WHSL Game Rules
1. Although the WHSL is not part of the American Softball Association (the "A.S.A."), the A.S.A.'s "10-man Modified Fast Pitch" rules will apply. In the event A.S.A. rules are inconsistent with the WHSL rules described on this website, WHSL rules prevail. There are no "grandfathered" players or rules in the WHSL. Umpires shall enforce all of the following rules.
2. For each game the home team will provide a field and bases, including an auxiliary first base, a pitcher's rubber, and three deBeer Clincher softballs with F12 labels. The pitcher's rubber will be 46 feet from the back tip of home plate; bases will be set 60 feet apart. The umpire will use two balls during the game, one in the top of the first inning, and one in the bottom of the first inning. After the bottom of the first inning, the umpire may use either ball, at his discretion. The third ball may or may not be used, at the umpire's discretion. During the playoffs, the home team will still bring three balls and the visiting team must bring one ball to be used as the second official ball.
3. The home team must make a reasonable effort to have its field playable on game day. If the home team manager determines that even with a reasonable effort the field is unplayable on game day, the home team manager must notify the visiting team manager, WHSL Treasurer, and the supervisor of umpires 105 minutes before game time (e.g., 7:30 a.m. for a 9:15 a.m. start time). Once the umpire arrives at the field, the umpire becomes the sole judge of the playability of field conditions. In the event of inclement weather for playoff games, the team located closest to the field (regardless of who is home team) will be responsible for checking the field, making it playable, and following the League's Rainout/Cancellation/Schedule Change Procedures.
4. All scheduled WHSL games must be made up unless the following conditions are met:
- In a week in which nine games are scheduled, six are rained out
- In a week in which eight games are scheduled, six are rained out
- In a week in which seven games are scheduled, five are rained out
- In a week in which six games are scheduled, four are rained out
- In a week in which five games are scheduled, four are rained out
- In a week in which four games are scheduled, three are rained out
- In a week in which three games are scheduled, two are rained out
5. Ground rules for each field are available on the league website. A written scorebook and lineup must be made available to the umpire and the opposing team's captain for review at all times. Any question of an umpire's call or interpretation of the rules is to be conducted by the team manager or his designee.
6. A regulation game shall be nine innings long unless mutually agreed upon prior to the game.
7. Game time is 9:15 except for games specifically listed on the WHSL.org schedule page for a different time. Teams can agree on a change to a game's start time at least three (3) days in advance, by following the League's Rainout/Cancellation/Schedule Change Procedures.
Forfeit time is 15 minutes after the scheduled game time. For any game that does not start at 9:15, it is appropriate to allow an additional 15 minutes (i.e, 30 minutes after scheduled start time) for players to arrive if a team's manager has been assured that the team's players are on the way. Managers have discretion to refrain from declaring a forfeit in order to wait for the opposing team's players to arrive.
If no official league umpire shows up, the game shall be played with two umpires, one from each team, unless the teams involved agree otherwise. A team that fails to follow the Rainout/Cancellation/Schedule Change Procedures in connection with a rainout or forfeit shall bear the cost of that game's umpire fees.
8. A team must have eight players at the field to start a game. The minimum number of players allowed in a lineup is eight. A forfeit will be called if a team has less than eight players at any time during a game.
9. For scoring purposes, a forfeit will be scored 9-0.
10. The catcher must wear a mask.
11. A.S.A. "10-Man Modified Pitch" rules apply in the WHSL.
The WHSL highlights the following pitching rules from the A.S.A. rulebook:
- The pitcher must not use a windmill or slingshot-type pitch or make a complete revolution in the delivery.
- The ball must not be outside the pitcher's wrist on the back swing, at the top of the back swing, on the downward motion, or during the complete delivery.
- The delivery must be an underhand motion with the hand below the hip and the pitcher's palm may be pointing downward.
- On the forward swing of the pitching arm, the elbow must be locked at the point of release, and the shoulders and driving hip must be squared to home plate when the ball is released.
- Pushing off with the pivot foot from a place other than the pitcher's plate is illegal.
12. Bunting is not allowed. A hitter who attempts to bunt the ball will be called out, and any runners may not advance.
13. Stealing is not allowed. Leads may be taken once the pitch crosses the plate, but if the ball is not hit the runner must return to the base prior to the subsequent pitch. The runner shall be called out if (i) a fielder in possession of the ball steps on the base or tags the runner out before the runner returns to the base; (ii) after returning to the base following the prior pitch, the runner was leading from the base when the pitcher began his windup; or (iii) the runner left the base before the ball crossed the plate. Runners cannot advance on an attempt to catch a runner leading.
14. Bat Rules. Only bats that have been tested and found to comply with A.S.A. bat performance standards shall be allowed in the WHSL. The A.S.A. no longer displays every bat manufactured that does not comply with current standards. Instead, the A.S.A. publishes a list of approved bats. That list is linked on the main page of the WHSL website. Any bat not appearing on the A.S.A. list linked on the WHSL home page may not be used in the WHSL.
Any player who brings a non-approved bat into the batter's box during a game shall be immediately called out and ejected by the umpire. Both managers shall report to the league board the name of the player so ejected. If, later in the same season, any player on the ejected player's team uses a non-approved bat, that player shall be ejected and both that player and his manager shall be suspended for the subsequent game. If any player on the ejected player's team uses a non-approved bat for a third time, such team shall not be eligible for that year's playoffs.
A team's manager may ask the umpire to check both teams' bats prior to game time.
15. Two adjacent bases will be used for first base, one in fair territory (fielder's base) and one in foul territory (batter's base). A batter using the fielder's base during an infield play may be called out, at the discretion of the umpire. A batter who is blocked from the batter's base by a fielder may be called safe, at the discretion of the umpire.
16. Lineup and Substitutions
Every player playing defensively must be part of the batting order. The batting order may contain an unlimited number of players. A team that bats every player on its game-day roster in the starting lineup may make an unlimited number of defensive substitutions.
If a team chooses before the game to use less than its entire game-day roster in the batting order, the following re-entry rules shall apply:
- Any player may be substituted and re-entered once, provided that such players occupy the same batting positions whenever in the lineup.
- Players may not re-enter the lineup a second time.
- A starting player and that player's substitute may not be in the line-up at the same time.
- In case of injury, managers shall liberally allow re-entry under the Mensch Rule.
Players may leave the batting order without penalty if individuals and situations are identified to the opposing captain and umpire prior to the game, or in the event of an injury. The batting positions of players leaving the batting order for other reasons will become automatic outs, unless filled by previously unused players.
17. Any player throwing a bat in anger will be ejected from the game, and a one game suspension will be imposed. In addition, the league frowns on any throwing of bats during the game. A slip can happen but not with every at-bat. The umpire's discretion will be upheld by the Rules Committee.
18. Teams may identify players who need courtesy runners prior to the game. Additional courtesy runners should be liberally granted if injuries occur during the game. Any runner who is in good faith unable to run can be replaced by a courtesy runner. The courtesy runner must be the last batted out who does not himself need a courtesy runner. A courtesy runner eliminated on the bases may serve as a courtesy runner later in the same inning.
19. If a team is trailing by 10 or more runs after the end of any full inning - starting with the seventh inning - the umpire must call the game. This rule does not apply during the playoffs. This rule also does not apply in a 7-inning game unless both teams agree otherwise before the game.
20. Safety Slide Rule
The WHSL enforces a "safety slide" rule, which deviates from A.S.A. rules with respect to sliding. Any runner is out when the runner does not slide or give himself up when a fielder has the ball and is waiting to make the tag.
During a close play at second base, third base or home plate, the runner must slide into the base or give himself up to be tagged out. A runner failing to slide or give himself up, in the discretion of the umpire, will be called out. The exception to the safety slide rule is that a defensive player must have the ball before he can block a base or home plate. A defensive player blocking a base or home plate before holding the ball shall be deemed obstruction and the runner shall be called safe.
However, a defensive player in the act of fielding a thrown ball has the protection of the safety slide rule, the intent of which is for runners to make every attempt to avoid collisions with fielders. A runner who does not slide or give himself up -- when in the umpire's discretion the runner should have done so -- shall be called out. If, in the umpire's discretion, a runner's failure to slide he causes an injury to a defensive player, the runner shall be ejected from the game and suspended from league play until such time as the defensive player is able to return from the injury.
21. Game results must be reported on the website in a timely manner. It is the responsibility of both teams to make sure the results are entered and are correct.
22. Metal cleats (also known as "spikes") are not allowed in the WHSL. Any player who wears metal cleats during a game shall be immediately called out and ejected by the umpire. Both managers shall report to the league board the name of the player so ejected. If, later in the same season, any player on the ejected player's team uses metal cleats, that player shall be ejected and both that player and his manager shall be suspended for the subsequent game. If any player on the ejected player's team uses metal cleats for a third time, such team shall not be eligible for that year's playoffs.
23. In the spirit of this league, it is expected that teams and individuals demonstrate good sportsmanship and fair play, both on and off the field. Let's all respect each other and treat each other as we would expect to be treated. THE MENSCH RULE.
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