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NCAA Softball Pitching Rules 2023

By Biraj Khanal / 2 June 2023 02:50 AM

Jordyn Bahl from Oklahama pitching during the game against Standford softball team in WCWS.
Source : instagram

NCAA Softball Pitching Rules 2023 states that the ball is counted legal if it is pitched underhand. If the pitch is not performed well it is a no pitch.

National Collegiate Athletics Association D1 softball is held annually with 64 teams featuring from the United States in four tiers of competition. It is held in May/June every year.

Pitching is a crucial task in softball and balancing the pitching motion for the pitcher is even more difficult. It is different compared to baseball pitching motion as the softball is pitched underhand.

The pitching becomes more complex when you compare the rules in several game divisions Little League pitching rules are different from high schools and other softball associations.

Several rules regarding pitching have been changed for the 2023 season compared to the prior season, 2022. One of the changes is that both feet of the pitcher should touch the ground within the 24-inch length of the pitching mound.

College Softball Pitching Rules

Pitching rules softball is the ball is declared an illegal pitch if the pitcher pitches using underhand motion.

The ball is declared illegal if the pitcher's feet are maintained at a distance from the pitcher's mound provided by the official Rule book of softball. The position should be established before taking the signal.

This is implemented to maintain consistency with the pitcher's lane lines while pitching.

Kathryn Sandercock from FSU team pitching during the WCWS tournament.
Source : instagram

Here are some of the pitching rules in college softball for the 2023 season listed below:

  • A pitch is considered legal if it is thrown to the batter underhand.
  • Before pitching, both feet should be within the 24-inch length of the pitching mound. The pivotal foot should be in contact with the mound whereas the secondary must be behind the pitcher's box.
  • The pitcher should have her hands separated before taking the pitching position. The shoulders should be faced in line with the first and third base.
  • The pitcher shall be taking the signal from the catcher with the hands separated with the ball being remained in either the glove or pitching hand.
  • The hands should come in front of the body together for not more than 10 seconds before the ball is released. It may be moving or motionless.
  • The pitcher can't put back the hands or touch again during the pitching delivery before the release.

The rules if violated will lead to penalties for the respective team and will be called an illegal pitching delivery. 

Other Softball Rules In 2023:

NCAA Softball Weather Delay Rules

NCAA softball rain delay rules able the umpires to stop the game in between the inning whenever possible if heavy rainfall occurs impeding the play.

The umpires have the right to stop the running game in case of darkness, storm approach, and the field conditions went worst.

Crew members covering the pitch after the game is paused due to rain.
Source : instagram

The guidelines are provided to the umpires so that they can prepare for suspension of play during unforeseen circumstances. 

First, Prepare for the situation because of the inclement weather involving a game pause should be recognized whether the game will affect or not. 

Second, The crew should contact the event officials and crew members before the assignment is done for the analysis.

Third, After arriving at the field, the ground must be checked before consulting the coach or the team which will lead to the umpire's decision on how to walk the field before the game after discussions.

The rule book provides guidelines on the time that the game should be stopped due to weather disturbances. Those situations include the player's footing being slipped or the ball getting wet during the play and the players have to be comprised.

Softball fans waiting outside the ground during the game delay due to rain.
Source : instagram

Softball World Series rain delay 2023 happened on 1st June during the game between Oklahama State and Florida State.

The two teams were in a lengthy rain-delayed game which was one hour and 20 minutes before it started. 

The teams were on the field for less than an hour before lightning struck around the stadium triggering another delay at Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahama. The game stopped with FSU leading the game by 2-0 against Oklahama.

There are some things that should be considered after the weather disturbances during the play which lead to the game stopping. Some of the key notable points for the umpires in softball to be known for preparing for those conditions:

  1. How much water can the field absorb before it is completely unplayable?
  2. Is there sufficient material ready for preparing the field to continue after the rain stops?
  3. How much time will take to get the field ready for the game to be resumed after the rain delay?

Other unforeseen circumstances include problems with flood lights and an approaching hurricane or storm. If the game is paused due to lights, the players should wait for the game officials' decision during those situations.

Substitution Rules

NCAA softball substitution rules are any player can be substituted at any time after the ball is dead. The umpire should be informed about the substitution.

NCAA softball regulates the rules of substitution on how players can be replaced during a game. 

Softball substitution can be done depending upon the number of players, or bench players included. The rules vary on which position the player is being substituted during the game.

Player substitution is officially legal in the game when:

  1. The umpire accepts by his/her recording on the lineup card.
  2. The plate umpire announces to the opposing coach the substitution of the player.
  3. The umpires should inform the address game announcer and the official scorer if possible.

The umpires should effectively record the correct spots in the batting order after the substitution is made.

For the pitcher to be substituted, they can be replaced by a substitute before the first delivery to the batter or if the batter has been retired.

If the player is injured, the substitutes assigned for the injured player should be provided the time to warm up before entering the field. If the runner is prohibited from reaching the awarded base because of injury, the ball is considered dead.

The substituted player can't be reentered after being withdrawn by the coach during the game. Staring players including the DP player and flex player can get a chance to re-enter in the same batting order.

For the pitchers and the catchers, courtesy runners are the ones eligible for substitution who haven't participated in the game before being substituted into the game

A player violating the rules and showing inconsistent behaviors will immediately be removed from the game and can't return to the game until he is cleared by the appropriate medical personnel.

Tournament Rules

NCAA softball tournament rules include a video review system allowing the coaches to challenge certain umpire calls during the game.

The NCAA softball tournament comprises 64 teams competing in the national softball tournament. Among the 64 teams, 32 will be automatically selected whereas the remaining 32 will be seeded with 16 each on the regional sites.

The regionals are then held on two teams playing in a best-of-three tournament format and then later advance to NCAA Womens College World Series.

The eight teams will fight in a double elimination bracket held at USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium, Oklahama with the final two competing in best of three formats

The rules in the tournament are all the same as the regular season softball rules with some exceptions including the Mercy rule and the addition of a video review system in the game.

With the 2023 WCWS began on 6th May 2023, with eight teams competing to battle it out for the ultimate throne of champions. The tournament rules can be of greater use in analyzing those games. 

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