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Sponsored By:   Jennifer Lane, Realtor
Littleton, Massachusetts
 
 
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U15 “Empire” Youth Softball League
Spring of 2010 U15 Division Rules & Requirements
Revised: 4/16/10
 
 
LEAGUE PHILOSOPHY:
 
The U15 “Empire” Youth Softball League is a recreational softball league, made up of players and coaches from the towns of Acton-Boxborough, Ayer, Bolton, Groton-Dunstable, Littleton and Tyngsboro. Players participate to learn how to play softball, improve on their already acquired skills, learn how to be a valued team member and learn the importance of good sportsmanship. The league is made up of many volunteers who give their time for the benefit of the players in the league.
 
Coaches are counted on to instruct, encourage and motivate players in a positive manner. Players are asked to put forth their best effort at all times. Parents are asked to support the players and coaches in the league.
 
Many players, coaches and parents strive to excel and come determined to win. While winning is great, it is absolutely essential that no one lose sight of the purpose of this program. Everything that takes place in our U15 league should always be in the best interest of the girls.  
 
COACHES RESPONSIBILITIES:
 
  1. Code of Conduct: This is an instructional league for the players, not an ego trip for the coaches and/or parents. It is of utmost importance that the less skilled players be recognized and encouraged as much as the more skilled players. Please use discretion in handling problems on the field. They should be handled quietly among the coaches and umpire. The players learn from you at practice and at games. Don’t leave it up to the players to fend for themselves. They all need your constant instruction, encouragement and constructive critique. Developing good sportsmanship among the players is absolutely essential. Respect the difference between celebrating good plays and showing up the opposition.
 
  1. Prior to each game, batting orders must be exchanged and recorded into the respective scorebooks.
 
  1. All players must remain on the bench or in the out of bounds area when not batting or on deck.
 
  1. All players must be rotated to different positions during the game. Each player MUST play a minimum of one inning per game in the outfield AND a minimum of one inning in the infield. This prevents the weaker players from bring “buried” in the outfield and forces the better players to also have to play the outfield as well. Remember that sometimes these games don’t always make it to 6 innings. Plan to get everyone their infield inning no later than the 4th inning. 
 
  1. All players should play at least four innings. (Please make a schedule ahead of time and post it in the dugout so that time is not wasted telling players where they should be).
 
  1. Catchers must wear proper equipment, even when warming up. Keep the game moving by having your catcher start getting her equipment on before your team finishes their at bat whenever possible.
 
 
GENERAL RULES:
The division rules of play conform to the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) with some exceptions as noted below. If a rule is not explicitly discussed, then the ASA rules, as interpreted by the umpire, are in effect.
 
1.      Coaches are not permitted in the playing field.
 
2.      No game shall be started without a minimum of 8 players on a team.  The ASA umpires enforce this for safety. If a team has less than eight players, that team must forfeit the game. Forfeits require a full game fee for the umpire.   If an official game is forfeited, the teams can still scrimmage at their option. Players must play in proper positions.  If a team is playing with 8 players, there is no automatic out for the 9th batting slot.  On defense, if an additional player arrives, the player may enter the field between batters.  If at game time an umpire is not present, a substitute (agreed on by both coaches) can be used or the game can be made up.
 
 
GAME RULES:
 
1.        The games will last six innings and there is a time limit of one hour and forty-five minutes (1 hr. 45 min.) from the scheduled game’s start time. Exception: if the umpire arrives late, the time limit begins when the game is started. No new inning shall start after the one hour forty-five minutes has elapsed. If the time limit has been passed, regular season games can end in a tie. 
 
2.        Ten fielders are permitted on the field, which includes four outfielders.  The outfielders must be positioned on the outfield grass.   There will be no “hugging” or “picket fencing” the infield.   Outfielders may not make a primary play in the infield (ie – an outfielder taking a throw for a force play at second base would be an example of a primary play). 
 
3.      Continuous batting order is allowed. Late arrivals must be placed at the end of the batting order. No batting out of order. Pinch- hitting is not allowed. 
 
4.      Free substitution for defensive positions.
 
5.      Bunting is allowed. 
 
6.      Infield fly rule is in effect. Coaches should review the umpire’s interpretation of the infield fly rule before each game. Umpires are asked to invoke the infield fly only for balls falling inside the base paths.
 
7.      One base will be awarded on an overthrow that goes out of bounds. An overthrown ball in the playing field is live until returned to the pitcher (in the circle).
 
8.      Runners may leave the base (lead or steal) when the ball leaves the pitcher’s hand.
 
9.      The dropped third strike rule is in effect.
 
10. Pitching distance is 40 feet – no exceptions.
 
11. A pitcher must start with both feet in contact with the rubber and her first step must be in a forward direction.
 
12. Coaches should confer before the game begins about the status of their pitchers and come to a mutual agreement depending on the number of pitchers available on a given night. In general, the more skilled pitchers should not appear in more than four (4) innings per game.   If coaches cannot agree, then the default rule is 4 inning limit.   This is recreational league - the objective should be to keep games competitive and to avoid a situation where a less-skilled pitcher is just walking multiple batters.   A pitcher may leave the game and return in later innings. 
 
13.  For the safety of all players, any pitcher who hits three (3) batters in a game should be removed from the pitching position for the rest of the game (she may play any other position). Hit by Pitch (HBP) is determined by the umpire – i.e., at the umpire’s discretion, the batter has made a legitimate effort to avoid being hit by the ball. Coaches should review this rule with the umpire before each game.
 
14. Maximum Runs: Innings 1-5 will end early if a team scores six runs before it is put out three times. There is no continuous play allowed (meaning that once the sixth run crosses the plate, no additional runs will count from that at bat). The only exception to the six run maximum is during the sixth inning. If time allows, the sixth inning (and only the sixth inning) is an unlimited run inning.
 
15.  The “mercy rule” for a game is 15 runs. The game will end anytime the losing team has fallen behind by 15 runs and has batted at least four (4) times.
Example 1: If the home team was ahead by a score of 15-5 going into the BOTTOM of the fourth inning, the game would end if the home team were to score 5 runs (thus putting them ahead by 15 and the LOSING team would have batted four times).
Example 2: If the visiting team is leading 15-5 after four full innings, the game would continue but could end immediately if the visitors scored 5 runs in the top of the 5th inning. In this case, the visitors would be ahead by 15 runs and the LOSING team (the home team) would have already batted the minimum 4 times.
16. Cheering for your own team is highly encouraged. Teamwork and building an enjoyable experience for all the girls in the league is our desired goal. However, there comes a time when the line can be crossed and it is up to the coaches and the umpire to be aware of the incidents and to try to maintain a level playing field for both teams. This issue is not only between girls from both teams, it involves coaches and parents. Negative cheers about the other team should not be tolerated. Sudden noises (shouts, horns, foot-stomping, "swing", or other noise making devices) shall not be tolerated. Yelling things like "good pitch", "ball", "strike", etc. is not allowed until after the pitch is over and has been called by the umpire. These are manipulative techniques intended to influence the batter and the umpire. This should not need to be a rule – it is sportsmanship and etiquette. If necessary, coaches should ask the umpire to intervene. Coaches are responsible for adherence to this etiquette for themselves, their other coaches, their players AND their players’ parents.
 
UMPIRES:
 
 
  1. Each town is responsible for making arrangements for all umpires for home games. The local rule modifications and boundaries of the playing field should be reviewed by both head coaches prior to the start of each game.
 
  1. The designated “home team” head coach will be responsible for paying the umpire his/her $36 game fee prior to the start of the game. Each head coach will provide one “new” game ball and hand it to the umpire at the pre-game conference.
 
  1. There will be no questioning of the umpire’s calls by the coaches, players or parents. Umpires are in charge of the game. ASA rules apply except when modified by local rules.
 
RAINOUTS – The decision to cancel games due to inclement weather will be by mutual agreement of the coaches. The home team’s head coach must contact the league’s umpire coordinator at least two hours prior to the scheduled start of a game.   The 2010 league umpire coordinator is Brigid Killian. Cell: (978) 877-7703, .
 
  1.  The umpire receives their fee if he/she reports to the field and there is no game.
 
  1. CANCELLATIONS FOR REASONS OTHER THAN BAD WEATHER – If anyone has to cancel or re-schedule a game for any other reason, contact the League’s schedule maker, Dave Paterson ( ) and Brigid Killian. He will assist you in re-scheduling a game if need be (including any games that were rained out). Umpires require a minimum of 24 hours advance notice if a game should need to be cancelled for any non-weather related reason – therefore, please try to give Dave at least two days advance notice.
 
 
GAME RESULTS:
 
    There Will not be any season-ending playoffs, however, Dave Paterson, Acton
    -Boxborough’s U15 coordinator, will keep track of all game scores and league
    standings. Therefore, each head coach should report the score from their game to Dave
    each week – preferably as soon after the game is played as possible (email your game
    scores to ). Dave will then compile all the scores and email
    an up-to-date list of the league standings (including the previous week’s game scores)
    to each head coach, for everyone’s reference purposes.