Rule 2 - The Playing Field
(Refer to drawing showing “Official Dimensions for Softball Diamonds”.)
(Refer to “Age Categories and Distance Table” for minor and other categories’ distances.)
Sec. 1 THE PLAYING FIELD
a. Is the area within which the ball may be legally played and fielded.
NOTE: A ball is considered “outside the playing field” when it touches the ground, person on the ground, or object outside the playing area.
b. Shall have a clear and unobstructed area from home plate between the foul lines within the minimum radius of:
1) 68.2 m (225 ft.) for female slo-pitch, or
2) 83.3 m (275 ft.) for Co-Ed slo-pitch, or
3) 83.3 m (275 ft.) for male slo-pitch from home plate between the foul lines.
c. Shall have an unobstructed area of not less than 7.62 m (25 ft.), nor more than 9.14 m (30 ft.), in width outside the foul lines and between home plate and the backstop.
d. Should have a warning track. If a warning track is used, it shall be:
1) An area within the playing field and adjacent to any permanent fences along the outfield and side boundaries.
2) A minimum of 3.66 m (12 ft.) to a maximum of 4.57 m (15 ft.) from the outfield and/or side fences.
3) Made of material (dirt, gravel) that is level with, but different from, the playing surface. The material must distinguish itself from the outfield surface, and signal players when they are approaching the fence.
NOTE: There is no requirement for facilities to cut a warning track in the permanent outfield surface (grass or otherwise) when temporary fencing is used.
Sec. 2 GROUND OR SPECIAL RULES
a. Leagues or opposing teams may agree upon ground or special rules establishing the limits of the playing field, whenever backstops, fences, stands, vehicles, spectators, or other obstructions are within the prescribed area.
b. Any obstruction on fair territory less than 68.2 m (225 ft.) for female slo-pitch, 83.3 m (275 ft.) for Co-Ed slo-pitch, 83.3 m (275 ft.) for male slo-pitch from home plate, should be clearly marked for the umpire’s information.
c. If using a baseball field, the mound should be removed and the backstop set at the prescribed distance from home plate.
Sec. 3 OFFICIAL DIAMOND
Shall be laid out as shown on the diagrams on page 39-40 and the distance table on Page 24.
NOTE: The front of the pitcher’s plate will be placed at 50 ft. from the back or point of home plate. A line shall be placed at the 60 foot mark from the back or point of home plate. The line shall be made 24 inches wide. If during the game, the base distance or pitching distance is found to be at the wrong distance, correct the error at the start of the next full inning and continue playing the game.
Sec. 4 DIAMOND LAYOUT
a. For the layout of the diamond, refer to drawing showing official dimensions of softball diamond. This section serves as an example for laying out a diamond with 19.81m (65ft) bases and a 15.2m (50ft) to 18.29m (60ft) pitching distance.
1) To determine the position of home plate, draw a line in the direction it is desired to lay the diamond. Drive a stake at the corner of home plate nearest the catcher. Fasten a cord to this stake and tie knots or otherwise mark the cord at 15.2m (50ft), 18.29m (60ft), 19.81m (65ft), 28.01m (91ft. 11in) and at 39.62m (130ft).
2) Place the cord (without stretching) along the direction line and place a stake at the 15.2m (50ft ) marker. This will be the front line at the middle of the pitcher’s plate. Along the same line drive a stake at the 18.29m (60ft) marker. This will be at the front of the line to the back of the pitcher’s chute. Along the same line drive a stake at the 28.01m (91ft. 11in) marker. This will be the middle of second base.
3) Place the 39.62m (130 ft.) marker at the center of second base and, taking hold of the cord at the 19.81m (65 ft.) marker, walk to the right of the direction line until the cord is taut and drive a stake at the 19.81m (65 ft.) marker. This will be the outside corner of first base and the cord will now form the lines to first and second bases.
4) Again holding the cord at the 19.81m (65 ft.) marker, walk across the field and, in like manner, mark the outside corner of third base. Home plate, first base, and third base are wholly inside the diamond.
5) To check the diamond, place the home plate end of the cord at the first base stake and the 39.62m (130 ft.) marker at third base. The 19.81m (65 ft.) marker should now check at home plate and second base.
6) Check all distances with a steel tape whenever possible.
b. THREE-FOOT (ONE-METRE) LINE is drawn parallel to and 0.91 m (3 ft.) from the baseline, starting at a point halfway between home plate and first base.
c. BATTER’S ON-DECK CIRCLE is a 1.52 m (5 ft.) circle (0.76 m (2 ½ ft.) radius) placed adjacent to the end of the players’ bench or dugout area closest to home plate.
d. BATTER’S BOX, one on each side of home plate, shall measure 0.91m (3 ft.) in front and 1.22m (4 ft.) behind home plate by 1.067m (42 in.) wide. The lines are considered as being within the batter’s box.
e. CATCHER’S BOX shall be 3.05 m (10 ft.) in length from the rear outside corners of the batters’ boxes and shall be 2.56 m (8 ft. 5 in.) wide.
f. EACH COACH’S BOX is behind a line 4.57 m (15 ft.) long drawn outside the diamond. The line is parallel to and 3.65 m (12 ft.) from the first and third baselines, extended from the bases toward home plate. The depth is .91 m (3 ft).
g. COMMITMENT LINE (CO-ED ONLY) is a line drawn 6.4 m (21 ft.) from the back of home plate and perpendicular to the third base line. It shall extend a minimum .91 m (3 ft.) on each side of the third base line.
h. SAFE LINE (CO-ED ONLY) is a line drawn in foul territory starting at the front corner of home plate closest to third base and perpendicular to the third baseline. It shall extend 3.05 m (10 ft.) from the third base line in foul territory.
i. HOME PLATE
1) Shall be made of rubber.
2) It shall be a five-sided figure 43.2 cm (17 in.) wide, across the edge facing the pitcher.
3) The sides shall be parallel to the inside lines of the batter’s box and shall be 21.6cm (8 ½ in) long.
4) The sides of the point facing the catcher shall be 30.5 cm (12 in.) long.
j. PITCHER’S PLATE
1) Shall be of wood or rubber 61 cm (24 in.) long and 15.2 cm (6 in.) wide.
2) The top of the plate shall be level with the ground.
3) The front line of the pitcher’s plate shall be a set distance measured from the back of home plate as shown on the distance table on Page 24.
NOTE (a-j): The lines that define an area are part of that area.
1) The bases, other than home plate, shall be 38.1 cm (15 in.) square and shall be made of canvas or other suitable material, and not more than 12.7 cm (5 in.) in thickness.
2) The bases should be securely fastened in position.
3) The double base is approved for use at first base.
(a) This base is 38.1 cm by 76.2 cm (15 in. by 30 in.).
(b) Is made of canvas or other suitable material.
(c) Is no more than 12.7 cm (5 in.) in thickness. (d) Half the base is secured in fair territory, and half the base (of a different solid contrasting color) is secured in foul territory.
NOTE: The following rules apply to the double base:
1. A batted ball hitting the fair portion is declared fair, and a batted ball hitting the foul portion only is declared foul.
2. If a pitched ball is hit and the batter-runner fails to use the foul portion of the base on his first attempt at first base and a play is made, the batter-runner is out.
3. A defensive player must use only the fair portion of the base at all times.
4. After over-running the base, the batter-runner must return to the fair portion.
5. On balls hit to the outfield when there is no play being made at the double base, the batter-runner may touch either portion of the base.
6. When tagging up on a fly ball, the fair portion must be used.
7. Once a runner returns to the fair portion, should he stand on the foul portion only, it is considered not in contact with the base and the runner shall be called out, if
(a) He is tagged with the ball; or
(b) He leads off from the foul portion on a pitched ball.
NOTE: The double base must be used in Canadian Championships.