Softball Minors Rules

Please refer to the 2023 Little  League Softball Rule Book for an exhaustive list of Little League Softball Rules. Below are some of the more frequently identified rules, as well as rules that are specific to Arapahoe Little League softball.

When on Offense
- Open to all girls LL age 8-12
- All batters must have a facemask on their batting helmet.
- There is no on-deck circle. Players in the dugout (besides the active batter) are not allowed outside the dugout
to take practice swings or use a hitting stick. Batting sleeves or ‘donuts’ are not allowed.
- Baserunners may slide feet first when headed to a base (no head-first slides to a base they have not reached
yet). They may slide feet first or head first when returning to a base already passed.
- Runners may advance one base on an overthrow, per overthrow, at their own peril. An overthrow is considered
an attempt by a fielder to throw the ball to any infield position, and the ball gets past the intended target.
- Steeling is allowed in Minors softball. Runners cannot leave the base until the pitch reaches the batter.
- Runners cannot steel when a coach is pitching.
- A maximum of five (5) runs can be scored per half-inning. A team’s turn at-bat is over when the defense gains
three outs or the offense scores five runs.
- A base runner is out if she leaves the base while the pitcher has control of the ball in the pitcher’s circle and is
not making a play on any runner or if she leaves the base before the pitched ball reaches the batter (‘making a
play’ includes faking a throw to a base; ‘control of the ball’ means the pitcher is holding the ball in either hand).
- Coaches pitch underhand to their own team’s batters from a distance of 30 – 35 feet.
- A batter hit by a pitch will always result in a walk for that batter, unless the ball is pitched by a coach.
- There is no ‘dropped third strike’ rule in Minors softball.

When on Defense
- Catchers must wear full catching gear (shin guards, chest protector, and catcher’s helmet with dangling style
throat guard). Catchers may wear a fielder’s glove or catcher’s mitt.
- Pitchers must deliver legal pitches. A ball to the batter will be called if an illegal pitch is thrown, though runners
cannot advance on an illegal pitch.
- Players playing in the pitcher position are required to wear a defensive face mask. Infielders and outfielders
(other than catcher) are encouraged to wear defensive face masks, but not required.
- The infield fly rule is in effect.
- Pitchers may pitch up to 12 innings in one day. If a pitcher pitches in 7 or more innings in one day, she requires
one calendar day rest before pitching again.

Game Rules
- Games last for a minimum of 90 minutes or six innings, whichever comes first.  The inning in progress at 90 minutes will be completed in its entirety unless (1) the home team has the lead and is at-bat after time has expired, (2) the home team gains the lead after time has expired, or (3) the visiting team has a lead of 6 or more runs after time has expired.  The next inning officially starts after the third out of the previous inning.  
- The game is over if there is a 15-run (or more) lead after three innings (or 2 1/2 if the home team has the lead) or a 10-run (or more) lead after four innings (or 3 1/2 if the home team has the lead).  
- Pitcher’s plate is 35’ from home plate. Solid-core 11” softballs should be used.

From the LL Rulebook:  Regulation VIII – Minor Leagues:

The purpose of the Minor League program is to provide training instruction for those candidates who by reason of age and other factors do not qualify for selection in the 12U Major Little League.

Using this guidance, CCLL plays with standard Majors LL rules, with the following modifications:

1.     Pitching

The Player pitches until any of the following happens:

o    The batter hits a ball into play, resulting in an out or a hit

o    The batter strikes out

o    The batter is hit by a pitch (in which case the batter takes their base)

o    The pitcher pitches 4 called balls

If the player pitches 4 called balls, the offensive coach comes out to pitch (there are no walks in 10U)

o    The count carries into the coach pitch (Ex: if the batter has 2 strikes and swings/misses the first coach pitch, they are out)

o    The coach pitcher has a max of three total pitches (the only exception being foul balls hit on a third strike, when they'll continue to pitch until the player gets a hit or strikes out)

o    No balls/strikes are called by the umpire during coach pitch

o    Player pitcher stays in the circle (to one side) and is still eligible for defensive plays

o    The Coach pitcher cannot “coach” the hitter or runners while serving as coach pitcher

Example a): On a 3-1 count, the player pitcher throws ball four (4).

Offensive coach comes in to pitch. On the next two (2) coach pitches the batter swings and misses. The batter is out by strikeout because she already had 1 strike from player pitch and got two more swing-and-miss strikes from the coach pitch. The batter does not receive the third coach pitch.

Example b): On a 3-1 count, the player pitcher throws ball four (4).

Offensive coach comes in to pitch. On the next three (3) coach pitches the batter does not swing at any of the pitches. The batter is out because the coach only gets three (3) total pitches.

IMPORTANT: The adult coach pitcher should make every effort to simulate a “flat fastpitch” to the batter. The coach should not “lob” the pitch to the batter.

Reason:  The intent for the pitching rule is to continue our transition from complete coach pitch (8U) to player pitch. This “modified player pitch” rule will allow the player pitchers to continue to learn to pitch (as softball pitching is a completely new motion, different than baseball), while at the same time move the game along without experiencing too many walks. This will also facilitate better fielding skills by increasing the number of balls hit to the defense.

2.     Run limits

No more than five (5) runs may be scored in any 1/2 inning per team at bat. When the game time has expired and the visitors are ahead by more than five (5) runs, the game is over. OPTIONAL: If there is no other game waiting to be played and if both coaches agree, the home team may complete their at-bats; however, the official score is what it is when the time has expired as indicated above.

3.     Number of players in the field

Teams have the option of using a maximum of ten players in the field; with the tenth player located a minimum of 15 feet behind (toward the outfield side of) the baseline.

4.     Steals and overthrows
There is no stealing of home base in 10U Minor League. A runner may advance to home at their own risk on an overthrow as stated below.  A runner may not advance once the pitcher has possession of the ball in the circle.
Once the ball is put into play by a batter, base runners can advance with the liability to be put out, until the ball is back in the pitcher’s possession in the circle. Any attempt to make a play on a base runner by any defensive player, including the pitcher in the circle, keeps the ball live with runners able to advance at their own risk, (unless it is an overthrow that goes out of play or an overthrow from the catcher to the pitcher). Defensive players are encouraged to get the ball back to the pitcher’s circle as soon as possible, unless a play is being made on the runner.
If a defensive player makes a throw to third base in an attempt to make an out, the runner can advance at their own risk.

All Divisions:
- Players must wear batting helmets with face masks
- Bats must be softball bats with a stamp showing a BPF rating of 1.20. Baseball bats should not be used (baseball
bats are affected by the new USA Baseball Rule, where all non-BBCOR baseball bats must have the USA Baseball
stamp. This rule does not affect softball bats, though softball bats must be stamped with the BPF rating).
- Base path distance is 60 feet for all divisions.
- Because of the short distance, it is highly recommended for infielders to wear defensive facemasks, and is
required for pitchers in Farm, Minors and Majors divisions.
- Pitching distances are as follows: Farm/Minors: 35’; Majors: 40’; Juniors/Seniors: 43’
- Ball sizes are as follows: Farm: 11’ (soft-core); Minors: 11’ (solid-core); Majors/Juniors/Seniors: 12’
- Little League’s ‘mercy’ rule is in effect for all divisions:rule 4.00 15/10/8 runs 3rd/4th/5th inning (4th/5th/6th for seniors)
- Game lengths are as follows: Farm: 75 Min; Minors: 90 Min; Majors: 105 Min; Juniors/Seniors: 105 Min
- Teams are allowed a maximum of three coaches on the field, one of which must be in the dugout at all times.
- There is no on-deck circle in Farm, Minors and Majors; players waiting their turn at bat are not allowed to take
practice swings or use a hitting stick outside the dugout while waiting their turn at-bat.
- ‘Donuts’ or batting sleeves are not allowed in the on-deck circle in Juniors and Seniors.

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