45+Adult Softball League
 
 

All playing rules of the Senior Softball-USA (SSUSA) shall apply to the Metro Atlanta Senior Softball League (MASSL), unless they are specifically superseded in these rules.

MASSL Rules have been updated for 2017 based on changes voted on by the membership at the Annual Meeting on December 3, 2016 and approved by the Board of Directors (formerly known as Executive Committee) on January 18, 2017. Any questions about the revisions should be directed to Bob Morrison, League President, or Doris Warpole, League Secretary.

Manager Rules of Conduct

Player Movement Guidelines

Umpire Rules of Conduct

Board of Directors Memo regarding Pitcher Screen

 
  


NOTE: American League refers to league play on Monday and Wednesday nights. National League refers to league play on Tuesday and Thursday nights. Depending on the number of teams playing in each league, the Board may utilize another park facility and/or add nights of play.

Administrative Rules - Section 1 - Registration

  • Upon proper application, registration in the MASSL shall be available for men who turn forty-five (45) years of age and to women who turn forty (40) years of age by December 31 of the calendar year.
  • All players and Managers must submit a completed application/waiver and the required member and league fees before participating in league play.
    • Any player not properly registered shall not be eligible to participate in league play.
  • Any team caught playing with an ineligible player shall forfeit any game wherein the ineligible player participated.

Administrative Rules Section 2 – Adverse Weather or Rain

  • Every effort will be made to avoid playing MASSL games in adverse weather conditions.
    • The decision to cancel a game will be made by the respective League Commissioner.
    • The respective commissioner's decision (for both American and National League Play) will be made no later than 5:00 p.m. the day of the game.
  • All players will be contacted via CallingPost.com on game day with rainout information.
    • The phone number provided by players on their GSS application will be called.
    • Players can also call their manager on game days for rainout information.
    • Players with email addresses may also receive a blast email notifying them if games are rained out if the league knows the field conditions early in the day.
  • A decision to end a game in progress will be determined jointly by the Umpire, the two Team Managers and the League Commissioner (if available).
    • However, players are encouraged to exercise their own personal judgment regarding games to be played under any degree of inclement weather conditions.
    • An out will not be recorded in any such game for any at bat that a player opposed to playing under adverse conditions would experience.

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Playing Rules – Section 1 - Definitions

  • 1.4 Bases -The length between bases shall be 65 feet.
    • The pitcher’s rubber shall be 50 feet extending back 8 feet perpendicular to the pitcher’s plate from the back of home plate to the center of the pitcher’s rubber.
  • 1.5 Runner's Line - The base runners line that parallels the first base foul line from first base back toward home plate is not required for the MASSL.
  • 1.6 Pitchers Box – A pitchers box will be marked perpendicular to the pitcher's plate.
    • The box will be the width of the pitcher's plate and will begin at the front of the pitcher's plate (toward home plate) and extend eight feet (8') in the direction of the rear of the pitcher's plate (toward second base).

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Playing Rules - Section 2 - The Playing Field

  • 2.1 The base runners line is not required.
  • 2.3 The 300’ minimum distance set forth for the outfield fence is not a requirement for the MASSL.
  • A Third Base Commitment Line, a Scoring Plate, a Strike Zone Mat, a First Base Double Bag/Mat, a Runners Line and a Pitchers Box, as set forth in Section 1, are the equipment striping that shall be added to the Playing Field.

Outfield Encroachment Line (National League Only)

  • An Outfield Encroachment Line will be added to the playing field.
    • The restriction requires all outfielders to remain back of a chalk-lined arc.
    • The arc, or encroachment line, will extend from a distance of 175' from home plate beginning at the left field foul line and extending in a corresponding arc across the outfield to a point 175' down the right field foul line.
  • No outfielder may encroach inside of the line prior to the batter making contact with the ball.
    • Regardless if the batted ball was caught by the outfielder, the Umpire will rule the batter-base runner to be safe, if in the judgment of the Umpire, the outfielder did cross the encroachment line prior to the batter making contact with the ball.
    • The Manager of the team at bat may make an appeal to the Umpire regarding the play should the Umpire not immediately announce a safe or out call when such an encroachment may have occurred.

NEW for 2017

  • A maximum of four fielders are allowed behind the Outfield Encroachment Line on defense. All other defensive players must stay in front of the infield restriction line.
    • Exception: 5.1c Team Parity: If a team with a .300 winning percentage or lower (win/loss record) is playing a team with a .700 winning percentage (win/loss record) or higher, the .300 winning percentage team will be allowed to have one extra fielder on defense (IF or OF)

Infield Restriction Line (National League Only)

  • Updated for 2017 An Infield Restriction Line will be added to both fields.
    • The restriction line will extend 23 feet behind first base and extend in a corresponding arc across the infield to a point 23 feet behind third base. This distance should be consistent with the depth of the infield on the Softball field.
    • The infield restriction rule requires all infielders to remain in front of the infield restriction line until the batter makes contact with the ball.

NOTE: The change in the depth of the infield restriction line from 15 feet to 23 feet is a 2017 pilot safety test to allow an infielder more time to react to hard hit ground balls. The change may also result in fewer base runners as older and/or slower runners may be more easily thrown out with the distance between the infield line and the outfield line reduced.

This change is not permanent. Depending on members’ opinion, the depth of the infield line can be changed at any time. Managers will monitor member reactions/opinions during the pilot and advise the Board of the results at the end of the first half.

  • Infielder in Front of the Restriction Line when Ball is Hit
    • If the ball is hit past the infielder, the batter is safe and cannot be thrown out at first base; all base runners advance at their own risk.
    • If the ball is fielded cleanly in front of the restriction line and infielder travels behind the line, the infielder can throw the batter out at first base; all base runners advance at their own risk.
    • If the ball is NOT fielded cleanly in front of the restriction line and infielder travels behind the line, the batter cannot be thrown out at first base; all base runners advance at their own risk.
  • Infielder Behind the Restriction Line when Ball is Hit
    • If an infielder is standing on the grass or behind the restriction line before the batter makes contact with the ball, the infielder cannot throw the batter out at first base; all base runners advance one base safely with additional bases at their own risk, if the ball is still in play.
    • Regardless if the ball was fielded cleanly, the Umpire will rule the batter and base runners to be safe, if in the judgment of the Umpire, the infielder was on the grass or went behind the restriction line prior to the batter making contact with the ball.
    • The Manager of the team at bat may make an appeal to the Umpire regarding the play should the Umpire not immediately announce a safe call when an encroachment may have occurred.
  • Any player safely hitting a ball between the outfield encroachment line and the infield restriction line cannot be thrown out at first base.

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Playing Rules – Section 3 – Equipment

  • 3.2 Jerseys - Numbers on the player’s jerseys is not a requirement for the MASSL.
  • 3.3 Bats - SSUSA allows the use of all bats marked a BPF of 1.21 or less.
    • If a bat tests over 1.21 BPF, it is not legal for league play and the player could be suspended by league.
    • The bat shall not be more than 34 inches in length and no more than 38 ounces in weight.
    • A maximum of two layers of tape wrap is allowed on all legal bats with no tape covering the end of the bat knob.
    • Miken Ultra II and Launch bats are legal.
  • Bats that are banned by SSUSA may not be used in any MASSL sponsored play (league play or practice sessions).
    • Miken Ultra/Ultra I (Original Gray Bat, both balanced and maxload models), Yellow Rip-It, and Blue Boom-Bah bat marked with 1.205 BPF, fast pitch bats and all titanium bats are banned by MASSL.
  • Players caught using a banned bat will be called out and the bat confiscated for the remainder of the game or games.
    • Any subsequent offense will result in the player being ejected from the game.
  • Players who alter bats to appear as something else will be banned from participating in any further MASSL play for the remainder of the season for the first offense.
    • The player will receive a lifetime ban for any second offense.
  • Additionally, any bat that becomes banned by SSUSA or determined by MASSL officials to not be an approved bat will also not be allowed to be used in MASSL play.
  • To protect the league and the safety of our players, we ask that each player and Team Manager work together as responsible partners to ensure adherence to the MASSL list of banned bats.
    • Team Managers will also be responsible for ensuring that any Practicing Only members asked to be a fill-in player for league play are also aware of the MASSL approved bat position.
  • 3.4 Safety - In the interest of safety, a Pitcher’s Mask/Face Mask and screen is mandatory for ALL pitchers in BOTH leagues. A player may also opt to use other equipment to protect themselves during a game (e.g., shin guards, chest protector, etc.)
  • Pitcher Screen
    • Placement of Screen - Either the right or left end of the screen should cover at least half or more of the pitcher's mound in parallel and located 4 feet in front of the mound.
    • Any thrown ball making contact with the screen shall be considered to be in play.
    • Any batted ball making contact with the screen is considered a “foul” ball and the batter continues with his at-bat.
    • If the ball hits the screen after the batter has 2 strikes, the batter is charged with a "foul" ball and is out.
  • 3.5 Softballs - Only MASSL approved softballs shall be used.
    • The maximum Coefficient of Restitution (CORE) for softballs shall be .44 and the maximum Compression Rating shall be 375 psi for all league play.

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Playing Rules - Section 4 - Players and Substitutions

  • 4.1 Re-entry and Extra Player - All players on each team roster (or approved borrowed players) that are present at the game must be in the batting order for each game, unless they are physically unable.
    • Each player must play one complete game on defense, defined as half the total number of defensive innings played, minus one if the total number of defensive innings is odd.
    • To accomplish this, Managers may rotate players in a position for both games of the double header.
  • Players arriving after a game starts must be immediately added to the end of the batting order.
  • Players ejected from a game will incur an automatic out for each turn at bat.
    • Otherwise, players may elect to leave during a game with no penalty (no automatic out for their turn at bat), if they are injured or if they leave the park.
  • National League Only - An eleventh defensive player must be used if both teams have eleven or more approved players present. The use of eleven players applies even if players have been borrowed. If each team, or if one team has only ten players, then the game can be played with ten and not forfeited.

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Playing Rules - Section 5 - The Game

  • 5.1 Game Time - A double header format will be followed for MASSL.
    • The first game will begin at 7:00 p.m.
    • There will be a ten (10) minute grace period for the first game of a double header.
    • If the grace period is required, the first game will be shortened from 1 hour to 50 minutes (plus one additional inning).
  • Unless the borrowing of players’ policy set forth below has been accomplished within the established grace period, any team that cannot field seven (7) players shall forfeit that game.
  • If the first game is forfeited, the second game shall be scheduled to begin twenty (20) minutes after the ten (10) minute grace period has passed.
    • However, if a sufficient number of players are available and both Managers agree, the game can begin earlier.
  • The Umpires will be directed to stay at the field to call the second game only until the thirty (30) minute time limit has passed or until it has been determined by the team(s) in need of players that the second game will also become a forfeit.
    • If neither team can field seven (7) players, a double forfeit shall be declared.
    • In the event of a double forfeit, players may then choose up teams for practice play.
  • 5.1a Loaning/Borrowing of Players - A full team is ten (10) players in the American League and eleven (11) players in the National League.
  • National League Only
    • If a Manager believes before arriving at the field that his team will be short of players, the Manager will ask the League Commissioner for substitute(s) providing the name of the player(s) they will be missing that night and what position(s) he/she plays.
    • The League Commissioner will make every effort to replace a player with a substitute that is equal to or less in talent so as not to affect the balance of play.
    • Players cannot solicit Managers about playing as a substitute on the night they are not playing.
  • American League Only
    • If a Manager believes before arriving at the field that his team will be short of players, the Manager will ask the League Commissioner for substitute(s).
    • Substitutes can play any position.
    • Substitutes may be used as a courtesy runner.
    • If ten (10) or more of the regular players show up at the game, then any substitute(s) over the ten (10) can ONLY play one game on defense.
  • Substitute players MUST play an equivalent of one game in the field and must bat in each game they sub in, even if the borrowing team has more than a full team at game time or has players show up during the game.
    • Substitutes MUST be placed at the end of the batting order, regardless of any lineup changes.
  • If, at game time, a team does not have enough players to constitute a full team and the opposing team has more players than needed for a full team, the opposing team MUST loan its “excess” players to the borrowing team and the “short” team MUST accept those players.
    • A team needs seven (7) its own players to officially compete or it forfeits the game.
  • Individual players may be loaned for one game only, unless the player and his Manager agree that the player may play two games with the borrowing team. The borrowing team MUST accept the player(s) provided.
  • Updated for 2017 If the team with excess players has been assigned one or more substitutes by the League Commissioner (due to a request from a Manager who thought he would be short players, the substitute MUST be loaned to the borrowing team.
    • Exception would be where the substitute was the only pitcher available on the loaning team, and a regular player would be loaned to the borrowing team.
    • If two or more substitutes were assigned, Managers would agree on which substitute is loaned.
    • If Managers cannot agree, a coin flip will be used to decide which substitute player is loaned.
  • Borrowed players MUST play a full game at bat and in the field, even if additional players from the borrowing team arrive after a game has begun.
    • Only if a borrowing team’s opponent does not have enough “excess” players to allow the borrowing team to field a full team, can a team recruit players from another team at game time.
    • NOTE: These players must be approved by the League Commissioner or his representative.
  • “In the league” means a player is currently playing in either the American or National League or playing in both leagues.
    • If a player is not playing in the American League, the player is not eligible to be a substitute in the American League.
    • If a player is not playing in the National League, the player is not eligible to be a substitute in the National League.
    • If a player is playing in both leagues, the player is eligible to be a substitute in both leagues.
  • 5.1b Catching for the Other Team (National League Only) - If a team does not have enough players to constitute a full team, the opposing team MUST catch for them. For example, one team has 11 players and the other team has 10 players.
    • NEW for 2017 At the start of the game, the catcher would be the last batter in the batting order from the opposing team.
    • In subsequent innings, the catcher would be the last batter of the opposing team when the last out was recorded.
    • The assigned catcher will catch for one complete inning or until they are due to hit (team has batted around in an open inning).
    • Exception would be teams playing extra innings, where the last batter would be placed on second base and the preceding batter in the batting order would be the assigned catcher.
  • However, if a team has 12 players and the other team has 10 players, the “short” team MUST ACCEPT an extra player to field 11.
    • If the team does not want to accept a player from the opposing team and opts to play with only 10 players, they must catch for themselves with an “open” position in the field.
  • 5.1c Team Parity (National League Only) - After the 7 week mark of the season (no matter of rain, shine or cancellation), if a team with .300 winning percentage or lower (win/loss record) is playing a team with a .700 winning percentage (win/loss record) or higher, the .300 winning percentage team will be allowed to have an extra fielder on defense (IF or OF).
  • 5.2 Home Team - Each team will be the home team once during the double header.
    • Home teams will be determined by a coin toss prior to the first game of each double header.
    • The Manager winning the toss has the option of being the home team for either the first or the second game.
  • 5.3 Mercy Rule
    • American League - The mercy rule will be fifteen (15) runs after five (5) innings.
    • National League - The mercy rule will be twelve (12) runs after five (5) innings.
  • 5.4 Length of Game
  • American League - The length of the game shall consist of seven (7) innings.
    • A full seven innings need not be played if the home team scores more runs in six and one-half innings and/or goes ahead in scoring before the third out is made in the bottom of the seventh inning.
    • At the end of the sixth inning, the Umpire will announce the inning will be completed and one additional inning will be played, after which the game will be considered complete.
    • If the game goes into extra innings, the visiting team starts the first extra inning with the last batted out on second base.
      • The game will continue with each team starting every half-inning with a runner on second base until a winner has been decided by the score.
      • The player cannot have a pinch runner until he/she advances to third base.
    • If an Umpire calls a game due to inclement weather, injury that stops the game or reasons outside the control of the teams, the game will be considered a complete official game at 3 ½ innings if the home team is ahead and 4 innings if the home team is behind.
  • National League - The length of the game will be seventy (70) minutes.
    • At the end of the 70 minutes, the Umpire will announce the current inning will be completed and one additional inning will be played, after which the game will be considered complete.
    • The duration of the first game changes to sixty (60) minutes if the ten (10) minute grace period is utilized.
    • If the game goes into extra innings, the visiting team starts the first extra inning with the last batted out on second base.
      • The game will continue with each team starting every half-inning with a runner on second base until a winner has been decided by the score.
      • The player cannot have a pinch runner until he/she advances to third base.
    • If an Umpire calls a game due to inclement weather, injury that stops the game or reasons outside the control of the teams, the game will be considered a complete official game at 3 ½ innings if the home team is ahead and 4 innings if the home team is behind.
  • 5.41 Run Rule - A five (5) run per inning limit will be in effect until the Umpire declares the final inning or until the seventh inning, whichever first occurs.
    • The Umpire will inform both Managers when there will be a final inning (unlimited run open inning).
    • Any inning after the declared final inning or the seventh inning will also be an unlimited run open inning.
    • For example, if the Umpire notifies the Managers in the fifth inning that the fifth inning will be completed and the sixth inning will be the last inning, then the sixth inning will be the unlimited run open inning.
    • Should the game go into the seventh or extra innings, then the seventh inning and all subsequent extra innings will also be unlimited run open innings.
  • 5.41a “Flip/Flop” Run Rule (National League Only) - Umpire must declare open inning coming up in the inning before to give notice to both teams.
    • In the open inning when the Home Team is losing by 5 runs or more (i.e., score is 9-4 a difference of 5 runs), the home team will remain at bat and become the visiting team.
    • If the team (which becomes the new visiting team) does not score enough runs to tie or go ahead, the game is over.
    • If they score enough to tie or go ahead, the (new home team) will bat. If they score enough to win, the game is over.
    • If not, the game will continue into extra innings.
    • If in a flip/flop situation the game is tied, the game will continue until one team wins.
    • There will be no “switching back” before the flip/flop rule went into effect.
  • 5.5 Umpires - Only one (1) Umpire is required.
  • 5.6 Scorekeepers - Score shall be kept on the electronic scoreboard by the team at bat or by the Umpire.
    • Should there be a problem with the scoreboard, then the Team Managers will agree on the score after each team bats in the inning.
    • The Manager of the home team for the first game is responsible for recording the scores on a MASSL score card and giving the score card to the Umpire in order for him to report the scores.
  • 5.7 a) Unsportsmanlike Conduct
    • Managers are responsible for the conduct of their players during a game.
    • Unsportsmanlike conduct (e.g., arguing, using profane language, physical altercation, threatening other players, etc.) will not be tolerated by the league at any time.
      • Depending on the incident, players and/or Managers are subject to immediate suspension from the game(s) and future suspension.
    • If a player exhibits unsportsmanlike conduct, the Manager or Umpire may remove the player from play.
      • The Manager and Umpire will discuss the incident; and the Umpire will make the decision to immediately eject the player from the game or issue a “warning”.
      • If ejected, player has to leave the park immediately.
    • If the player is ejected, the Manager may replace the player with another player from off the bench.
      • If another player is not available and the other team has enough players, the Manager may ask the other Manager for a player.
      • If no other replacement player is available, there will be an automatic out each time the player comes up to bat for the rest of that game.
      • If the team only has seven (7) players when a player is ejected, and another player is not available on the other team, the game will be forfeited.
    • All incidents of unsportsmanlike conduct will be reported to the League Commissioner.
      • The League Commissioner will review the incident and determine if any future suspension is warranted.
  • 5.8 Home Runs - There is no limit on home runs. An over-the-fence fair ball hit during the game will count as a home run.
    • American League Only - If a pitcher walks a batter who has hit an over the fence home run in the game, the batter/base runner will be awarded second base and base runners will advance as forced.
    • National League Only - If a pitcher walks a batter who has hit an over the fence home run in the game, the batter/base runner will be awarded first base and base runners will advance as forced.
  • 5.9 Team Manager Responsibilities
    • Managers will be responsible for setting up the strike zone mat, scoring plate and Scorebrains.
    • After play is completed for the night, Managers are responsible for returning the strike zone mat, scoring plate, and Scorebrains to the equipment storage room and making sure the storage room and bathrooms are locked.

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Playing Rules - Section 6 - Pitching Regulations

  • Updated for 2017 American League OnlyA 1 ball and 1 strike count shall apply to the batter. 1 courtesy foul ball allowed.
  • National League Only - The standard 4 balls and 3 strikes count shall apply to the batter. No courtesy foul balls allowed.

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Playing Rules - Section 7 - Base Running

  • 7.2 Courtesy Runners
    • National League Only - Players will run for themselves at all times unless they request a courtesy runner.
      • Managers cannot take out a player and replace with a courtesy runner unless the player requests one.
      • Any player on the roster may be a courtesty runner.
      • A courtesy runner can only run ONCE per inning for other players.
      • If both managers agree, a courtesy runner from home plate may be allowed for a batter that is injured. This type of courtesy runner will be the player who made the last out.
    • American League Only Any player on the roster may be a courtesy runner.
      • A courtesy runner may be used for a base runner at any time.
      • A courtesy runner may not be used more than ONCE per inning
  • 7.3 Sliding - Sliding or diving into first base or into home plate when scoring is not permitted and such players will be called out.
    • However, a player may slide or dive into second or third base and when returning to any base.
    • Runners shall be called out for contact with a defensive player IF, in the Umpire's judgment, the contact was deliberate OR the runner could reasonably have been expected to minimize or avoid contact under the circumstances and failed to do so.
    • It is stressed that sliding is clearly optional at the discretion of the individual player and is not to be considered a necessary or required act.
    • SLIDING SHALL NOT BE DONE SO AGGRESSIVELY THAT IT ENDANGERS THE DEFENSIVE PLAYER.
  • 7.8 Base Runner Exemption (National League Only) - Any player safely hitting a ball to the outfield cannot be thrown out at first base.

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Playing Rules - Section - 8 - Field Facilities

  • Smoking in the dugouts or on the playing field is not permitted.

Protests - Section 9

  • In the event of a protest, the League Commissioner and two Managers from that league not involved in the protested game will meet or communicate by phone and/or email to determine a ruling within 2 days of the protested game.
    • If the League Commissioner was playing for one of the teams involved in the protest, the League Commissioner from the other league will join the other 2 Managers to determine the decision
    • If a decision is made in favor the protesting team, the only result is that the game will be replayed, if needed. Neither team will be given a win or loss in the standings until the game is replayed.
Updated as of 2/21/17 - Doris Warpole, League Secretary

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