Rule Changes For USSSA Slowpitch Softball
2023 USSSA Slowpitch Softball Rules focuses on the playground, equipment, players, and umpires. The rulebook has revised several definitions used in the game.
The organization has stringent measures developed over the years to maintain the game's efficacy and professionalism. It helps to make the game systematic, scandal-free and well-governed.
Here are some rules implemented per the rule book developed by the United States Specialty Sports Association.
The Sports Association has identified a softball field's official dimensions and layout. The rule book describes the baseline and pitcher's distances for adult programs.
The detailing of home plate, the foul lines, first, second, and third bases, and the batter's and catcher's boxes are inscribed in the book. The organization also provides specific dimensions for the batter's box, catcher's box, three-foot line, and coaches' boxes.
However, the document also has designated rights for the directors to create special ground rules if the field is smaller than the official minimum dimensions.
The sports organization has established a set of rules to standardize the equipment. Each supply must be approved and tested one year before allowing into the game.
It outlines several provisions and amendments in using bats and baseball, including repercussions in case of alteration. The documents published by USSSA also outline the specifications for the equipment used in softball games.
The legal adoption of shoes and mitts for fielders, catchers, pitchers, and first basemen is also made to regulate uniformity in games. The rule also indicates that Jewelry or other hazardous items are not permitted during the game and prohibits equipment not recognized by the Speciality Sports Association.
The definitions section has key vocabulary used in the sport. There are organized terms in alphabetical order from Altered ball or bat to Windup.
It also includes descriptions of the physical features of the ball and bat that may have been altered. The rule also indicates that either team must request the appeal play.
Some definitions for the four bases on the field, the base path, base on balls, the batter, batter-runner, batter's box, batting order, bench, bunt, called game, legal catch, catcher, catcher's box, chopped ball, foul ball, full count, grand slam, infield fly, intentional walk, and Windup are established to avoid confusions during the game.
The set of definitions also helps to mitigate the conflicts and contribute to professionalism in the baseball game. Some other terms, including passed ball, pitching, rundown, sacrifice bunt, strike, tag play, and a wild pitch, are defined concisely to provide adequate knowledge of phrases used in baseball.
The Game rules are outlined in the rule book. It discusses the toss of a coin at the start of the game, and the winning team chooses home or visitor.
Several sections cover the decision-making process, length of a game, winner of a game, and scoring runs. The fitness of the ground for play will be determined by the home team and umpires as per the rules.
The regulation of the game indicates the seven innings being standard unless otherwise noted. It also has set rules for the tied games and determining the winner of the game.
Scoring runs is also a significant part of the sections in the rule book. It explains when a run cannot be scored or can be scored.
The Players and Substitutes
The rule book has the players and substitutes section. It indicates the number of players and their roles.
A team must have at least ten players. The players include a pitcher, catcher, first baseman, second baseman, third baseman, shortstop, left fielder, center fielder, right fielder, and short fielder.
In the game, substitutions are allowed. However, they must be reported to the umpires immediately. In case of injury of the player, the player must leave the game until the wound is covered or the bleeding is stopped.
The player's re-entry is allowed once, but the substitute player cannot. The violation will result in an offense and may be protested by the offended team.
The pitching section of the rulebook outlines the rules for pitchers in baseball. A pitcher cannot use tape or an alien object on their hand and ball.
The pitchers are permitted to use powdered resin to dry their hands. However, it must be under the supervision of the umpire. It also states that the pitcher must have one foot in contact with the rubber when pitching, and the other must be unrestricted.
The pitcher can use more than one step with the free foot during the pitch ball delivery. While pitching, the ball must be released slowly in a definite underhanded motion and arc at least 3 feet after leaving the pitcher's hand.
During the projectile, the ball shall not rise higher than 10 feet above the ground, and the catcher must remain within the lines of the catcher's box.
If the pitch is not hit, catchers should immediately return it to the pitcher unless it results in an out.
The rules for batting order and when a batter gets out are also established by USSSA. It standardizes the batting part of baseball.
Before starting the game, the manager or team representative must present the batting order to the scorekeeper or umpire-in-chief. The Batting out of order is an appeal play by the defense.
In illegal batting, the batter will be out. This is also applied if the batter hits the ball with an illegal or altered bat and bunts or chops the ball deliberately downward.
The provision is also applicable in case of the second strike, stepping across the plate with the pitcher in pitching position and intentionally interfering with the catcher or fielder.
Some other cases of similar offenses are hitting a fair fly ball or line drive that an infielder intentionally drops, hitting a fly ball that is legally caught, or hitting an infield fly with runners on first and second or on first, second, and third bases with less than two out.
The rulebook decides the powers and duties of umpires in a baseball game. Umpires are responsible for enforcing the rules and assess penalties.
The Umpire-In-Chief is responsible for but is not limited to, calling each pitch and making decisions on specific plays. Both the plate and base umpires are given the responsibility to call illegal pitches and remove players and call 'TIME.'
The rulebook prohibits using electronic equipment on the field for Umpires. However, they may use official Livestream broadcasts.
Besides these rules, the US Specialty Sports Association has specific rules for Ball in Play and Ball Dead and Baserunning.