arriving late shall be placed in the lineup in the following priority: 1. to fill any Absent Player (automatic out) position 2. if no Absent Player position exists, then the late arrival will be placed last in the batting order (i.e. - a team batting 13 will add the late arrival in the 14th batting position) Roster Batting must be declared at the pregame conference, and all players physically present must be listed in the batting order. If a player is physically present but is unable to play because of injury or illness, that player shall be ineligible for the entire game if the team elects Roster Batting.

5.2 SHORT-HANDED RULE:
Playing short-handed is an exception to Rule 5-1 above. A team shall be allowed to play with one batting position unfilled, provided they have a minimum of 8 batters present. The vacant batting position will be designated as the absent player. Whenever the absent player is scheduled to bat, an out shall be declared. A team may play short-handed under the following circumstances:
A. A team may continue a game with one fewer batter than is listed in the starting batting order, whenever a player leaves the game (for any reason) and no substitutes are available. If a team falls below 8 batters, a forfeit shall be declared. 1. If the absent player is the batter or a runner, she shall be declared out. EXCEPTION: if the absent player was injured while a batter-runner or runner, the absent player may be replaced by the last completed at bat (LCAB) as defined in Rule 8-3-B, to fulfill her baserunning responsibility. However, this exception does not apply to any future at-bat. 2. An absent player may not return to the lineup. EXCEPTION: a player who left under the Blood Rule may re-enter, subject to Rule 5-6.
B. A team may begin the game short-handed. The absent player must be listed in the ninth (9th) batting position. Under no circumstances shall a team be allowed to have less than eight (8) players in the batting order.
C. The team may not play short-handed if an eligible substitute arrives. Upon arrival, she must be inserted in the absent player’s position in the batting order. (Non-ELITE SELECT divisions): A team may drop more than 1 batting position (i.e., may have multiple absent players), provided the lineup is maintained with at least 8 batters physically present. All other restrictions above apply. If a team has multiple absent players and an eligible substitute arrives, she must enter the game immediately in the first available absent player position due up in the batting order.

5.3 ADDITIONAL PLAYER:
Up to two Additional Players (APs) can be used to increase the batting order to 10 or 11 batters. (Non-ELITE SELECT divisions) Teams may use additional APs to bat their entire roster, subject to the restrictions of Rules 5-2 and 5-3. The AP(s) will be placed in the batting order in the positions to be occupied. The AP(s) can also be used on defense (only 9 defensive players in the field), but must keep the same position in the batting order. The AP(s), if used, must be selected prior to the start of the game, and their name(s) must be included on the lineup card presented to the Umpire. Failure to declare the use of the AP(s) prior to the game precludes the use of the AP(s) in that game. If a pinch-hitter or pinch-runner is used for an AP, that player becomes the new AP. The original AP(s) may re-enter like any other player under the re-entry rule. If an AP is used, the position must be used the entire game.

5.4 DP/FLEX:
A team may use the Designated Player (DP)/FLEX option provided it is made known prior to the start of the game.
A. The DP’s name is indicated on the lineup as one of the batters in the batting order.
B. The name of the player for whom the DP is batting (FLEX player) will be placed last in the FLEX position (non-batting) following the last batter in the lineup.
C. The DP must remain in the same position in the lineup for the entire game.
D. The DP may be substituted for at any time by a legal substitute or the FLEX player. If the DP is replaced on offense by the FLEX player, the DP will leave the game. This reduces the number of players in the lineup by one. However the number of batters does not change. If replaced by a substitute, both the DP position and FLEX position remain in the lineup.
E. A DP may re-enter one time, as long as the DP returns to the original position in the batting order. If the DP re-enters or a substitute enters as the DP and the FLEX player was batting in the DP’s spot, the FLEX player can either return to the FLEX position and play defense only, or leave the game.
F. The DP may play defense at any position. The DP may play defense for a player other than the FLEX player. That player will continue to bat but not play defense, and is not considered to have left the game. The DP may play defense for the FLEX player and the FLEX player is considered to have left the game, reducing the number of players by eliminating the FLEX position in the lineup.
G. The FLEX player may be substituted for at any time by a legal substitute and the FLEX position remains in the lineup. If the FLEX player is not playing defense, the non-batting FLEX position is eliminated and the FLEX player is out of the game. EXCEPTION: The FLEX may play offense-only (i.e., offense, but not defense) IF both these conditions are met: 1. The FLEX is properly inserted into the batting order in the DP’s batting position, AND 2. The lineup is sufficient size (at least 1 AP) to field 9 players on defense without the FLEX’s participation. The FLEX can be re-established if the FLEX player re-enters or is substituted for.
H. The FLEX player may re-enter the game one time provided they return to the non-batting position or to the DP’s position in the lineup 1. If returning to the FLEX position, the FLEX player will play defense only for any player. 2. If returning to the DP position, the FLEX player will play offense and can play defense in any position. The FLEX position is suspended.
I. If the FLEX player re-enters or a substitute enters as the FLEX player and the DP was playing defense in the FLEX player’s spot, 1. The DP can return to batting only, play defense for another player and the FLEX position is re-established or 2. The DP can leave the game if the FLEX plays offense for the DP.
J. Placing the FLEX player into one of the batting positions for someone other than the DP’s position is considered an illegal player penalized per Rule 5-7.

5.5 SUBSTITUTE:
A player who replaces a player that is in the game (offense or defense) is a substitute. Teams are required to immediately report all substitutions to the Plate Umpire. Upon notification by either team, the Umpire shall announce the legal substitute and make the appropriate lineup card changes. An unreported legal substitute brought to the Umpire’s attention will result in a penalty, all prior play shall stand. PENALTY: For unreported substitution, First offense: A team warning is issued. Second offense: The head coach is ejected for remainder of the game only. The DP may go in and out of the game for any player (including the FLEX), at any defensive position, any time and any number of times without it counting as a substitution for anyone except the FLEX. This movement in and out of the game must be reported to the plate Umpire to avoid an unreported player violation. The FLEX may go in and out of the DP’s position in the batting order any time and any number of times. This action counts as a substitution for the DP. This movement in and out of the game must be reported to the plate Umpire to avoid an unreported player violation. A player may be removed as a pitcher and returned as a pitcher once per inning, provided the return as a pitcher does not violate either the pitching, substitution, or charged conference rule.

5.6 RE-ENTRY:
Any player may be withdrawn from the game and re-entered once, provided such player occupies the same batting position whenever in the line-up. A violation results in a illegal substitution which is penalized per Rule 5-7-A. A substitute who is withdrawn may re-enter once.

5.7 ILLEGAL PLAYER:
Is a player who enters the line–up without the right to an offensive or defensive position. Examples of an Illegal player(s), but not limited to, are:
A. Starter and/or substitute who re-enters in an incorrect batting position.
B. Starter and/or substitute who re-enters a second time
C. Using a player to pitch who was removed from the pitching position because of Rule 4-8-A PENALTY.
D. Placing the FLEX player in one of the first 11 positions in the batting order for someone other than the DP. The use of an illegal player is handled as a protest that can be made at any time, while the player is in the game. A player will not violate the illegal player provision until he/she enters the game and one (1) pitch is thrown. Any action before one pitch is thrown is correctable. PENALTY: An illegal player violation results in the immediate ejection of the illegal player and the head coach. In addition, the following penalties will apply:
A. If the illegal player has completed a turn at bat and before the next pitch, the illegal player is called out. Any advance by any runner as a result of the illegal player becoming a batter-runner is nullified. Any additional outs recorded on the play stand.
B. If the illegal player is a baserunner and is still on base, the illegal player is called out.
C. If the illegal player has made a defensive play and before the next pitch (or the defensive team or the Umpires have left the field), the offensive team has the option of 1) the result of the play or 2) replaying the last pitch. NOTE: The illegal player can be legally replaced by any eligible substitute

5.8 INELIGIBLE PLAYER:
The penalty for using an ineligible player is a forfeit of a game in progress. For use of an ineligible player in a game previously completed, see Rule 13-5.

5.9 INJURED PLAYER:
A. During a live ball situation, when a player becomes injured such that, in the Umpire’s judgment, immediate attention is required, the Umpire shall call “DEAD BALL” and allow or seek first aid. EFFECT: Award any bases that would have been reached in the Umpire’s judgment.
B. A player who exhibits signs, symptoms, or behaviors consistent with a concussion (such as loss of consciousness, headache, dizziness, confusion, or balance problems) shall be immediately removed from the game and shall not return to play that day until obtaining written medical clearance from a licensed medical doctor to return to play in accordance with the USSSA concussion policy.

6.1 PITCHING RULE:
A legal pitch shall conform to the following:
A. Prior to the pitch, the pitcher shall have both feet in contact with the pitcher’s plate. Part of the pivot foot must be on top of the pitcher’s plate. Both feet must be within the 24-inch length of the pitcher’s plate. The hands must be apart. The pitcher may not take the pitching position on the pitcher’s plate without possession of the ball, and the pitcher may not simulate pitching with or without the ball when near the pitcher’s plate.
B. Preliminary to pitching, the pitcher must take a position with the ball in the glove or pitching hand, with the hands separated.
C. While in this position, the pitcher shall take (or simulate taking) a signal from the catcher.
D. After completing “C” above, the pitcher shall bring the hands together in front of the body for not more than 10 seconds before releasing the ball. The hands may be motionless or moving. NOTE: Before the pitch starts, the pitcher may remove them self from the pitching position by stepping back from the pitcher’s plate with both feet (either foot may be removed first) or by requesting time.
E. The Pitch: 1. The pitch begins and cannot be discontinued when one hand is taken off the ball or the pitcher makes any motion that is part of the windup after the hands have been brought together. 2. During the delivery, the pitcher shall take exactly one forward step toward home plate and land within or partially within the 24-inch length of the pitcher’s plate. No step backward is allowed. 3. The pivot foot may remain in contact with or may 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. Pushing off with the pivot foot from a place other than the pitcher’s plate is illegal. NOTE 1: It is not a step if the pitcher slides their foot in any direction on the pitcher’s plate, provided contact is maintained. NOTE 2: Techniques such as the “crow hop” and “the leap” are illegal. NOTE 3: If a hole has been created in front of the pitcher’s plate, the pivot foot may be no higher than the level plane of the ground.
F. A LEGAL DELIVERY - shall be a pitched ball that is delivered to the batter with an underhand motion. 1. The release of the ball and the follow-through of the hand and wrist must be forward past the vertical line of the body. 2. The hand shall be below the hip and the wrist not farther from the body than the elbow. 3. The pitch shall be delivered on the throwing arm side of the body and not behind the back or between the legs. 4. The pitch is completed with a step toward the batter.
G. THE PITCHER MAY USE ANY WIND-UP DESIRED PROVIDED: 1. No motion to pitch is made without immediately delivering the ball to the batter. 2. The pitcher does not use a rocker action in which, after having the ball in both hands in pitching position, the pitcher removes one hand from the ball, takes a backward and forward swing and returns the ball to both hands in front of the body. 3. The pitcher does not use a windup in which there is a stop or reversal of the forward motion. 4. The pitcher does not make more than one and one half revolutions of the arm in the windmill pitch. A pitcher may drop the pitching arm to the side and to the rear before starting the windmill motion. The ball does not have to be released the first time past the hip. 5. The pitcher does not continue to wind up after taking the forward step or after the ball is released. NOTE: Continuation of the windup is considered any action that, after the ball is released, causes the arm to continue to rotate past the shoulder.
H. The pitcher shall not wear any item on the pitching hand, wrist, arm or thigh that the Umpire judges to be distracting. If a pitcher wears a batting helmet while on defense, the outer covering and shield shall be a non-glare surface.
I. Foreign Substance on the ball/Items on pitcher. The pitcher shall not at any time be allowed to use any moisture or foreign substance on the ball, the pitching hand or fingers nor do anything to deface the ball. A pitcher who licks their fingers must wipe the fingers off before bringing them in contact with the ball. 1. Under the supervision and control of the Umpire, the pitcher may use following items to dry the hand which is in contact with the ball: dirt (but not chalk), powdered resin, or an approved drying agent. When using these items, the pitcher is not required to wipe the hand prior to contacting the ball; when using any other substance, the pitcher must wipe the pitching hand prior to contacting the ball. No tacky or sticky substances can be used as a substitute for a powdered drying agent. No other player or team personnel shall apply moisture or a foreign substance to the ball nor do anything to deface the ball. 2. The pitcher’s fingers, hand, wrist, forearm or elbow may be taped for injury, providing such tape is a neutral color.
J. The pitcher shall not deliberately drop, roll, bounce, etc., the ball while in the pitching position in order to prevent the batter from striking it. EFFECT Sec 1. A – J – Illegal Pitch
K. Once the ball has been returned to the pitcher to prepare for the next pitch or the Umpire says “play”, the pitcher has 20 seconds to release the next pitch. PENALTY: Dead ball; a ball on the batter
L. At the beginning of an inning or when a pitcher relieves another pitcher, one minute may be used to deliver not more than five practice pitches (or throws) to the catcher, or some other teammate. For excessive warm-up pitches (or throws), a pitcher shall be penalized by awarding a ball to the batter for each pitch in excess of five. EXCEPTION: This does not apply if the umpire delays the start of play due to substitution, conference, injuries, or other umpire responsibilities. A pitcher returning to pitch in the same half-inning shall not be allowed warm-up pitches.
M. If the ball slips from the pitcher’s hand during the back swing or forward motion, a ball is called on the batter. In either case, the ball remains in play and runners may advance at their own risk.

6.3 ILLEGAL PITCH:
An illegal pitch is a pitch that violates the pitching rule or is an effect for a rules violation. When an illegal pitch occurs, it shall be called immediately by the plate or base umpire. If an illegal pitch occurs but the pitch is not released, it is a dead ball. If the pitch is released, the umpire calls “illegal” loud enough nearby players to hear. Simultaneously, the Umpire gives the delayed dead-ball signal and waits to suspend play until the play has been completed. Failure of players to hear the call shall not void the call.
A. Effect: The pitch is declared a ball.
B. If the batter reaches first base safely and all other runners advance at least one base, the play stands, and the illegal pitch is canceled. No option is given.
C. If the batter does not reach first base safely or if any runner fails to advance at least one base, the coach of the offensive team has the option of taking the result of the play or accepting the effect for an illegal pitch.
D. If a batter is hit by an illegal pitch not swung at, the batter is awarded first base, and other base runners advance one base, only if forced.
E. If ball four is an illegal pitch, the batter is awarded first base, and other base runners advance one base, only if forced.
F. The Umpire who called the illegal pitch shall explain the violation to the coach if requested.

6.4 NO PITCH:
Shall be declared when:
A. The pitcher pitches during the suspension of play.
B. A runner is called out for leaving a base too soon.
C. The pitcher attempts a quick return of the ball before the batter is in position or is off balance as a result of a previous pitch.
D. The pitcher pitches before a runner has retouched their base after being legitimately off that base.
E. A player, manager or coach calls time, employs any other word or phrase, or commits any act while the ball is live and in play for the obvious purpose of trying to make the pitcher commit an illegal pitch. The Umpire shall penalize according to Rule 11-2-S governing Sporting Behavior.. EFFECT- A-E: The ball is dead, and all subsequent action on that pitch is canceled.

8.1 BASERUNNING:
Stealing of bases permitted.

8.3 COURTESY RUNNER:
A. The team at bat may use a courtesy runner for the pitcher and/or catcher any time after they reach base other than by substitution. The same runner may not be used for both positions in the same inning. Neither the pitcher nor the catcher will be required to leave under such circumstances
B. Players who have participated in the game in any other capacity are not entitled to serve as a courtesy runner (i.e., the courtesy runner must be an unused substitute). (Non-ELITE SELECT divisions): if, and only if, no eligible substitute is available, then, and only then, the Last Completed at Bat (LCAB) may serve as a courtesy runner, subject to all other applicable restrictions (cannot run for both positions in the same inning, etc). NOTE: If an eligible substitute is physically present but is unable to courtesy run because of injury or illness, that player shall be ineligible for the entire game if the team utilizes the LCAB courtesy runner option. The LCAB courtesy runner is determined at the time the courtesy runner is requested, skipping batters 1. currently on base, 2. who are the pitcher or catcher of record, or 3. who have already courtesy run for the other position in the same inning. In the first inning, if no eligible substitutes are available to courtesy run, the LCAB courtesy runner shall be the person furthest away in the batting order (i.e., the LCAB courtesy runner for the lead off batter is the last batter listed in the lineup). PENALTY: If an ineligible or incorrect courtesy runner is utilized and is discovered while still on base, the courtesy runner shall be called out and a team warning issued. On the second offense, the head coach is ejected for the remainder of the game only.
C. A runner put in for any player other than the pitcher or catcher will be considered a substitute player.
D. A player may not run as a courtesy runner and be used as a substitute for another player in that half inning. EXCEPTION: If there is an injury and there is no substitute available, the courtesy runner must be used as a substitute and take the place of the injured player. Should the courtesy runner be on base, the pitcher or catcher for whom the courtesy runner is running must run in their place.
E. Once a courtesy runner is designated for that half inning, no other courtesy runner or the pitcher or catcher may return to run for the original courtesy runner. Should an injury occur, another courtesy runner or the pitcher or catcher may run until they score or are put out.
F. The courtesy runner is not permitted to be used for the DP unless the DP is the pitcher or catcher of record.
G. In the top of the first inning only, the pitcher and catcher are identified as those players listed as the pitcher and catcher; both must face at least the first batter on defense (one pitch). Thereafter, the pitcher and catcher are identified as the last players who physically played that position on defense. The pitcher or catcher must reach base legally by any means other than substitution in order to be eligible for a courtesy runner. EXCEPTION: When an injury or disqualification occurs in the top of the first inning to the pitcher/catcher identified on the lineup card and she is unable to face the first batter in the bottom of the first inning, the player who ran for her is retroactively her substitute (unless the substitute was an LCAB courtesy runner), no longer a courtesy runner. All substitution rules apply, but the pitcher/catcher has left the game and may not return to the original pitching/catching position. PENALTY Unreported courtesy runner: An unreported courtesy runner is treated the same as an unreported substitute. The team is warned and further violations result in the ejection of the coach.

11.1 SPORTING BEHAVIOR:
All players and coaches will be expected to behave in a sporting manner at all times. Any player, coach or parent / fan whose conduct is unbecoming or abusive will at a minimum be warned and may be removed from the playing field or stands at the discretion of the Tournament Officials or the Umpires. Foul or abusive language will not be tolerated under any circumstances. This includes a team forfeiting or being removed from the tournament if necessary.

11.2 SPORTING BEHAVIOR:
A coach, player, substitute, attendant or other bench personnel shall not:
A. Fake a tag without the ball.
B. Carelessly throw a bat.
C. Fail to wear or deliberately remove helmet when it is required to be worn.
D. Wear metal cleats or metal toe plates where prohibited.
E. Wear jewelry or any exposed ornament which in the umpire's judgment is dangerous while participating in the game.
F. Hit the ball to teammates on defense after the game has started.
G. Use electronic communication, television monitoring or replay equipment during the course of the game. Electronic scorebooks may be used to record the current game.
H. Use tobacco products in any form.
I. Be in possession of any object in the coach’s box other than a scorebook, which shall be used for scorekeeping purposes only.
J. Be outside the designated dugout/bench or bullpen areas unless they are a batter, runner, on-deck batter, in the coach’s box or one of the nine players on defense. NOTE: A single on-deck batter shall remain in their team’s on-deck circle while the opposing pitcher is warming up.
K. Enter the batter’s box with an illegal bat.

PENALTY A-K:
FIRST OFFENSE is a team warning.
SECOND OFFENSE and any subsequent violation the offender is restricted to the bench for the remainder of the game and their current head coach shall be ejected. In K, if the illegal bat is altered or non-approved, the player and head coach are immediately ejected.

NOTE: a reminder at home plate by the Umpire does not constitute a warning for either team.

L. Using words or actions to incite spectators to demonstrations.
M. Using intimidating tactics, or baiting or taunting. NOTE: The USSSA disapproves of any form of taunting which is intended or designed to embarrass, ridicule or demean others under circumstances including race, religion, gender or national origin.
N. Behaving in any manner not in accordance with the spirit of fair play.
O. Be located in the area behind the catcher while the opposing pitcher and catcher are in their positions.
P. Charge an Umpire.
Q. Use amplifiers or bullhorns for coaching purpose during the course of the game.
R. Argue ball and strike calls or other Umpire judgment calls.
S. Call “time”, employ any other word or phrase, or commit any act for the purpose of causing an illegal pitch.
T. Commit any other unsporting act.

PENALTY L-T:
If it is the FIRST OFFENSE and is judged to be of a minor nature, an offending player may be warned or an offending coach may be restricted to the bench. If not minor or a subsequent offense, the Umpire shall eject the offender from the game. Failure to comply shall result in the game being forfeited. Any coach restricted to the bench shall be ejected for further misconduct. A restricted coach may leave the bench/dugout to attend to a player who becomes ill or injured.

U. Curse or use profanity
V. Deliberately throw a bat, helmet or any other piece of equipment.
W. Initiate malicious contact.
X. Engage in a fight. NOTE: Fighting is any attempt by a player or nonplayer to strike or engage an opponent in a combative manner unrelated to softball. Such acts include, but are not limited to, attempts to strike an opponent(s) with arm(s), hand(s), leg(s) or foot (feet), whether or not there is contact.
Y. Leaving their positions or bench area when a fight has broken out. Coaches who enter the field to restrain combatants from their team shall not be considered to have violated this rule.
Z. A coach, player, substitute, attendant or other bench personnel shall not bring the rule book (hard copy or electronic) onto the playing field while the game is in progress to discuss/dispute the umpire(s) ruling and/or decision.

PENALTY U-Z: The Umpire shall eject the offender from the game. Failure to comply shall result in the game being forfeited. A player ejected for malicious contact is declared out unless they have already scored.

12.1 COACH/MANAGER OR PLAYER EJECTION:
A coach/manager who is ejected shall leave the vicinity (out of sight and out of sound) of the playing area immediately and is prohibited from any further contact (direct or indirect) with the team during the remainder of the game. The ejected coach/manager must sit out the remainder of that game and the following game. They are barred from coaching in the tournament until that team has completed their next game.

12.2 COACH/MANAGER OR PLAYER EJECTION:
A player ejected must sit out the remainder of that game. The player is eligible to play in the team’s next game. Any youth player who is restricted to the bench or ejected shall remain in the dugout/bench area under adult supervision.

12.3 COACH/MANAGER OR PLAYER EJECTION:
Anyone ejected will be asked to leave the park at the discretion of the Umpire and Tournament Director

10 & UNDER AND YOUNGER RULE EXCEPTIONS:
1.1
The pitching distance shall be 35 feet.
2.3 The 11-inch softball shall be used.
8.1 (8 & Under and Younger). Stealing: A runner may steal as explained below: a. A runner on 1st or 2nd can advance/steal only one base per pitch even in the event of an overthrow in live ball territory. If they advance more than one base, they are liable to be put out. At end of the play, if the runner is safe and has advanced more than one base, the umpire will return the runner to the correct base. b. A runner cannot steal home. If they advance home they are liable to be put out. At end of play if the runner is safe and has advanced the umpire will return the runner to the correct base. c. A batter runner, who has received a base on balls, cannot attempt to steal second base. d. Awarded bases will apply to all runners. This includes an overthrow into dead ball territory. e. Runners can only score on: i. A batted ball ii. A base on balls or hit batter with bases loaded iii. An awarded base when the ball goes out of play to include a pitch that goes out of play
8.4.B (8 & Under and Younger) The batter is out on a third strike. If a batter strikes out and the ball is not caught, the batter is out and cannot advance to first base. The ball remains live.
8.17.H (8 & Under and Younger) The infield fly rule will not be used.