Texas Hill Country Senior Softball League
Summary of Key Senior Softball USA Playing Rules, 2020
- Teams are limited to five (5) runs per inning, except for the final inning of the game in which each team can score an unlimited number. The umpire must announce the last inning unless it is the seventh inning.
- A Strike Zone Mat will be used. Legal pitches striking any portion of the Mat will be strikes. The height of a legal pitch must be from six (6) to twelve (12) feet above the playing surface.
- All batters will start with a one ball and one strike count. A batter with two strikes is allowed one foul ball, but is out after another foul.
- The pitcher must take a position with at least one foot in contact with the Pitcher’s Box and come to a full and complete stop with the ball FOR at least one second before starting the pitch. The foot must remain in contact with the pitching box until the ball is released. The Pitcher’s Box is 2 feet wide by 10 feet long beginning 50 feet from the tip of home plate.
All bats manufactured prior to 2014 marked “1.21 BPF” (Bat Performance Factor) or less, SSUSA approved bats, or bats having an ASA 2000 or 2004 stamp are approved for use. Any bat displaying the label “Exceeds 1.21 BPF” is not approved. The rating must be  clearly visible on the bat, or  be clearly and permanently marked by either SSUSA logo or “Approved for SSUSA Use”, or similar, by permanent sticker, etching or imprint. Any new bats introduced by bat manufacturers after 2013 must appear on the SSUSA Approved Bat List to be legal for use in any SSUSA sanctioned event.
- A courtesy runner may be used for a base runner before the first pitch to any batter, but the same courtesy runner may not be used more than once per inning. Any courtesy runner found running more than once per inning will be called out.
- Any player on the Team Roster may be a courtesy runner. A runner who is replaced with a courtesy runner may not be used as a courtesy runner for the remainder of the inning.
- A courtesy runner may not be replaced by another courtesy runner except for injury causing removal of the original courtesy runner permanently from the game.
- A courtesy runner on base when it is his turn to bat will be declared out. The runner will be removed from the base and a second courtesy runner cannot be substituted. Substitution for the original player will not prevent this out. The courtesy runner called out does not lose his turn at bat. EFFECT: The out occurs at the base the courtesy runner abandoned to take his turn at bat.
- A courtesy runner must report to, and be acknowledged by, the umpire. A courtesy runner is in the game when he touches the base.
- A runner must make every effort to avoid colliding with opposing players while running the bases. If a runner misses a base to avoid a collision, the runner will not be called out (umpire’s judgment).
- If in the judgment of the umpire, the runner fails to avoid a collision with a defensive player involved in the play, the ball will be declared dead and that runner called out. All base runners except the batter will be returned to their previous base unless forced to advance. If in the judgment of the umpire the runner’s collision with the defensive player involved in the play negates a double play, the umpire may award a second out.
- Sliding or diving into first base or the scoring line or scoring plate is permitted only to avoid a collision with a defensive player.
PLAYS AT HOME PLATE
- Once a runner’s foot touches the ground on or past the Commitment Line, the runner is committed to advancing to the Scoring Line or the Scoring Plate and may no longer be tagged out. Tag of the runner by a defensive player is not allowed; the runner will be called safe and is not required to touch the Scoring Plate or the Scoring Line, and the ball remains live.
- If a runner re-crosses the Commitment Line in an attempt to return to third base, he will be declared out and the ball remains alive.
- A base runner is retired at Home Plate if a defensive player has possession of the ball while touching any portion of the Strike Mat after the runner has passed the Commitment Line, but does not yet have a foot down on or across the Scoring Line or on the Scoring Plate.
DOUBLE FIRST BASE
- Whenever a play is being made on the batter-runner, the defense must use the white portion and the batter-runner the orange portion. The defending player has only the white base, in fair territory, to make the putout; his touch of only the bag in foul territory will not result in an out.
- If there is a play on a batter/runner going to first base, the batter/runner must touch some portion of the Double Bag extending into foul territory. He will be called out if he fails to do so, except, in the umpire’s judgment, the batter-runner is avoiding a collision. This is NOT an appeal play.
- If the ball is overthrown, the batter/runner may use the white portion of the bag to avoid contact or collision. On extra base hits or balls hit to the outfield when there is no play being made at the double base, the runner may touch the white or orange portion. After the batter-runner becomes a base runner, a defensive player may use any portion of the double base to record a put out.
PLAYER’S SAFETY EQUIPMENT
All players, including pitchers, are encouraged to wear additional recommended protective safety equipment, comprised of head gear (NOCSAE-approved), heart/chest protection and shin guards. Players are not required to wear the recommended safety equipment.
OVER THE FENCE HOME RUNS
The home run batter and all other runners may return directly to the dugout.