Metroplex Senior Citizens Softball Association League and Tournament Rules (2021 Season Rule Changes In Red)
1. PLAYING FIELD: The home team is responsible for procuring the playing field and ensuring that it is in good playing condition, including line markings, bases and a regulation strike mat.
A. Regulation Strike Mat: A strike mat will be used. The mat will be 17″ wide, and no more than 25″ long, measured from the end of the mat to the tip of each side of the mat that abuts to the backside of home plate. The end of the mat that abuts home plate will have a “V” shaped notch that will conform to the outline of the backside of home plate.
B. Bases: Bases will be sixty-five (65) feet apart. Measured from the backside of each bag.
C. Pitcher’s Plate: The front of the Pitcher’s Plate shall be fifty (50) feet from the back point of home plate.
D. Additional Line Markings:
Courtesy Runner Line – A line in foul territory, parallel to the third base line and five feet further back from first base than the third base line. If this line is improperly marked (such as less than five feet back), prior to the start of the game either coach may scratch it out and redraw it.
Run Through Lines – Four (4) foot lines, starting two (2) feet away from the base, on each side of second and third bases at the base edge nearest to the previous base and running parallel with the base edge. Only used by 65+ Divisions. Senior 65+ teams will NOT use the run through lines during the 2021 spring season. Teams will vote prior to second half as to whether the run through lines will be reinstated.
Commitment Line – A two (2) foot line twenty (20) feet from the front edge of home plate closest to third base across the third base line.
Runner to home line– There shall be a line drawn from the intersection of the 20 ft commitment line and the third base line to the end of the scoring line that is closest to home plate. (eight feet from home plate) If the runner to home steps on or over this line, he shall be declared out and the ball remains live.
Scoring Line – A six to eight (6-8) foot line in foul territory that is perpendicular to the third base line and starts eight (8) feet away from the front edge of home plate closest to third base.
2. BATS: All bats used in USA/ASA softball play for the senior division must be official softball bats certified by USA Softball and/or marked BPF 1.21 or less. USA Softball specifically says if it is not a USA Softball approved bat it must be marked BPF 1.21 or less. This includes bats on the non-approved list with certification marks. If any of those bats are marked BPF 1.21 or less they are legal in senior play. If they are not marked BPF 1.21 or less then they would not be allowed. (Kevin Ryan, National Director of Umpires, USA Softball, Aug 2, 2019). Titanium bats are not allowed. Also the Miken MSU Ultra and the Miken MSUM Ultra Maxload are illegal bats for our league, (the Miken Ultra II is allowed). Bats that have been warmed or cooled are altered bats and the user is subject to ejection.
All warm-up bats and bat attachments must be USA SB approved. The “donut” type attachment is NOT legal and may not be on the field or dugout. The only legal bat attachments are the “Pow-R-Wrap” and the “Swing Sock.”
3. PENALTY FOR ILLEGAL OR ALTERED BAT: Altered bat- A player found to have used an altered bat, before the next batter receives their first pitch, will be immediately ejected from the remainder of that game. If noticed after a pitch is thrown to the next batter, the umpire shall call the batter out who used the bat and is now on base. The bat shall be removed from the game, the play will be called a “dead ball” play, and all runners must return to the base they occupied at the time of the batted ball. If the same player has a second violation in the same season, that person will be suspended for the next four games his team plays. This suspension will carry over through the post-season tournament and into the next season as necessary. If the same player has a third violation in the same season, that person will be suspended from the league for the remainder of the season, to include tournaments. The manager of the ejected or suspended player shall notify all other managers in their division of play, and the Executive Committee, of the initial ejection as well as any second offense resulting in a suspension, or third offense resulting in suspension from the league. This notification must be submitted in writing (ex.: via email) on the same day as the ejection or suspension occurs.
Illegal bat or unapproved bat- A player found to have used an illegal or unapproved bat, shall be called out. The bat shall be removed from the game, and all runners must return to the base they occupied at the time of the batted ball.
4. BALLS: The home team shall furnish two (one new and one very good used) ASA/USA Softball approved 12-inch balls. All play will be with .52 C.O.R. and 300 compression balls for each game in Senior Men 55+ and Senior Men 65+. Women players will bat the same ball as the men. The ball cover will be optic yellow. At any time during the game, if a ball is discovered not to match MSCSA league specifications, it shall immediately be removed from the game and replaced by the home team with an appropriate ball.
A. Rosters: A roster player may not change teams during the season without both Managers’ approval. Players cannot play in multiple divisions. Senior Men 55+ and Senior Men 65+ teams are allowed a maximum of eleven (11) defensive players. Players from the opposing team may be used without forfeit if the opposing manager agrees to let them play. The two coaches will determine if these players play only defense for the team short of players, or both offense as well as defense. Coaches are “encouraged” to help out their opponents with players if the opponent is short. All teams must start and finish the game with at least nine of their roster players, otherwise they forfeit the game, unless the opposing manager agrees to supply players to prevent the forfeit.
B. Batting Order and Substitutes: Players may be substituted for at the manager’s discretion. (See 6E below for details.) If a roster player arrives after the start of the game, he may enter the game immediately. In all Divisions, if a player is taken out of the game, he can return but must return in the same batting order. Once the game has started, if a player is taken out of the game due to an injury or requirement that the person exit the softball complex for any reason, and there is no one to substitute for him, the team will not be required to take an automatic out in that player’s batting turn as the game progresses. On defense, players may be swapped at any position, at the manager’s discretion, but they must bat and remain in their original batting order throughout the game. In league play, if a team starts a game with only 9 or 10 players, and the other team can only supply defensive players, the team that is short will not be charged an out in their 10th and/or their 11th batting positions. All starters and substitutes may re-enter one time.
C. Minimum Age Requirements: Players reaching the minimum ages shown below at any time during the current calendar year are eligible to play during that year. Managers shall verify their player’s ages as shown on the Player Agreement and Liability Waiver. Suitable identification is required – either a copy of a birth certificate, a valid Texas driver’s license, or some other official document as may be required by the Board of Directors.
Men in Senior Men 55+ Divisions: 55 or older Men in Senior Men 65+: 65 or older Men in Senior Men 70+ Women in all Divisions: 40
D. Managers: The manager is responsible for the team’s actions on the field and represents the team in communication with the umpire and opposing team. He must have a team roster at all games and must present it to the opposing manager upon request. Managers may ask for proof of age of any opposing team player they choose; and the manager of the opposing team player has ten days to comply. Managers shall inform their players that a copy of all MSCSA league rules are available on the league’s website, www.seniorsoftballdfw.com, and the manager should review these rules with all of their players before the season begins.
E. Participant Conduct: Arguing with the umpire, unsportsmanlike conduct of any kind and/or use of inappropriate language or hand gestures will not be tolerated. If the situation is not resolved by the offender’s manager or assistant manager, the opposing team’s manager may make a complaint, in writing, of the incident(s) accompanied with witnesses’ names and phone numbers to the league’s Board of Directors. The Board of Directors will interview everyone involved and the Vice President will announce a proper resolution to all which will include, if deemed appropriate, disciplinary action.
F. Sexual Harassment Policy:
6. PLAY OF THE GAME:
A. Home Team & Dugouts: The Home Team for each game has first choice of dugouts, regardless of which team arrives first to play.
B. Official Game: A regulation game shall consist of seven innings. When a team has scored five (5) runs in one inning (innings one through six) it must take the field. Each team may score an unlimited number of runs in the last inning. Due to weather or other causes, a game is considered complete if five full innings have been played. The score of five full innings, four and one-half if the home team is ahead, or six full innings, five and one-half if the home team is ahead, whichever is the maximum number played at the time the game is halted, will determine who won the game. In case of doubleheader games, the two coaches may agree to play five (5), six (6) or seven (7) inning games; or any combination. If a game goes into extra innings, at the start of each extra half inning, the team at bat will position the player that made the last out of the previous inning at second base. If a courtesy runner was used, it should be the same courtesy runner unless he or she is unable to continue due to injury or illness.
Flip-Flop Rule: The flip-flop rule WILL BE USED in any game when there is a 10-run differential in favor of the visiting team at the start of the “open inning.” If the visiting team is ahead by ten or more runs, the home team will remain at bat and start a new at-bats (beginning their seventh or last inning at-bats), meaning all runners then on base will return to the dugout. It will be an open inning. If the home team fails to tie or go ahead of the visiting team, the game ends and the visiting team wins. If the home team ties or goes ahead, the visiting team takes its turn at bat.
Going into the 2021 season, the run through lines at second and third base have been removed from all league play. Standard USA/ASA base running rules apply. Sliding into a base to avoid being tagged out is allowed. Not every play is a force play. At the conclusion of the 1st half of the season, Senior Men 65+ will decide if this rule becomes permanent or run through lines are restored.
The Senior Men 65+ Division will not enforce or have the “infield fly rule”.
C. Pitching: At the beginning of each half inning, the pitcher may take no more than one (1) minute to take up to but no more than 5 (five) warm-up pitches. The one minute begins as soon as the pitcher reaches the pitcher’s rubber at the beginning of the half inning. The pitcher may take no more than one step prior to delivering the ball. Before releasing the ball, the pitcher will become set (complete stop) for one (1) second and then release the ball within ten seconds. The pitcher must have one foot in contact with the pitcher’s plate when he starts his pitch. His other foot does not have to be within the 24” of the width of the pitcher’s plate. He may also release the ball from up to six (6) feet directly behind the pitcher’s plate. If a pitcher chooses to pitch from behind the pitcher’s plate, he has the same option. Only one foot has to be within the width of the pitcher’s plate. For any batter, the pitcher must select a single distance to pitch from and use it as if the pitcher’s plate was present and must pitch from that distance until the next batter. The pitcher may always pitch from side to side as long as one foot is in contact with the pitcher’s plate when the ball is released, or in a position on the ground equivalent to the pitcher’s plate. A quick pitch (release of the ball before the batter becomes set) shall be called an illegal pitch by the umpire. Pitchers may wear a glove on their pitching hand as long as it is not the same color of the softball. (Feb 23, 2021 Coaches Meeting).
D. Balls and Strikes: For all divisions, Each batter starts his at bat with a 1-1 count. Once the batter reaches two strikes, he is allowed ONE additional foul ball. A second foul ball is an out. The pitched ball must have a perceptible arc and reach a height of at least six (6) feet from the ground, while not exceeding a maximum height of twelve (12) feet from the ground or it is called an illegal pitch by the umpire. Illegal pitches should be called as soon as they become illegal. The height of the pitched ball is based solely on the discretion and judgment of the home plate umpire. The batter may swing at an illegal pitch, but if they do not, it is automatically a ball regardless of whether it lands on the strike mat/home plate or not. The pitched ball must also touch any part of the mat or home plate to be a strike. The batter is out on three strikes, on a third strike foul ball, or on a called “infield fly rule.” An infield fly is to be called only by the Home Plate Umpire. To be an appropriate “infield fly out,” in the discretion of the home plate umpire, the ball must be deemed catchable with “ordinary effort” by an infielder when first and second, or first, second and third bases are occupied with less than two outs. “Ordinary effort” applies to the capabilities of the defensive player or players involved.
E. Batting: Batters Box- One on each side of the strike zone plate, each measuring three feet wide by seven feet long. The inside lines of the batter’s box shall be six inches from home plate. The front line shall be four feet in front of the center of the plate. Batters must stand within the 3 ft X 7 ft batter’s box. It does not matter if there are visible lines or not, there is always a batter’s box. The home plate umpire shall hold up play until the batter is within the confines of the 3 X 7 ft batter’s box. Batters come to the plate with one ball and one strike. After two strikes, the batter is not out if he hits a foul ball. There is a “courtesy” foul. The manager does not have to bat all of the players that are present but he must bat all of the active defensive players. The manager may bat any number of batters from nine (9) up to the total number present. (i.e., “bat the roster”). The batting order must be followed throughout the game. If a player has to leave the game due to an injury or personal reasons, an out will not be taken when that player’s turn at bat arises.
F. Courtesy Runner for Base Runner: A courtesy runner may be used for a base runner at any time, but the same runner may not be used more than once per inning. Any courtesy runner found running more than once per inning will be called out. Another courtesy runner may not replace a courtesy runner who is still on base unless an injury causes removal of the original courtesy runner permanently from the game. If a courtesy runner is on base when it is their turn to bat, an automatic out will be called, the courtesy runner will leave the base and come to bat, and no replacement runner for the courtesy runner will be allowed.
G. Courtesy Runner for Batter: A batter may have a courtesy runner at any time including from home to first. From home plate, the runner must start from behind the courtesy runner line and should not cross that line until the batter makes contact with the ball. The batter is not out if the courtesy runner crosses the courtesy runner line when the batter swings at a ball and misses it. A courtesy runner can be replaced at any time prior to the first pitch to the batter whether the pitch is legal or illegal. (9-23-21)
H. Inter-Division Play: When teams of different divisions compete against each other, the playing rules of the lower division, if different, will apply.
I. Home Runs: In both Senior Men 55+ and Senior Men 65+if a team hits a home run over the fence, they cannot hit another home run until their opponent does so. If they do, it will be declared a dead ball and a single. But, after the first home run is hit, if the opponent also then hits one, then the opponent cannot hit another one until such time as the first team to do so, does so again. If the opponent does so, it will be declared a dead ball and the batter will be awarded first base and any runners can move up one base. There is no limit on the number of home runs hit in a game, as long as no single team hits two before their opponent hits one. (a.k.a. “one-up rule”)
7. BASE RUNNING: The rules for base running are intended to avoid contact between players and thus reduce the risk of injuries.
A. Runner Interference: The runner is out if there is, in the opinion of any umpire, intentional contact with the defensive player or the runner interferes intentionally or not with a defensive player trying to field or throw a ball. The umpire should call “Dead Ball. Interference. Runner is out.” and award the batter first base. In the case of a defensive play, the runner may run out of the base path and/or miss the base in order to avoid a collision; but the runner can be tagged out if short of the base they are running to. Fielders may NOT block the base(s) and base paths when they do not have the ball. If they do, an umpire should call “Obstruction” and the runner will be awarded the base he would have reached if he had not been obstructed.
B. Base Running: In all Divisions, a player may slide or dive when returning to a base they have previously touched. The runner is not automatically out if they leave any base when the batter swings at a pitched ball, as long as they do not leave the base before the pitched ball arrives at the plate. If so, the HPU shall declare “no pitch” and call the runner out. This decision rests with the home plate umpire. The ball is dead and no runners may advance.
C. Runner to First Base: The rules of USA Softball apply. There shall be a safety base adjacent to first base completely in foul territory. The safety base shall be of a contrasting color to the original first base. On any play at first base, except for rounding the bag with an intent to possibly run to second base, or returning to the bag after passing first base, the runner must touch the safety base only. The defensive player must use the white base, but on an errant throw pulling the defense off the white portion of the base into foul ground, the defense can use the white or safety base. If the defensive player is pulled off the bag so that they are in the path of the runner, the runner may change course and touch the white bag to avoid a collision, but at no time can a runner to first fail to touch one of the two bags (original or safety). If they fail to do so, they are still “live” and can be tagged out. Once the runner has touched first base, both bases may be used by the offense or defense. Once a batter/runner passes first base and makes no obvious attempt (multiple steps) to head toward second base, they can return safely to the base regardless of which way they turned after passing the first base bag. But if multiple steps are taken toward second base, the runner becomes live and can be “tagged out”.
D. Runner to Second or Third Base: (Deleted with the removal of run through lines) In the Senior Men 65+ Division, at second and third base, the runner must run to the side of the base away from the direction of the incoming ball or the defensive play, unless they are trying to continue on to the next base. In all Divisions, once a runner has touched and rounded a base, he may dive or slide back into that base if play requires.
If they “run through” the base and run on the same side of the bag as the incoming ball or the defensive play, they will be called out, unless, in the opinion of the umpires, the runner has to deviate from this course in an effort to avoid contact with the defensive player. In All divisions , the runner must touch the “run through line”, or the ground beyond the “run through line,” for that base before the fielder catches the ball and has contact with the base. If not, the runner will be called out. After running through a base, a runner may then turn either left or right provided there is no motion or attempt to advance to the next base. In running through a base, if the runner touches the base, he is live and subject to being tagged out (umpires’ decision). In Divisions B & C, if the runner runs through the base, they must return and touch the base before attempting to advance.
E. Runner to Home: All plays at home plate are force plays. The runner to home must run in foul territory and abide by the commitment line. Once he crosses the commitment line, he must continue to the scoring line, eight feet to the right of the front edge of home plate that is closest to third base. He may not re-cross the commitment line for any reason or he will be declared out. In order to score, the runner must touch the “scoring line” or the ground beyond the scoring line before the defensive player, while in possession of the ball, touches home plate only (not the strike mat). The runner is automatically out if they step on or over the runner to home line and the ball is live.
F. Tag Out of the Runner: The runner is out if tagged at any time prior to reaching 1st base, between bases, and between 3rd base and the 20 feet “commitment line,” There are no tag outs allowed between the 20’ commitment line and the scoring line.
8. UMPIRES: The team at bat will provide the home plate umpire and the first and third base umpires. The first and third base umpires are also the base coaches at their positions. The home plate umpire shall be responsible for making all fair/foul calls. The home plate umpire can, and should, also coach incoming runners to run to the scoring line 8 feet from home plate versus the home plate area. All home plate umpires should carefully observe all play on the field as any call at any base can be appealed to the home plate umpire for a final decision if a disagreement occurs on any call. While the home plate umpires call can override any call made by another umpire, if disagreement still persist, the two coaches are to get with the home plate umpire and the three of them attempt to agree on the proper call. The first base umpire shall make all safe/out calls at first base. The third base umpire shall make all out/safe calls at third base and at second base. Any time an umpire is not sure of a call, he should go to his fellow 2 umpires, discuss the call, then make a ruling.
9. UNIFORMS: Metal cleats are not allowed. During league play, teams are highly encouraged to wear matching uniform jerseys. Uniform jerseys with numbers are required with the following exceptions. Up to two players may be without the required numbered jersey. Tape or marker may be used for numbers.
10. END OF SEASON TOURNAMENT:
See “MSCSA rules unique to end of season tournament”
For all Divisions, USA and MSCSA League Softball rules shall apply when not listed here.
MSCSA RULES UNIQUE TO END OF SEASON TOURNAMENT
may be altered using tape if necessary.
substitutes. If a team has only ten (10) players, they may begin the game, but must take an out each time the missing batter is
supposed to bat. If a team has only nine (9) players, they may begin the game, but must take an out each time both missing
batters are supposed to bat. If at any time, a team has less than nine (9) players, the team shall forfeit the game. Players may
not be borrowed from the other team.
due to an injury or requirement that the person exit the softball complex, and there is no one to substitute for him, the team
will take an out each time this person’s turn at bat arrives and he/she is unavailable to hit. Players may not be borrowed from
the other team.
keeping the time. At the 60-minute mark, the umpire shall announce this to both managers. If this occurs before the sixth inning,
the inning will be completed, then one more inning will be played. In the last inning, unlimited runs may be scored (open/buffet).
Championship and “if” games will last 7 innings and have no time limit.
will begin with the last batter of the previous inning placed at second base.” A courtesy runner may be used for this runner only
if the batter had a courtesy runner during their last at-bat. that same courtesy runner will become the runner at second base unless that courtesy runner is injured or unable to continue.
11. REVIEW AND PROTEST HEARINGS
A: The Officers of the Board of Directors of the MSCSA will conduct review hearings on all protest of any matters presented to them concerning matters involving league play.
B: Only interpretations of the rules, player eligibility or willful non compliance of MSCSA playing rules can be protested. An umpire’s judgment call cannot be protested. A rule interpretation protest must be made from one coach to another at the time of the play in question. The home team scorekeeper must note on the official score sheet the status of the game at the time of the play in question. A written protest accompanied by a fifteen (15) dollar cash deposit must be turned in to the President or Secretary of the Board of Directors within forty-eight (48) hours after the game; seventy-two (72) hours if the game in question was played on Friday or Saturday. The protest must be signed by the coach or manager of the protesting team. Eligibility protest of players or bats must be made before the end of the game; and registered with the Board in the same manner as above. If the protest is allowed, the fifteen (15) dollar deposit will be refunded. If the protest is not allowed, the fifteen (15) dollar deposit will be retained and used in the operation of the league.
Note: Both teams must complete the game in which a protest has been made, otherwise a forfeit is declared to the team that does not complete play.
C: All persons involved will be notified of the time and place for the hearing.
D: Each team or individual will be allowed to state their side of the incident. Interested parties will be heard separately, unless the Officers allow otherwise.
E: The Officers will review the facts and make their decisions. All parties involved will be notified of the results. Their decision will be final.