AJAX MEN’S SLO-PITCH ASSOCIATION
The league will follow Softball Canada / Slo-Pitch Ontario rules, with the following rules being added, modified, or particularly brought to the attention of all concerned.
Additional ground rules may be added to suit each field and the conditions for the day.
1) Regular season games shall be a maximum of 7 innings. No new inning will start after 55 minutes and the game will end at the 65 minute mark (“drop-dead time”). The umpire may declare last inning at the start of an inning or at any point in an inning that has not already been affected by the runs-per-inning rule (rule 4), including at the end of the inning thereby ending the game. If the last inning determination is made during the bottom of an inning while the home team is ahead, the game may end at that point (no need to finish the inning). The umpire is empowered to ensure a team does not benefit if they slow the game for the purpose of preventing an additional inning or forcing an end of game “drop-dead time” call. If the score is tied after the last inning no extra innings will be played and the result will be a tie game (one point will be awarded to each team).
2) If a game ends at the “drop dead” time (inning in progress), the outcome of the game is determined as follows: [A] If the home team is winning when the game is called, the score at that time stands. [B] If the home team is losing when the game is called, the score reverts back to the end of the previous inning (could be a win, tie or loss for the home team). [C] If the home team was winning at the start of the inning but the game is tied when it is called, the score reverts back to the end of the previous inning. [D] If the game was tied at the start of the inning and is tied when the game is called, the tie score at the time the game is called stands. [E] If the home team was losing at the start of the inning but the game is tied when it is called, the tied score at the time the game is called stands.
3) Time limit (although the allowed time may be different) still applies to playoff games except for finals. In playoff games extra innings will be played if necessary to break a tie, using the international tie breaking rule (last batter due up in each half-inning starts as runner at 2nd base, nobody out).
4) There is a mercy rule of a maximum of 7 runs scored per half inning. The only exception is in the last inning which will be an ‘open’ inning. There is no ‘game’ run differential mercy rule.
5) A game that ends early due to weather or other conditions will be considered official if at least 4 innings have been played (or 3 ½ innings if the home team has at least as many runs as the visiting team). A game that ends early due to time limit will be considered official regardless of the number of innings played.
6) Game/lineup cards for each game, with the final score and umpire’s signature, are to be submitted by the winning team (or home team in case of a tie) into the AMSA mail box (located at diamond 2 at Sportsplex). Cards will be used to monitor reported game scores, defaults, ejections, comments from umpires and team reps., etc. Scores are also to be submitted via the league website within 24 hours of the game (late submission will result in the team losing 1 point).
THE PLAYING FIELD
7) Bases are 65 feet apart.
8) The pitcher’s box is an area 2 feet wide, starting 50 feet from the tip of home plate and extending 10 feet back.
9) A 2’ by 3’ mat or board will be used at home plate.
10) The batter’s boxes on either side of the plate are 3½’ wide (starting 6” from the edge of home plate*) and 7’ long (with the front line of the box being 3’ ahead of the centre of home plate*). *The reference point for these measurements is the actual 5-sided home plate, not the strike mat.
11) The home team is responsible for bases, etc. if not provided by the league, and is also responsible for any required repair or replacement of bases during a game if park staff are not assigned to do so..
12) A 'commitment line' and ‘scoring line’ will be used. The commitment line is 21 feet from home towards 3rd base and the scoring line is drawn in foul territory from the front corner (3rd base side) of home. If the ball is held by a defensive player in contact with home while a runner who is past the commitment line (one foot completely past the line and on the ground) but has not reached the scoring line, the runner will be called out. Runners who have not crossed the commitment line or who need to tag up on a fly ball may return to third base with liability to be put out (otherwise runners who have crossed the line and returned to the 3rd base side of it may be called out on appeal). Runners must touch the ground on or beyond the scoring line before being put out in order to score. A runner must
cross the scoring line in foul territory and may not touch home except to avoid a collision if the defensive player has moved into his path in foul territory or during a dead ball situation after bases have been awarded (e.g. bases loaded walk or an over-the-fence home run). There is no tagging a runner who is past the commitment line and if this happens the ball remains alive as if there was no tag, subject to any possible obstruction call (even though defensive player had the ball) or interference call if applicable.
13) Umpires and league/team reps will decide whether a field is playable due to weather conditions. Once the game has begun it is the umpire’s decision as to whether or not it can continue to be played. As conditions improve games may be played later in the day. The Parks Dept. may cancel games in the early afternoon, which means the fields are not to be used.
14) Due to the shortage of replacement diamond time, reschedules will only be granted for games cancelled due to weather or diamond problems. Reschedules will be assigned as games are cancelled and availability from Recreation Services.
15) Bats must meet the standards identified with the USSSA 1.20 BPF ‘thumbprint’. (Note: A wooden bat made by an approved manufacturer and meeting the requirements of an official softball bat is considered to be within these standards even if it does not have the thumbprint logo.) The previous bat standard (ASA 2004) is no longer ‘grandfathered’. If a batter is discovered using an illegal or altered bat he will be immediately ejected from the game and ruled as an out for his current at bat (and all subsequent at bats in the game due to the ejection).
16) The league will supply 1 new ball and 1 satisfactory used ball for each game. Should a ball become damaged during a game, the home team shall supply a replacement. A ball hit out of play (including a home run) is expected to be retrieved or replaced by the team that hit it.
17) All players and coaches on the field must wear approved baseball shoes or running shoes. Metal or hard plastic spikes are not permitted. No sandals or work boots can be worn by anybody on the playing field. If a player is discovered wearing improper footwear he must immediately leave the field until suitable shoes are put on. If he is on base a courtesy runner may be used. If he is batting he will be ruled out.
18) It is strongly recommended that no jewelry of any type be worn by any participants. No facial jewelry will be permitted (nose, lip, eyebrow, etc.). Small earrings will be permitted. ecklaces/bracelets, etc. may only be worn if they will break away under tension and will not be a risk to others. If worn, each player is solely responsible for any injury/damage that may be caused by the jewelry. The umpire may have any player remove any jewelry or equipment that he deems dangerous. Sunglasses may be worn by defensive players either on the eyes or securely on top of the hat, so that they may adjust to sun conditions as needed. Sunglasses for players on offence must be worn on the eyes or not worn at all.
PLAYERS and SUBSTITUTIONS
19) Team rosters shall consist of not more than 20 registered players. Team rosters will not be amended after June 1, in any year, without Executive approval. Team reps must notify SPO of any changes. A player must be 19 years of age or older within the calendar year to play in the AMSA.
20) Only registered players of the AMSA may play in a scheduled league game or exhibition game. Note: Players may register and be on the roster for only 1 A to D and/or 1 Sunday division AMSA team.
21) Team uniforms shall consist of matching team shirts with individual and unique numbers (no two players on a team can wear the same number). Team uniforms must be worn by all players in scheduled league and playoff games. Failure to comply will result in player disqualification from the game. Failure to field at least 8 uniformed players will result in a default. The team uniform rule is in effect as of June 1st.
22) All players in the game must be placed in their team’s batting order (players must be on team roster). No substitutions or re-entry in the batting order may be made. There is unlimited defensive substitution using players that are in the batting order. Team officials must attempt to play all players present, in defensive positions, on an equal basis to fulfill the objectives of the AMSA.
23) Teams must exchange batting orders before the start of the game listing full name and unique uniform numbers. Players must be present (and in uniform - see uniform rule) to be in the starting batting order.
24) All league games are to start at the scheduled start time. For regular season games, each team must have a minimum of 8 uniformed players present and listed in the batting order by the start time of the game or the game will be a default. There is no grace period, except for 10 minutes only for the 6:30pm weeknight start time (and that will cut into the actual playing time). If both teams have fewer than 8 players, it is a double default. There is to be a minimum of 9 spots in the batting order. A team starting with only 8 players will have an automatic out in the 9th spot in the order. If a team drops below 8 players during the course of the game, the game will become a default. If a player leaves the game and the team still has at least 9 players, the vacated spot in the batting order will be skipped without penalty. (Exception: Any vacated spot due to an ejection will be an automatic out). If the team is left with only 8 players, the minimum of 9 positions in the batting order must be maintained with the remaining vacant spot being an automatic out. In the playoffs any vacated spot is an automatic out, unless leaving is due to injury or illness. To start a playoff game, a team must have a minimum of 9 uniformed players present and listed in the batting order by the start of the game or the game will be a default.
A player who has left any game and had his spot skipped in the order may not return to that game.
25) A team that is short players for a game may add any additional players that are registered in the league in order to bring their lineup for that game to a maximum of 10. The team should supply an extra uniform shirt for each borrowed player if possible, or the player may wear his regular team shirt. Once the game has started, if any of the team’s own players show up they may be added and the borrowed players may still play to finish that game (the borrowed players would not be able to play the team’s second game that night if there is then enough regulars to play). This provision is for regular season games only and may not be used in playoffs (in the playoffs, a player must be on the team’s approved roster in order to play for that team).
26) If a team is playing with less than 9 players, the other team (while at bat) is to provide a catcher solely for the purpose of returning pitches (he may not be involved in any other plays on defence). If he makes any contact with a fair batted ball, or affects a defensive play being made, interference may be called with a possible out on the play.
27) In the case of a default, the game may continue as an exhibition game. However, the league does not allow its umpires to continue to officiate the exhibition game in such a case.
28) Any player arriving after the submission of the batting order may be added to the bottom of the order as they arrive (umpire and opposing team must be notified). If the game started with a vacant 9th spot in the order (automatic out up to that point), the first late arriving player may fill that spot. Except for the first inning, late arriving players may not enter a defensive position during a half inning in progress.
29) Any participant who is bleeding or has blood on his body or clothing must not participate until the bleeding is controlled and bandaged. If on base a replacement runner may be used (same as a courtesy runner but does not count towards courtesy runner limit). The soiled clothing must be changed and the replacement uniform need not conform to the official team uniform in this case. A player who is temporarily out of the game to deal with blood is not necessarily considered to have left the game, and he has until the completion of the current inning plus the following inning to deal with the blood and return to the game. During that time frame his spot in the batting order may be skipped without penalty. If not ready after that time this will be treated like any other injury and he may no
longer return to the game if his spot in the order is skipped (if this drops the team below 8 players the game will unfortunately become a default).
30) If there is an automatic out in the batting order, the defensive team may not, with 2 out, walk a batter to get to an automatic 3rd out. If a batter is given a walk in this circumstance (intentional or otherwise), the automatic out is skipped and play proceeds with the next person in the batting order.
PITCHING, BATTING, BASERUNNING, FIELDING
31) Infield warm-ups shall be allowed in the first inning only, including up to 3 warm-up pitches for the pitcher. In subsequent innings, the pitcher is allowed one warm-up. A replacement pitcher who has not yet pitched in the game is allowed up to 3 warm-up pitches. If a pitcher returns in the same inning in which he was removed, no warm up pitches are permitted.
32) A pitch must be delivered with a minimum height of 6’ and a maximum height of 12’. Any legal pitch that meets the pitching height requirements and hits any part of the home plate board before hitting the ground or any player or equipment will be called a strike.
33) An illegal pitch shall be called by the umpire immediately upon recognizing it. If the batter does not attempt to hit the illegal pitch it shall be called a ball, however, if the batter attempts to hit the pitch, it shall be considered legal pitch and any resulting play shall stand.
34) A batter shall be called out immediately if he hits a pitched ball while stepping on the home plate board or while one foot is entirely out of the batter's box. If a proper batter's box is not outlined on the field, the determination of the batter being out of the batter's box when he hits the ball is if 1) his entire foot is directly in front of or behind the board, or 2) he does not have at least one foot on the ground within the confines of being directly adjacent to the home plate strike board.
35) A batted ball hitting the home plate board is in play, subject to eventual fair/foul decision. A batted ball that is untouched and comes to rest on top of the board or is first touched while on or above the board is to be judged fair or foul according to the foul lines (approximately half of the board is in foul territory).
36) A foul tip will be treated the same as a foul ball. If any batted ball is caught before touching the ground the batter is out, regardless of the height.
37) Baserunners are entitled to advance with liability to be put out when any legally caught fly ball (fair or foul) is first touched.
38) When the ball is thrown out of play, all runners are awarded two bases from the last base safely reached at the time the ball was thrown. If a fielder loses possession of the ball (such as on an attempted tag) and the ball enters the dead ball area, each runner shall be awarded one base from the last base touched at the time the ball became dead. If two runners are between the same bases, the award is based on the position of the lead runner.
39) A runner must stay in contact with the base to which he is entitled until the pitched ball touches the ground, reaches home plate, or is batted.
40) A maximum of 5 courtesy runners may be used by a team in a game, as outlined in SPO rules.
41) When there are 2 out, a ‘temporary runner’ may (optional) be used for a pitcher who is on base so that the pitcher may start to put on protective equipment to be ready to pitch. The pitcher on base must have been the pitcher who finished the previous half-inning. The temporary runner is the player in the batting order furthest from coming to bat who is not already on base at the time of use. This does not count as a courtesy runner.
42) The AMSA has no limit on the number of home runs hit by either team, provided they are legal. (Any untouched ball which travels over the fence, over fair ground, is a home run.). An exception to this is diamond 3 (with shorter fence distances) at Ajax Sportsplex, where the limit is match + 2 over-the-fence home runs (No team can be up in home runs over the other team by more than two during any point in the game. An out will be applied if a home run is hit by any team once the Match + 2 rule is applicable)
43) Rule Books are permitted at benches or in dugouts, not on the playing field.
44) There will be no protests of an umpire’s rule interpretation/application and the outcome of the game will stand.
45) The final playoff game(s) shall be seven full innings (conditions permitting), and 2 umpires shall be used (subject to availability).
46) ZERO TOLERANCE
(a) Profanity, abusive language, verbal abuse or unsportsmanlike conduct directed toward umpires, league officials, executive members or league players will not be tolerated. Teams/players will receive fines/suspensions, and/or a review by the Executive Council. Team franchises are reviewed yearly by the Executive Council and will be cancelled for failure to comply with this rule.
(b) An umpire shall eject any team member for reasons such as abusive behavior, unsportsmanlike conduct, or openly using profanity.
(c) All members of the AMSA are expected to remain under control during all games. Team Reps, are members of the General Council and are expected to keep all members of their team, including themselves, under control at all times.
47) FINES and SUSPENSIONS
Note: All fines are to be paid within 1 week of the offence. Failure of a team to pay will result in scheduled games being defaulted until fines are paid, with additional default fines being assessed.
(a) Defaults: $75 team fine per occurrence (a doubleheader counts as one occurrence) Note: non-offending team(s) will receive $25 of league fine.
(b) No team rep at a General Council Meeting - $50
(c) Team /players drinking alcohol or in possession of/ using illegal substances at playing fields/ stands/parking lots - team/players kicked out of league and banned for life and bond forfeited.
(d) Ejection from game and an automatic minimum one game suspension, with re-instatement to be determined by Executive, plus $100 team fine, will be enforced for reasons such as: unsportsmanlike conduct; abuse of a player, umpire, or executive member; or undue, intentional, or malicious physical contact. Suspension guideline for first offence may be 1 to 10 games or more, depending on infraction. If there is a second offence, the player is suspended for the season with future player/team eligibility subject to Executive review, plus a $200 team fine.
(e) Threatening a player, umpire, league official, executive - immediate ejection and suspension/expulsion of player/team from AMSA plus $200 team fine. Executive council will review and discuss possible banishment from league and affiliated organization.
(f) Late Registration - $100 fine and no schedule until fees paid in full.
(g) Failure to report default by winning team - $75 fine
(h) Teams playing a suspended or ineligible player will default all games in which the player played and be fined $100. A second offence will result in team suspension for the remainder of the year and franchise renewal will be reviewed by the Executive.
(i) Teams must pay their full league fees by cheque, at the April meeting, to play in the league and to receive a copy of the schedule. Failure to do so shall result in a $100 fine and possible disenfranchisement. If a team hands in a NSF cheque, there will be a $100 fine and suspension from league play until a certified cheque including charges is given to the league treasurer. If there is a second occurrence the franchise will be cancelled.