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The Bucks Senior Softball League



Bucks Senior Softball League Playing Rules
(A copy of the League rules is available on our download page)


A.  Organization

The Executive Board (EB) will be a panel of nine, comprised of a Commissioner, an Assistant Commissioner, a Secretary, a Treasurer and 5 Directors. A quorum must be present to properly authorize changes or make management decisions. All members of the EB will have equal authority in the decision- making process.

These Playing Rules, along with the by-laws, will be printed and given to the paid umpires. All league participants will be advised by group e-mail that a copy is available on the league web site.  

The league has a strict NO ALCOHOL policy at all fields. Possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages, drugs and drug paraphernalia, or being in an intoxicated condition on our playing fields or property by any participant or spectator will not be tolerated. This rule applies to parking lots, spectator areas, dugouts, etc. Offending players may be subject to suspension and/or expulsion from league play. Spectators will be asked to leave the facility.

The League also has a strict NO SMOKING policy at all fields.   Offending players may be subject to suspension and/or expulsion from league play. Spectators will be asked to leave the facility.

The League has a Code of Conduct that all players are expected to follow.  The Code of conduct includes:

1.   Abide by the current Bucks Senior Softball Playing Rules to the best of my ability.

2.   Accept in good sportsmanship the decisions of the umpire(s) and my team manager.

3.   Neither taunt nor degrade my opponents or teammates.

4.   Avoid bodily contact that may cause injury to others or myself.

5.   Never direct abusive or profane language at officials, opponents or teammates.

6.   Exercise control over my family members and friends to the extent of 3 & 5 above.

7.   Not commit any act that would be considered unsportsmanlike conduct.

B. Registration

1.   All players on the roster must be registered as paid before playing.

2.   Checks shall be made out to Bucks 65+ Senior Softball.

3.   These fees will be used for the cost of umpires, insurance, uniforms, and other equipment needed.

4.   Part of the registration process is acknowledging the Code of Conduct .

5.   Honorary Members are registered non-playing members and will be required to sign and adhere to the League Code of Conduct.

C. Rosters

1.   Rosters will be re-balanced annually in an attempt to evenly distribute talent.

2.   Returning Players will be evenly distributed between teams and then new players will be distributed so that each team should have an almost equal number of veteran and new players.

3.   The re-distribution of players via the drafting process must be approved annually by the EB.

4.   Any movement of players from one team to another team must be approved by the EB.

5.   Movement of players between teams must end up with a balance for both teams. If an exchange of players is proposed, but can’t be agreed upon by the two managers, the exchange can be completed with the approval of the EB.  A manager cannot prevent a player on his team from requesting to leave the team and be placed on another team.

6.   The assignment of in season replacement players, or promotion of reserve players to team membership, must be approved by the EB.  This can be done as necessary.  An EB meeting is not required for the assignment of reserve players.

7.   All new players must go through this placement process. No player may be added to a team by any other means.

D.  Participation

1.   All players present who are ready to play must be inserted into the batting order and must bat in the same order throughout the game unless they are injured or are unable to continue.

2.   Players put into the field will be in positions determined at the discretion of the manager.

3.   Every player must play a minimum of three innings in the field unless that player requests not to.

4.   Any player who has to leave a team during the season for reasons such as but not limited to medical problems, family issues, or other personal concerns will be reinstated on his prior team when said problems are resolved. However, when the problem occurs, he must notify his manager and his manager is in return responsible to pass this information to all members of the EB.

5.   It is expected that all registered players will make a commitment to actively participate and not miss more than 8 games during the course of the season.

E. Batting Order

If a player is not on hand to start the game, he must be inserted at the bottom of the batting order, even if his turn has not come yet when he arrives.

F.  Forfeits

To avoid a forfeit a team must be able to field 8 players from their roster at game time.  

G.  Protests

There will be no protests allowed. A game may not be played under protest. In the case of a disagreement concerning the interpretation of a rule, the umpire(s) and managers will meet to interpret the rule. The umpire(s) shall have the final say.


H.  Outfield Play

1.   No outfielder can throw out or assist in throwing out a batter running to first base.

2.   All outfielders must remain beyond the markings (cones or paint) 150 feet from the back of home plate. The outfielder must be behind the line until the ball is hit.

3.   The outfielder may be moving forward during the pitch but may not be over the line until the ball is struck.

4.    A field liner, paint, or cones will be used to run a line in an oval from the left field foul line to the right field line.

5.    A team may not have more than 4 players positioned in the outfield.

I.  Infield

1.   All infielders, including the mid-fielder, must be positioned fully on the dirt of the infield at the time of the pitch.

2.   The only exception is if a team is short and has three outfielders. The mid-fielder may then go into the outfield at any time, but in doing so must then play behind the cones.

3.   An infielder, retreating to the outfield, may throw out a runner at first base. A ball landing on the outfield grass does not automatically award the batter first base.

4.   A team may not have more than 5 players and their pitcher positioned in the infield.

J.  Base Length

The base length between all bases shall be 60 feet.  The pitching rubber shall be 50 feet from home plate.

K.  Out of Bounds

All equipment and personal belongings must be placed in the dugouts. For the batting team, only the batter, the on-deck batter, and the batter-in-the hole and the coaches at first and third will be permitted to be outside.  Prior to the game League approved bats must be placed against the fence in the area of the team dugout approximate to home plate. The bats must be in an area that will not impede play nor endanger any player.


L.  Run-by Rule

It is always the responsibility of the base runner to avoid contact.  The run by rule exists to enable the base runner to avoid contact at second and third base without compromising the runners ability to reach base safely.  A runner that makes contact with the fielder or interferes with the throw may be called out based on the umpire’s discretion.

1.   A player running to second or third base where there will be a play should utilize the run-by rule to avoid both physical and line of sight interference with the fielder making the play.  The runner should run three to four feet to the side of the base opposite of where the play is being made.

2.   Once a runner uses the run-by rule, the runner is considered an inactive runner and cannot be tagged or forced out.

3.   A runner that utilizes the run-by rule and then makes a move to proceed to the next base is once again an active runner and can be thrown out at the base that he had previously run-by.  If there is a play at that base, he is permitted to run-by the same base again to avoid contact with the fielder.

4.   The run by rule can be utilized exclusively on bases where the runner’s initial intention is to not continue to the next base.  If a runner utilizes the run-by rule, with the intent to stop, and then notices a wild throw that would allow him to continue to the next base, he may continue without returning to touch the base.

5.   A runner continuing to the next base (for example going from first to third or second to home) must touch the base as in normal base runner.

6.   There is a commitment line between third and home.  Once a runner steps on or crosses the line he cannot return to third and must proceed home.  That commit line will be marked 20 feet from third base.


M.  Running to First on an Overthrow

1.   The batter-runner can turn to the left toward second on an overthrow of first and is not out unless he makes a runner's move (an aggressive step toward second).

2.   Simply turning to the left with no attempt to run should not cause the player to be tagged out.

N.  Home Plate Pop-ups, Foul tips

A caught pop up or foul tip at home plate is anything that the catcher catches after the batter hits or tips it.


O.  Pitch Count

The umpire shall rule a strike for all pitches that strike any portion of the plate when landing.

1.   A pitch that strikes the ground and then hits the plate while bouncing up is by rule a dead ball and should be ruled a ball.

2.   A ball hit foul while the batter has 2 strikes will result in his being called out.

3.   A legally pitched ball shall have an arc between 6 feet and 12 feet. The umpire should decide quickly if the pitch is legal and call it “ILLEGAL” in time for the batter to determine whether to swing or not. The batter swings at his own risk. If the pitch is called illegal and is not swung at, the pitch shall be ruled a ball.

4.   Only the home plate umpire can declare a pitch to be illegal.

5.   The umpire is to pronounce the pitch illegal in a voice loud enough for the catcher and the batter to hear.

P.  Leaving Base Early

1.   Runners can leave their bases when a pitched ball has reached home plate or is hit.  If the batter does not hit the pitch, the base runners must return to their bases immediately

2.   The runner cannot be forced out in the process or returning to the base previously occupied for a ball that is not put into play.

3.   The runner who goes off the base early is out, the play is ruled dead and the pitch does not count.


Q.  Courtesy Runners

Prior to the start of each game, managers will identify players needing courtesy runners to the opposing manager and to the umpire.  These players will be run for whenever they reach base safely.

1.   There will be no courtesy runners from home plate. The batter must make it to first base. Courtesy runners are allowed for any other base.

2.   The list of players that require runners may be modified during the course of the game if both managers agree that it is necessary to prevent or minimize injury.  The list should not be modified to provide one team a strategic advantage..     

3.   If a courtesy runner on base is next to bat an out will be recorded.  The courtesy runner will remain on their base and play will continue unless it is the 3rdd out of the inning.  

4.   Any player can be used as a courtesy runner but a player may be used as a courtesy runner only twice during a game.

5.   Any player getting a courtesy runner cannot themselves be used as a courtesy runner at any time during the game.

6.   Only the team manager can designate a courtesy runner.  A player stepping on a base who has not been designated by the manger will remove themselves from the base, the designated player will go to the base and play will continue. Once the designated runner is on base that runner cannot be replaced except if visibly injured.  If this happens the injured courtesy runner must remain out of the game. 

R. Tag Outs

A tag out by a fielder is allowed. It is not allowed at the plate when a throw is being made home since the runner has his own home plate. If a catcher (or any fielder) picks up a batted ball in front of the plate, he cannot make a tag on the runner from third that has crossed the 20’ commit line. He must beat the runner to his home plate while the runner tries to get to the runner’s plate.


S. Infield Fly

The umpires have been instructed to weigh the situation carefully before calling an infield fly rule. Ordinarily, they are taught to call the batter out almost immediately. In our case, however, it depends on the agility of the fielders, the wind conditions, and the height of the ball. The fielder must be able to catch the ball easily, making a routine play; he should not have to make a great or even good catch. The runners (and coaches) should be aware of this when the ball goes into the air. If the umpire makes the call, then the batter is automatically out. The runners don't have to run if the infielder drops the ball. They run at their own risk.


T.  First Base Play

The inside of first base belongs to the fielder in the case of any play at the base, and the outside base belongs solely to the runner. Neither can use the other's base in the event of a play there. If the fielder fields a ball and runs across the baseline and interferes with the runner, the fielder cannot make a put out and the runner is safe. The fielder must run up the first baseline, inside the line, in making any attempts to step on the bag. The runner must touch only the outside base in the case of a play there. If he doesn't, even in beating the play, he is out. Of course, the runner can touch the inside base in rounding the base, considering continuing on to second base. The first baseman may tag a runner out in the case of a throw that is off target, taking the fielder toward the runner.


U. One Turn Rule

The goal with runners on base is to avoid rundowns. To that extent, we employ the “One Turn Rule.”

 The runner during each attempt at the next base has the option to turn around once and reverse his direction once a fielder has made a play on him.  A runner making a second turn after a play has been made is by rule declared out.   A turn made by any runner before a play has been made on him does not count in respect to the one turn rule. A play on a runner is an attempt to force the runner out by making a throw to a base or to a fielder waiting to receive a throw.  Running at the runner with the ball does not constitute making a play.


V.  Advancing/Returning to a Base

A runner who has advanced any distance to the next base is allowed to return to the previous base when the ball has been successfully played by the fielder. The retreat is not considered his “turn” until a play has been made on him to get him out. If the outfielder (or an infielder who has gone out into the outfield) retrieves the ball and the runner advancing to a base sees that, the runner may return to the base. The fielder must throw to the base the runner is heading for. If, instead, the runner attempts to go forward to the next base, the fielder’s throw must beat him to that base. Even if the runner retreats to the previous base during the throw, the fielder may record the out by throwing to the base the runner was advancing to or by stepping on the base himself with the ball.


W.  Legal Bats

Only League approved bats may be used.  League approved bats will have stickers indicating that they have been inspected and approved.  Players may not utilize an unapproved bat during games or pre-game warm ups. Bat certifications will occur periodically before and during the season and may be requested when a player procures a new bat.  A player utilizing an illegal bat shall be ruled out, and if there are base runners, they will not be permitted to advance.  A player knowingly utilizing an illegal bat will be ejected from the game.  A manager knowingly allowing a player to utilize an illegal bat will be ejected from the game.  Bats previously approved may have that approval revoked if issues are identified with the bat.  Bats must also meet inspection criteria for cracks, dents, and must pass a 2 1/4 inch roundness test.

Bats can be certified Thursdays during preseason indoor practice sessions or at the conclusion of game on Thursday’s during the season.


X.  Game Balls

All game balls must have a circumference of (12) twelve inches, a COR rating of .44 and a compression rating of 375 psi. The home plate umpire is in charge of and will hold all the new game balls. The home team will supply a second ball from lightly used or good condition prior game balls.


Y.  Injury Stoppage

In the case of a serious injury, the umpire is allowed to call time and stop play to check on the injured player. All bases will be awarded by the umpires based on where the runners are at the time of injury. The concern is for safety first. However, stopping the game in the middle of the action should only be done in the belief that the injury is SERIOUS. A player tripping and falling does not constitute serious injury. This is an umpire’s judgment.


AA.  Extra Innings

In the event that the game is tied at the end of seven innings, extra innings shall be played with each team putting a runner on second base. That runner will be the last batted out or who was the batter from the previous inning when the third out was recorded.  If the player assigned to 2ndnd base requires a runner then pinch running rules outlined in section Q apply.  There are no concessions for additional use of pinch runners for extra innings.


AB.  Scoring

A Teams ability to score runs is limited to five runs per inning with the following two exceptions. A team that is trailing by more than five runs is permitted to score the number of runs necessary to even the score.

There is no limit on the number of runs that a team may score in the seventh and extra innings if needed.


AC.  Procedure for Use of Replacement Players.                        

To allow for the use of replacement players when teams are shorthanded, the following process will be followed:

1.   Players will be allowed to sign up to play an extra game as a sub in either the early or late game time slot depending on when their own team is playing.

2.   It is the player’s responsibility to place their name on the correct sign-up sheet for the correct game they wish to play.

3.   Teams that are eligible to utilize a substitute must pick a player from players placed in the player selection pool.

4.   Being “down” means that a team is below the minimum number of rostered players (11).

5.   Teams down 1 player will play the game with 10 players.  Teams down 2 players get 1 selection and play the game with       10 players. Teams that are still down 3 or more players 10 minutes after scheduled start time have forfeited the game            and are encouraged to add as many subs as needed and play a practice game.  

6.   The Process used to determine how players who sign up are placed in the selection pool is as follows:  

    A. Players sign up 10 minutes before game time to play in an early or late game.    
    B. Managers record on the sign-up sheet how many sub players they need.  
 C. The number of players making up the selection pool is determined by the number of players needed by all the teams             for their game(s).  E.g., if the total need of all teams is 5 players then 5 players go in the selection pool.
D. Players registered as reserve players (see #9. below) and players there when their team has a bye date are 
         considered Priority Subs. These players get first consideration for the selection pool. 
E. A container with 16 pills is used. For each Priority Sub signed up, a pill is rolled out. The number is written next to each
        player’s name on 
the sheet.  If more Priority Subs are signed up than teams need then the lowest numbers are put into
        the selection pool until the total needs are met.
F. If add’l players are needed beyond the Priority Sub number available then the same pill roll and assignment is
        conducted for any remaining players signed up.  The same lowest number first into the selection pool will be followed
        until the total needs are met.
G.  Mangers can select any player from the selection pool regardless of that players pill number. The selection of players
        is based on the team’s current record.  The team with the most losses will select first and the team with the most wins
        will select last.  In the event of a tied record the team’s head to head record will be utilized with the team losing in head
        to head competitions going next. 
H. Players picked from the selection pool must be placed last in the lineup but are permitted to play where the manager
I. Once a sub is selected by a mgr the sub remains with the team even if a roster player arrives late. The late arriving
        player is eligible to play after his arrival has been reported to the umpire and opposing manager and when teams 
       exchange possession of the field.  Play will not be interrupted for the arriving player. The late arriving player is placed at
       the end of the batting order.

 7. Players who are not selected to sub are placed on the Injury Sub List in  the order of their pill numbers. If a player has to withdraw due to injury, and the team drops below their starting number of players, the next available player on the list will be chosen to replace that player, take a position in the field where the manager decides but bat in the injured player’s spot.

8.  Once a manager chooses a sub the player must be utilized just like any other player.

9.  Players who register with the league after the player draft has been completed are designated Reserve Players. They will pay a partial fee and can participate in the Replacement Player procedure. They may be placed permanently on a team in the event that a team loses a player long term.  If placed on a team, they will pay the remainder of the registration fee and will be provided a team shirt and hat.

9. In the event that an insufficient number of subs exist, the opposing team will provide a catcher.

AD. Replacing an Injured Player
In the event that a player needs to withdraw from a game due to injury or other health related issues the following replacement rules will apply.

A Team may add an injury replacement player for a player that is injured or otherwise unable to continue playing only if there is an insufficient number of reserve players to allow them to continue with the number of fielders the team had at the start of the game.  The manager may elect to proceed without replacing the injured player provided that the team can continue with at least 10 fielders.

Injury replacement players must be selected following the same rules identified for the selection of substitute players.

The injury replacement player must be positioned either as a catcher or as an outfielder

The injury replacement player will not bat and no out will be recorded upon reaching the injured player's position in the batting order.


AE. Half Swing-Bunt Rule.
A batter, who contacts the pitched ball, must complete a full swing.  The batter is not allowed to take a short check swing to purposely hit the ball softly a short distance away, in the manner that a bunt would be intended.  The batted ball will be declared a dead ball strike; base runners return to their previous, and, if there are two previous strikes, the batter is out.

AF. Sliding
Any player sliding or diving to reach or return to a base will be ruled out.  

  Maximum Number of Walks Per Inning

Each team will have a designated pitcher.  When the designated pitcher is available to play, the team will have a maximum number of walks per inning limit of 2.  If the designated pitcher is not available to participate, and an alternate pitcher is utilized to pitch, the maximum number of walks per inning will be 1.  A team that utilizes a substitute, that is the designated pitcher for another team, will be limited to a maximum of 2 walks per inning.


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