Rule 7 - Batting
Sec. 1 THE ON-DECK BATTER
a. Is the offensive player whose name follows the name of the batter in the batting order.
b. Shall take a position within the lines of either of the on-deck circles.
c. May loosen up with no more than two official softball bats, an approved warmup bat, or a combination not to exceed two.
NOTE: A bat with which the on-deck batter is loosening up cannot have anything attached to it other than a Softball Canada approved bat attachment (The Power Wrap is approved).
EFFECT – Sec. 1c:
- When using other than a legal bat while loosening up, the illegal equipment must be removed from the game.
- Continued use of the equipment after removal would subject the player using such equipment to ejection from the game.
d. May leave the on-deck circle:
- When he becomes the batter.
- To direct runners advancing from third to home plate.
- To avoid possible interference on a fly ball or overthrown ball.
e. May not interfere with the defensive player’s opportunity to make an out.
EFFECT – Sec 1e: The ball is dead and if this interference:
- Is with a defensive fielder’s attempt to retire a runner:
a. The runner closest to home plate at the time of the interference shall be called out; and
b. Other runners are returned to the last base held at the time of the interference, unless forced because the batter became a batter-runner.
- Is with a defensive fielder attempting to catch a fly ball:
a. The batter-runner shall be called out; and
b. Runners are returned to the last base held at the time of the pitch.
Sec. 2 BATTING ORDER
a. The batting order of each team must be on the score sheet/line-up card and must be delivered before the game by the manager or captain to the plate umpire. He shall submit it to the inspection of the manager or captain of the opposing team.
b. (CO-ED SP ONLY) The batting order shall alternate the sexes.
Effect Sec. 2b:
- When two batters of the same sex bat back to back, the missing player (female or male) shall be declared automatically out when discovered by the umpire or brought to the umpire’s attention.
- There is no violation until a pitch has been thrown.
- The violation must be discovered while the player is at bat or after completing his/her turn at bat and before another pitch has been thrown to the next batter.
- If it is discovered after the turn at bat and after a pitch to the next batter, a proper player (opposite sex) replaces the improper player without penalty. There is no out in this situation.
c. The batting order delivered to the umpire must be followed throughout the game unless a player is replaced by a substitute. When this occurs, the substitute must take the place of the substituted player in the batting order.
d. The first batter in each inning shall be the batter whose name follows that of the last player who completed a turn at bat in the preceding inning.
EFFECT – Sec. 2c-d:
- Batting out-of-order is an appeal play that may only be made by the manager, coach, or player of the defensive team.
- The defensive team forfeits its right to appeal for batting out-of-order when all fielders have clearly vacated their normal fielding positions and have left fair territory on their way back to the bench or dugout.
a. If the error is discovered while the incorrect batter is at bat:
1. The correct batter may legally take his place, and assume the ball and strike count of the incorrect batter.
2. Any runs scored or bases run while the incorrect batter is at bat shall be legal.
b. If the error is discovered after the incorrect batter has completed his turn at bat and before a legal or illegal pitch has been made to another batter:
1. The player who should have batted is out.
2. Any advance or score made as a result of the improper batter becoming a batter-runner shall be nullified.
3. Any out that is made prior to discovering this infraction, remains out.
4. The next batter is the player whose name follows that of the player called out for failing to bat.
5. If the next player was the incorrect batter who was called out, go to the next person in the line-up.
NOTE: If the player who was the improper batter was called out, his turn at bat shall not take place in the same inning, until all other batters in the batting order have completed their turn at bat. If his turn at bat occurs before this happens, go to the next batter.
6. If the batter declared out under these circumstances is the third out, the correct batter in the next inning shall be the player who would have come to bat had the player been put out by ordinary play.
7. If the third out is made on a runner prior to the discovery of the infraction, an appeal may still be made in order to reinstate the correct batting order. This appeal, if made, does not result in an additional out.
c. If the error is discovered after the first legal or illegal pitch to the next batter:
1. The turn at bat of the incorrect batter is legal.
2. All runs scored and bases run are legal.
3. The next batter in order shall be the one whose name follows that of the incorrect batter.
4. No one is called out for failure to bat.
5. Players who have not batted and who have not been called out have lost their turn at bat until reached again in the regular order.
d. No runner shall be removed from the base he is occupying to bat
1. He merely misses his turn at bat with no penalty.
2. The batter following him in the batting order becomes the legal batter.
EXCEPTION: The batter-runner who has been taken off the base by the umpire as in Section 2b above.
e. When the third out in an inning is made before the batter has completed the turn at bat, that batter shall be the first batter in the next inning, and the ball and strike count shall be cancelled.
f. The batting order for Co-Ed must always alternate male and female batters. Substitutions must be male for male and female for female.
Sec. 3 BATTING POSITION
a. The batter must take his position in the batter’s box within 10 seconds after the umpire has declared “Play Ball”.
EFFECT – Sec 3a: The umpire will call a strike. A pitch does not need to be thrown and the ball remains dead.
b. The batter must have both feet completely within the batter’s box prior to the start of the pitch.
c. He may touch the lines, but no part of his foot may be outside the lines prior to the pitch.
d. If there is no batter’s box at the front of the batter’s area, the batter’s back foot must be completely behind the front edge of the strike mat, and at the back of the batter’s area, the batter’s front foot must be completely in front of the back edge of the strike mat.
Sec. 4 A STRIKE IS CALLED BY THE UMPIRE
a. When any part of a legally pitched ball enters the strike zone before touching the ground and the batter does not swing or, if using a strike mat, when any part of a legally pitched ball lands on the strike mat and the batter does not swing.
NOTE: Any pitched ball that hits the ground or hits home plate cannot be legally swung at by the batter. However if the batter swings and misses the pitch prior to the ball hitting the ground or plate, it is a strike.
b. For each legally or illegally pitched ball struck at and missed by the batter.
c. For each foul tip.
d. For each foul ball not legally caught on the fly.
e. For each pitched ball struck at and missed which touches any part of the batter.
f. When any part of the batter’s person or clothing is hit with his own batted-ball when he is in the batter’s box.
g. When a pitched ball hits the batter while the ball is in the strike zone.
h. When the batter fails to enter the batter’s box within 10 seconds after the umpire calls “Play Ball”.
EFFECT – Sec. 4a-h:
- The ball is dead and runners may not advance.
- If it is the third strike, the batter is out.
Sec. 5 A BALL IS CALLED BY THE UMPIRE
a. For each legally pitched ball not swung at that:
- Does not enter the strike zone or, if using a strike mat, does not land on the strike mat; or
- Touches the ground before reaching home plate; or
- Touches home plate.
- The batter swings at, after the ball hits the ground or home plate.
b. For each illegally pitched ball which the batter does not swing at.
c. For each excessive warm-up pitch.
d. When the pitcher fails to pitch the ball within 20 seconds.
e. When the catcher fails to return the ball directly to the pitcher as required in Rule 6 Sec. 6b.
f. When a delivered ball by the pitcher hits the batter outside the strike zone.
EFFECT – Sec. a-f: The ball is dead and runners may not advance.
Sec. 6 THE BATTER IS OUT
a. When a batter enters the batter’s box with, or is discovered using, an altered bat or a bat not approved for use by both the USA Softball (formerly ASA) and WBSC (formerly ISF).
EFFECT – Sec. 6a: The batter is ejected from the game.
b. When the batter enters the batter’s box with, or is discovered using, an illegal bat.
EFFECT – Sec. 6a-b: The batter is out and the bat is removed from the game. If the batter made contact with the ball and the bat is discovered prior to the next legal or illegal pitch, all runners must return to the last base legally held at the time of the pitch.
c. When the third strike is:
- Swung at and missed and the ball touches any part of the batter’s person.
- Not swung at and the pitched ball hits the batter while the pitch is in the strike zone.
d. When his foot is completely outside the lines of the batter’s box and touching the ground, or any part of a foot is touching the strike mat or home plate when he hits the ball fair or foul.
e. When he leaves the box to gain a running start, but has returned to the box when he makes contact with the ball.
EXCEPTION: If no contact is made with the pitched ball there, is no penalty. If the batter swings and misses, the ball is dead.
f. When a third strike is called, including an uncaught foul ball that is hit after two strikes.
g. When he bunts or chops the ball downward.
h. When he hits a fair ball with the bat a second time over fair territory.
EXCEPTION: If the batter is standing in the batter’s box and contact is made while the bat is in his hands, a foul ball is ruled, even if the ball is hit a second time over fair territory.
NOTE: If the batter drops the bat and the ball rolls against the bat over fair territory, and, in the umpire’s judgement, there was no intention to interfere with the course of the ball, he is not out, and the ball remains live and in play.
i. (Co-Ed only) When two batters of the same sex bat back to back.
EFFECT – Sec. 6i:
- This is not an appeal play.
- A pitch must have been thrown for a violation to occur.
- It is the missing player (male or female) who shall be declared automatically out when discovered at bat or after completing his/her turn at bat and before the next pitch to the next batter.
a. If he/she is discovered after completing the turn at bat and after a pitch to the next batter, no out can occur.
b. The improper player is replaced by a proper player (opposite sex) without penalty.
j. When he steps directly in front of the catcher to the other batter’s box while the pitcher is in position to pitch, or anytime thereafter prior to the release or after the release of the ball.
k. When he:
- Hinders the catcher from catching or throwing the ball by stepping out of the batter’s box; or
- Intentionally hinders the catcher while standing within the batter’s box; or
- Intentionally interferes with a thrown ball while in or out of the batter’s box.
EFFECT – Sec. 6j-k: The ball is dead and each runner must return to the last base that, in the umpire’s judgement, was touched at the time of the interference.