League Rules

INTRODUCTION

The following rules adopted by the league are additions or replacements to the official Slo-Pitch Ontario rules and regulations. These rules have special significance to our league; and where an interpretation is needed these rules shall prevail. Where these rules do not cover a particular question the Slo-Pitch Ontario rules will apply.

Section 1 - Regulation Games
1.1 Nine Inning Games: A regulation game shall consist of nine innings.
1.2 Time Limit (revised effective 2016/7/24): No inning of a game shall begin within 20 minutes of the next scheduled game. If the diamond is available after the scheduled time, the umpires may continue play at their discretion, except that a new inning cannot be started after 10:40 PM and no play past 10:55 PM.
1.3 Tie Games – Regular Season: Subject to Section 1.2 above, extra innings will be played in the event a game is tied after nine innings. In regular season play, a game that is tied after playing time is exhausted will not be replayed. The score is final and each team will be awarded one point in the league standings.
1.4 Mercy Rule (change 2016): If one team is leading by 25 or more runs after five or more complete innings, the official game is considered to have ended. Should play be continued, individual statistics beyond this point will not be recorded. A team will be considered retired once seven runs are scored in an inning until the last two innings, which are “open-run” innings with no cap on runs scored.
1.5 Adverse Weather/Field Conditions: When there is a problem with rain, lightning, sloppy field conditions, lights etc., the umpires alone are responsible to decide whether the game is to be played. Should a game be called and five or more innings have been played, the score at the end of the last complete inning will be final. Any games cancelled before the 5th inning will be rescheduled and replayed in their entirety. The League Executive is responsible for re-scheduling of games.
1.6 Playoff Games: May be temporarily halted due to Section 1.5, but the umpire shall not make any decision to abandon the game before the scheduled time allotment has expired for that game.
1.7 Tie Games – Playoffs: Will be replayed in their entirety at the end of the series, if required. Effect: a tie game in the playoffs will not count as a single point - teams must secure two victories to advance in a best of three series.
Section 2 - Rosters
2.1 Roster of 14: A team must carry a roster of fourteen registered (regular) players.
2.2 Player Eligibility: Regular players or replacements must be at least 30 years of age. Returning players must have played a minimum of 70% of the games in the previous season unless excused for reasons acceptable to the League Executive. Spares must be 25 years old, unless a son of a regular player.
2.3 Minimum Age Requirement: Players would be eligible to play who reach the minimum age requirement during the Calendar year.
2.4 All Players To Bat: Each participating player must be included in the batting order and will bat in turn.
2.5 Spares: League Executive maintains a list of registered spares and rates them. Where the rating of a spare is pending (awaiting evaluation) a 7.4 rating is temporarily assigned. Teams may arrange for one or more registered spares (subject to Section 3.2) when a team has an insufficient number of regular players to field a team. A team that uses an unregistered player or does not comply with Section 2.4 shall forfeit the game.
2.6 Matching Spare(s) Ratings (change 2016): When a team is short of players necessary to field a team, they may arrange for a registered spare whose rating is no greater than the highest-rated absent regular player. If additional spares are required, the rating(s) of the additional spares cannot exceed the rating(s) of the next highest-rated missing players (i.e. the ratings must be matched player for player). A team shall not field a team of more than 12 players, when utilizing spares.


A team that knowingly uses a spare that is rated higher than their missing player, will forfeit that game.

Both teams shall exchange a dated and signed line-up before first pitch, indicating the spare(s) with current rating, and all missing regular players.

2.7 Spares in Batting Order: Any spares must be placed last in the batting order. This does not apply where a spare replaces a player for an extended period under Section 2.7 or 2.8.
2.8 Injury/Permanent Replacement (change 2016: If a player is injured and unable to play for three or more consecutive games, an equivalent spare at least 30 years old, approved by League Executive must replace the injured player for the remaining period of absence. (See Rule 2.3 for minimum age requirement)

Teams are advised of the following procedure for approval:
    1. The affected Team Captain shall advise the League Vice President (or in his absence, any Executive Member) immediately when a replacement player is required. Regular season replacements are required when a regular player is injured and will miss at least three games.
    2. The Team is responsible for finding a suitable replacement player based on the criteria noted in step 3 and agreeable with the executive.
    3. Replacement Criteria: The replacement player must be:
    • On the League’s registered spare list, available and willing to play on a regular basis
    • 30 years of age
    • Rated no higher than the player he is replacing
    4. In the event that the team has not found a suitable replacement player after four games, the Executive will provide and assign a suitable player.
Notes:
    • Team captains must notify the League Executive of an injury when a player misses all or part of three consecutive games
    • Auditioning players are considered spares and must be batted last – however Rule 2.5 is waived for that player
    • Captains are advised that ratings for new spares are predetermined at 7.4, until they are “confirmed” and often “confirmed” ratings can be outdated.
    • Captains on both teams are advised that all spare ratings should be confirmed after each game that a spare plays in.
2.9 Injury Replacement (Playoffs): There will be no replacements allowed in the play-offs. Any player who has been placed on a team in the regular season as a full-time replacement for injury purposes is considered a full time player and is eligible for the play-offs.
Section 3 - Participation
3.1 Sit-outs: In each inning: The defensive team will use a maximum of eleven players in the field. No player shall sit out a second inning until each player on the team has sat out an inning. No player shall sit out a third inning until each player on the team has sat out two innings. If a player sitting out must replace an injured player part way through an inning, the replacement player shall be deemed to have sat out the whole inning.
3.2 Minimum Players To Start: A team must have a minimum of 9 players (including spares) to start a game. Six of those players must be regulars. The team must have sufficient players to start a game 15 minutes after the scheduled start time or the game is forfeited.
3.3 Minimum Players To Continue: A team must have at least eight players to continue a game.
3.4 Late Arrival: A player who arrives at the bench after the first pitch of the game may play; but his name must be added to the bottom of the batting order. If his team is in the field with less than 11 players, he may join them immediately. He shall not sit out a further inning until each player on the team has sat out an equal number of innings. Effect: absence from one or more innings due to late arrival at the bench is equivalent to sitting out one or more innings.
3.5 Injured & Misses Turn At Bat: A player who misses a turn at bat due to illness or injury must leave the game.
3.6 Injured & Leaves The Field: Except as provided for in Section 7.4 (Injured Baserunner), a player who leaves the field due to illness or injury may return to the game provided he does not miss his turn at bat. He must, however, return to the field on his next regularly scheduled turn, or leave the game.
3.7 Minimum Games: A player must participate in a minimum of 70% of regular season games to be eligible to play the following season. League Executive will review all individual situations.
Section 4 - Pitching Regulations
4.1 Illegal or No Pitch: For a pitch to be legal:
  1. One foot must start in the Pitcher’s Box
  2. The pivot foot must remain in contact with the Pitcher’s Box during the wind-up, the delivery, and when the ball is released
  3. The pitch must be released with moderate speed, and
  4. The ball must be delivered with a perceptible arc of at least six feet from the ground
Any infraction of the above is called an "illegal” or “no pitch" by the umpire. In the case of a low-arc pitch, the batter has the option to swing at the pitch and the batted ball is live. If the batter swings and misses, a strike is called on the batter. In all other cases, the ball is dead, a “ball” is called on the batter and runners may not advance.
4.2 Catcher Interference: There is no penalty for an intentional walk. In order to walk someone intentionally, pitcher now only has to point to first base. (SPO rule).
Section 5 - Batting Regulations
5.1 Strikes: A strike will be called by the umpire if:
  1. A legally pitched ball hits any part of the mat at home plate
  2. The batter swings and misses a legally pitched ball
  3. The ball is hit to foul territory
5.2 Third Strike Foul: A third strike foul ball will result in an out.
5.3 Caught Foul Balls or Tips: Any foul ball or tip, which is caught by the catcher, regardless of the height of the ball, shall be an out.
5.4 Batter’s Box: The batter is declared out if he steps on the mat or has his foot on the ground completely in front of or behind the mat when the bat contacts the ball
Section 6 - Baserunning Regulations
6.1 Crossing the Commitment Line: A player will be considered to have crossed the Commitment Line when any part of his body touches the line or the ground beyond the Commitment Line (see Rule 10.5 for Commitment Line Definition).
6.2 Cannot Return to 3rd: The runner must proceed to the home plate Safe Line after crossing the Commitment Line. He cannot return to 3rd base. If he does, the runner is declared "out". If a runner has crossed the Commitment Line, he cannot return to 3rd to tag up on a fly ball; he is automatically out.
6.3 Force After Crossing Commitment Line: After crossing the Commitment Line, a runner cannot be "tagged out". The out must be made with the defensive player, in control of the ball, touching the home plate mat before the runner crosses the Safe Line.
6.4 Must Be Hit Or Walked Home: If a runner occupies 3rd base when a pitch is made, he may only advance past the Commitment Line as a result of a ball being hit by a batter or as a result of being forced due to the batter drawing a "walk" with the bases loaded.
6.5 Base Stealing: Stealing is NOT allowed.
6.6 Scoring: The base runner must cross the home plate Safe Line (see 10.6) before a defensive player, in control of the ball, touches the mat at home plate. A player will be considered to have crossed the Safe Line when any part of his body touches the line or the ground beyond the Safe Line.
6.7 Plays at Home: The base runner is not permitted to touch the mat when attempting to score (he is called “out”), except to avoid collision with another player or umpire. The defensive player must not tag the base runner once he has crossed the Commitment Line and if he does, the base runner is safe. These are not appeal plays.
Section 7 - Courtesy Runners
7.1 Maximum Number: A team may use a maximum of five courtesy runners per game; however, each of the five must be a different player. Teams are to mark Courtesy Runners utilized on the score sheet.
7.2 Process: Any player in the batting order may act as a courtesy runner and may replace a prior courtesy runner. The courtesy runner must be announced to and acknowledged by the umpire and the opposing team before he replaces the runner on base.
7.3 Courtesy Runner Due at Bat: If a Courtesy Runner is due up to bat while still occupying a base, he must be replaced on base by another courtesy runner. If all courtesy runners (5) have been used, the courtesy runner remains on base; an "out" is declared and the courtesy runner misses his turn at bat.
7.4 Injured Base runner: If a base runner declares an injury and (or) cannot continue, and there are no courtesy runners available, the player who can't continue must leave the game without penalty of an "out". The player who was last declared "out" and who has not already served as a courtesy runner will replace him on base.
Section 8 - Player Conduct
8.1 Coaches Are Spokesmen: Only Captains, or their designates when absent, are to speak with the umpires in the event of a disputed call.
8.2 Player Ejection: The following infractions are grounds for ejection:
  1. profane or abusive language
  2. displays of temper (throwing objects etc.)
  3. intentional and violent collision with an opposing player
  4. fighting
  5. continued arguing or displays of poor sportsmanship
8.3 If Ejected: If ejected, a player may no longer participate in the game and must leave the park immediately, if ordered to do so by the umpire.
8.4 Ejections To Be Reviewed: All ejections are subject to a review by league executive and may result in further discipline.
8.5 Additional Discipline: Continued harassment of umpires, players or bystanders after an ejection will result in additional disciplinary action and possible forfeit of the game.
Section 9 - Miscellaneous
9.1 Points: Teams will be awarded two points for a win and one point for a tie.
9.2 Playoff Positions: At the end of the regular season, ties in the league standings will be broken in the following manner:
  1. Number of wins
  2. Record against all teams tied in the standings
  3. Run differential of games amongst teams tied
  4. Coin toss
9.3 Bats: All bats used in the league must adhere to the Slo Pitch National Bat Policy which can be found on its website at http://on.slo-pitch.com/content/slo-pitch-national-bat-policy
9.4 Non compliance: By a player or team will result in his team's forfeiture of the game, as determined within 24 hours of the completion of the game by the League Executive.
9.5 Protest of Alleged Illegal Bat: Must take place at time of the at bat or before the first pitch to the next batter. The game is to continue with details of the bat noted by the umpire and submitted to the League Executive for review.
9.6 Game Score Keeping and Statistics (new 2016): Team Captains are responsible to ensure that game score sheets are completed.
All statistics must be entered into the League portal within 72 hours of game completion.
The League will issue a warning for each team’s first reported failure to enter statistics within the allowable time. All subsequent failures will result in a one point deduction from the team’s point total in the League standings.
Section 10 - Playing Field
10.1 Bases: Bases are 65 feet apart.
10.2 Pitching Box: Box is 2 feet wide and 15 feet long. Its front edge shall be in a line between home plate and second base and 50 feet from the back corner of home plate, but no further away than 65 feet.
10.3 Batter’s Box: Batter’s Box is 7 feet by 3 feet on either side of Home Plate.
10.4 Double Base: Double Base shall be used at first base. Orange side is in foul territory and is the “safe bag” for the runner.
10.5 Commitment Line: Commitment Line is 20 feet from home plate to towards 3rd base and perpendicular to the baseline
(Revised for 2014 - Previously '21 feet' changed to '20 feet' aligning with SPN Rules)
10.6 Safe Line: Safe Line is a line drawn in foul territory starting at the top left-hand corner of home plate perpendicular to the third base line. A runner attempting to reach home must do so by touching the ground in foul territory on or beyond the Safe Line.

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