American Softball Association Rules and Regulations

These ASBA “Rules” have been adopted by The Professional Softball Club, Inc.’s Board of Directors in order to create and preserve the fairness and similarity of conditions necessary for keen competition among all members. ASBA sanctioned games shall be played and scored under the most current NCAA Women’s Softball Rules. The ASBA may adopt playing rules, miscellaneous rules, and umpire rules which may be permanent, temporary, or experimental as The Board of Directors may determine.

RULE 1: BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Responsibility for interpretation and enforcement of these Rules and Regulations shall be with the Board of Directors. In the absence of an acting member, a designee may serve in place of a Board Member. Ultimate authority for approving or modifying these Rules shall be the responsibility of the Board of Directors.

RULE 2: TRANSACTION LIMITS

The following rule has been adopted in order to promote fairness, transparency, and keen competition during the Winter League and Summer League. A player, once officially given an Assignment, must remain on her Team’s roster for a minimum of six (6) games before being terminated. This shall not apply to trades, players may be traded at any time before the Trade Deadline.

RULE 3: TRADE DEADLINE

No player trades among ASBA Summer League Teams shall be allowed after the originally scheduled date of the 23rd game of the 36-game Regular Season schedule. Transactions shall be discontinued after 10 PM, New York time.

RULE 4: POSTSEASON ROSTER

A player, to be eligible for the ASBA Summer League playoffs, must be on a Team’s active roster by noon (New York time) before the originally scheduled date of the 31st game of the 36-game regular Season schedule. In the event that a Team loses a player to injury after the final transaction date, the Team may replace such player with a player of like position from their “On-Call” List.

RULE 5: COMPLETION OF GAMES

Any game postponed for legal cause or called before it becomes a regulation game shall be replayed as soon as possible. If there is no open date, “doubleheaders” may be scheduled. If a game cannot be made up, the game is canceled.

RULE 6: PREGAME POSTPONEMENT

No game shall be called off or postponed more than six (6) hours prior to the scheduled starting time.

RULE 7: POSTPONEMENT BY RAIN

Every effort shall be made to play a scheduled game during the allotted period even though a delay in the starting time may be necessary. In case of rain after a game has been started, the umpire shall be the sole judge of whether play should be stopped. If play is suspended there shall be a wait of at least thirty (30) minutes, regardless of field conditions before the umpires consider postponing the game. If, at the end of the thirty (30) minutes, the rain has ceased or is letting up, and in the opinion of the umpires there is a chance of continuing, it is advisable and as part of good showmanship that the umpires appear on the field in uniform, take a survey of the playing conditions and then announce their decision. In any event, every effort should be made to complete the game in its entirety.

RULE 8: LIGHT FAILURE

If the lights go out during a game for any cause or defect and the lights cannot be put back into operation after a delay of thirty (30) minutes from the time play was suspended, the umpire may suspend play for an additional reasonable period, but not over sixty (60) minutes more. In any event, every effort should be made to complete the game. In the event the game must be rescheduled, the game shall be rescheduled and treated in the same manner as a postponement, except that play shall be resumed at the same point and under the same conditions that existed at the time of the light failure. If four and one-half innings have been played, rain checks shall not be honored.

In the event of a temporary failure of lights while a ball is in flight or a play in progress, the umpire will immediately call “time.” When the lights are turned on again and play is resumed, the batter and all runners shall return to the last base touched by them at the time of suspension. In the event that the batter is compelled to return to the batter’s box, she shall assume the count of balls and strikes against her, if any, at the time of suspension.

RULE 9: SUSPENDED GAME RULE

Should a game become a suspended game for any reason, it shall be completed beginning at the point of the suspension on the date of and preceding the next scheduled single game between the same teams in the same park. Where possible the lineups and batting orders of both teams shall be the same as the lineups and batting orders in use at the time the game was called, except that a player who had been removed from the suspended game for a substitute or a substitute player who did not continue in the ball game cannot appear in the lineup at the time of the completion of the suspended game.

RULE 10: TEAM RESPONSIBILITIES

Teams shall give the umpire and the Official ASBA Network Representative its batting order not less than ninety (90) minutes before the commencement of each game, in order to provide the in-game experience to which fans are entitled. All players, including substitutes, must be listed and the failure to list a player shall result in the substitute player being ineligible to enter the game. Field Managers may be fined, not more than one percent (1%) of a pay period per occurrence, for the failure to comply with this rule.

RULE 11: ORDER OF PRACTICE

At the discretion of the Groundskeeper, the Visiting Team and Home Team shall each be allowed up to fifty five (55) minutes for batting and infield practice, after which the groundskeeper shall have not less than thirty (30) minutes to put the field in shape to play. Should less than fifty five (55) minutes be available for each team, the teams must divide the time evenly. Under no circumstance shall a team have more than fifty five minutes (55) for pregame on-field practice.

RULE 12: PACE OF PLAY

PURPOSE: The American Softball Association is committed to enhancing fan experience by accelerating the pace of games. All personnel are to be vigilant in addressing the pace of games.

SECTION 1: Time between innings.

The time between innings shall be limited to no more than two minutes, five seconds (2:05). Timing shall commence when the last out is recorded in a half inning and ends when the pitcher starts her delivery of the first pitch to the plate in the subsequent half inning. The umpire shall keep time and shall remind the pitcher with 30 seconds remaining in the period between innings to ensure teams move at an appropriate pace to begin play. Teams are free to begin innings in less than 2:05 if both teams are prepared to start play. Pitchers shall be allowed the number of warm up pitches they need as long as they are prepared to start the inning within two minutes, five seconds (2:05).

SECTION 2: Time out limit of thirty (30) seconds.

On-field time-outs or conferences shall be limited to no more than 30 seconds, except in the case of injury. A conference begins when a manager, coach or player reaches the pitching circle OR initiates a conversation which creates delay and shall conclude when all conferees other than the pitcher step out of the pitching circle OR cease conversation and begin to return to their normal in-game position. The umpire is responsible for enforcing the thirty (30) second limit. If the defensive team disregards the umpire’s reasonable warning and continues to delay the game, the umpire shall declare a “ball” for the batter at the plate.

SECTION 3: Two “Mound Visit” limit. (amended on June 16, 2018 to only recognize coach visits as “official visits”)

The defensive team’s coach can make one mound visit per pitcher without removing the pitcher from the game. If the pitcher is visited twice during a game by her coach, the pitcher must be removed from the contest. These mound visits are limited to thirty (30) seconds.

SECTION 4: Pitch Interval.

The pitcher shall be required to deliver the ball to the batter within twelve (12) seconds after she receives the ball. Each time the pitcher delays the game by violating this rule, the umpire shall call a “ball.”

RULE 13: IMPROPER GIFTS

Any player or person connected with an individual who shall give, or offer to give, any gift or reward to an umpire for services rendered or supposed to be or to have been rendered, or to have been rendered, in defeating or attempting to defeat a competing team, or for the umpire’s decision on anything connected with the playing of a softball game, and any umpire who shall render, or promise to agree to render any such decision otherwise than on its merits, or who shall solicit or accept such gift or reward for any such service or decision, or who, having been offered any such gift or reward, or, having been solicited to render any such decision otherwise on its merits, shall fail to inform the Board of Directors immediately of such offer or solicitation, including all facts and circumstances connected therewith, shall be declared permanently ineligible to work in the League.

RULE 14: BETTING

Any player, umpire, or official who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any American Softball Association game in connection with which the bettor has no duty to perform, shall be declared ineligible to work in the League for one (1) year. Any player, umpire, or official who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any American Softball Association game in connection with which the bettor has a duty to perform, shall be declared permanently ineligible to work in the League.

RULE 15: MISCONDUCT

No balls or other equipment shall be thrown into the stands by players, managers, coaches, umpires, or on-field personnel. The American Softball Association shall not be responsible for injuries or damage caused by violation of this policy.

Nothing herein contained shall be construed as exclusively defining or otherwise limiting acts, transactions, practices or conduct not to be in the best interests of the American Softball Association and any and all other acts, transactions, practices or conduct not to be in the best interests of the American Softball Association are prohibited and shall be subject to such penalties, including permanent ineligibility, as the facts in any particular case may warrant.

RULE 16: COLLISION RULE

The American Softball Association hereby adopts the following provisions regarding collisions at home plate:

  1. A runner attempting to score may not deviate from her direct pathway to the plate in order to initiate contact with the player covering home plate. If, in the judgment of the umpire, a runner attempting to score initiates contact with the player covering home plate in such a manner, the umpire shall declare the runner out (even if the player covering home plate loses possession of the ball). In such circumstances, the umpire shall call the ball dead, and all other base runners shall return to the last base touched at the time of the collision.
  2. The failure by the runner to make an effort to touch the plate, the runner’s lowering of the shoulder, or the runner’s pushing through with her hands, elbows or arms, would support a determination that the runner deviated from the pathway in order to initiate contact with the catcher in violation of this Collision Rule. If the runner slides into the plate in an appropriate manner, she shall not be adjudged to have violated this Rule. A slide shall be deemed appropriate, in the case of a feet first slide, if the runner’s buttocks and legs should hit the ground before contact with the catcher. In the case of a head first slide, a runner shall be deemed to have slid appropriately if her body should hit the ground before contact with the catcher.
  3. Unless the catcher is in possession of the ball, the catcher cannot block the pathway of the runner as she is attempting to score. If, in the judgment of the umpire, the catcher without possession of the ball blocks the pathway of the runner, the umpire shall call or signal the runner safe.
  4. Notwithstanding the above, it shall not be considered a violation of this rule if the catcher blocks the pathway of the runner in order to field a throw, and the umpire determines that the catcher could not have fielded the ball without blocking the pathway of the runner and that contact with the runner was unavoidable.

RULE 17: CONDUCT TOWARD OFFICIAL SCORER

Official scorers serve at the direction of the League and as such are representatives of The Board of Directors. No individual shall attempt to intimidate scorers into changing calls. Under no circumstances shall official scorers be influenced or pressured regarding their calls. Scorers shall not be interrupted while play is in progress. Scorers may only be asked for an explanation of plays between innings. Scorers shall not accept in-game or post-game inquiries from the players or coaches. Official scorers shall be treated with the respect and support due them as they perform a difficult and valuable service to the League.

RULE 18: FRATERNIZING BY PLAYERS

No player, after having entered the playing field for participation in a game, shall visit or mingle with a player or players of the opposing team, at its bench or dugout.

RULE 19: “ON-CALL” ROSTER SPOTS (amended June 16, 2018 to provide open positional classification)

Each American Softball Association team may keep up to five (5) players “on-call.” On-call players are not part of the main roster, they do not travel, and they shall not be deemed on “Assignment,” pursuant to the ASBA Constitution; however, a team filling an open roster spot must use an on-call player to do so. The only exception to this Rule 19 shall be the acquisition of a player via “Waivers.”

On-call players shall be exclusive to the team reserving them. A player, once officially placed “On-call,” must remain on her team’s list for a minimum of six (6) games before being removed. This provision shall be supplanted in the case of a trade.

The reserving team may “protect” an on-call player for the following Summer League Draft, pursuant to the ASBA Constitution.

RULE 20: WAIVER SYSTEM

Upon termination of a player’s ASBA Summer League Assignment, the player’s rights shall be available to all other teams. Priority shall be given in reverse order of the current standings.

Upon a new Player Registration mid-season, the players rights shall be available to all other teams. Priority shall be given in reverse order of the current standings.

RULE 21: “FLEX” SCHEDULING

The “flexible scheduling” element allows the ASBA, in it’s sole discretion, to interchange and/or adjust the start time of each game. Flexible scheduling helps ensure quality matchups in “primetime.”

RULE 22: PITCHER INNINGS LIMIT (voided on June 16, 2018)

ASBA Pitchers must adhere to the following requirements:

  1. A pitcher can NOT start consecutive games.
  2. A pitcher, once removed from the circle, can NOT return as a pitcher.
  3. A starting pitcher, following a game in which she made a start, must sit consecutive innings equal to the number of innings she threw in the previous game (e.g.: if a starting pitcher records 5.1 innings pitched, she may not enter the following game as a pitcher until one out is recorded in the 6th inning).
    • For the purpose of this section, a “starting pitcher” shall be defined as: 1. The pitcher who throws the first pitch of a game and 2. Any pitcher who throws 3.2 innings in a single game.
  4. A pitcher may not exceed the following “regulation” innings limit in any playoff or regular season series:

*Series Limits do not apply during “extra-inning” competition.

2-Game Series: 7 innings
3-Game Series: 10 innings
4-Game Series: 16 innings
5-Game Series: 20 innings
7-Game Series: 27 innings

RULE 23: RE-ENTRY (voided)

A player, or players, may be substituted during a game at any time the ball is dead. A substitute player shall bat in the replaced player’s position in the team’s batting order. A player once removed from a game shall NOT re-enter that game.

RULE 24: PLAYING MANAGER

No Field Manager shall be allowed to activate herself or place herself “on-call” while she is in control of the team.

RULE 25: DAILY INACTIVE PLAYER (voided)

Not less than ninety (90) minutes before a contest, a team must designate a player who is ineligible to participate in that game. Inactive players may be rotated freely on a game-by-game basis.There are no minimum or maximum limits on how many times a player can be the designated “inactive” player. The inactive player shall not be penalized financially, pursuant to her “base compensation” as outlined in the ASBA Constitution.

RULE 26: TIEBREAKER PROCEDURES (GAME)

There shall be no special provisions and/or rule modifications to end games that have exceeded regulation.

RULE 27: TIEBREAKER PROCEDURES (PLAYOFF SEEDING)

The Board of Director’s decision pursuant to playoff seeding shall be final and not eligible for appeal.

If two or more teams finish tied, the following process will take place:

  1. “Head-to-head” (or head-to-head-to-head) record
  2. The last place team in the Division will be eliminated and the team with the best record (winning percentage) against the remaining teams will be declared the winner
  3. Inverse “Runs Allowed”