Ponytail League Rules

Updated Thursday September 29, 2016 by Kris Marceca.

Key rules are:
- 80 minutes no new inning (complete any inning started).  Dropdead at 105 minutes.
- 4 runs per inning limit.- After 3 walks/HBP, coach comes in after 4 balls.  Strike count carries over. ump calls strikes for coaches
- Limit to one base on an overthrow WITH liability to be put out on a Batted ball.
- Dead ball when back to pitcher (within reason & sportsmanship)
- Stealing of 2nd and 3rd only.  1 Base per pitch on steals.  lead when ball crosses front of home.  For first 2 of weeks, ump should return girls who go beyond 1 base.  No steals on walked/HBP batter.
- No Dropped 3rd, no infield fly.
- Outfield & hits...all you can get (unless a play is made and it's an overthrow at that base)
- Pitchers can only pitch a total of 6 outs.  Pitchers may pitch in at most 2 innings.
 
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GOVERNING BODY FOR AGSA FASTPITCH SOFTBALL
AGSA play is governed by the Rules set forth by the Amateur Softball Association of America. Some of those rules along with AGSA Ponytail League specific modifications are listed as follows:
1. AGSA LEAGUE COMMISSIONER AUTHORITY
The Ponytail Commissioner shall have final decision authority regarding all interpretations, questions, disputes, complaints, etc.
2. GAME START
Head Coaches shall hold a “plate meeting” with the umpire a few minutes prior to the designated start time. The game clock shall begin promptly at the designated start time or at the conclusion of the plate meeting (whichever comes first). The umpire may begin calling balls and strikes at that time. The only exception to this rule is that the game may be delayed for up to 15 minutes to await the arrival of additional players to satisfy the minimum player requirement. The start time shall be recorded in the game record books of the competing teams.  Such delays do not affect the time limit rule, coaches shall meet with the umpire prior to game time and start the clock as close to “game time” as possible.
3. FORFEITS
Any team that cannot field the minimum number of players within 15 minutes of the designated start time shall forfeit the game for official purposes. In the event that a team forfeits its game, it hoped that the opposing team would provide enough players to balance the teams to allow for an unofficial game to be played. In that event, all other rules remain in effect.
4. GAME LENGTH
A regular season game shall be terminated and considered official under the following conditions: After six innings (5 ½ innings if the home team is ahead). Do not start a new inning after 80 minutes of play. However, innings begun before 80 minutes shall immediately be considered complete if the home team takes the lead in the bottom of an inning that has gone beyond the 80 minute mark, or the maximum number of runs have been reached or if three outs have been recorded. Complete all innings started. Ties are allowed. (If both coaches agree, play may continue until the time limit in order to give players – especially less proficient players an opportunity to continue to work on skills). Once the game ends players shall immediately leave the field.
A ‘dropdead’ time limit will be invoked at 1 hour and 45 minutes (105 minutes).  When a game reaches the dropdead time limit the game is immediately over and the final score roles back to score at the last complete whole inning.
If a game is terminated by inclement weather, as determined by the umpire, the game will be treated as complete and official if and only if 3 complete innings (2 ½ innings if the home team is ahead) have been played. Games that are terminated by inclement weather before 3 complete innings (or 2 ½ if the home team is ahead) are treated as incomplete and shall be rescheduled if possible; such games will start over from the beginning. See rule #18.
5. SCORING
A team may score no more than FOUR (4) runs per inning. This rule applies to all innings including the last. Ties are allowed.
 
6. DISTANCE OF PITCHING RUBBER AND BASES
The pitching rubber shall be 35 feet from home plate. Bases shall be 60 feet apart.
7. NUMBER OF PLAYERS
Minimum of 6 players are required and maximum of 10 players including pitcher and catcher may play defense in the field at one time. Game may be delayed for up to 15 minutes to await the arrival of additional players to satisfy the minimum player requirement. Minutes used in this grace period will be counted against the time allotted for the game. A team may use a maximum of four outfielders and a maximum of six infielders.
8. BUNTING – YES
ASA Rules. When there are 2 strikes on the batter, any attempted bunt that results in a foul ball – is an out.
9. INFIELD FLY RULE – NO
The infield fly rule does not apply. The ball remains alive with all runners in jeopardy of being put out.
10. DROPPED 3RD STRIKE – NO
The dropped third strike rule does not apply. Whether or not the 3rd strike is caught, the batter is out. However, base runners may advance at their own risk.
 
11.  OVERTHROWS/Baserunning on Batted Balls
11A.  Players may advance a Maximum of one base on an overthrow, but they are still liable to be put out on that attempt.  There is a maximum of one overthrow per play.  This includes overthrows that go out of play or remain in the field of play.
Example.  Suzy hits a ground ball.  SS overthrows 1st base.  Suzy may advance to 2nd base, but the fielding team can try and get her out while she is advancing.  Should the fielding team overthrow 2nd base, Suzy may no longer advance, since that is the 2nd overthrow of the play.
Example 2.  Suzy is going to 2nd base on a double to the outfield.  The throw to 2nd base gets away but remains in fair territory.  Suzy may advance to 3rd with liability to be put out.  But she may not advance to home under any circumstances.
 
11B.  Pitching circle.  Play is dead and runners may not advance once the ball is in the pitching circle.  See lookback rule #13.
 
11C. On a live batted ball, runners may take as many bases as possible until the ball is either a) controlled in the pitching circle or b) there is an overthrow on an attempted put-out.
12. Stealing (2nd & 3rd only) and SLIDING – YES
Runners cannot leave a base until one of the following occurs: the pitched ball crosses the front plane of home plate. Violators are returned to the original base. Umpires will call runners out for repeated violations by the team. Base stealing is allowed under the following rules.
A. Runners starting at first base or second base are entitled to steal one base only per pitch with liability to be put out.
B. Runners are NOT entitled to advance more than one base per pitch even in the event of an overthrow at any base.
C. Runners starting at third base may not steal home but are liable to be put out if they are off the base.
D. A runner attempting to advance beyond the one base they are entitled to steal may be put out while between bases or in contact with a base to which she is not entitled. Stealing is permitted on Coach pitch (when ball crosses the plate)
E. After all play ceases and the ball becomes dead, if a runner occupies a base beyond the one the runner was entitled to steal, the runner will be returned to the correct base without liability to be put out.
F. Awarded bases will apply to all runners. This includes an overthrow into dead ball territory.
G. Runners can only score on:
H. A batted ball
ii. A base on balls or hit batter with bases loaded
iii. An awarded base when the ball goes out of play to include a pitch that goes out of play
iv. An illegal pitch
The base stealing rules do not apply when a pitched ball is hit into play.
Sliding is optional (and encouraged) and at the discretion of the coaches and players. This is different from ASA rules; please bring to attention of umpires.
13. LOOK-BACK RULE (Rule 8, Section 7 and Rules Supplement, Section 34)
The name of this rule is a misnomer. The pitcher does not have to actually look at the runner. ASA Rules. Simply put, when any play is concluded and the pitcher gains control of the ball inside the pitching circle, all runners on base may stop once but then must immediately commit to a course of action. That is to say: they must immediately advance to the next base or they must immediately return to the base they most recently occupied. If the pitcher reacts to the runner’s commitment to a course of action by leaving the circle, faking a throw, throwing the ball, or throwing the ball away during that defensive action, play is live again and all runners may advance at their own risk. In that case, the look-back rule does not apply again until that play has concluded and the pitcher regains control of the ball inside the pitching circle. Failure to immediately proceed to the next base or return to the original base after the pitcher has the ball in the circle results in the runner being called out. That covers 99% of this rule. For additional information, clarification, and nuance, please refer to the official ASA rulebook.
14. PITCHING (Rule 6, Fast Pitch Sections 1-11)
A. No pitcher may pitch more than 6 outs or or pitch in more than 2 innings per game, whichever comes first (e.g. if a pitcher gives up 4 runs and the inning ends, that counts as one inning).
B. ALL players and coaches MUST pitch from the 35’ rubber.  No exceptions.
C. Legal Pitching Delivery is very specific and is thoroughly defined within ASA Rulebook. Here are common things that make a pitch illegal.
Not starting with both feet in contact with the pitcher’s plate. Stepping backwards off of the pitcher’s plate during delivery. Starting delivery with the ball in the glove / not starting delivery with ball and glove apart. Not touching ball to glove prior to delivery. In short, the pitcher starts with the hands separated and then brings them together for not less than 1 second and not more than 10 seconds before releasing it. Making 2 “presentations” / stopping or reversing forward motion after separating hands. If the ball slips from the pitcher’s hand during the delivery, a ball is declared on the batter, the ball will remain live and the runner(s) may advance at their own risk.
D. COACH PITCH after 3 walks/HBP – A maximum of 3 “base on balls” (walks) or HBP will be allowed per inning  (.e.g. 2 HPB & 1 walk =3).  For subsequent batters; once the batter’s count reaches 4 balls, the coach of the hitting team will pitch from the 35 foot pitching plate, and inherit the strike count only, not the ball count as coach pitchers cannot walk a batter. The coach pitcher will pitch until the batter hits the ball into the field of play ending in a hit, an error or an out.   The player pitcher then resumes pitching as normal for the next batter, When a coach is pitching, the player pitcher must start from a fielding position inside the pitching circle. Coach pitches with the game ball from the 35’ rubber. No more than one ball will be allowed on the field at any given time and will be managed by the umpire. Coach The play ends when the player pitcher gains possession of the ball (following the lookback rule). The coach must get out of the way of hit balls and plays in the field. Interference by the coach pitcher will result in an out assessed on the runner closest to home.  
A Hit By Pitch that occurs AFTER the 3 Walk/HBP Maximum DOES entitle the batter to first base.
E. Players may steal when a coach is pitching (see stealing rules 11.I [eleven dot eye] ).
15. STRIKE ZONE
There shall be a liberal strike zone (at the discretion of the umpire). This is intended to encourage offensive aggressiveness (that is to say, to encourage batters to arrive at the plate with the intent of finding a pitch they can hit). It is hoped, however, that only pitches that could be hit will be called strikes.
16. BATTING ORDER
Batters will bat in a continuous (“snake”) batting order. ALL players must bat, whether or not they are in the defensive line-up.
17. SPEED-UP RULES (Out of various sections from ASA handbook)
Courtesy runners are mandatory for catcher or pitcher on base with 2 team outs. (The catcher / pitcher is defined as the player who will play at the catcher’s or pitcher’s position in the following “defensive” portion of the inning). Infield practice between innings is at the umpire’s discretion but shall be limited to the time allowed to the pitcher for warming up. Umpire may begin calling balls and strikes after 3 minutes between innings. The pitcher has 20 seconds to release the next pitch after receiving the ball or after the umpire indicates “play ball”. Failure to do so will result in a ball called by the umpire. At the beginning or each half inning, or when a pitcher relieves another, not more than one minute may be used to deliver not more than 5 pitches. For excessive warm-up pitches, a pitcher shall be awarded a ball to the batter for each pitch in excess of 5. A pitcher returning to pitch in the same inning will not receive warm-up pitches. A strike is called by the umpire if the batter does not take the batter’s position within 10 seconds after being directed by the umpire. After three consecutive times, the batter will be called out. A ball will be called by the umpire when the catcher fails to return the ball directly to the pitcher as required.
18. HOME TEAM
Home team is listed second on all schedules distributed by e-mail or posted on the website. The home team shall provide the game ball and shall use the 1st baseline dugout or bench.  Visiting team in 3rd Based dugout.  But this really doesn’t matter that much.
19. GAME “RAINOUTS”
Games that are canceled or called due to rain, snow, or poor field conditions will be rescheduled, except when precluded by season or post-season schedule limitations.
In the event of rain during a game, it is up to the umpire and/or field supervisor to decide at what point the game should be suspended or called due to rain. Lightning automatically ends the game. A game in progress may be suspended for rain (or other causes) for no more than 30 minutes. A game is considered “officially completed” if and only if the game is suspended after at least 3 complete innings of play (2 ½ innings of play if the home team is ahead).  Should the game resume, it must proceed with revised timing – with NO NEW INNING beginning with less than 15 minutes prior to the scheduled next game time. (e.g. a 6pm game that is delayed may not start a new inning after 7:45 assuming there is an 8pm game scheduled).
20. PLAYER SAFETY GEAR
Catchers shall wear a chest protector, catcher’s helmet, shin guards and mask with integral extended throat protector or a separate “swinging” type throat guard during all games and all practices. All offensive players shall wear a NOCSAE approved helmet with facemask & chinstrap at all times when they are on the field. Such helmets bear the NOCSAE symbol shown at right. The use of a mouth guard for pitchers and infielders is STRONGLY ENCOURAGED.
21. BALL SPECIFICATIONS
11” ASA APPROVED, YELLOW, .375 COMPRESSION TESTED.
22. OBSTRUCTION
SIMPLY PUT – THE RULE IS THAT THE RUNNER UNEQUIVOCALLY OWNS THE BASELINE.
Defensive players cannot intentionally block any baseline, base, or home plate unless she is in possession of the ball. Defensive players must get out of the way of the runner unless they are fielding a hit ball or they are drawn into the baseline or path of the runner by the act of actually receiving a throw at a base / plate (that does not mean anticipating or waiting for the throw to be made). If the defensive player is actually receiving a throw at a base / plate, the runner must slide or otherwise avoid contact with the defensive player. If the runner goes into the base standing and causes serious contact with the fielder, the umpire may call the runner out. Some collisions may be unavoidable. Use good judgment and make every effort to avoid collisions. A runner that is perceived by the umpire to have intentionally “run over” another player shall be called out and can be ejected from the game at the umpire’s discretion.
23. INTERFERENCE
Base runners must avoid contact with any hit ball and the defensive players attempting to field that ball. The runner may run out of the baseline to avoid contact with the defensive player fielding a hit ball or a defensive player that is drawn into their path or the baseline by the act of actually receiving a throw. They may not run out of the baseline to avoid a tag.
Batters must get out of the way of the catcher if any play is being made at home. If the batter interferes with the catcher’s ability to field a hit ball, receive a throw, or otherwise make the play at home, the batter may be called out and/or the runner advancing to home may be returned to 3rd base (both at the discretion of the umpire, based on perceived intent and recidivism).
24. Misc.
A strike is called for a pitched ball swung at and missed which touches any part of the batter. Runner(s) are entitled to advance one base when a pitched ball that remains live becomes blocked or goes out of live ball territory. A runner is out when running to any base in regular or reveres order and the runner runs more than three feet from the base path to avoid being touched by the ball in the hand(s) of a fielder. A runner is not out when she runs behind or in front of the fielder and outside the base path in order to avoid interfering with a fielder attempting to field a batted ball.

 

Ponytail Softball Rules Fall 2016 - FINAL.docx