2. PLAYING FIELD AND EQUIPMENT
(Refer to drawing showing “Official Dimensions for Softball Diamonds”.)
(Refer to “Age Categories and Distance Table” table for minor categories’ distances.)
2.1.1 ALTERED BAT
A bat is altered when the physical structure of a legal bat has been changed. Examples of altering a bat are: replacing the handle of a metal bat with a wooden or other type handle; inserting material inside the bat; applying excessive tape (more than two layers) to the bat grip; painting a bat at the top or bottom for other than identification purposes; engraving an “ID” marking on the barrel end of a metal bat; or attaching a “flare” or “cone” grip to bat. Replacing the grip with another legal grip is not considered altering the bat. An engraved “ID” mark on only the knob end of a metal bat or a laser mark for “ID” purposes anywhere on the bat is not an alteration.
2.1.2 BASE LINE
The direct line between any two consecutive bases.
2.1.3 BATTER’S BOX
The area to which the batter is restricted while in position with the intention of batting and helping the offensive team score runs. The lines are considered as being within the batter’s box.
2.1.4 CATCHER’S BOX
That area within which the catcher must remain until the pitch is released. The lines are considered within the catcher’s box. The catcher is considered to be in the catcher’s box except when touching the ground outside the catcher’s box.
The area in dead ball territory designated for team members only. There must be no smoking, consumption of alcohol or use of chewing tobacco in this area. Smoking includes the inhalation of tobacco products, e-cigarettes and vaping.
2.1.6 FAIR TERRITORY
That part of the playing field within and including the first and third base foul lines from home plate to the bottom of the outfield fence and perpendicularly upwards.
2.1.7 FOUL TERRITORY
Any part of the playing field that is not fair territory.
A helmet that is cracked, broken, dented or altered will be declared an illegal helmet and removed from the game.
a) For an on-deck batter, batter, batter-runner and a runner, a helmet must have two ear flaps (one on each side) and must be of the type that has safety features equal to or greater than those provided by the full plastic cap with padding on the inside. A liner covering only the ears does not meet the specifications of a legal helmet.
b) For a catcher or a defensive player, a helmet may be the skull type without earflaps.
c) SC (2021): For U17 categories and below, all on-deck batters, batters and base runners must have an attached face mask.
2.1.9 ILLEGAL BAT
A bat that does not meet the requirements of Rule 2.3.1
2.1.10 ILLEGAL GLOVE
A glove that does not meet the specifications of a legal glove or the use of a mitt by a fielder other than a catcher or first base.
The area of the field in fair territory normally covered by infielders.
2.1.12 OFFICIAL EQUIPMENT
Official equipment is any equipment (bats, gloves, helmets, etc.) in use by the defensive or offensive team in the course of play. Defensive equipment (gloves, for example) left on the field by the team playing offense would not be official equipment.
That portion of the playing field in fair territory that is beyond the infield.
2.1.14 PLAYING FIELD
The area within which the ball may be played and fielded up to and including the dead ball line.
2.2 THE PLAYING FIELD
2.2.1 PLAYING FIELD REQUIREMENTS
a) The playing field must have a clear and unobstructed area within the minimum dimensions set out in Appendix 1 (Playing Field and Diamond Layout) and must include all features shown.
b) The playing field should have a warning track. If a warning track is used, it must be an area within the playing field and adjacent to any permanent fence along the outfield and sidelines.
c) There is no requirement to cut a warning track in the permanent outfield surface (grass or otherwise) when temporary fencing is used (i.e., when a fast pitch game is played on a field designed primarily for slo-pitch).
d) A ball is “outside the playing field” when it touches the ground, a person on the ground or an object outside the playing area.
2.2.2 THE OFFICIAL DIAMOND
a) The official diamond layout must comply with the dimensions and specifications in Appendix 1 and must include all features shown (foul, one meter and sidelines; coaches, batters and catchers boxes; on-deck and pitchers circles; and bases and home plate).
b) If during the game the base distance or the pitching distance is found to be incorrect, the error must be corrected at the start of the next full inning after which the game resumes and continues.
2.2.3 GROUND OR SPECIAL RULES
Ground or special rules establishing the limits of the playing field may be agreed prior to the start of a game and used whenever backstops, fences, stands, vehicles, spectators or other obstructions are within the prescribed area.
a) Any obstruction on fair territory less than the minimum fence distances set out in the Distance Table (Appendix 1) must be clearly marked for the umpire’s information.
b) If using a baseball field, the pitcher’s mound must be removed and the backstop set at the prescribed distance from home plate.
2.3 GAME EQUIPMENT
2.3.1 OFFICIAL BAT
Only an official bat that meets the standards of the WBSC Equipment Standards Commission and is stamped with the WBSC or former ISF 2005 logo that the Equipment Standards Commission adopted, and approved marking must be used in a WBSC Competition. The WBSC Approved Bat List and Approved Logo can be found at the WBSC Website www.wbsc.org See Appendix 2A (Bat Specifications) for approved bat standards, or SC: An official bat that is approved for use and is on the Approved Bat List of USA Softball.
2.3.2 WARM-UP BAT
Only a warm-up bat that meets the specification set out in Appendix 2B (Bat Specifications) for approved warm-up bat standards may be used.
2.3.3 OFFICIAL SOFTBALL
Only an official softball that meets the standards and is approved for use by Softball Canada that may be used in an official Softball Canada competition. See Appendix 3 (for approved ball standards).
2.4 PLAYERS’ EQUIPMENT
2.4.1 GLOVES AND MITTS
a) Any player may wear a glove, but only the catcher and first base may use mitts.
b) No top lacing, webbing or other device between the thumb and body of the glove or mitt worn by first base or catcher or a glove worn by a fielder may be more than 12.7 cm (5 in) in length.
c) The pitcher’s glove may be any color or combination of colors, provided that no color (including the lacing) is the color of the ball. A glove worn by any player other than the pitcher may be any color or combination of colors. d) Gloves with white, gray, or yellow optic circles on the outside that give the appearance of a ball are not official equipment and must not be used. (Refer to Appendix 4: Glove Specifications Drawing and Dimensions)
a) All team members must wear shoes. A shoe must be made with either canvas or leather uppers or similar materials and be fully enclosed.
b) Shoe soles may be either smooth or have soft or hard rubber cleats.
c) Ordinary metal sole and heel plates may be used if the spikes on the plates are not rounded and do not extend more than 1.9cm (3/4 in) from the sole or heel of the shoe.
d) No hard plastic, nylon or polyurethane spikes similar to a metal sole and heel plate are allowed in any division at any level of play.
e) Shoes with detachable cleats that screw onto the shoe are not permitted; however, shoes with detachable cleats that screw into the shoe are permitted.
f) SC (2021): Metal cleats must not be worn for U13 and below (players and team members).
2.4.3 PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT
a) MASKS. All catchers must wear a mask, throat protector, and helmet. Catchers (or other members of the defensive team) must wear a mask, throat protector and helmet while receiving warm-up pitches from the pitching plate, or in the warm-up area. If the person catching the pitch will not wear the mask, they must be replaced by a person who will do so. An extended wire protection attached to the mask may be worn instead of the throat protector. The ice hockey goalie style facemask is approved for use by catchers. If there is no throat protector built onto the mask, the throat attachment must be added to the mask before using.
- If the person catching for the pitcher will not wear the mask, after a warning, they will be removed from the game.
- If the person catching for the pitcher is anyone other than a team member and will not wear the mask after a warning, it shall mean the removal of the coach or manager of the offending team.
b) FACE MASKS. Any defensive or offensive player may wear an approved plastic face mask/guard. Face masks/guards that are cracked or deformed, or if padding has deteriorated or is missing, are prohibited from use and must be removed from the game. Catchers may not wear the plastic face mask/guard in place of the regular mask with a throat protector.
SC: Pitchers in the U17 and below categories are required to wear a protective face mask.
c) BODY PROTECTORS. SC: Adult female catchers and all youth/minor catchers must wear a body protector.
SC: Youth/minor catchers must wear shin guards that will offer protection to the kneecap.
d) PROTECTIVE LEG/ARM GUARDS. These may be worn by a batter and a batter-runner.
e) SC: ATHLETIC SUPPORT All youth/minor catchers must wear an athletic support with pelvic protection.
2.5.1 PLAYER UNIFORMS
All players on a team must wear uniforms alike in color, trim, and style. A team member in uniform may, for religious reasons, wear a specific head covering and apparel that does not conform to these Rules without penalty.
SC: The above exception does not preclude a player from having to wear a helmet as required under the rules.
i) Ball caps must be alike, are mandatory for all male players and must be worn properly.
SC: Exception: Should a defensive player elect to wear a defensive fielding mask, that player may turn their cap backwards to accommodate wearing both cap and mask.
ii) Caps, visors, and headbands are optional for female players and can be mixed. If more than one type is worn, they all must be of the same color, and each of the same type must be of the same color and style. Plastic or hard visors are not allowed.
iii) Should a defensive player wear an approved helmet of a similar color of the team uniform cap, they will not be required to wear a cap.
i) A player may wear a uniform colored undershirt (it may be white). It is not mandatory that all players wear an undershirt however if one player wears one, those that are worn must be alike. No player may wear ragged, frayed, or slit sleeves on exposed undershirts.
ii) A warming (compression) sleeve may be worn but will be treated in the same manner as a long sleeve undershirt. Both arms must be covered, and both sleeves must be of the same color as the undershirt worn by players wearing long sleeve undershirts.
c) PANTS/SLIDING PANTS. All players’ pants must be either all long or all short in style. Players may wear a uniform solid color pair of sliding pants. It is not mandatory that all players wear sliding pants, but if more than one player wears them, they must be alike in color and style except temporary, Snap-On or Velcro sliding pads. No players may wear ragged, frayed or slit legs on exposed sliding pants.
d) NUMBERS. An Arabic number of contrasting color at least 15.2 cm (6 in) high must be worn on the back of all uniform shirts. No manager, coach or player on the same team may wear identical numbers (numbers 1 and 01 are examples of identical numbers.) Only whole numbers 01 to 99 must be used. Players without numbers will not be permitted to play.
e) NAMES. Individual names may be worn above the numbers on the back of all uniform shirts.
f) CASTS. Casts (plaster, metal or other hard substances in its final form) may not be worn in a game. Any exposed metal (other than a cast) must be adequately covered by a soft material, taped and approved by the umpire.
SC Exception: Wheelchairs, crutches, and braces in the coaching boxes.
g) DISTRACTING ADORNMENTS. No exposed items, including jewelry, judged by the umpire to be distracting to opposing players, may be worn or displayed. The umpire must require the item to be removed or covered. Medical alert bracelets and/or necklaces, if deemed distracting, must be taped to the body in such a manner that the medical alert information is visible.
2.6 COACHES’ UNIFORMS
A Coach must be neatly attired, including the wearing of suitable footwear, or be dressed in team uniform in accordance with the color code of the team. If a coach chooses to wear a cap, it must conform to Rule 2.5.1a).
Notwithstanding any provision of these Rules, Softball Canada reserves the right to withhold or withdraw approval of any equipment which, in their sole determination, significantly changes the character of the game, affects the safety of participants or spectators or renders a player´s performance more a product of the equipment rather than the player’s individual skill.
Rule 2.4.2 Wearing improper shoes
Effect After a warning from the umpire for a repeated violation, the team member must be ejected from the game.
Rule 2.4.3 a) Failure of a catcher to wear a helmet.
Effect After a warning from the umpire for a repeat violation, the player must be ejected from the game.
Rule 2.4.3 (c-d) Failure to wear mandatory equipment
Effect The player is removed from the game.
Rule 2.5.1 Improper uniform or improper wearing of the uniform by a player.
Effect If the player refuses to comply, the player must be removed from the game.
Rule 2.5.1 g) SC: Distracting Adornments
Effect If a player is requested by the umpire to remove jewelry and they refuse, the player will be removed from the game and ruled ineligible.
Rule 2.6 Improper dress by a coach
Effect After a warning from the umpire, any subsequent infraction by a coach or manager of the same team will result in the ejection of the Head Coach.