Rules

Overall Authority 

Slowpitch rules of the International Softball Federation apply unless varied below.


Age Limit 

All Leagues operate an Adult Mixed Competition. 

As such no one under the age of 14 as is allowed to play.

A player must be 14 years or older by the commencement of the season.


Cancellation Procedure 

Unless an advice of cancellation is formally received, players should assume games are on.

Team Managers will receive an email or text from league organisers no later than 4.30pm on the afternoon of  play.

League Organisers will also post on Facebook by 4.30pm if games are cancelled. 

Any rain outs will be rescheduled by the League Organiser where possible.


Home Team Responsibilities 

The home team: 

  • Collects, lays out and returns (a complete set of) bases.
  • Provides the match ball (must be good quality). 
  • Has choice of batting/fielding first 
  • It is the responsibility of both teams to return each score sheet after the game.  

Uniforms 

Teams must play in uniform tops.

Teams who, warned beforehand, continue to breach the uniform rule, risk forfeiting the game(s).


Shoes 

All players must wear footwear (that encloses the feet), however, metal-soled shoes and metal spikes and cleats are forbidden. 


Awarding of Points 

  • Teams earn 2 points for a win. No points are awarded to either team where, at the end of the season; a tie has not or cannot, be completed. 
  • Where one or more qualifying rounds are played, and only when each team has played all their opposition teams in that qualifying round, points will be carried forward to the next round.
  • For Teams tied with the same number of points, tie is broken by: run ratio (runs for divided by runs against) between tied teams; if still tied: then ‘runs against’ tied teams, if still tied, then ‘runs for’ between tied teams. 
  • Games played over the duration of the entire competition between the tied teams, will be taken into account when instituting the tiebreaking rule.   

Balls 

A good quality match ball must be provided for all matches by the home team (a new ball is provided by the League prior to season start). 


Players/Batting Lineup 

The batting lineup should contain a minimum of five females (it is permissible to bat more females than males but not vice versa). Males and females must bat alternately. 


Player Registration and Transfers

All players must be individually registered on the master registration sheet, which must be completed and returned by the end of November. Players must also be listed on the score sheet returned after each game. Once a player has opted to play for one team he/she may not play in a league tie with another team, unless that team's opposition consents to the arrangement. An exception is where the player has formally left one team and joined another and has notified the League in writing. Players who are not, or who have not been in the past, affiliated to any Slowpitch New Zealand League, are not eligible to play in any play-off ties.  


Intentionally Walked Batter

Where a batter is deemed to be intentionally walked (four consecutive balls pitched to the batter), he/she is awarded second base. This rule applies to Division One teams only, however the teams concerned and the umpire, prior to the start of the game may agree to waive this rule. 


Additional Hitters 

Additional hitters  may be listed anywhere in the batting line up so long as the number of male batters does not outnumber the number of female players. All players may bat, (male and female alternately). Any of the batters listed may field, as long as at the fielding defence comprises a minimum of five females, and ‘fielding positions’ rule below is satisfied.


Fielding Positions

A minimum of two female players are required in any position in both the infield and the outfield.


Courtesy Runner/Substitutes 

A substitute baserunner of the same gender is allowed for an injured batter/baserunner provided that the batter/baserunner obtains (at least) first base under his/her own power. The courtesy runner must be the last person to bat in the current innings. 

Starting players and substitutes are allowed to re-enter round robin games any number of times. 


Starting Late 

Games, which do not start within 15 minutes of published start time due to absent players, are forfeited.  Start time for 2014-2015 games is 6.30pm.

  


Forfeits Relating to Rained Out Games 

Rain outs supercede forfeits. Rainouts eliminate the possibility of a game being played. Therefore, if your team has given advance notice of a planned forfeit, but the game is ultimately rained out, your planned forfeit will not be recorded, and no penalties will be incurred.Likewise, teams reporting to the field without at least 8 players will still not be charged with a forfeit if the game is rained out. 

 


Less Than 10 Players 

Officially, teams may start a game with 8 players, three of whom must be female, but the offended team has the right to have the missing player(s) listed in the batting order, and take an "out" when the missing player(s) turn at bat arrives. The teams concerned and the umpire, prior to the start of the game must formally agree any variations to this rule.


Game Duration and Runs Ahead (Mercy) Rule 

Games will have a duration of seven innings. Games may be called any time after the team batting second is ahead:

  • By 20 or more runs after 3 innings
  • By 15 or more runs after 4 innings
  • By 10 or more runs after 5 or more innings

The Run ahead rule (Mercy rule) must be applied and the official score is that standing at the time the rule is invoked. (Teams may continue to play on). 


Tied Games 

Tied round robin and play-off games go to an extra innings with a tiebreaker in force.

The player who was the last out at the previous turn at bat is placed automatically on second base. This continues until one team has scored more runs at the end of even innings. 


Abandoned Games  

Games abandoned due to failing light, bad weather etc, are replayed from the beginning unless: 

  • The runs ahead rule has already been invoked.
  • Or five complete innings have been played. 
  • Or the team batting second in the fifth inning is ahead. 

The result of a regulation game is the score at the completion of the last even innings completed before the game was called. 


Out of Bounds 

Where balls are ruled 'dead', that is non-playable due to hitting or passing into hazards, the batter/baserunner is awarded one base in addition to that they were running to at the time: 

  • overthrown ball - when the ball was thrown;
  • batted ball - when the ball was called dead. 

Umpires/teams managers must agree dead ball boundaries before the game begins. The award for a "loose throw" which travels into dead ball territory (ie a throw not intended to retire a runner) is one base only. 


Game Score 

Scorekeepers should be appointed at the start of the game. Teams must agree the score at the end of the game, and ideally between each inning. It is the responsibility of both teams to return score sheets, with the result of the game thereon, to the clubrooms after each game.


Sliding 

Sliding is permissible into any base as long as there is no interference with the play. 2nd and 3rd  base may not be overrun (runner is at risk and can be put out).


Umpiring 

League management will attempt to allocate trained umpires to ties from time to time, to assist new teams with their understanding of the rules. Umpires will also be allocated to semi-finals and finals ties. Umpires must be paid by the teams benefiting.


Eating/Drinking/Smoking 

Eating, drinking or smoking on the field of play is not permitted.