Skip to main content
Tulane Home Tulane Home

Rules - Softball

I. GENERAL ELIGIBILITY

1. Participation is limited to currently-enrolled, fee-paying Tulane students, faculty members, and full-time staff, as well as fee-paying alumni.

2. In order to participate in an intramural contest, each player must present his/her current valid Splash Card. Check-in will take place at the scorer’s table on the appropriate field. The use of another student’s splash card will result in an automatic forfeit and loss of deposit.

II. TEAM COMPOSITION

1. Players can compete on one open or single-gender team, regardless of league classification, and play for one co-rec team as well.

2. An open or fraternity team’s line-up may have up to 11 players, 12 for co-rec. 10 players will play in the field with the 11th player in the line-up serving as the extra hitter (EH). The use of an EH must be determined prior to the start of the game and may not be added once the team has made it through one round of the lineup. The extra hitter may take a position in the field, but must remain in the same spot in the batting order.

3. A team must have 8 players to start a game. Players who arrive late must be added to the bottom of the line-up. 

4. A team’s roster may include an unlimited number of players.

5. A team must finish a game with 8 players, except in the event of an injury. If a team starts a game with 8, 9, 10, 11, or 12 players and players have to leave with no available substitutes, play will continue as long as 8 legal players are available to play. When a player leaves a game early for any reason (injury, disqualification, ejection) and no substitutes are available, an out will be recorded when that player is scheduled to bat.

6. Limited substitution is permitted in order to encourage maximum participation. Limited substitution is available to all players in the line-up. However, once a player has left the lineup, they may not re-enter the game unless there are extenuating circumstances, such as an injury, and explicit permission is given by the supervisor on duty.

III. EQUIPMENT

1. All participants who are not an active field player (defense), offensive batter, runner, on-deck batter, or base coach) shall remain in the spectator area behind the line.

2. All players must wear shoes. Tennis shoes, soft-soled shoes, and one piece softball shoes are legal. Metal spikes or cleats with metal exposed are not allowed. Any player caught wearing metal spikes will be ejected from the game. Sandals and boat shoes will not be allowed under any conditions.

3. Participants are encouraged to wear personal safety equipment.

4. Other softball equipment such as bats, gloves, and softballs will be available at the field however we do not guarantee that there will be enough gloves for everyone.

5. Equipment may not be thrown, spiked, or kicked in an unsportsmanlike manner. Such actions shall result in player ejection. 

6. Bats and balls will be provided by us and the use of an illegal bat or ball will result in an immediate out. Any subsequent use of an illegal bat or ball by the same team in the same game shall result in an immediate forfeiture of the game to the opposing team, ejection of the player using the illegal bat for the remainder of the season, and a loss of deposit.

7. Wrist and hand jewelry is NOT allowed to be worn by any participant during intramural softball. This jewelry consists of any visible rings (including wedding bands), watches, bracelets, and any other such similar jewelry. Medic alert bracelets must be taped to the body or secured under clothing such as a wristband or sock to be worn during play. Exposed jewelry which is deemed dangerous by the umpire or other IM staff must be removed and may not be worn for the remainder of the game. A player is subject to ejection for failure to remove any jewelry after the first warning.

IV. GROUND RULES

1. Any balls hit between the first set of two trees or any fairly hit ball to the sidewalk to the right of the first tree will result in a ground rule double.

2. Any balls hit between the second set of two trees will result in a ground rule triple.

3. Any balls hit between the third set of two trees and beyond the field of play will result in a home run.

4. Balls that touch or come to rest on the sidewalks in foul territory will be considered out-of-play.

5. Balls that touch the overhanging branches will be considered dead. They will count as a pitch but not a foul ball.

V. GAME TIME & LENGTH

1. Game time is forfeit time. A team needs at least 8 legal players to begin the game. A forfeit will result in a loss of game for the offending team as well as a loss of half of their deposit.  Two forfeits could result in the team’s expulsion from the league.

2. Each game has a 50-minute or 7-inning limit. Any inning started before the end of the 50-minute time period will be completed. No innings will begin after 50 minutes have elapsed.

3. Regular season games can end in a tie. Extra innings will be played only if they start before the 50-minute time limit. All playoff games will continue until a winner is determined.

VI. INCLEMENT WEATHER

1. The Intramural Sports Office reserves the right to postpone or reschedule a contest if circumstances warrant such action. Regular season games cancelled by rain are generally not rescheduled. Contests postponed due to other reasons may or may not be rescheduled at the discretion of the Intramural Sports staff.

2. A game stopped because of inclement weather is a regulation game if four or more innings (3 1/2 if the home team is ahead) have been played. In the event that a game is stopped in the middle of an inning, the official score will revert to the score at the end of the last complete inning.

VII. BATTING

1. Each batter will have 6 pitches.

2. The batter can strike out but cannot be walked; the batter cannot strike out on a foul ball unless it is the sixth pitch.

3. The batter has 10 seconds to enter the batter’s box. If he/she exceeds this time, an automatic strike is called.

4. There is no bunting. The batter must take a full swing at the ball. A batter who bunts or chops the ball (fair or foul) is out. A bunted ball that strikes the ground is immediately dead and runners must return to their original base. Bunted balls that are pop-ups may be caught and any runners may be doubled off (put out); runners, however, may not tag up and advance. Bunt pop-ups not caught still result in an out and an immediate dead ball.

5. If a player unintentionally throws his/her bat excessively after a hit or in anger, the team will be given a warning. Each subsequent offense will result in the batter being called out and all runners returning to the base they occupied at the beginning of the at-bat. Any player who intentionally throws his/her bat will be called out and ejected from the game.

VIII. PITCHING

1. All leagues are slow and self-pitch (the pitch will be delivered by the batter’s teammate). The defensive lineup must include a pitcher’s helper who would theoretically field the ball as a pitcher would.

2. A legal delivery shall be a ball that is delivered underhand and a slow to moderate speed. The ball must reach a height of at least 6 feet and no more than 12 feet at the top of its arc.

3. The pitcher must start at or up to two feet before the pitcher’s rubber. The pitcher may step off of the rubber during the follow-through of the pitch.

4. Any pitch that fails to reach an arc of 6 feet, exceeds the 12 foot limit, or is thrown with excessive speed, in the opinion of the umpire or supervisor, will be declared an illegal pitch. This will count as a dead-ball unless the batter chooses to swing, in which case the ball will be considered a strike regardless of the outcome of the swing.

5. A strike will be considered any ball that the batter swings at and misses entirely as well as balls hit foul, however, a third strike will not be given on a foul ball.

6. A ball that slips from a pitcher’s hand during his/her back swing, the ball will be dead and a “no pitch” will be declared. If intentional, a strike will be called.

7. All pitchers must be included in the batting lineup.

8. Pitchers receive a maximum of 5 warm-up pitches prior to the first inning and 1 pitch prior to any other inning. 2 warm-up pitches are allowed for mid-inning pitching changes. Pitchers shall wait until the fielding team is ready before delivering the pitch.

9. Offensive pitchers do not play defense and must move out of the way of all defensive plays. Pitchers that intentionally interfere or fail to reasonably get out of the way of a defensive play will result in an out. The supervisor on duty will determine the outcome of the play.

IX. RUNNING

1. No stealing is allowed. Baserunners may leave the base when the pitch is hit. If a runner is off base before the pitch reaches the plate, the runner is called out and a “no pitch” is declared.

2. The base path for a runner is the direct line between the player and the base to which he/she is advancing at the time a play is being made on that specific base runner and the three feet to either side of that direct path. Note: this path may be different from the straight line connecting two bases. For example, a player who has run past 1st base a distance of about 10 feet decides to run for second. His/her base path for any tag plays is the direct line from where he/she made his turn towards 2nd base (10 feet down the line from 1st) and 2nd base. This is different from the direct line from 1st to 2nd base. For plays between home plate and 1st base, the runner shall run in the 3-foot lane of the foul side of the foul line.

3. A player who runs outside his base path (including the 3-foot lanes on either side) in an attempt to avoid a tag shall be declared out.

4. A fielder has absolute right to any position on the field to field a ball and all runners must avoid a fielder in these cases. When a fielder not in possession of the ball or not in the act of fielding a batted ball impedes the progress of a runner, obstruction will be ruled. This is a delayed dead ball; play continues as normal. Once the play has ended, the umpire shall award the runner and each other runner affected by the obstruction the bases they would have, in the umpire’s opinion, reached had there been no obstruction.

5. On tag plays, the fielder must be in possession of the ball before attempting to block a base or home plate. Blocking a base without the ball at any base or home plate is considered obstruction. It is also obstruction when a fielder without the ball fakes a tag. For a fake tag, bases are awarded as a normal obstruction AND the fielder will be ejected from the game.

6. Any runner in fair territory and not in contact with a base that is struck by a fair batted ball is out except when

a) The ball has passed an infielder and in the judgment of the umpire, no other fielder had a chance to make an out,

b) When a runner is hit with a fair batted ball overfoulterritory and no other fielder had a chance to make an out, or

c) When a runner is touched with a fair batted ball after it is touched by any fielder, including the pitcher’s helper. In the event of one of these 3 exceptions, all runners must return to their previously occupied base and the batter-runner is awarded first base. If the award of first to the batter-runner causes another runner to be forced, that runner will advance to the next base.

7. There will be no sliding and to do so will result in an automatic out.

8. Softball is NOT a contact sport. If a runner collides with a defensive player they will receive an out and/or be ejected from the game even if said defensive player does not have the ball. The runner, if encountering an obstruction, should do their best to avoid the obstructing player and make an appeal to the umpire. The supervisor on duty will make the final call and award runs or outs accordingly.

9. Overthrows that land out of play will result in 1 base plus the base the batter/runner is running to at the time of the throw; i.e. if the runner has rounded second base they will get third and home. If the runner stayed at second base, they will only get third.

10. All base awards are based on the position of the lead runner. For example, if two players are between 1st and 2nd at the time of an overthrow which lands out of play, the first runner will be awarded 2nd and 3rd (two bases) and the second runner will receive 2nd base only.

11. A courtesy runner may be used in the event of injury only AND upon agreement with the opposing team’s captain. The courtesy runner must be the player who recorded the last out. In co-rec games, the courtesy runner must be a player of the same gender.

12. The ball remains alive until the pitcher has possession of the ball in the infield and all immediate play has apparently completed. Runners not advancing return to the last base legally touched. Umpires have the authority to grant timeout when the ball is in possession of another fielder and all immediate play has apparently ended.

X. INFIELD FLY RULE

1. An “infield fly” occurs with all of the following conditions:

a) A fair fly ball (not including a line drive) which can be caught by an infielder with ordinary effort.
b) There are 0 or 1 out in the inning.
c) There are runners on 1st and 2nd OR runners on 1st, 2nd, and 3rd.

2. When all three conditions are met, the umpire will declare an “infield fly” and rule the batter out immediately, whether or not the fly ball is caught. Baserunners must tag up if the fly ball is caught and they are attempting to advance to the next base. Baserunners may advance if the fly ball is dropped, but are not required to run and may not be forced out at the next base.

XI. APPEAL PLAYS

1. An appeal play is one in which an umpire cannot make a decision until requested by a member of the defensive team. Appeals must be made prior to the next legal or illegal pitch or before the defensive team has left the field.

2. Once the ball has been returned to the infield and time has been called, any infielder (including the pitcher or catcher), with or without possession of the ball, may make a verbal appeal on a runner missing a base, a runner leaving a base too soon, or the batter batting out of order. The plate umpire should acknowledge the appeal, and the administering umpire should then make a decision on the play. Baserunners cannot leave their base during this period, as the ball remains dead until the next pitch.

3. If a runner misses home base, an appeal is not necessary, the umpire can rule the player out once the play is dead.

XII. OTHER RULES

1. A player who is bleeding or has blood on his/her uniform cannot participate until the bleeding is stopped or the uniform is changed.

a) If the player accomplishes this task within a reasonable time (to be determined by the umpire), the player may remain in the game.

b) If the situation is not handled in a reasonable amount of time, the player must leave the game and be replaced. The player is then subject to the re-entry rule. If no substitutes are available, play will continue without the player. The player, then, may re-enter the game when he/she is deemed legal for participation.

XIII. CO-REC RULE MODIFICATIONS

1. A co-rec line-up consists of 8, 9, 10, 11, or 12 players. 10 players play in the field with up to 2 extra hitters (EH), one male and one female. Teams must have 8 players to begin a game. There must be AT LEAST as many females as males but there can be more females than males.

2. The batting order shall alternate male and female batters.  The last at bat and first at bat can be the same gender.

3. While fielding: there must be at least two female players in the infield as well as the outfield.

XIV. SPORTSMANSHIP

1. The mission of Intramural Sports is to provide a recreational environment for the University community which is safe and enjoyable. While the game atmosphere is often competitive, ensuring participant safety, providing a fun, social atmosphere, and promoting sportsmanlike behavior among participants, spectators, and team followers are our primary concerns. The game atmosphere should remain good-natured at all times. Participants shall maintain good sportsmanship throughout their participation in all facets of the intramural program.

2. The Sportsmanship Rating System is intended to be an objective scale by which teams’ attitude and behavior can be assessed throughout the intramural sports league and playoff seasons. Behavior before, during, and after an intramural sports contest is included in the rating. The team captain is responsible for educating and informing all players and spectators affiliated with his/her team about the system.

3. A team is responsible for the actions of the individual team members and spectators related to it. Additionally, TU Intramural Sports does not recognize the use of coaches. Only the team captain shall speak to the officials regarding administrative matters (protests, ejections, disqualifications, etc.). Furthermore, the team captain’s efforts in assisting officials/staff to calm difficult situations and to restrain troubled teammates are key to controlling team conduct.

4. Sportsmanship is vital to the conduct of every Intramural contest. In order to encourage proper conduct during games, officials, administrative personnel, and supervisors shall make decisions on whether to warn, penalize or eject players or teams for poor sportsmanship. These decisions are final. The Intramural Sports administrative staff will rule on further penalties as a result of unsportsmanlike conduct.

5. Each participant should choose his or her team members carefully, as all team members will suffer the consequences of any disciplinary action taken by the Intramural Sports staff against that team for violation of the intramural rules and sportsmanship guidelines. Protests or appeals of sportsmanship ratings will not be recognized. The Intramural Sports administrative staff reserves the right to review any rating given to a team.

 

SOME HELPFUL SOFTBALL REMINDERS

1)      For a ground rule to occur, it must travel between the trees either on the ground or in the air.  Whichever gap it goes through, regardless of what it hits in that gap (i.e. the light pole), is the gap that will be used for the ground rule.  On Newcomb field there is mulch between the trees.  If the ball is on the ground, once it hits the mulch, it is considered a ground rule. The ground rules between trees state as, from the right foul line, double, double, triple, home run. On the LBC, they have the same mulch but it is not as defined, but it is also the same rule (more of a judgment call for the LBC). The ground rules state as, from the right foul line, double, double, triple, triple, home run. All of left field is a homerun on both fields.  For Newcomb it is when the ball crosses the mulch, on the LBC it is when the ball touches the sidewalk (most of the time the ball does not need to go this far for someone to round the bases and get an “inside the park” homerun).  In the event of a ground rule, the runner goes to the base designated by the spot between the trees.  The other runners advance the same amount of bases.

2)      Overthrow: If a ball is overthrown and goes out of bounds, a runner will receive the base they were going to at the time of the throw and one additional base.  Out of bounds is considered a ball that is not fieldable within reasonable effort.  Mostly this means once it hits the street/sidewalk.  The reason why this needs to be clarified is if there is an overthrow but the fielder can get to the ball (while the ball is still on the field) within a reasonable amount of time to get it back to the pitcher, there is no free base.  In this situation the base runner can choose to run for as many bases as they want since the ball is still considered in play.

3)      If a ball is foul and it hits any part of a tree, it is automatically dead, and cannot be caught for an out.  Not a field/boundary issue, but a common misconception is that any foul ball can be caught for an out.  By this, I mean that the ball can only be caught for an out IF it goes above the batters head.