SFCSL GENERAL PLAYING RULES
I. PLAYER RULES
1. AGE LIMIT - Men, ages 13 and older.
2. PLAYER ELIGIBILITY - Each team is responsible for adherence to player eligibility requirements, however, teams may impose stricter requirements if they desire. Team rosters must be comprised of approved players as defined below:
- Approved players (AP) - Players must be members of the sponsoring church or attend services and/or bible studies of the sponsoring church on a regular basis during the calendar year. (The intent of the rule is that if they are not members of the church, they are active in the church and its ministries.)
- FREE AGENTS: A team cannot have more than eight free agents for the season as a whole. A team cannot have eight free agents in one game and then a different eight free agents the next. Free agent categories are as follows:
- Unrestricted free agent (UFA) - An unrestricted free agent is considered to be a "Born Again" Christian who regularly attends a non-league church and who is willing to accept the league's statement of faith and be subject to SFCSL rules and bylaws. They also must agree to be bound by the sponsoring church's authority in matters concerning the team and their conduct.
- Restricted free agent (RFA) - A restricted free agent is considered to be a player who may not be Born Again, who may not regularly attend church, or who may attend a church that would not agree with the league's statement of faith. However, he must agree to be bound by the sponsoring church's authority in matters concerning the team and its conduct. It is encouraged that the player attend church functions, but it is not required.
- Replacing a Free Agent - If a free agent is unable to continue playing (quits on the team, gets injured, job moves locations, etc.), the team may replace him with another free agent prior to the 8th game with approval from the commissioners.
- To conclude, ONLY the following combinations of players are allowable:
- Up to 8 unrestricted free agents
- 1 restricted free agent and up to 7 unrestricted free agents
- 2 restricted free agent and up to 6 unrestricted free agents
- One Team Only - Players cannot play for more than one team. Use of a player from another team will result in a forfeit.
- Emergency Player - In the event that a team can only field 7 players for a game, the team may use a player not on their eligible roster. Teams using an emergency player must notify the opposing team prior to the start of the game are report the use of the emergency player to the league commisioners.
3. PLAYER CONDUCT - All players are strictly prohibited from carrying or using alcohol, tobacco, or drugs on or at any field location. Abusive, indecent, or threatening language is prohibited. Violations of the above are subject to ejection from the game and will result in disciplinary action by the protest committee.
4. METAL SPIKES - Metal spikes are NOT permitted. Players who are found using metal spikes during a game will be ejected and receive a subsequent one game suspension. The player may be replaced in the lineup. If the team has no replacement for the player, an out be recorded in his place in the lineup.
II. LEAGUE ORGANIZATION
5. LEAGUE TYPE - The league is strictly an organizing entity and therefore, it does not provide any medical or liability insurance. Each sponsor is required to inform its players of this policy.
6. LEAGUE MEMBERSHIP - Requests for league membership will be voted on by the Protest Committee based on the following:
- Applicants acceptance of statement of faith and agreement to abide with it and league rules and by-laws.
- Field availability
- Maximum teams = 14
- Length of season
7. LEAGUE FEES
- The league entry fee is $100.00 and is non-refundable.
- Umpire fees of $23.00 per game are due prior to the start of each game. Failure to pay the umpire prior to the start of the game can result in a forfeit.
- In the even the league is disbanded, all remaining funds will be equally divided among the teams that last participated in the league. Funds will be paid to the church or organization sponsoring the team, not to an individual.
- Fees are used to pay for trophies, printing costs, postage, rule books, and envelopes. Any expenditure in excess of $50.00 (excluding umpire fee's, cost of trophies, and field usage fees) must be approved by the majority of league members.
8. UNIFORMS - Teams are encouraged to have matching uniforms, particularily jerseys. It is not required.
9. INSURANCE - All teams must submit proof of liability insurance coverage. A "Certificate of Insurance" is available from your church's insurance agent or company.
10. SCORE REPORTING - The WINNING team must report the status (score, rainout, or forfeit) of the game by midnight of the scheduled game day. Failure to comply will result in a $5.00 penalty fee. The fee will increase by $5.00 for each repeat offense.
- Penalty fees are due within one week on notification. Failure to pay the fee on or before the due date will result in an automatic forfeit of the next scheduled game following the due date. Succeeding games will be forfeited if the fee is not paid on or before the day prior to the next scheduled game.
11. PROTESTS - All protests are handled by the Protest Committee. To file a protest, follow the procedures set forth in the ASA Official Rules of Softball, then contact the chairman of the Protest Committee or any member of the committee if the chairman is unavailable. After notifying the committee, send a $25.00 check payable to S.F.C.S.L to the designated commisoner. Upon receipt, the committee will be requested to render a decision. If the protest is upheld, $10.00 of the fee will be refunded. No member of the protest committee may vote on a protest involving his own team. A tie vote will result in disallowing a protest. Please note that umpire's judgment calls are not protestable matters.
12. RAINOUTS - The home team is responsible for canceling the game 45 minutes before game time in the event of rain. If the game is canceled, either of the managers must notify the umpire.
- Failure to notify the umpire will result in the teams paying the FULL AMOUNT to the umpire, with each team paying $22. I will give you the address of the umpire so that you can send him a check, or you can pay him at one of your future games.
- The home team must also notify the away team, although it is expected that the decision to cancel the game will be a joint one.
13. CANCELATIONS - Except for rainouts, no cancelations will be allowed. Games will be played as originally scheduled or will result in a forfeit.
14. RESCHEDULING - Rainouts are to be rescheduled promptly. The teams should consult with the Scheduling Committee and agree on a date and field, and confirm with the chairman of the Scheduling Committee. Upon approval from the scheduling committee, the head of umpires will find an umpire. The league will contact you if we cannot find an umpire.
- If the committee has not been contacted within 7 days of the rainout, the game will be rescheduled by the committee and the teams will be notified. Games that are rescheduled by the committee will be played on the day and field specified whether or not it is agreeable to the teams. Failure to play the game will result in a forfeit.
- In addition, a penalty of $5.00 will be assessed against each team. The fee will be due within 7 days from the date of notification. Failure to pay the fee on or before the due date will result in an automatic forfeit of the next scheduled game following the due date. Succeeding games will be forfeited if the fee is not paid on or before the day prior to the next scheduled game. The fee will increase by $5.00 for each repeated offence.
15. MULTIPLE FORFEITS - Any team which forfeits 3 games will be expelled from the league for the remainder of the season. All teams will be credited with a win against this team, including any team that had previously lost to them. The team will not be eligible for membership for the next season without approval of the protest committee.
16. STANDINGS - Standings are determined by giving two points for a win and one for a tie. Please see PLAYOFF TIEBREAKERS section for more on playoff positioning.
17. POST-SEASON PLAY - (A separate sheet will be handed out at preseason meeting)
- Please note that players must have played in five regular season games to participate in playoff action. Other than overseas military service, no exceptions will be allowed.
- Playoffs are best of 3 series, usually two games per week, starting around July 4th.
- Exact Playoff Format is decided at preseason meeting.
TIEBREAKER RULES ARE AS FOLLOWS:
- HEAD TO HEAD - COD beat New Life Kings during the year, COD would make the playoffs.
- NET RUNS VS. OPPONENT - If COD and Kings split during the year, but Kings won 11-5 and lost 9-8, Kings would get in the playoffs based on a net run differential of 19-14.
- NET OVERALL RUN MARGIN - If COD and Kings split, and COD wins 8-3 and Kings wins 13-8, we have a tie at 16 runs apiece. At that time, you take the total margin of runs scored for the year. If COD outscored their opponents 171-110, and Kings outscored their opponents 154-130, COD would get in with a plus 61 run margin, while Kings only had a plus 24 run margin.
- COIN FLIP.
Things to remember in 3 way or 4 way ties.
- Start with the first tiebreaker, head to head. If in a three way tie, Chelten Baptist was 3-0 and Jarrettown Methodist and New Life Blue were 1-2, Chelten would make the playoffs first. The other two teams would then start over again with the first tiebreaker at head to head. If all 3 teams somehow were 2-2, you proceed to the 2nd tiebreaker with ALL 3 teams, net runs vs. opponent.
- Teams are grouped together and you go through all the group tiebreakers first. If all 3 or 4 teams were tied in winning percentage, you would then go to the second group tiebreaker, which is net runs vs. opponent among the 3 or 4 teams. You only take two teams out of the group tiebreaker scenario to break ties within a group. In other words, you do not take the COD Saints out of the group example below and the redo tiebreakers with the remaining 3 teams. Teams must remain grouped together. You only take two teams out of the group to break a tie within the group, using the same tiebreaker rules above.
- In comparing two teams records against each other or against a group, WINNING PERCENTAGE is used. In other words, a team that is 1-2 would have the same winning percentage as a team that is 2-4.
Here is a scenario that actually happened in 1999.
W-L vs. opponents
COD Saints 8-7, 4-2 /.667
Davisville 8-7, 3-2/.600
Kings 8-7, 2-4/.333
Oreland 8-7, 1-2/.333
Three of these four teams had to make the playoffs. As you can see, COD would make the playoffs first, followed by Davisville 2nd. Kings and Oreland have the same winning percentage, so those two teams start over again with head to head against each other. Kings happened to beat Oreland that year, so Kings made the playoffs and Oreland, being last, did not.
III. COMPETITION RULES
18. GAME EQUIPMENT - The home team is responsible to supply all softballs (one new one and several good backups), bases, and home plate. The home team is the last one mentioned on the schedule. Failure to provide the required equipment will result in a forfeit.
19. GAME TIMES - All games are to start promptly at 6:30pm. Other start times may be considered under special circumstances. The pre-game schedule is as follows for a 6:30pm game:
- Up to 6:10pm - Home Team practice time. For other game times, it will be up to 20 minutes prior to the game
- 6:10 to 6:25pm - Visiting Team practice time.
- 6:25 to 6:30pm - Ground rules, prayer and team huddles.
- 6:30pm - Play Ball!
- Please note the following:
- Visiting teams cannot use the field until 20 minutes before the game.
- Do not switch practice times or mix practices.
- Start time may not be delayed past 6:30 except when the minimum number of 8 players is not present. Forfeit time is 6:45pm or 15 minutes after the game is scheduled to start.
20. GAME BALL - Dudley SB12LND (ASA) softballs (.47 COR & 375 compression)
21. PRAYER - The home team will open each game with prayer and the away team will close with prayer.
22. GAME RULES - The official rule book will be the ASA Official Rules of Softball for modified fast pitch with the following exceptions:
- No base stealing. Base runners can be caught off base but cannot advance until they return to the base last occupied. If runners fail to return to the base last occupied before advancing, they are out, provided the ball is returned to a fielder and properly appealed. Base runners must be tagged out on a pickoff play, it is not an automatic out. Baserunners may take a lead only when the pitcher lets go of the ball. Leaving early will result in the base runner being called out by the umpire.
- A courtesy runner will be allowed only in the event of an injury. Managers must inform the opposing team when the ground rules are being discussed of players on their team who will need a pinch-runner during the game. In the event that an opposing team questions an injury, the umpire will determine whether or not a courtesy runner will be allowed. A runner being slow or a bad base runner is NOT a reason to allow a courtesy runner.
- The courtesy runner must be the last batted out. In the event that the last recorded out is also injured, it will be the recorded out previous to that batter. If not enough outs have been recorded, it will be the last man in the batting lineup.
- If the offensive team wants the injured player to remain in the game rather than replacing or dropping him from the lineup, he can play in the field and if he can bat, he can request a courtesy runner when he reaches base. If the injured batter cannot bat, then the offensive team must take an out when his place in the batting order is reached.
- Ten fielders are used although 8 may start a game.
- If a team does not have a 9th or 10th hitter at the start of a game, it is not an automatic out, as the lineup simply goes from the 8th hitter back to the first hitter, until a 9th or 10th player arrive.
- If the 9th and/or 10th player comes late, he must be inserted into the last spot in the lineup. If he wants to join the field in the middle of an inning, he must first get permission from the umpire, so as not to disrupt play.
- DH - Teams may use a designated hitter, however, the DH may never play a defensive position. Improper use of the DH rule can result in a forfeit.
- If a team substitutes for an 8th or 9th player that started the game, that team has forfeited their right to add a 9th and/or 10th player to the lineup later on. Improper use of this rule can result in a forfeit or replaying the game from a certain point forward.
- Extra Players - An extra player (EP) is optional, but if one is used, it must be made known prior to the start of the game and be listed on the scoring sheet in the batting order. If an EP is used, he must be used for the entire game. An EP cannot be added once the game has begun. A DH can also not be added once a game has begun and must be used for the entire game.
- The EP must remain in the same position in the batting order for the entire game.
- If an EP is used, all eleven players must bat and any 10 can play the field. Defensive positions can change, but the batting order must always remain the same.
- A Second EP is allowed as well, with all the same rules pertaining to the first EP
- A maximum of 12 players are allowed in the lineup.
- In the event a team has no replacement for an injured or ejected player, an automatic out will be recorded in his spot in the batting order. Two players equal two outs and a third will result in a forfeit. An ejected player without a replacement does not result in a forfeit.
- Modified fast pitch - Modified rules are the same as fast-pitch rules, except for the following:
- The pitcher, from the start of the windup to the end of the pitch, must have one foot in contact with the pitcher's rubber at all times. He may take a step back before delivering the ball, provided one foot is in contact with the pitching rubber and all other pitching rules are being followed.
- The pitcher must release the ball on the first forward swing of the pitching arm past the hip. The release must have a complete smooth follow through, with no abrupt stop of the arm near the hip.
- On the forward swing of the pitching arm, the elbow must be locked at the point of release, and the driving hip, must be square to home plate when the ball is released.
- The ball must not be outside the pitcher's wrist at the top of the backswing, and during the complete forward delivery.
- The pitcher may take the ball behind the back on the backswing.
- The pitcher may not use a windmill or slingshot type pitch, nor may a complete revolution be made in the delivery. NOTE: A "slingshot" is defined as turning the body toward first or third base and, bending the elbow during the backswing.”
- The pitcher's palm may be pointing downward upon delivery, and the delivery must be an underhanded motion.
- The pitcher's arm can go higher than his shoulder as long as a bowling type pendulum-motion delivery is still used.
- If the pitcher delivers with an arc, it must not be above the batter's head. If in the umpire's judgment, the pitch has an excessive arc, or is in violation of any of the above pitching motions, he will call a ball.
- If a pitcher throws a ball over the backstop or out of play, the runners DO NOT advance a base (as is the case with ASA rules).
- If a player is hit by a pitch, it is not a walk in any case. If the umpire determines the player was being thrown at, he can warn the pitcher or throw the pitcher out of the game.
- If a team is leading by 10 runs at the end of 3 innings, and the game is called due to weather or darkness, it will be counted as an official game.
- A game will be complete after 5 innings if called due to weather or darkness or if a team is ahead by 20 runs. The 20-run rule does not apply in playoffs. If a game does not go 5 innings and is not an official game (see rule G), the game must be played over from the start (both regular season and playoffs).
- Free substitution: A player who at any time has been withdrawn from the game may re-enter after 3 outs by the opposing team, provided he takes the same position in the batting order. A player who has been taken out may re-enter the game only once. NOTE: Improper use of this rule can result in a forfeit. All changes must be reported to the umpire and the opposing score-keeper.
- Anti-collision rule: While there a player is not recquired to slide, but he must avoid contact with the fielder. When a defensive player has the ball or is about to catch a thrown ball, and the runner remains on his feet and makes contact with the defensive player tor interference or create injury, the baserunner should be called out by the umpire. If the act is flagrant, the runner may be ejected. An errant throw drawing the defense into the path of the runner is not considered interference.
23. BUNTING - There is no bunting. If a batter bunts, it will be a dead ball and it will be called a strike. Base runners must return to the base last occupied. A bunt on a third strike will automatically be an out whether fair or foul.
24. ILLEGAL BATS - If a batter uses an illegal (or altered bat) and receives a base hit, and the next batter plans to use the same bat, the following penalty is now enforced. If noticed before a pitch is thrown to the 2nd batter, the umpire will rule the batter who used the bat and is now on base out (the player is then ejected from the game), the bat removed from the game, and return all runners who advanced as a result of the hit. There is no penalty for the current batter unless a pitch is thrown to the batter, then he is the one that is called out (and ejected), and the first player using an illegal bat has no penalty. Bats cannot be altered with painting, adding a fake symbol, etc.
25. EJECTIONS - Any individual who is ejected from a game will automatically be suspended for the next two games. A second ejection will result in suspension for the season. In rare cases, the protest committee may shorten or lengthen suspensions based on facts surrounding the incident provided by umpires and players on teams involved.
- Individuals ejected for physical contact with an umpire or another individual will automatically be suspended for the season.
- Individuals suspended for any period of time cannot attend SFCSL games during the suspension.
- If a player is injured or ejected from a game, and no replacement is available, an out will be taken for the player's place in the lineup.
- Anyone suspended for the season can appeal this action to the Protest Committee and request a hearing to be reinstated. Everyone with knowledge of the incident must be present or talked to. No matter what the outcome, the individual will serve a suspension of not less than 5 games (including playoffs) and if any appeal is made, the individual will be suspended from play until his hearing even if he has served the 5 game suspension.