Rules of Play

Rules of Play – 2016 Season

Revisions for the year appear in highlighted text

  1. Official Rules:
      1. The rules of this league are the same rules as outlined by the Slo-Pitch Ontario Association (SPOA) except as amended below. Please refer to for SPOA rules.
      2. Any disputes shall be arbitrated by the involved team reps (with captains as alternates) and their decisions will be final.
      3. Any suggestions for rule changes are to be submitted to the executive at any General Meeting for consideration for the following season. Anybody who is a player in the league may submit a rule change through their team representative. Suggested Rule Change submissions will only be considered formally by the Rules Committee through the use of the Proposed Rule Change form and must be submitted no later than January 1st of the calendar year the season is set to start.
  2. The Playing Field:
    1. Please see linked diagram for proper layout of diamond, including ‘Pinch Runner Start Line’,‘ Line of No Return’ and ‘Scoring Line’ (adopted May, 1991).
    2. As of May 2011 the distance between bases shall be 65 feet.
    3. No food, beverages or smoking is permitted in the field of play.
    4. Smoking is prohibited in park play and spectator areas and is only allowed in designated areas where available as per the Smoke-Free Ontario Act. The Act states that “Starting January 1, 2015, smoking is no longer allowed at publicly-owned outdoor sporting areas, spectator areas, sporting areas and public areas within 20 metres of any point of the edge of the sporting or spectator areas.”
  3. Equipment:
    1. Metal spiked shoes are not permitted on the field under any circumstance.
    2. Team shirts should be worn at all games.
    3. Masks should be worn by catchers to avoid injury.
    4. All players, including pitchers, are responsible for providing any personal protective equipment that they feel is appropriate.
    5. Only League Approved balls and bats will used in games.
  4. Personal Bats:
    1. Personal bats are allowed under the following conditions:
      1. It is marked with a BPF of 1.20 and/or Canadian Regulation Softball Bat designation and / or USSSA regulation designation. Please refer to Special rules and Courtesies Section #3 on Bats.
      2. It is approved for use by the League in advance of play with an affixed league-issued approval marking or decal in the case of those bats that are not clearly labeled as in 4.1.a.
      3. Generally, bats that were approved in the past years will meet league specifications (grandfathered) unless they have been altered, damaged or through defect may pose a threat of injury to batter and fielders. If a bat breaks or cracks it should be removed immediately from play.
    2. If a player bats with a non-league approved bat then play will be stopped, 3 outs will be recorded against his team and NO runs will be counted for the team for that entire portion of the inning – including any runs recorded before the infraction.
    3. All personal bats shall be made available to both teams or must be removed from play. Any bat not made available to all players of both teams from the beginning of the game or concealed only to appear at a later time during the game is deemed an illegal bat for that game (even if it meets the performance standards). Play will be stopped and recorded as in section 4.2 above. The Player may be subject to disciplinary action (Constitution article 16-3). Also refer to the rules section on the game (6-1). If a player arrives after the game has started and wants to use a personal bat, that bat may be brought into the game legally as long as it is used from the beginning of the next full inning and both teams have a chance to use the bat.
    4. Neither the league, nor any player shall be held responsible for damage to any bat through regular / normal bat use. However, in the extremely remote instance where both team reps agree that a bat is damaged through irresponsible or reckless behavior by a player, the offending player will be responsible for any damages and face
      league disciplinary action as per constitution article 16-3. See also Special Rules and Courtesies concerning bats (Section 3). Please respect all bats and treat them as if they are your own.
    5. The league reserves the right at any time to remove from play any pre-approved bat and/or bat that meets the performance standards (has appropriate markings).
  5. Players and Substitutes:
    1. A defensive team consists of maximum 10 players. Free substitution of defensive players and pitchers is allowed. Please refer to section on player courtesies for pinch runners.
    2. A team must field a minimum of 8 players. Players may be borrowed from another league team to play and record any game. If unable to field 8 players, the game will be forfeited 9-0.
    3. Substitute players for regular season and round-robin playoff games may be obtained from opposite night league players if they are available.  If these players are ‘called up’, they must be allowed to play. Substitutes, please wear your regular team shirts.
    4. Substitute players for Championship Sunday (C.S.) may only be obtained from a list of call-ups maintained by the League Registrar. Players wanting to volunteer as C.S. call-ups can sign up with the Registrar. Team Reps in need of players for C.S. must contact the Registrar to obtain call-ups, to a maximum total roster size of 12 players.
    5. Substitute players may only come from the league membership. Opposing team rep/captain is to be made aware of participating subs.
    6. All efforts must be made to play all players present at each game and listed on score sheet equally in the game.
    7. Players must advise their team rep or captain if they are going to be away. Three consecutive weeks of unadvised absence may be cause for revocation of league membership and fees shall be forfeited.
  6. The Game:
    1. All regular season games will start by 6.30. Round robin playoffs will start by 6:15. Tournaments and Championship Sunday games as per schedules. Teams are urged to start play early if both teams have at least 10 players, particularly later in the season. Prior to the game, the team reps from each side will meet and discuss ground rules, check playing field for potential hazards and general field fitness, and will present all bats for game use. Any bat not presented at this time will be deemed illegal for that game, even if falls within the acceptable performance standards or has been deemed league-approved (unless a player arriving late brings his own bat in which case that bat can be introduced at the start of the next full inning).
    2. All regular season games shall consist of 9 innings. If tied after 9 complete innings the game will be recorded as a tie.
    3. Round robin playoff games are nine innings. After the completion of 7 innings, if there is a run differential of 21 or more, the game may be called at the discretion of the losing team. No extra innings if score is tied. Rained out playoff games follow the regular season rules (Section 10 – Rainouts).
    4. Championship Sunday games cannot end in a tie. In the event of rained out games on Championship Sunday the games will be rescheduled to be made up in their entirety. If the games are then rained out on the rescheduled date the outcome will be determined by a coin flip.
    5. For playoff games teams are asked to limit the pitcher warm ups between innings. The Umps will be empowered to call the games as a result of darkness or other safety issues. No complete inning of a playoff game will begin after 7:45PM.
    6. All tournament games will be 7 innings. If tied after 7 complete, the 8th inning will begin with the next legal batter going to bat, the man before him goes to second and there will be one out. The man on 2nd and the man out count towards the maximum 10 batters. Rainouts will be decided by a coin toss by the respective team reps/captains.
    7. Games must be called at the first sign of lightning. The game will cease at that point. For reasons other than lightning, opposing team Reps may, upon agreement, call a game due to weather, unplayable field conditions or darkness. If 5 or more innings have been played, the result of the last completed inning determines the outcome  including the potential for a tie. An incomplete game is recorded as indicated in Section 10 – Rainouts.
    8. Between innings warm-ups shall be limited to three pitches.
    9. Regular season mercy rule is in effect for all tournaments, i.e. if the number of at bats cannot overcome the deficit or tie the score, the game may be called.
  7. Pitching:
    1. In the act of delivering the ball, the pitcher shall not take more than one step toward the batter and must have one foot touching the pitcher’s box (area) which extends from 3ft in front of, to 3ft in back of the 50 ft. line (47 to 53 ft. from home plate) at the time of release.
    2. The ball must be delivered underhand to the batter at a moderate rate of speed.
    3. The pitched ball, to be legal, shall be between 6 and 12 feet above the ground. The home plate ump may seek assistance from the first base ump concerning the pitch height.
    4. An illegal pitch counts a ball and shall be so called by the home plate umpire. If the batter swings at an illegal pitch, the play stands and the pitch is no longer illegal. As a courtesy, the pitcher should first be given a reminder of the height restrictions.
    5. There are no balks.
    6. A batter may not be walked until at least one strike has been recorded.
    7. A strike is when:
      1. The batter takes a complete swing.
      2. A ball, correctly delivered, touches any part of the wooden plate before it hits the ground
  8. Batting:
    1. The “Infield Fly” rule is waived.
    2. The batter is called out if the ball is bunted or chopped downward intentionally.
    3. A caught foul tip, to be recorded as an out, must be above the batter’s head.
    4. The batter is out if he hits a foul ball on his third strike.
    5. The batter is out if he steps completely in front of the wooden plate when swinging and makes contact. Indicated by “the heel” of the batter’s foot being entirely in front of the plate.
    6. The front of home plate (the pitching side) produces a line that extends laterally , through which no part of the batter’s rear foot must advance when making contact with the ball. Any batter making contact with the ball while breaking this line with the rear foot is automatically out.
    7. If a foul fly is caught ‘in play’ with less than two out, runners may tag and advance at their own risk.
    8. A fair ball which goes out of play untouched by a defensive player is a Ground Rule Double. The batter will take second and if a runner was on first, he must stop at third.
    9. A maximum of 10 players on each team may come to bat in the same inning, unless 3 outs are recorded first.
    10. The 10th batter cannot be walked.
    11. If the 10th batter is not announced, the defensive team has the option to either have the play replayed OR to allow the play to stand.
    12. When the 10th batter hits a fair ball, play continues until:
      1. The third out of the inning is recorded.
      2. A defensive player, in possession of the ball, touches home plate.
      3. The ball is a Ground Rule Double – and any runner on base advances only two bases [as per 8.h above].
      4. If the ball is thrown out of play, all runners score.
  9. Base running:
    1. On a ball thrown out of play:
      1. On an overthrown ball to 1st base where the ball goes out of play, the ball is dead and the runner proceeds to second base safely. In the event of an overthrow going out of play by an infielder when the first play on the batter / runner is at first base, the batter and runner will be awarded 2 (two) bases from the time of pitch (All runners advance two bases…runners on 2nd or 3rd score and a runner on 1st goes to 3rd… batter is awarded 2nd).
      2. ii. On a ball thrown out of play other than to 1st base, the ball is dead and the runner(s) will be awarded two bases from time of the throw. The awarding of bases should be from the TIME OF THE THROW or when the ball was released (or left the hand) of the throwing player. (All runners advance two bases from where they are at TIME OF THROW…runner passes 2nd on his way to 3rd, or runner on 3rd heading home score and a runner past 1st on his way to 2nd goes to 3rd.
      3. On the 10th batter only refer to 8.l.iv.
    2. There is no leading off. Any runner leaving his base on anticipation of contact is out and the play is dead.
    3. Sliding is permitted, but only to avoid being tagged out.
    4. All plays at home are deemed to be force plays. The runner must touch the ground on or beyond the line drawn from the front corner of the wooden plate, parallel to the 1st base line. A defensive player, in order to record an out, must touch any part of the wooden plate while in control of the ball. Tagging the runner is not permitted at any point beyond the 3rd base commitment line. If the runner is tagged after passing the commitment line they are automatically safe at home.
    5. If the runner touches any part of the wooden plate or interferes with the catcher, he will be ruled out.
    6. There is a “point of no return line” (or otherwise known as a Commitment Line between third (3rd ) base and home plate (on the third base line) that will be drawn 20ft. from home plate and perpendicular to the third base line . Once touched or crossed, the runner must continue toward home plate. The only play on the runner from that point on is at the wooden plate. The ball must be thrown home to record the out (the defensive player must be in contact with home plate when catching the ball). A base runner may return to third base if he has not touched this line.
    7. Substitute runner, when needed, will be the last man out. He shall start behind the extended 3rd base line. The batter will be called out if the runner touches or crosses this line before contact is made with the ball.
    8. Infielders not involved in the play should make every effort not to impede a runner’s progress.
    9. Runners interfering in any fashion with infielders shall be called out.
    10. The safety bag at first is for the protection of both the runner and the infielder. If there is going to be a play at 1st, the runner must use the orange safety bag, or be ruled out. The infielder must use the white 1st base bag, or the runner will be called safe.
  10. Umpires:
    1. Umpires should be familiar with the rules of play.
    2. All players are reminded that this is a recreational league and are asked to provide anyone umpiring with respect.
    3. Calls and decisions of the umpires are final, unless both team reps agree to overturn.
    4. There will be 2 umpires. One will call balls and strikes & plays at home and 3rd. The other, near 1st base, will call plays there and at 2nd.
    5. For tournament games, where possible, following the third game with the elimination of teams from play it is desired that umps be established for the subsequent games
    6. Final Championship Sunday games, where possible, 2 Umps per game are required.
  11. Rainouts – Regular Season:
    1. If all the City of Guelph diamonds are closed on a specific day then ALL games for that day on both City and University diamonds are considered rainouts.
    2. If the City diamonds are not posted as closed then Players should make every effort to attend games, rain or shine.
    3. Opposing team reps/captains should make the decision to call a game due to weather or unplayable field conditions.
    4. The safety of players and fans must be the prime consideration.
    5. If all league games are rained out on a specific night then the games are potentially rescheduled if there are weeks remaining in the schedule assigned to rescheduled games.  See the official league season schedule for the affected night to determine if a game will be rescheduled.
    6. If only some of the games on a particular night are rained out then the games that were not successfully completed (did not complete 5 or more innings) will be recorded as 9 – 9 ties and will NOT be made up.
  12. Rainouts – Playoff Round Robin:
    1. If one playoff round-robin game is rained out on a specific night then the game will be rescheduled for week 4 of the round robin playoffs (replacing the scheduled game for that night).
    2. If a second playoff round-robin game is rained out on a specific night then the game will not be rescheduled and will not count towards the playoff champion determination.
  13. Ground Rules:
    1. Ground Rules for our regular diamonds have been standardized and collected in the Diamonds Appendix. For other diamonds used for opening night, tournaments and make up games, reps/captains should agree upon these prior to start of game.
  14. Sight of Blood:
    1. Any injury, which draws blood, must immediately be properly treated (no visible blood on bandage or player). Player may re-enter game once wound has been properly covered.
  15. Fair Play and Consideration:
    1. Any deliberate attempt to injure another player will result in immediate suspension pending a hearing by the executive.
    2. Players are asked to control their tempers and language. Repeated incidents may cause the player to be removed from the league as per the Constitution, Article 16-3. League funds will be forfeited.
    3. No smoking on the field of play.
    4. The law states that no alcohol is permitted in any public parks. Any infraction could result in our diamond permits being revoked. We cannot overstress the seriousness of this policy. No personal alcoholic beverages will be allowed on or near any diamond, parking lot, treed area, or any place with 100 meters of a Guelph Men’s Recreational Slo-Pitch League event. Other ball players are counting on you!
    • Appendix A – Diamond layout and dimensions: See file “Official Diamond Layout“.
    • Appendix B – Special Rules and Courtesies: See the Special Rules menu item on the website.
    • Appendix C – League Diamonds and Rules: See the Diamonds menu item on the website.