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ASA Playing Rules Changes For 2000.


The new 2000 playing rule changes are listed below with comments prepared to help explain the intent of the rule.


B. Offensive Conference. The offensive team requests a suspension of play, to allow the manager or other team representative to confer with the batter, another team representative, and/or runner (s).

COMMENTS: The intent of limiting and monitoring conferences is to prevent undue delay of the game. If an offensive coach requests time out to discuss strategy with another coach (with no batter or runner(s) involved), this delays the game but was not able to be charged as a conference under the previous rule. Now this is a charged conference also.

Rule 1 COURTESY RUNNERS. (Senior Slow Pitch, Master's and Senior Fast Pitch, and J.O. Girls Fast Pitch Only) A courtesy runner is any player who replaces a runner without a charged substitution.

COMMENTS: With the addition of Rule 8, Section 11, allowing a courtesy runner for the J.O. Girls fast pitch catcher and pitcher, this definition has to include this division of play. Master's and Senior Fast Pitch divisions also added a courtesy runner, using basically the same rules as Senior Slow Pitch.

Rule l. ILLEGALLY BATTED BALL. An illegally batted ball occurs when the batter hits the ball fair or foul and:

A. When, at the time the bat makes contact with the ball, the entire foot is completely outside the lines of the batter's box and on the ground.

B. When, at the time the bat makes contact with the ball, any part of the foot is touching home plate.

C. An illegal or altered bat is used.

D. When, at the time the bat makes contact with the ball, the batter's entire foot had stepped back out of the batter's box and returned to hit the ball while inside the box.


COMMENTS: This rule was listed under Rule 7, Sec 2B in 1999, however was changed to Rule 7, Sec 6F in order to treat this violation the same as an illegally batted ball, with no penalty if the ball was not hit.


Rule 3, Sec 1L L. Shall have a safety knob of a minimum of 1/4- inch protruding at a 90-degree angle from the handle. It may be molded, lathe, welded, or permanently fastened. A "flare" or "cone" grip attached to the bat will be considered altered. The knob may be taped as long as there is no violation of this section. (Effective January 1, 2002) Shall have a safety knob of circular cross section concentric to the bat handle with a minimum diameter one-half inch greater than the handle diameter including the grip. The knob portion adjacent to the grip must extend at least one-eighth inch beyond the grip within ten degrees of the perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the handle. The remainder of the knob portion may have curvature to the apex at the maximum knob diameter. The distance, when measured along the longitudinal axis of the handle, from the point of the knob which is adjacent to the grip to the apex of the knob at its maximum diameter shall not exceed three-eighths of an inch.

COMMENTS:The requirements of the safety knob on bats was rewritten to prevent the "flare" or "cone" knob being designed on the end of the bat. The current wording allowed designers a loophole, and several models were ruled illegal, even though they met the wording requirements. Even though this wording may be difficult to understand, it follows the intent of the rule, and beginning in 2002, will prevent future loopholes.

Rule 3, Sec 3I I.The white cover, white-stitch or yellow optic cover, red-stitch 12-inch ball with a COR of .47 or under shall be used in the following ASA play: men's and women's fast pitch, men's and women's masters fast pitch, boys and girls 12-, 14-, 16-, and 18-under fast pitch. It must be marked ASA-4795.

COMMENTS:No longer is the .50 COR ball legal in fast pitch play (adult or youth). In 1999, J.O. Girls fast pitch play required the .47 COR , and beginning in 2000, all divisions of fast pitch will require the .47 COR ball - either white or optic yellow cover.

Rule 3, Sec 3K K. The white cover, white-stitch or yellow optic cover, red-stitch 11-inch ball with a COR of .47 or under shall be used in the following ASA play: boys and girls 10-under fast pitch. It must be marked ASA-4795.

COMMENTS: Following the same requirements of the 12-inch fast pitch ball, the boys 10-under now must use the 11-inch white or yellow optic cover ball with a .47 COR.

Rule 3, Sec 3Q Q. Beginning January 1, 2001, only balls which bear an ASA approved certification mark signifying compliance with the COR limitations and compression-displacement limitation then in effect will be allowed for use in ASA Championship Play. (Effective January 1, 2001) The ASA shall develop two separate certification marks for softballs. One mark will signify compression of 375 or less pounds, and the other will signify compression of more than 375 pounds, but less than 525 pounds.

COMMENTS: Ball compression will now be at two levels in order to meet the needs and desires of play. Current ball compression of 525 pounds will remain, and a new compression of 375 pounds will also be available. Both will be available in 2000 for trial and testing, allowing leagues and tournaments to choose the best compression for their fields and their participants.

Rule 3, Sec 5 NOTE: (Sections A-B-C) The ice hockey goalie style face mask made for softball, is approved for usage by catchers. If the umpire feels that there is not adequate throat protection built onto the mask, a throat attachment must be added to the mask before using.

COMMENTS:Because the ice hockey goalie style face mask is made with and without throat protectors, the design without a built in protector must have the throat attachment added to the mask before it can be used. In addition, plastic hockey masks of this style (sold as souvenirs at hockey games) are not allowed for use in softball games.

Rule 3, Sec 6 G. SHOES. Must be worn by all players......are allowed. EXCEPTION: Junior Olympic/J.O. Women's 23-U FP and SP/Coed/Senior Play: No metal spikes nor hard plastic or polyurethane spikes similar to metal sole and heel plates are allowed.

COMMENTS:Two new divisions of play were added for 2000 in Junior Olympic Women's 23-U Fast Pitch and Slow Pitch. Because the committee wants this division to play by the same rules as the J.O. Girls, metal spikes (or polyurethane spikes similar to metal spike configuration) will not be allowed for use.

Rule 4, Sec 6B B.If a substitute enters the game without reporting, and after a pitch has been thrown (legal or illegal), the player will be disqualified when discovered. All action prior to then discovery is legal. If the team manager or player in violation informs the umpire prior to the offended team's protest, there is no violation.

COMMENTS:It was felt that some form of penalty needed to be placed on a player who entered the game without reporting. Two years ago, there was a different penalty for this infraction, depending when it was discovered, and it proved too complicated. With this new penalty, only disqualification occurs.

Rule 5, Sec 7B B. There shall be only three charged conferences between the manager or other team representative from the dugout with any defensive player(s) in a seven inning game. For every inning beyond seven, there shall be one charged conference per inning between the manager or other team representative from the dugout with any defensive player(s). EFFECT: The fourth, and each additional charged conference in a seven inning game or for any charged conference in excess of one per inning in an extra inning game, shall result in the removal of the current pitcher from the pitching position for the remainder of the game.

COMMENTS: Instead of allowing a manager or team representative from the dugout a conference with any member of the defensive team each half inning, this new rule now states that on the fourth charged conference of the game, the pitcher should be removed from the pitching position. A manager can have three conferences in one inning (or two in one inning and one in another, or one in three different innings) without removing the pitcher, but on the fourth conference, the pitcher must be removed from the pitching position. For extra inning games, one additional conference is allowed for each inning played, with the pitcher having to be removed on the second conference in the same half inning. Conferences not used in the first seven innings are not carried over into extra inning games.

Rule 5, Sec 9 RUN AHEAD RULE (Code Article 209 F). A. A run ahead rule must be used at all National Tournaments. 1. Fast Pitch - 15 after three innings or 8 after five innings.

COMMENTS: A run ahead rule following the third inning has been added to the fast pitch game. This mercy rule states that if one team is ahead by fifteen (15) runs after three complete innings the game will be declared over.

Rule 5, Sec 10 TIME LIMIT RULE (Code Article 209G) In all Junior Olympic Class A and Gold pool play, and in 10-under pool or double elimination play, no inning shall start after one hour and 40 minutes. If the game is still tied after the time limit has expired, the tie breaker rule shall be in effect at the start of the next inning.

COMMENTS: A region or area may, by majority vote, establish procedures for a time limit in qualifiers, regional or area tournaments. The 10-under division of play has been added to be included in the "time limit" ruling for both pool and double elimination play.

Rule 5, Sec 11 TIE-BREAKER RULE (Women and Junior Olympic Girls Fast Pitch Only) If, after the completion of seven (7) innings of play (or 1 hour and 40 minutes in JO pool play), the score is tied, the following tie-breaker rule will be played to determine a winning team.

COMMENTS: Previously the "tie-breaker" rule went into effect after the completion of nine (9) innings. Beginning in the year 2000, this rule will go into effect after the completion of seven (7) innings. No other part of the rule was changed.

Rule 6, Sec 1A PITCHING REGULATIONS (FAST PITCH) Before starting the delivery (pitch), the pitcher shall comply with the following:

A. Both feet must be on the ground within the 24-inch length of the pitcher's plate. The shoulders shall be in line with first and third bases.

2. (Female Only) The pitcher shall take a position with both feet in contact with the pitcher's plate.

A. The pitcher shall hold the ball in both hands for not less than one second and not more than 10 seconds before releasing it.

2. (Female Only) Both feet must remain in contact with the pitching plate at all times prior to the forward step.

COMMENTS: The leap will remain illegal, therefore,...female pitchers must use the pivot foot to push from the plate only, and drag the pivot foot until the ball is released, or an illegal pitch will be called.

Rule 8, Sec 2M M.If using the double base, and there is a play on the batter-runner, the batter-runner touches only the white portion and the defense appeals prior to the batter-runner returning to first base.

NOTE: This is treated the same as missing the base.

EXCEPTION: 1)If the ball is thrown from foul side of first base line, or 2) When an errant or missed throw pulls the defensive player into foul ground.

COMMENTS: The rule has been clarified when using the double base to help reduce collisions. For several years, the defensive player receiving a throw at first from the foul side of first base foul line could use the orange portion of the double base. In 2000, if the defensive player at first is pulled into foul ground as a result of a bad throw, this player can also touch the orange base and record an out prior to the batter-runner reaching the base. The batter-runner can use either the white or orange in each of these situations. (Rule 2, Sec 3-H-1-d)


A. The team at bat may use courtesy runners for the pitcher and/or catcher as soon as they reach base. The same runner may not be used forboth positions. Neither the pitcher nor the catcher will be required to leave the game under such circumstances.

B. Players who have participated in the game in any other capacity are ineligible to serve as courtesy runners.

C. A player may not run as a courtesy runner for thepitcher or the catcher and then be used as a substitute for another player in the same half-inning.

D. The courtesy runner is not permitted to run as a courtesy runner for the Designated Player (DP), if the DP is batting for the pitcher or the catcher.

E. Once the courtesy runner is designated for that half-inning, no other courtesy runner or the catcher or pitcher may return to run for the original courtesy runner. EXCEPTION: Should an injury occur or the courtesy runner fail to report, another courtesy runner or the pitcher or catcher may run until she scores or is put out.

F. If a courtesy runner fails to report, she will be disqualified.

NOTE: The plate umpire shall record courtesy runner participation.

G. A player who violates the courtesy-runner rule is considered to be an illegal player.

COMMENTS: This rule addition is similar to the High School Federation ruling and has been added to allow courtesy runners for the catcher and pitcher should they reach base safely. This allows the catcher time to put on her defensive equipment and be ready to play defense following the third out of an inning. It also allows the pitcher to rest and/or be free of injury while having to run the bases. If a player has already been in the game as a starter or substitute, they will not be eligible to be a courtesy runner, however if a player serves as a courtesy runner early in a game, she can be used as a substitute for another position at any time after that half inning is completed.

If you have questions about any of these changes, contact the ASA.