Rule 2 - The Playing Field
(Refer to drawing showing “Official Dimensions for Softball Diamonds”.)
(Refer to “Age Categories and Distance Table” table for minor categories’ distances.)
Sec. 1 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, a person on the ground, or an object outside the playing area.
b. Shall have a clear and unobstructed area within the minimum radius of:
- 67.06 m (220 ft.) for female fast pitch; or
- 68.58 m (225 ft.) for male fast 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:
- An area within the playing field and adjacent to any permanent fences along the outfield and side boundaries.
- A minimum of 3.66 m (12 ft.) to a maximum of 4.57 m (15 ft.) from the outfield and/or side fences.
- 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 (i.e. when a fast pitch game is played on a field designed primarily for slo-pitch).
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 67.06 m (220 ft.) for female fast pitch and 68.58m (225 ft.) for male fast pitch, should be marked clearly 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 126-127 and the distance table on Page 109.
NOTE: If during the game, the base distance or the 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 diamonds. This section serves as an example for laying out a diamond with 18.29 m (60 ft.) bases and a 14.02 m (46 ft.) pitching distance.
- 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 14.02 m (46 ft.), 18.29 m (60 ft.) , 25.86 m (84 ft. 10 ¼ in.) and at 36.58 m (120 ft.).
- Place the cord (without stretching) along the direction line and place a stake at the 14.02 m (46 ft.) marker. This will be the front line at the middle of the pitcher’s plate. Along the same line, drive a stake at the 25.86 m (84 ft.10 ¼ in.) marker. This will be the center of second base.
- Place the 36.58 m (120 ft.) marker at the center of second base and, taking hold of the cord at the 18.29 m (60 ft.) marker, walk to the right of the direction line until the cord is taut and drive a stake at the 18.29 m (60 ft.) marker. This will be the outside corner of first base and the cord will now form the lines to first and second bases.
- Again holding the cord at the 18.29 m (60 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.
- To check the diamond, place the home plate end of the cord at the first base stake and the 36.58 m (120 ft.) marker at third base. The 18.29 m (60 ft.) marker should now check at home plate and second base.
- Check all distances with a steel tape whenever possible.
b. THREE-FOOT (ONE-METER) 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. ON-DECK CIRCLE is a 1.52 m (5 ft.) circle 0.76 m (2 ½ ft.) radius placed adjacent to the end of players’ bench or dugout area closest to home plate.
d. BATTER’S BOX, one on each side of home plate, shall measure 0.91 m (3 ft.) by 2.13m (7 ft.). The inside lines of the batter’s box shall be 15.2 cm (6 in.) from home plate. The front line of the box shall be 1.22 m (4 ft.) in front of a line drawn through the center of home plate. 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. COACH’S BOX is behind a line 4.57 m (15 ft.) long drawn outside the diamond. The line is parallel to and 3.66 m (12 ft.) from the first and third baselines, extended from the bases toward home plate.
g. HOME PLATE
- Shall be made of rubber.
- It shall be a five-sided figure 43.2 cm (17 in.) wide, across the edge facing the pitcher.
- The sides shall be parallel to the inside lines of the batter’s box and shall be 21.6 cm (8 ½ in.) long.
- The sides of the point facing the catcher shall be 30.5 cm (12 in.) long.
h. PITCHER’S PLATE
- Shall be of wood or rubber 61 cm (24 in.) long and 15.2 cm (6 in.) wide.
- The top of the plate shall be level with the ground.
- 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 111.
- A 4.88 m (16 ft.) circle shall be drawn around the pitcher’s plate, with a 2.57 m (8 ft.) radius from the mid point of the front edge of the pitcher’s plate.
NOTE: The lines that define an area are part of that area.
- 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.
- The bases should be securely fastened in position.
- 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 colour) is secured in foul territory.
NOTE: The following rules apply to the double base:
- A batted ball hitting the fair portion is declared fair, and a batted ball hitting the foul portion only is declared foul.
- If a pitched ball is hit or the batter-runner runs on a dropped third strike 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.
- A defensive player must use only the fair portion of the base at all times.
EXCEPTION: On any live ball play made from first base foul territory, the batter-runner and the defensive player may use either base. When the defensive player uses the foul portion of the double base, the batter-runner can run in fair territory and if hit by a throw from the foul side of first base, it would not be interference.
- After over-running the base, the batter-runner must return to the fair portion.
- 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.
- When tagging up on a fly ball, the fair portion must be used.
- On an attempted pick-off play, the runner must return to the fair portion.
- 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.