Diamond League Rules

Updated Sunday March 22, 2015 by Kris Marceca.

Diamond Rules

1. GOVERNING BODY FOR AGSA FASTPITCH SOFTBALL
AGSA play is governed by the Rules set forth by the Amateur Softball Association of America with the following modifications.

2. AGSA LEAGUE COMMISSIONER AUTHORITY
The Diamond League Commissioner shall have final decision authority regarding all interpretations, questions, disputes, complaints. etc.

3. GAME START
“Batter Up” shall be called by the umpire and games shall begin immediately at the designated start time. 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 arrival of additional players to satisfy the minimum player requirement.

4. 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 that event, it hoped that the opposing team will 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.

5. GAME LENGTH
A regular season game shall be terminated and considered official under the following conditions:

  • After seven innings (6 1⁄2 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 one team is ahead by 15 or more runs at the end of an inning. (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. 
  • After 3 complete innings (2 1⁄2 innings if the home team is ahead) in the event that play is stopped due to inclement weather.

6. SCORING
A team may score no more than FIVE (5) runs per inning. This rule applies all innings including the last. Official/Final score shall revert back to last complete inning unless home team is ahead. Ties are allowed.

7. DISTANCE OF PITCHING RUBBER AND BASES
The pitching rubber shall be 40 feet from home plate. Bases shall be 60 feet apart.

8. NUMBER OF PLAYERS
Minimum of 6 and Maximum of 10 players including pitcher and catcher. 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.

9. BUNTING – YES
ASA Rules. When there are 2 strikes on the batter, any attempted bunt that results in a foul ball – is an out.

10. INFIELD FLY RULE – YES

11. DROPPED 3RD STRIKE – YES

12. STEALING – YES
ASA Rules. Runners may leave base when the ball leaves the pitcher’s hand. Umpires shall call runners out for first violation. Stealing home is allowed.

13. SLIDING – YES
ASA Rules. To avoid interference or collision, sliding is required if a defensive player is attempting to make the play against the runner, (especially at Home Plate).

14. LOOK-BACK RULE
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. That covers 99% of this rule. For additional information, clarification, and nuance, please refer to the official ASA rulebook.

15. PITCHING
ASA Rules. Legal Pitching Delivery is very specific & thoroughly defined. 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. Making 2 “presentations” / stopping or reversing forward motion after separating hands.

16. 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 shall be called strikes.

17. 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.

18. SPEED-UP RULES
Courtesy runners may be inserted 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). The inserted player must be the player who made the last out. 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.

19. HOME TEAM
Home team is listed second on all schedules distributed by e-mail or posted on the website. As is customary, home team shall provide the game ball and use the 3rd baseline dugout or bench.

20. 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 20 minutes. A game is considered “officially completed” if; the game is suspended after at least 3 complete innings of play (2 1⁄2 innings of play if the home team is ahead).

21. PLAYER SAFETY GEAR

Umpires shall inspect all equipment before games.

Pitchers shall use a mouth guard or face protector and 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.

Defensive players, particularly infielders, are encouraged, but not required, to wear a fielder's mask.

Bats must be USSSA- or ASA-certified and be free of dents or any tampering such as shaving or rolling. If in doubt, ASA rules regarding the legality of bats shall be used.

Metal cleats are prohibited.

22. BALL SPECIFICATIONS
12” ASA APPROVED, YELLOW, .375 COMPRESSION TESTED.

23. OBSTRUCTION
SIMPLY PUT – THE RULE IS THAT THE RUNNER UNEQUIVOCALLY OWNS THE BASELINE. Defensive players cannot intentionally block any baseline, base, nor 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 possibly ejected from the game based on umpire discretion.

24. 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).

 

Updated 3/18/2015

 

 

Diamond Rules 2015.docx