Sports Outlet Senior Softball League

Sports Outlet Senior Softball

League Rules

The Sports Outlet Senior Softball League is designed to offer recreational play for men age 45 or over. All qualified participants in the program are required to abide by the rules of the League as well as the rules governing Senior Softball USA (“SSUSA”). The League has agreed to utilize the Official Senior Softball-USA Rulebook (SSUSA latest edition) as the basis for its playing rules, with the below rules representing exceptions to the published SSUSA Rules that are unique to the Sports Outlet Senior League as well as rules that should be emphasized from the SSUSA Rules.
The League reserves the right to add or subtract to and from the SSUSA Rulebook in adapting to special League circumstances.

CODE OF CONDUCT (see Appendix)
Rules governing all League activities are detailed below:

Games that have completed 5 innings (or 4.5 innings if the home team is ahead) shall be considered “official.”

Unlimited Extra Hitters (EH) per game may be utilized by a team. This player can also alternate in the field while being in the batting lineup.
(Designated Hitters are NOT allowed)

Courtesy runners are permitted, as follows:
1a. Any player on a line-up sheet can be used as a courtesy runner.
1b. A player may run a maximum of one time per inning during a game, including extra innings. Thus, there is no maximum number of times a player can be a courtesy runner in a game.
1c. A player may run for himself in the same inning as he is a courtesy runner.
2. If a potential courtesy runner goes onto the field and touches the base he is potentially reaching, he must inherit that base as a runner and cannot be replaced by another runner unless injured. If replaced, the second courtesy runner is declared an out.
3. Any courtesy runner who is on base when his turn to bat comes up will be declared automatically out as a base runner. However, the same courtesy runner then immediately proceeds to take his turn at bat in the regular lineup, OR start the next inning should that out be the third out.


1. Bats must be marked with the ASA, SSUSA/senior softball sticker and/or 1.21 BPF stamps or lower (ex. 1.20 BPF) for use in all Sunday Leagues. Titanium bats are illegal.
2. A manager who wants to challenge the use of a bat by a player on the opposing team would ask the umpire to examine the bat for the above markings. As long as the bat is marked the ASA/SSUSA/senior softball sticker and/or 1.21 stamps, use of the bat shall be permitted.
3. If a manager suspects that a bat has been illegally altered, the bat may be confiscated for testing.
4. SSUSA / Sports Outlet League rules apply
5. If a player is injured with a batted ball, the umpire/league should consider confiscating the bat, if appropriate, for inspection by the League. The batter must give the bat to the umpire or league official at a later time or face league penalties.

Only League approved balls may be used.

Pitching Rubber
The pitching rubber must be 24 inches in length.
Pitching Screen
1. The home team shall provide the pitcher’s protective screen.
2. Pitching screen’s need to be anchored sufficiently so that they can withstand a hit from a batted ball and not be blown over by the wind. It is recommended to use small sand bags for this purpose so that the screen can be moved from side to side.
Protective Gear
The catcher and umpire are encouraged to wear protective gear, although this is optional.
Softball Shoes
Shoes with metal spikes are not permitted.

1. Teams are expected to have matching hats and shirts, although hats are optional.
2. Team shirts must have numbers.
3. Players must remain in full uniform throughout the game.
1. The manager designated as the home field manager is required to inspect the field the morning of the games to determine field conditions.
2. The field inspection is to be done no later than 8 a.m. on Sundays.
3. If the field is considered unplayable, the home team manager must call the visiting manager first, then call the umpire to advise the games are cancelled.
4. The game day manager may delegate the inspection to a player on his team who resides in close proximity to the field but must himself contact the visiting manager and the umpire if cancelling the games is warranted.

Bases are set 65 feet from one another. The first base and third base are set with the back of the base at 65 feet from back point of home plate. Second base is set at 99 feet from the back point of home plate.

Commitment Line SSUSA Rules apply: The commitment line is drawn 25 feet from the home plate (or 40 feet from third base).

Placement of the Pitching Screen and Pitching Rubber
1. The pitching screen shall be placed forty-five (45) feet from the back point of home plate.
2. The pitching rubber shall be placed fifty (50) feet from the back point of home plate.
3. The pitcher must pitch from a distance no greater than fifty-five (55) feet from the back point of home plate.
4. The inner edge of the pitching screen must be flush to the edge of the pitching rubber, depending upon whether the pitcher is left-handed or right-handed. Two lines will be drawn from the pitching rubber to the screen and marked with chalk or flour. The screen must be flush next to the line drawn.
5. The pitching screen cannot be moved once the defensive inning has started (see game rules for additional details).
6. A right-handed pitcher must pitch from the right side of the screen. A left-handed pitcher must pitch from the left side of the screen.
Home Plates
There will be two bases at the home plate area, a “scoring” base located eight (8) feet to the left of the home plate in line with first base, and the “regular” extended plate or attached mat / board.
Home Team Sets up the field
The home team manager for the first game shall be responsible for setting up the field and providing all necessary equipment, including one new ball and one other “usable” back-up ball. The visiting team shall provide the balls for the second game.”
Placement of First Base
1. A white and a separate orange base are utilized at first base. A minimum of twelve (12) inches is to separate the two bases (Note: The use of the “combined” white and orange bags is, therefore, prohibited).
2. The white and orange bases should be as similar as possible in thickness and density to provide for the safety of players.

1. All rules established by the authorities for the parks and fields utilized by the League must be adhered to.
2. Violation of park rules and regulations will result in ejection from the games that day. Additional violations will result in suspension from the League

1. Games can be cancelled by the game umpire(s) or by mutual agreement of the game managers should conditions be deemed unplayable.
2. Games may be cancelled for extreme heat or cold weather temperatures.
3. An umpire may cancel a game or games due to bad weather or bad field conditions.

Caused by a Player, Manager or Team

The following rule is consistent with the SSUSA rulebook. It is included for emphasis:
If in the umpire’s judgment a team consciously attempts to delay the start or continuation of a game, the umpire may after issuing a warning, immediately begin to call balls and strikes.
Reporting to the League webmaster
1. The home team manager should communicate the scores by 4.p.m. of the game day to the League’s webmaster.
2. Any problems concerning umpires or game-related issues are to be communicated by the home team manager to the League.

At Bat Etiquette
This rule confirms to the SSUSA rulebook. It is included for emphasis:
1. At no time can a catcher or any opposing team member distract the batter once the ball is pitched.
Specifically, talking or shouting out while the ball is in the air is prohibited.
2. The umpire will issue a warning the first time this rule is violated. A second offense will result in disqualification of the offending player for the rest of that game.

Base Running at First Base
1. When there is a play made at first base, the batter/runner must touch the orange base ONLY.
2. If any portion of the white base is touched, the batter/runner will be deemed “out” IF called out by the umpire; however, the ball will remain live.
3. Appeals are not permitted in the event the umpire does not call the player out.
4. The only exception to this rule occurs when an errant throw pulls the first baseman (or any player catching the ball at first base) into foul territory. In this case, the batter/runner may touch either base. The defensive player can only touch the white base in order for the batter/runner to be called out.

Base Running (leaving base before contact)
Batter must make contact with the ball prior to a runner leaving the base. The umpire must see it and call the base runner out for leaving early. If the umpire does not see the runner leave early the runner is not out. Appeals are not permitted. Nor is reliance on the runner to state whether he had come off the base to be considered.

Defensive Plays at Home Plate
1. Runners will be called out at the home plate area when the defensive player in possession of the ball is in contact with any portion of the expanded “home plate area”.
2. Touching the expanded “home plate area” is defined as the touching of any part of the expanded plate (including a mat, if utilized) by the defensive player in possession/control of the ball.
3. Runners may not be tagged out after they pass the commitment line coming to the home plate area.
Extra Innings
SSUSA rules (runner placed at second base to start the inning) will not be used. Games will continue to be played until won by one team.
Five Run Rule
1. During innings 1 through 6, the maximum number of runs that can be scored by either team shall be five (5) runs.
2. If a team batting is behind by more than five runs at any time during the first 6 innings, the batting team is permitted to catch up and tie the other team’s run total. For example, if a team is three (3) runs behind and the batter hits a grand slam home run, only 3 runs are counted.
3. There is no run limit in the 7th inning and subsequent innings (Regular season).
4. PLAYOFFS: there is no run limit in the 6th inning and subsequent innings.

Game Ending Mercy Rule
A 15-run rule will be in effect after the trailing team bats five (5) complete innings (Regular season and Playoffs).

Infield Fly Rule
When an “infield fly” is called by the umpire, the batter is out, runners advance at their own risk.

Number of Players Required for an official game
A team must have nine players present in order to begin a game. The opposing team will provide a catcher (who will make defensive plays). However, if a team has 10 players, the opposing team will not provide a catcher. Our reasoning is that the team with 10 players already has the advantage of getting through the batting order faster than the other team.
One-and-One Pitch Count for the Game
All games start with a "one-and-one" pitch count.
(Regular season and Playoffs)
Pitcher Safety
Use of the pitching screen is MANDATORY. The pitcher should get behind the screen after releasing the ball. A pitcher who chooses not to move behind the screen should be encouraged to wear a defensive mask and other protective gear (such as chest and shin protectors). The League WILL NOT provide this equipment. The pitcher accepts the risks of injury if he does not get behind the screen.

Pitching Screen Rules for Balls that Hit the Screen
1. A batted ball striking any part of the screen, or its frame/container, shall be considered a strike and a dead ball.
2. A batted ball striking any part of the screen, or its frame/container, whenever there are two (2) strikes on the batter, is considered a dead ball third strike foul ball out.
3. A ball thrown or touched by a defensive player that comes in contact with any portion of the pitching screen shall be considered “in play”
4. A defensive player making contact with any portion of the screen shall do so at their own risk. The ball shall remain “live” and “in play.”

Positioning of Pitching Screen After the Start of the Game
1. The pitcher may at the beginning of each inning move the Pitching Screen left or right but no further than the closest edge of the pitching rubber.
2. Once placed, unless a new pitcher enters the game, the pitching screen cannot be moved once the defensive inning has started.
3. If the pitching screen is moved away from its position after the start of the inning, the pitcher will be warned. In the event of a second violation during that game, the pitcher will be disqualified from pitching the rest of that day.

Protests must be made by a team manager or designee. At the point of protest, the umpire must be immediately notified of a protest, and the umpire must sign the protesting manager’s score book. In the event there was no umpire present at the protested game, the opposing team manager must be made aware of the protest at the point of protest. A protest must be communicated by the protesting manager to the League ASAP, followed by a written statement outlining the reason(s) for the protest. Upon receipt of the written protest, the League must contact the umpire to discuss the situation.

Runner Passing the Commitment Line
A runner on or rounding third base may not return to third base after passing the commitment line and must run to the home plate area.
Slide or Veer Requirement at 2nd and 3rd base
1. A baserunner must not initiate contact with any defense player or is automatically out.
2. A runner must either slide or veer to avoid contact with a defensive player at either second or third base AND to permit the defensive player to make a throw. To clarify the throw rule, a runner must slide or veer out of the way of an outgoing ball thrown by the fielder in an attempt to complete a double play. For example, a runner cannot stay in the baseline and try to block such a throw during a double play attempt.  The runner must slide or veer (duck) away from the throw.

3. Incidental contact, which is a judgement call by the umpire, shall not be subject to this rule.

4. Managers should discuss the League’s slide or veer rule with umpires prior to the beginning of the game.
The following language is included from the SSUSA rules for emphasis:
Sliding or diving into first base or the scoring line or scoring plate is permitted ONLY to avoid a collision with a defensive player. This is an umpire’s judgment call and is not subject to protest or appeal. A player may slide or dive into second or third bases, or when returning to any base. A runner must make every effort to avoid colliding with opposing players while running the bases or sliding or diving.  If in the umpire’s judgment a runner misses a base to avoid a collision, the runner will not be called out. If in the umpire’s judgment the runner fails to avoid a collision with a defensive player involved in the play, the ball will be declared dead and the runner called out. All base runners except for the batter will be returned to their previous base unless forced to advance. If in the umpire’s judgement the runner’s collision with the defensive player involved in the play negates a double play, the umpire may award a second out. See Code of Conduct for rough or aggressive playing tactics.
Stepping Off First or Third Base
1. Runners may place themselves in foul territory at 3rd and 1st base to avoid injury being struck by balls hit in their direction.
The runner should announce his intention to the umpire.
2. Runners stepping off the base MUST re-touch their respective base before advancing. Failure to do so will result in an out, but the ball shall remain in play.
Third Strike Foul Ball or Foul Tip
A foul tip on the third strike shall be considered an out.
Tie Games
When a game must be called after 5 innings and the score is tied, the game is recorded as a tie game but the game does not count for or against either team’s season record. Games will not be made-up or later completed.

Starting Times

1. Double headers shall be played each Sunday as indicated in the League schedule.
2. Games start at 9:00 a.m

1. Line-up sheets shall designate the batting order of players. Providing the defensive position of the players is optional.
2. Line-ups must be exchanged at the start of each game for official record-keeping to determine player playoff eligibility.
Make-up games are scheduled and built in at the end of the season’s schedule.

1. Rosters will remain intact from year-to-year, with players added based on the number of players needed to meet minimum roster requirements.
2. The league goal is to create teams with parity of talent to promote good competition.
3. Unreliability Rule: A manager may request approval from the league to remove a player from his roster if the player fails to show up (as a no show, meaning that he said he would show up, then no call and no show) for two consecutive sets of game or fails to advise the manager until the last minute that he is not coming on three occasions to that point in the season. A combination of three no shows or last- minute cancellations or, a player continues to call out as not playing week in and week out, wasting a roster spot also applies. The player should receive a warning with a phone call from the Manager prior to removal in order to correct the behavior. If removed from that roster, the player will be removed from the roster.

Age Determination
For eligibility to play, a player must attain age 45 by January 1st of that season.

Age Verification
1. Team managers are responsible for age verification for all players on their roster.
2. Managers shall instruct players to bring identification and be prepared to show it to any League official.

Consequences to a Team After a Player Ejection
1. When a player is ejected, the manager may not replace him with another player. Thereafter, an out will be recorded for every scheduled at bat for the ejected player during the game in progress.
2. There are no line-up restrictions on the ejected player’s team for the second game, when a player is ejected from game one. The second game is simply played without the ejected player.
3. The ejected player’s team may use a substitute for any subsequent games that the ejected player is forced to miss if the team needs a substitute to make 10 players.

Ejections by the Umpire for Cause
NOTE: Refer to the Code of Conduct section for specific conditions and behaviors that trigger ejections.

Game Day
Any player on the roster who arrives after the start of the game is permitted to play but must be added to the bottom of the line-up for that game.

1. A player must have played in 50% of regular season games, plus one.
2. Rain outs do not count for or against the total.
3. An injured player is credited with games when injured.
4. A player added to a roster during the season must have played in 50% of the remaining games, plus one.

During the roster building process, managers may engage in player trades/reassignments. No further trades/reassignments are permitted once the rosters are set. Trades must be approved by a majority of the managers. The player(s) involved in the trade must also approve the trade.

1. All teams should strive to have a minimum of 16 players on their rosters.
2. All teams must have a minimum of 14 active players on their rosters during the playing season.
3. If a team falls below 12 active players on the roster, the managers will work together to help find replacement roster players.

Game Day
1. If a team fails to field at least 9 players by 15 minutes after the scheduled start time, the game will be forfeited.

2. The second game must start no later than 15 minutes following forfeit of the first game or the second game is also forfeited.

3. The score to be recorded for a forfeited game shall be 7 to 0.

4. In the event of a forfeit due to insufficient players, all players from both teams present at the field shall receive credit for playing the game, to be applied to playoff eligibility.

5. Players present are encouraged to play an exhibition game rather than just go home.
Game Management
1. Only managers are permitted to discuss issues with the umpire.

2. Players on the defensive team shall not leave their field position to dispute an umpire’s call.

3. A batter on the offensive team shall not leave the batter’s box to dispute an umpire’s call.

4. Any other player on the offensive team shall not leave the dugout or bench area to dispute an umpire’s call.

5. Managers are responsible to keep their players under control at all times.

6. The League is responsible for the coordination of umpire requirements.
Regular Season
1. Paid umpires are to be utilized for all League games.
2. Team managers will pay the umpire fees in cash at the beginning of each game.
3. Should an umpire fail to show at a scheduled game, the involved teams are expected to provide their own umpires utilizing roster players.
4. If a third-party agrees to umpire a game, the League is not responsible for any costs involved.
5. If the umpire arrives at the field and the game is cancelled because one or both of the teams have forfeited because of too few players, the umpire fee will not be returned to the forfeiting team. The forfeiting team will pay the umpire fee for that game.

During the championship round of playoffs, managers may mutually agree to use more than one umpire. Any additional cost shall be borne by the teams involved.


A.  No Participant (e.g., player), Team Manager or Spectator Shall: Verbally or visually demonstrate, in an aggressively disrespectful manner, disagreement with an umpire or league official’s decision. It shall be the right of the Manager to request, in a respectful manner, an explanation of a call or rule interpretation.

B.  No Participant (e.g., player), Team Manager or Spectator Shall:  Appear on the field of play under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance, or consume alcohol at the facility prior to or during the game.

C.  No Participant (e.g., player), Team Manager or Spectator Shall: Use aggressive profane, obscene or vulgar language or gestures in any manner, at any time towards another player, umpire, coach or spectator.

D.  No Participant (e.g., player), Team Manager, or Spectator Shall: Significantly harass, heckle, insult, jeer or use verbal tactics to embarrass or insult a league official and participant (e.g., teammate) at any time before, during or after a game.

E.   No Participant (e.g., player), Team Manager, or Team Representative Shall: Use rough or aggressive playing tactics that could result in injury.

F.   No Participant (e.g., player), Team Manager or Team Representative Shall: Give false or misleading information or fail to cooperate with a legitimate request from a league official.

G.  Team Managers Shall:  When requested by the game official, assist him or her in the enforcement of the Player Code of Conduct or rules and control players making threats.

H.  No Participant (e.g., player), Team Manager or Spectator Shall: Throw equipment in anger or frustration, such as bats, gloves, balls, bases, etc. causing a safety or unsportsmanlike issue. Depending on the severity, the consequence can be a warning from the umpire and/or penalty from the League.
Penalties for Section I Violations
The umpire is in charge of the game and will use his/her judgement about conduct that warrants possible warnings or possible ejection of a player, coach, or spectator. This applies to all Sections of this Code of Conduct. If the umpire ejects a player from the first game of a doubleheader, that player should not be allowed to play in the second game that day, as per umpire discretion. The umpire can require the ejected player to leave the field of play, meaning beyond the umpire’s sight and hearing from the field for the remainder of the day.

Possible (1-2) one or two game suspension can be imposed by the League for each individual violation of Section I beyond the umpire’s ejection, if imposed. Suspension can be appealed, in writing, and submitted to the League. If the violation occurs in the first game of a double header, and the player sat out the second game that day, that game can count as game one of a subsequent League imposed suspension. A two game suspension could be the second game that day and the first game of the next double header. If the violation occurs in the second game, the player sits out the remainder of the game as well as the next two games. The umpire will decide if the player must leave the field/facility so that the umpire cannot hear or see the player. One of the managers will inform the League.
Penalty will be doubled if this is the second violation in a one-year period.
A third violation within that playing year may result in up to a one year suspension.

The League reserves the right to increase this penalty as the situation warrants. Each incident will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

SSUSA rules apply: The spot in the line-up vacated by the ejected  player cannot be filled by another player. An out in the line-up occurs each time the removed player would have come to bat in that game.

A.  No Participant (e.g., player), Team Manager or Spectator Shall: Be guilty of verbal threats either sexually or racially discriminatory directedat any other participant, team manager, player, spectator, umpire, or league official.

B.  No Participant (e.g., player), Team Manager, or Spectator Shall: Engage in a continuous verbal attack upon an official, other participants or spectators after they have been ejected from a game and/or make a verbal threat of physical violence upon anyone.

C.  No Participant (e.g., player), Team Manager, or Spectator Shall: Charge an official, or make incidental physical contact with the body, or kick dirt or other matter on the official when disputing a decision.

D.  No Participant (e.g., player), Team Manager, or Spectator Shall: Fail to abide by an official’s decision. Player(s) must leave the facility if requested by the game official. Failure to do so will result in a forfeit by the ejected player(s) team for the remaining game(s) that day.

Penalties for Section II Violations
1. Possible  game suspension may be imposed for each violation of Section II. If the violation occurs in the first game of a double header, the player will sit the second game that day. If the violation occurs in the second game, the player sits out the remainder of the game as well. The umpire will decide if the player must leave the field/facility so the umpire cannot hear or see the player. One of the managers will inform the League. 

2. Penalty will be doubled when it is the second violation in same year.

3. A third violation within that playing year may result in suspension.

4. The League reserves the right to increase this penalty as the situation warrants. Each incident will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

5. SSUSA rules apply: The spot in the line-up vacated by the suspended player cannot be filled by another player. An out in the line-up occurs each time the removed player would have come to bat in that game.

6. Appeal: See Code of Conduct Section IV, paragraph 2.

A.  No Participant, Team Manager, or Spectator Shall: Be guilty of causing or intending to cause physical contact with an official, player or spectator when disputing a decision.

B.  No Participant, Team Manager, or Spectator Shall: Perform battery (as defined in the NJ Penal Code) upon any game official, league representative, player or spectator at any time on or near a playing facility and/or at a meeting facility.

C. No manager or player shall: Purposefully manipulate their roster to gain a competitive advantage, such as calling players to stay home in order to have their best players only play.

Penalties for Section III Violations:
1. Participant is immediately suspended from further play until the incident is reviewed by the League. A rest of the year or full year suspension is the recommended minimum penalty, although the League has the final decision. Depending on the severity of the incident, past conduct and other factors, a participant may be suspended for up to 5 years by the League.

2. Penalty may be doubled if this is the second incident of a serious nature.

3. The League reserves the right to increase this penalty as the situation warrants. The League will determine if the altercation is self defense or retaliation. Each incident will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

4. SSUSA rules apply: The spot in the line-up vacated by the suspended player cannot be filled by another player. An out in the line-up occurs each time the removed player would have come to bat in that game.
No Participant, Team Manager, or Spectator Shall: Engage in or provoke a physical attack on another participant at the facility. This includes retaliation for the actions of another player.  (Any person has the right to defend him/herself from a physical attack) See Section III, item A for further details if applicable. This action may be deemed a section III violation.


1. Game officials / managers will notify the League of the incident. The League will gather information and make a final decision.
2. The League will review the incident and may impose additional penalties if warranted, as outlined in the penalty sections. The manager and involved players will be notified by the League.
3. The League will communicate to all managers all decisions relating the suspensions.

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