League Rules

Texas Hill Country Senior Softball League

April 2024

The Texas Hill Country Senior Softball League will use the Official Senior Softball USA 2023-24 Rulebook, with the following exceptions:

Playing Rules

  1. A 12-inch ball with a COR of .52 and a Compression Rating of no more than 300 pounds shall be furnished by the league.
  2. Players are encouraged to wear the numbered shirt furnished by the league, but there is no penalty for not doing so.
  3. Ten (10) players constitute a team. However, a team may start or continue a game with no fewer than nine (9) players. No out will be declared when the tenth position comes to bat. If a team is batting more than 10 players, and a player leaves the batting order, no out will be declared when that position comes to bat.
  4. Any player on the team’s roster may be substituted into the game without penalty, whether listed as a sub or not. Any late arriving players must be added at the end of the batting order (unless they are replacing a Fill-in player).
  5. All players on a team’s roster in attendance and able to play must be in the batting order and must play at least two (2) defensive innings.
  6. A team must have a minimum of six roster players for an official game. Teams with less than ten assigned roster players must have at least five roster players present and able to play in order to prevent a forfeit. A team must draw players from registered league players until they reach the number of players constituting a team. Fill-in Players will be selected by a drawing and must bat in the order selected at the end of the batting order. If both teams are short, the team with the fewest players draws first, or if both teams have an equal number of players, the home team draws first. The teams alternate drawing until both teams have a full team. Unassigned players will have priority as Fill-in Players. If more than one Unassigned Player is available, a drawing will determine order of selection. Any Unassigned Players not drawn will have priority in subsequent games during that session. If more players are needed by a team than are available to fill in, and the opposing team has more players than needed for a full team, players from the opposing team may volunteer to play with the shorthanded team. Late arriving (less than 10 minutes prior to scheduled game time) roster players will be inserted in the line-up for Fill-in players in the reverse order in which drawn, provided the Fill-in player being replaced has had at least one at-bat. If a team picked up Fill-in Player(s), any roster player arriving late must replace the last Fill-in Player selected that is still in the game and bat in that spot in the order.
  • Fill-in Players will be limited to advancing to first base during their at bat. There is no limit on advancement of baserunners (which includes Fill-in Players already on base). The ball remains live with all runners in jeopardy to be put out until the umpire calls time. This rule does not apply to new players which play as preferred Fill-ins until placed on a team.
  • A forfeit will be declared if a team does not have a legal team ready to play at the scheduled game time or is unable to maintain a legal team during the game.
  • If a player leaves for any other reason than ejection, and it causes the team to drop below 10 players in the batting order, a Fill-in Player must be selected for replacement by drawing and bat in the same spot in the order
  • Official game time begins when the umpire declares “play ball” prior to the first pitch.
  •  The regulation time limit shall be 55 (or 65 if there are fewer than three games per session) minutes, plus the open inning. If the time limit is reached during any inning prior to the 6th inning, the game moves immediately to the open inning. An inning is considered ended when the last out is made.
  •  Home team will be designated by the schedule and take the 3rd base dugout
  • Games tied after seven (7) innings or time limit will continue, with the International Tie-Breaker Rule.  Each team will start each additional inning with a runner on second base and the batter having a 3-2 count. The game will continue until one team is ahead after the completion of any subsequent inning. Each batter is allowed only one pitch. The runner will be the last player that completed his turn at bat when the third out was made in the previous inning. No courtesy runner is allowed to replace the runner starting at second base until he has advanced to third base. If this runner is unable to continue play, for any reason, he will be declared out and the next previous batter will be the tie breaker runner. The runner that was unable to continue may not play for the remainder of the game.
  • The image of home plate on the strike mat is in fair territory.
  • There is a limit of two “over the fence” home runs for each team. Each home run over the limit is a walk and the base runners advance only if forced by the batter being awarded the walk.
  • Protests will be considered by a committee appointed by the league President.
  • The Strike Zone Mat shall be 21 inches by 35 inches.
  • Pitchers must wear a protective facemask and helmet while pitching in accordance with the manufacturer’s intended use of the product.
  • Texas Hill Country Senior Softball League Board of Directors will have the same authority vested in the SSUSA board to consider penalties for unsportsmanlike conduct.
  • Postponements prior to the start of an evening’s play shall be the responsibility of the league President. Once play has begun, the umpire-in-chief shall have the responsibility to suspend the game in progress and postpone any remaining game on that night’s schedule. The THCSSL BOD will determine the make-up schedule for postponed or suspended games. Any suspended game that is not considered regulation shall be replayed from the beginning.
  • While anyone is batting, four fielders (three if playing with nine defensive players) must remain behind the encroachment line until the pitched ball is hit, and may not make a direct throw to first base in an attempt to put out the batter-baserunner. The encroachment line is drawn as an arc 150 feet from the tip of home plate from the left field line to the right field line. Effect: The team at bat has the option of taking the results of the play, or the batter is awarded first base and any base runners are awarded one base from their position at the start of the play.
  • The distance between bases will be 65 feet.
  • There is no “Foul Tip.” Any pitched ball that contacts the bat and is caught by the catcher results in the batter being out.
  • COMMITMENT LINE – A commitment line 30 feet from the scoring line will be used. Once a runner’s foot touches the ground on or past this line, the runner is committed to advance to the scoring line and may no longer be tagged out. A runner re-crossing the commitment line to return to third base will be called out and the ball remains live.
  • SCORING LINE – In order to score, a base runner’s foot must be down on the scoring line or down past the scoring line prior to the ball being received by a defensive player touching the strike mat.
  • CROSSING OR TOUCHING STRIKE MAT OR BATTER’S BOX – The runner shall be called out if they touch or cross over any portion of the strike mat or the batter’s boxes. The ball will remain live.
  • The Flip-Flop rule will be invoked when there is a 10-run differential in favor of the visiting team at the start of the “open inning.” The home team will remain at bat and start a new at-bats (beginning their seventh or last inning at-bats), meaning all runners then on base will return to the dugout. If the home team fails to tie or go ahead of the visiting team, the game ends and the visiting team wins. If the home team ties or goes ahead, the visiting team takes its turn at bat.
  • If the visiting team goes ahead by 15 runs during the “open inning”, the Flip-Flop rule will be invoked.

Players and Teams

  1. Player Eligibility – All men (50+) and women (45+) are eligible to play provided they attain the minimum age anytime during the calendar year of the current season. When required, proof of age must be furnished (Driver’s License, Passport, or other recognized picture ID). Former players which have been suspended in any previous season, for any reason, must request reinstatement from the THCSSL Board of Directors. All players must complete applicable registration forms prior to participating in any THCSSL activity.


1. Alcoholic beverages or smoking in the Sports Complex is not permitted as per City of Kerrville ordinance. Any player or manager observed drinking or smoking within the confines of the playing field or the dugout will receive a warning. If the warning is ignored, offending player will be ejected from the game and is required to leave the premises. Additional offenses by the same player will result in suspension for the remainder of the season.

2. Vulgar or offensive language will not be tolerated and will result in a warning or ejection (depending on the severity) from the umpire. After a warning has been issued, continued misconduct will result in ejection and the player is required to leave the premises.

3. Throwing the bat in anger or a careless manner, will result in a warning and then ejection if it happens again, and the player is required to leave the premises.

4. Throwing a punch at another player will result in immediate ejection and may result in expulsion for a calendar year. Ejected player is required to leave the premises.

5. Arguing with the umpire will result in a warning and continued misconduct will result in ejection from the game and the player is required to leave the premises.

6. When the team is at bat, the only players allowed outside the dugout is the batter, on deck batter, and two base coaches. Any other players outside the dugout will result in a warning to the manager, second offense will result in a team OUT. Third offense in the same inning will result in a second team OUT. Any player that is ejected will automatically receive a one game suspension.

  • Annual Team Formation (Draft) – Teams will be formed each season via a drafting procedure in the attempt to promote competitive equality. The draft will be held on a date to be determined each year using the previous season ratings for returning players and after the scheduled skill assessment session for new players. The drafting protocol will be determined each season by the number of teams to be formed. Once selected, each player must play the current season for the drafting team, unless officially released by the team manager and approved by the THCSSL BOD. The released player may not join another team during the current season unless approved by the BOD.
  • Team Rosters/Participation – Maximum active team rosters will be 12 players. Should all active team rosters reach the maximum roster size, the THCSSL reserves the right to form an additional team and adjust the playing schedule accordingly for the remainder of the season.
  • In-Season Player Additions (Summer or Winter League) – Once all teams have at least 11 players, priority for placement of new players will be replacement of injured/inactive roster players, provided the appropriate paperwork has been submitted to the THCSSL president, or his representative. If all team rosters are filled, in-season registering players will be designated as “preferred” Fill-in players until a team roster spot opens and will be first group drawn in the Fill-in lottery. These “free agent” players will not owe their fee until assigned to a team, and the fee will be pro-rated based on the number of games left in the season.
  • Injured/Inactive Players – In order to be placed on “Inactive/Injured” status, both player and manager must sign the appropriate paperwork and submit same to the BOD for approval. Only after the necessary paperwork is completed shall the injured/inactive player’s team be eligible to replace subject player. If subject player wishes to be reinstated during the current season, he/she may request reinstatement. Once reinstated, subject player will be reassigned by the Player Evaluation Committee based on teams’ roster needs and competitive balance. Team managers who return from the injured/inactive status may return to their original team.
  • Player Skill Assessment – Players joining the league for the first time must complete a skill assessment prior to the annual draft, or prior to team assignment if joining in-season at the discretion of the Player Evaluation Committee. The skill assessment will consist of batting (5 swings), fielding & throwing (5 chances at position of player’s choice), and base running. Each skill will be rated on scale of 1 to 5 by the team managers and BOD present at the session.
  • End-Of-Season Player Ratings – At the end of each season, team managers will rate all players on his team. These ratings will be submitted to the BOD President who will compile average ratings for use in the next season’s draft.
  • Player Fees – Player fees for each playing season shall be based on anticipated costs (caps & jerseys, playing & practice fields rental, umpire & scorekeeper fees, administrative & operating, etc.). Individual player fees will be due & payable before the Annual Team Formation Draft. Team managers will not issue player uniforms until the fee is paid. If a player opts to withdraw before the first game of the season, a full refund will be given. Thereafter, a player refund will be given only in the event of a season-ending injury, according to the following schedule, if & when the jersey & cap are returned in useable condition: 100% – before game two, 50% – before game 5, 0 – after game 5.
  1. REPLAYED GAME – Games that are interrupted shall be replayed from the point of interruption of that game, unless the teams mutually agree to accept the existing score as the final score. Original lineups will be used but if a lineup player is unavailable, substitutes can be used from the team roster. In the event that a game cannot be completed, an official game may be called after five (5) innings of play or 4 1/2 innings of play (if the home team is ahead.)