League Rules


The following rules adopted by the league are additions or replacements to the official Slo-Pitch National 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 National rules will apply.

Section 1 - Regulation Games
1.1 Nine Inning Games: A regulation game shall consist of nine innings.
1.2 Time Limit: 9 Inning games:

No new inning can start 1 hour and 40 minutes after the scheduled start of a game, with a hard stop at 1 hour 55 minutes.
If a game is stopped due to the "hard stop" curfew while an inning is in progress then the score reverts back to the previous fully completed inning.
e.g. - If a game is scheduled to start at 9:00am, no new inning can start once the clock hits 10:40am. The hard stop would be when the clock hits 10:55am.

Note 1: The umpire's clock is the official clock. Coaches should verify and synchronize their time with the umpire's clock during the pregame meeting, as well as ensuring that the umpire is aware of our league specific rules.
The umpire has the discretion to extend the 1:40 and 1:55 curfews by a minute or two if they deem that a team has delayed play in the final minutes. This applies whether the delay is intentional or unintentional. The umpire must notify the coaches from both teams.

Note 2:If the home team has the lead in their at bat and the 1:40 curfew is reached then play stops immediately. All stats to that point will count.

Note 3:If an umpire has not arrived by game time then the game must start on time and all curfews followed. The two teams have the option to ump the game themselves or ask someone in the stands to stand in until the umpire arrives.

Exceptions will be communicated by the executive in the case of double headers, make up games, Finals etc.
1.3 Tie Games – Regular Season & Round Robin: Subject to Section 1.2 above, extra innings will not be played in the event a game is tied after nine innings. In regular season play and round robin 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 or round robin standings.
1.4 Mercy Rule: If one team is leading by 20 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.

Note:For Round Robin games: The maximum run differential awarded is set at 10 runs. If a team wins by 20 runs they will only be credited with a +10. (and the losing team -10)

A team will be considered retired once seven runs are scored in an inning until the 8th and 9th innings, which are “open-run” innings with no cap on runs scored.
**Exception: Any inning starting 80 minutes (or later) after the scheduled start time will be an open inning.

Example: A game is scheduled to start at 7:00pm and a new inning is starting at 8:20pm (or later) but it is only the 6th inning, that inning and any further inning after that will be considered an open inning.
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: Please see Section 11 for all playoff rules and formats.
Section 2 - Rosters
2.1 Roster of 13: A team must carry a roster of at least 13 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.
Note: Players would be eligible to play who reach the minimum age requirement during the Calendar year. Fulltime players must be registered with Slo-Pitch National (SPN) and their waiver for the current season must be signed.
2.3 All Players To Bat: Each participating player must be included in the batting order and will bat in turn.
2.4 Spares - Regular Season: League Executive maintains a list of registered spares and rates them.

Teams may arrange for one or more registered spares (subject to Section 3.2) to bring their roster to 12 players maximum at any point during the course of the game.

When a team is short of players necessary to field a complete 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).

Where the rating of a spare is pending (awaiting evaluation) a 7.4 rating is temporarily assigned. Teams can only use a 7.4 rated spare to replace a player rated 7.5 or higher.

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

A team that uses an unregistered player or does not comply with Section 2.4 shall forfeit the game.
2.5 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 2.6.

Borrowed players from other teams must be placed in the batting order after spares.

Note: In the event that a regular player shows up after the 1st pitch of the game, that player will then go last regardless of spares or borrowed players already in the lineup. They must be in the dugout (or close proximity). The parking lot does not constitute an arrival or close proximity.
2.6 Injury/Permanent Replacement - Regular Season: If a player is injured (or on vacation, sick etc.) and unable to play for at least 3 consecutive games, an equivalent spare at least 30 years old, approved by the League Executive, must replace the injured (or vacationing) player by the 4th game. (See Rule 2.3 for minimum age requirement. Double headers count as one game.)

Teams are advised of the following procedure for approval:
    1. The affected Team Captain shall advise the League President (or in his absence, any Executive Member) immediately when a replacement player is required.
    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. The team has the option to immediately replace a player however the injured/missing player cannot return before at least 3 games have passed.
    The team MUST replace the injured/missing player by the 4th game. In the event that the team has not found a suitable replacement player after three games, the Executive will provide and assign a suitable player.
    • Team captains must notify the League Executive of an injury/vacation/illness when a player misses (or is expected to miss) three consecutive games
    • Auditioning players (7.4's) are considered spares and must be batted last. (Except when used as an injury/vacation replacement, then they can bat anywhere in the lineup)
    • Captains are advised that ratings for new spares are predetermined at 7.4, until they are “confirmed”.
    As per rule 2.5, you can only use a 7.4 to replace a player rated 7.5 or higher unless the Executive approves or assigns the player
    • Captains on both teams are advised that all spare ratings should be confirmed after each game that a spare plays in.
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 (after spares and/or borrowed players - see Rule 2.7).
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 Intentional Walks: There is no penalty for an intentional walk. In order to walk someone intentionally, pitcher now only has to point to first base. The following process must be followed:

1- Only the pitcher can signal an intentional walk.
2- The batter must reach first base and the next batter must be in the batters box before the pitcher can signal another intentional walk. (courtesy runners can be used after the original runner reaches the base)
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. There is no sliding allowed after the commitment 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 seven courtesy runners per game; however, each of the seven 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 (7) 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 and possibly permanent expulsion from the league.

**IMPORTANT:** Players are advised that there need not be an ejection or official umpire report to warrant further investigation and/or sanction by the league. If a player continuously demonstrates conduct detrimental to the main purpose of the league, it's players, spectators, or the town of Oakville's facilities and by-laws then they will be reviewed and may be subsequently warned, suspended or expelled from the league. This extends to coaches and/or sponsors or any player who puts winning above sportsmanship and participation. If you are constantly searching for ways to bend the rules or constantly harping on officiating or berating team mates or opponents then this is not the league for you. Any member of this league who is constantly complaining about game assignments, umpires, rules and ratings is at risk of being asked to leave before the season is complete and likely will not be invited back in subsequent seasons.
Section 9 - Miscellaneous
9.1 Points: Teams will be awarded two points for a win and one point for a tie.
9.2 Bats: All bats used in the league must adhere to the Slo Pitch National Bat Policy which can be found on its website at: Slo-Pitch National - Bat Policy

Exception: Under Abbey Oaks Slo-Pitch rules, all bats bearing the ASA and USSSA logos are acceptable unless specifically listed on the SPN banned bats list.

9.3 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.
9.4 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.
9.5 Game Score Keeping and Statistics: Team Captains are responsible to ensure that game score sheets are completed.
All statistics must be entered into the League portal within 48 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.

Sacrifice Flies count as "outs" and are counted as official At Bats.
Walks do not count as official At Bats.
9.6 Eligibility for League Awards: Players must be aged 30 or over and in "good standing" with the league in order to be eligible for any league awards.

Players must have 3.6 plate appearances (Official AB's + Walks, rounded to the nearest decimal place) per team game played in order to qualify for the league and/or over 50 batting championships.

Your team plays 28 games - you would need 101 Plate appearances to qualify. (rounded up from 100.8)
Your team plays 27 games - you would need 97 Plate appearances. (rounded down from 97.2)

Rookie Of The Year: A player must play 21 games (regular season + playoffs) during the current season in order to be eligible to win R.O.Y. (exceptions/adjustments will be made in shortened seasons.

Note: If a player has already played 21 combined career games in prior seasons (regular season + playoffs, spare or fulltime) they lose rookie status.
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 22 feet from home plate and perpendicular to the third base line.
Note: This has been updated in 2024 (formerly 20 feet until 2023).
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.
Section 11 - Playoffs
11.1 Playoff Seeding & Format: Teams will be divided into two groups for the round robin portion:

Group "A" (1st, 4th, 5th, 8th place teams)
Group "B" (2nd, 3rd, 6th, 7th place teams)

At the end of the regular season, if needed, 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

Teams will play each team in their Group twice (1 home game, 1 away game).

- The top two teams from each Group will advance to the Semi Finals.
1st place in Group A will play against 2nd place in Group B
1st place in Group B will play against 2nd place in Group A

- The bottom two teams from each Group will advance to the Consolation Semi Finals.
3rd place in Group A will play against 4th place in Group B
3rd place in Group B will play against 4th place in Group A

Note: If at the end of the round robin series teams remained tied, the ties will be broken in the following manner:

If 2 teams tied:
1. Head to Head record in the round robin
2. Head to Head run differential round robin
3. Playoff seeding (higher seed from regular season standings)

If 3 or more teams tied:
1. Run differential of round robin games amongst teams tied.
2. Regular season standings.

Note: Regardless of the run differential in any given game during the round robin, a team will only be credited with a +10 for that game.

- Semi Finals, Consolation Semi Finals and Finals will each be a race to 4 points. (2 points for a win, 1 point for a tie)

Tie Games – Semi-Finals and Finals:

If time allows: If there are no other time restrictions on the end of the game, extra inning(s) will be played with international rules (1 out, last out from previous inning starts at 2nd base). If time does not allow, the tie will stand with 1 point awarded to each team.

Note: In the event both teams finish with 3 points then the regular season standings will break the tie

Seedings for the Finals will be based on regular season standings.
11.2 Spare Rules For Playoffs: Spares can be used only to bring a lineup up to 11 players (eg: a minimum of three roster players must be missing). If a spare does not show up, the team must play with 10 players.

If 3 or more players are missing, the average rating of those players determines the highest level of spare that can be used.

• 3 missing players means you need one player.
If you are missing an 11.0, a 9.5, and a 5.5, the total is 26.0, and the average is 8.66 so you need to round down and use an 8.5 spare player (or less).

• 4 missing players means you need two players.
If you are missing an 11.0, a 9.5, a 7.5, and a 5.5, the total is 33.5 and the average is 8.37. Double that (because you need 2 players) for a total of 16.74, round that down and you have 16.5 rating points total to use for your 2 spare players.
Note that you need to use 2 players; if you want to play with just 10 players, you cannot use all the ratings points for 1 spare (you would need to use the average...in the case above, an 8.0 would be the highest rated spare you could use).

• 5 missing players = follow the same steps as above but triple the average, etc.

11.3 Playoff Minimum Requirements and Injury Replacements: Lower-Rated Player Replacements for the Playoffs:

Regular roster players who are rated 6.0 or lower must play a minimum of 50% in the round robin (eg: 3 of 6 games) and a minimum of 50% in the semi-finals and finals (eg: either 1 game in a 2 game sweep or 2 games in a longer series).
Players not meeting these minimums must be replaced. When not replaced (eg: just missing one game), players rated 6.0 or lower must be part of the “Spare Rules For Playoffs” calculations.

Teams not complying will default all games in the series.

Higher-Rated Player Replacements for the Playoffs:

For players rated 6.5 or greater, you may (but do not need to) use the injury/long-term replacement rule but this applies only to players who will miss 3 consecutive playoff games ("if necessary" games may be part of the 3 games).

When not replaced (eg: just missing one game or not replaced by coaches’ choice), players rated 6.5 or higher must be part of the “Spare Rules For The Playoffs” calculations.

Note that there may be carry-over replacements from the regular season (as determined before the last game of the regular season) and these would be the only exceptions to this rule.
11.4 Playoff Catcher Rule: If a team has less than 11 players, they have the option to borrow a catcher from the opposing team.
The borrowed catcher will not make any plays. The fielding team must cover home plate on any batted balls or throws from the field.

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