Rules and Facts 2018-19

The following rules were discussed and agreed upon by a majority of team captains during the preseason meeting held on September 30, 2018. All of these rules shall be adhered to by each team participating in the Yangon International Softball League during the 2018-19 season. Each Captain has the responsibility of ensuring all of his or her team’s players know and understand these rules. *Rule updates are added to areas in bold font.

1. All games shall be played using the 2018-2021 Official Rules of Softball as issued by the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC), unless otherwise specified in the by-laws and rules below. The league shall be underhand slow pitch. The official 11-inch softball for women and 12-inch softball for men shall be used in league play.

a. Batter’s boxes will be one on each side of home plate, will measure 0.91m (3 ft.) by 2.13m (7 ft.) and drawn according to the Official Guide of the SSUSA Rule Book. The inside lines of the batter’s box will be 15.2cm (6 in) from home plate. The lines are considered as being within the batter’s box.

b. Pitching distance will be 50 feet, measured from the front of the pitching plate to the middle of what would be a baseball home plate.

2. HEIGHT OF PITCHES: A pitch must achieve a minimum height of 6 FT during its flight to the plate. There is a 12 FT maximum limit on the height a pitch can reach en route to the plate. In order for pitches to be called strikes, they must land in the prescribed area (see rule # 3). Any pitch not reaching the minimum height en route to the plate shall be called a “FLAT PITCH” by the umpire, while it is still in flight. The batter may then swing at the pitch at his/her own discretion. If the batter chooses not to swing at a “Flat Pitch”, it shall automatically be called a “ball” by the plate umpire. If the batter swings, however, the ball is in play. Any pitch that exceeds the maximum height en route to the plate shall be called a “HIGH PITCH” by the umpire, while the ball is in flight. The batter may then swing at the pitch at his/her own discretion. If the batter chooses not to swing at a “HIGH PITCH”, it shall automatically be called a “ball” by the plate umpire. If the batter swings, however, the ball is play. Umpires occasionally call the flat or high pitch after the ball has reached homeplate. Though umpires should make the call while the ball is in flight, such a late call by the umpire shall stand as called.

3. STRIKE ZONE: A 19” by 34.5” mat shall be used to determine balls and strikes: a legal pitch which lands on any portion of the 19” by 34.5” area indicated by the mat, shall be called a “strike”. Any legal pitch which is not swung at by a batter and strikes this area shall be called a “strike” (as long as it meets rule #2). Any pitch at which a batter does not swing and which does not strike the above described portion shall be called a “ball”.

4. THE COUNT: All Batters shall begin with a count of one strike and one ball. A foul ball shall be called a strike. In the Men’s division, any batter with two strikes who hits a foul ball shall be called out. In the Women’s division, any batter with two strikes and then hits a foul ball, shall not be called out. If the 3rd strike is a foul ball, the batter receives one more “courtesy strike”.

5. THE DOUBLE RULE: If a ball struck by a batter clears the high portion of the outfield fence between the red and white striped poles, located on either end of the high section between the foul line and the bull’s-eye target, and does not return to play, a ground rule double shall be awarded. If the ball strikes any of the four red-and-white striped poles while in flight and either continues over the fence or falls back onto the playing field, it shall still be considered an automatic stand-up double. If the ball returns into play after striking a tree, the ball is played as if it was hit off the fence; the ball is live, but cannot be caught for an out. In a ground rule double situation, a runner automatically advances two bases, i.e. a runner on first goes to third and a runner on second scores a run.

6. THE HOME RUN RULE: Any ball that clears the outfield fence which runs from left-center field to right-center field, hits either of the two bull’s-eye targets, or hits the pole above the bull’s eye shall be declared a Home Run. Any ball that that clears the yellow pipe on the tall fence in center field, including striking the yellow pipe and then hitting the fence above the pipe, shall be declared a Home Run. Once it is determined that a batter hits a homerun, a run shall be scored and the batter should not run around the bases, but instead head towards the dugout. Any runners on base will also be counted as runs and should also return to their dugout.

7. INTENTIONAL WALK: If a team chooses to intentionally walk a batter, they may do so by calling for a time out and informing the home plate umpire. The batter must immediately go to first base and may not choose to remain in the batter’s box.

8. INTENTIONAL WALK OF HOME RUN HITTERS: Batters in the 3rd or 4th position in the batting order may be walked intentionally only once per game, either automatically or by throwing 3 straight balls with no strikes, without penalty. On the second intentional walk (either automatic or 3 straight balls) in a game, which need not be consecutive, the batter shall be awarded a two-base walk and shall proceed to second base, advancing other runners if forced by the walked hitter. If a team has 3 or more batters who have hit 4 homeruns in the current or previous regular season, the third and any additional batters having hit 4 homeruns will also be designated as “Homerun Hitters” and this rule will apply to them as well. The 3rd and 4th positions in the batting order must be filled with “Homerun Hitters” before another position in the batting order is protected by this rule.

9. WOMEN’S HOME RUNS AND INTENTIONAL WALKS: Women players are also covered by the league rules governing intentional walks of home run. Batters in the 3rd or 4th position in the batting order may be walked intentionally only once per game, either automatically or by throwing 3 straight balls with no strikes, without penalty. On the second intentional walk (either automatic or 3 straight balls) in a game, which need not be consecutive, the batter shall be awarded a two-base walk and shall proceed to second base, advancing other runners if forced by the walked hitter. If a woman hits the metal fence and goes over the women’s fence it is a double. If a women hits it over the men’s double wall it is a homerun even if it hits the tree and comes back into play.

10. FIRST BASE: First base has a double bag; the half of the bag inside the baseline (white half) is for use by the 1st base fielder in catching the ball and making a force out; the half of the bag outside the baseline (orange half) is for use by the runner in attempting to touch 1st base before a force out is made. However, if a runner is going for an extra base (and the first baseman is obviously not attempting a force play) a runner can tag either the inner or outer portion of first base when rounding 1st base. Batters may NOT slide into first base to avoid a force out or tag out; base-runners already on 1st base or returning to first base after attempting to go to second base MAY slide or dive back to either base to avoid a tag out by the first baseman or other fielder.

11. SLIDING AND DIVING: No sliding or diving is allowed when the runner is able to overrun a base to beat a throw or tag – i.e., home plate (rule # 14) and 1st base (for batter-runners). Umpires shall declare out anyone who slides or dives into home plate or when advancing from home plate to 1st base.

12. COURTESY RUNNER: A batter-runner may only be provided a courtesy runner at first base, unless the batter-runner was injured on a play at second or third base. If a team wishes to put in a courtesy runner for a player already on base during an inning, the Captain must call a time out, and can put in only the player who made the last out for the batting team. If there are no outs in the current inning, the person who made the last out in the previous inning must be the courtesy runner. If it is the first inning, then the 4th batter in the line-up after the one being replaced must run. If in the sole judgment of the opposing captain, the courtesy runner is faster than the runner being replaced, the opposing captain may reject the courtesy runner request until the opposing captain is satisfied that the proposed courtesy runner does not give the requesting team a significant advantage by using a relatively fast courtesy runner. If a player who has requested a courtesy runner prior or the start of the game hits a ground rule double that player will be allowed to go to second base and a courtesy runner will be allowed. Teams must declare courtesy runners recipient(s) prior to the start of the game by indicating on the board who is in need of a courtesy runner.

13. LEAVING BASE EARLY: The runner shall be declared out when s/he fails to keep contact with the base to which entitled, until a pitched ball touches the ground, reaches home plate, or is batted.

14. ALL PUT-OUTS at HOME PLATE are FORCE PLAYS / NO TAGS: Any runner advancing to home from third base shall be considered out if (1) he or she has crossed the point-of-no-return line located 20 feet from home plate and (2) the ball is caught by a defensive player who is in contact with any portion of home plate. Once a runner has crossed the point of no return line, the runner must proceed towards the runner’s home plate located to the side of the fielder’s home plate (the only exception is when a fly ball caught in the outfield requires the runner to return to 3rd base to tag up, even if the runner has crossed the point-of-no-return line). Runners advancing from third base may return to third base as long as they have not crossed the point-of-no-return line. Runners returning to third base may slide back into third base to avoid a tag. Once runners cross the point-of-no-return line, they must continue toward the runner’s home plate and make contact; the force play rule then comes into effect. Any player who slides or dives into home shall be declared out. Also, any player, in the judgement of the umpire, who does not move towards the runner’s plate after crossing the line, shall be declared out. The runner may be tagged out only prior to crossing the point-of-no return line, after which it becomes a force play.

15. DEAD BALL/TIME OUT: When the ball is in the pitcher’s physical possession and base runners have stopped their forward motion, the umpire shall call “time” to end the play. No runner may advance to another base after time has been called. (If the runner is still in a forward motion towards the next base, time-out should not be called.)

16. DELAY OF GAME: A play is over when the umpire calls time or the defensive team returns the ball to the pitcher while on the pitcher’s mound. Any runner not advancing in full stride when the play ends must return to the last base touched. Failure to do so shall result in a delay of game penalty.

17. QUICK PITCHING: If the home plate umpire judges a pitcher to have attempted a quick pitch before the batter was ready, an automatic ball shall be called and the umpire shall warn the pitcher for unsportsmanlike conduct. A batter is considered “ready”, once s/he has set their feet in the batter’s box and then has looked at the pitcher.

18. A BATTED BALL THAT HITS BRANCHES ABOVE/BEHIND HOME PLATE/AT THE OUTFIELD FENCE: If a pop fly hits any part (including the leaves) of the branches overhanging the home plate area, the ball shall be considered a live ball. If it is caught, the batter is called out. If it is not caught, but lands in foul territory, the ball is counted as a foul ball/strike. Balls that hit the tree in the outfield and return to the field of play will be treated as if it hit the fence and will not be declared an out if caught.

19. ON DECK BATTER: The on-deck batter must remain in the on-deck circle until the current play is over to ensure that he or she is not hit by bats being cleared from the home plate area, and to ensure he or she is not in the way of any plays taking place at home plate. Those who fail to remain within the on deck circle shall be warned by the umpire and declared out for a repeat offense.

20. PLAYERS MUST REMAIN IN THE DUGOUT: All offensive team players, with the exception of the first and third-base coaches, the batter and the on-deck batter, must remain completely in their dugout during their team’s at bat. The same applies to all defensive team substitutes. The player(s) shall be warned once by the umpire. Further infractions of this rule shall result in a penalty of a strike being assessed against the batter in the case of an offensive team infraction, or a ball being assessed against the pitcher in the case of a defensive team infraction. Only in extreme cases of repeated infractions shall the player(s) be ejected from the game. Captains are responsible for the action of their ball players while they are on the playing field or in the dugout.

21. COACHES & EQUIPMENT: First and third base coaches shall not be allowed to carry gloves, bats or other items with them while they occupy the coaching areas. Base coaches are not allowed to touch any player running on the base paths. Violations may result in the umpire declaring the runner out.

22. MERCY RULE – GAME TERMINATED by a 15 run margin after 5 innings: Any game in which one team is ahead of the other by 15 or more runs after the completion of the fifth inning shall be considered officially completed, with the team holding the 15-run lead declared the winner. If the visiting team establishes a lead of 15 or more runs in the top half of the 5th or later inning, the home team shall be allowed to bat in the bottom half of that inning. If the home team builds a lead of 15 or more runs in the bottom half of the 5th or later inning, the game shall be called at that point, without completing the inning. If both coaches agree, the teams may continue playing “for fun” if enough time remains in their allotted one hour and fifteen minute time slot so as not to interfere with the start of the following game.
If a team gains a 20 point lead at any time before the end of the 5th inning, the team with the 20 point lead will give up its at-bat, even if 3 outs have not been gotten and allow the team that is behind by 20 points to have their at-bats. The team trailing by 20 points will have the normal 3 outs allotted to them. If they do not score runs to go below a 20 point margin before their 3rd out, they will clear the bases and have three more outs to go below 20 points. If the team does score runs to fall below 20 points, they will finish their inning and take the field after their 3rd out. Normal play resumes when the run margin falls below 20 runs.

23. GAME TERMINATED after ALLOTED TIME expires: A one hour and ten minute time limit is placed on each game. No inning shall be started with less than 10 minutes remaining in the 1 hour and 10 minute time limit. The score at the end of the last complete inning shall stand. The 1 hour 10 minute time limit begins from the time the game is actually scheduled to start, unless started late as provided for in Rule #33. If a game is tied after seven innings and time remains within the allotted 1 hour and 10 minute time limit, extra innings shall be played, to a maximum of nine innings. If after nine innings the score remains tied or time expires with the score tied, the game shall be called and the final result shall be declared a draw.

24. SUBSTITUTIONS: There shall be free substitution throughout the course of the game but substitutes must play at least one inning in the field before coming to bat. A substitute must enter the game in the same batting order as the person he or she replaced, and the opposing team captain and umpire must be informed of the substitution (i.e., who came in as a substitute for whom). If a player is going to be reinserted after subbing out, he must go back into his original batting position or 10 places behind the current batter (in the case that her/his substitute player remains in the game).

25. DUGOUTS: Home team shall occupy the 1st base dugout, and the visiting team the 3rd base dugout.

26. MINIMUM NUMBER OF PLAYERS NEEDED: A team shall consist of ten players. A team unable to field 10 players listed on its roster, as provided to the League Commissioner, shall be allowed to play the game with up to 9 players, provided they have a minimum of 7 roster players present at the game’s official starting time. The opposing team shall not be restricted to the same number of players. Any team failing to field a team of 7 roster players at the game’s official starting time shall forfeit the game. Any team which has a full complement of 10 roster players at the start of the game may incorporate an 11th player into the lineup as a designated hitter (DH), provided the team continues the entire game with a line-up of 11 batters.

27. RECRUITING A PLAYER (or players) to avoid a forfeit: If a team shows up to play with only seven roster players, it may recruit up to two non-roster player(s) to play in the game. Non-roster players must leave the game as soon as players on the roster are prepared to play. Late arriving roster-players are not required to play in the field for a half inning before coming to bat. Prior to the start of a game, any non-roster player or players must be declared to the opposing Captain and the home plate umpire. The non-roster players must play right field or catcher. In the men’s league neither of the non-roster players are allowed to bat. In the women’s league, they are allowed to bat, but only at the bottom of the line up.

28. PROTESTS: A protest must be made to the home plate umpire at the time of an incident and before another pitch is made. At that time, the home plate umpire shall advise the opposing captain that a protest has been made, explaining the circumstances involved. Within 48 hours after the incident occurs, the League Commissioners shall confer and decide the final outcome after discussing the incident with both captains and the umpires involved. There is no recourse after the decision is made by the League Commissioners.

29. EQUIPMENT: Each captain is responsible for checking and assuring that all bats used by her/his team is on the Approved Bat List, according to the WBSC. The penalty for use of a bat not on the Approved Bat List is forfeiture of the current game and any previous game in which the bat was used. It shall be the responsibility of the captain to show evidence that the bat in question was not used in previous games, otherwise those games shall be forfeited. It shall be the responsibility of the 1st base coach (home team) and the 3rd base coach (visiting team) during his or her team’s at bat to keep the foul ball territory between the baseline and fence clear of any bats and other playing equipment.

30. RESCHEDULING GAMES: If a team wants to reschedule a game, the team must notify the Captain of the opposing team and the Commissioners no later than the Sunday preceding the game in question. If the two Captains agree to postpone the game, a make-up game shall be rescheduled, within one month of the original date if possible. Captains are encouraged to agree on a make-up date at the time they agree to a postponement. If no make-up game can be scheduled, the game shall be ruled a mutual forfeit and not count in league standings. No team may have more than one outstanding postponed game to be made up at any one time. The previous postponed game must be played before another postponed game is requested by any team with an outstanding postponed game, or the team shall forfeit the outstanding postponed game. Once both teams have agreed upon a makeup date the Captains must notify the Commissioners so that the field can be prepared, balls made available, and umpires/scorekeepers lined-up.

31. INTENTIONAL FORFEITS: Any team which intentionally forfeits after a game has begun shall lose that game and shall forfeit the rest of their season. Players on said team shall not be allowed to play on any other team for the remainder of the season.

32. PRACTICE EQUIPMENT: Balls and bats for practice sessions may be checked out from the American Club for weekly practice sessions only and must be returned immediately following the practice session (the number checked out must match the number returned).

33. UMPIRE RESPONSIBILITIES: An umpire should be on the ball field at least five minutes prior to the scheduled start of the game. The home plate and field umpire positions shall be decided between the umpires themselves. No umpire can overrule another umpire on a judgment call or rules infraction unless the ruling umpire appeals directly to the other umpire. The appeal must be made from: a) the umpire involved in the call, if he/she is not sure of a rule or was unable to see the play clearly; or b) a Team Captain asking the umpire involved to ask the other umpire how he/she saw a judgment call or rules infraction. Only the Commissioners can overrule an umpire on rules infractions or interpretation and only if an appeal is made to him or her by one of the umpires themselves. Any conflict arising from interpretation of the rules or the lack of an existing rule to cover the situation shall be decided by the Commissioners. The Commissioners shall not become involved in considering appeals or reversing any type of judgment call. Umpires are free to consult with the acting commissioner at the field, even though commissioners may not overrule umpires on judgment calls. In extenuating circumstances where a game starts later than the official starting time, umpires are required to write the time that a game starts on the white board in back of home plate. In these instances, the 1:00 time limit shall be calculated from the actual start time of the game, as noted on the board by the umpire. (betel nut and smoking is not allowed on the AERA field)

34. SCOREKEEPER: Unless an official scorekeeper is recruited, the official scorekeeper shall be the home plate umpire.

35. ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION: There shall be NO ALCOHOL consumed by any of the players/umpires during an official softball game, either on the playing field or in either dug-out. It is the responsibility of each team’s Captain to see that this rule is followed. (betel nut and smoking is not allowed on the AERA field)

36. CHANGING TEAMS: If a player quits a team or wishes to change teams after he has signed its roster, he may do so only during the first three games of the season. After Week 3, if a player wants to change teams, the decision shall be subject to the Commissioner’s discretion.

37. FOOTWEAR: No metal spikes shall be allowed to be worn in a game.

38. CAPTAINS: Prior to the start of the season, each team shall submit to the league Commissioners the name of the Captain and Co-Captain for the team. The team Captain or assistant shall be the only individuals allowed to approach an umpire over a disputed call during a game. This rule applies to an appeal to the Commissioner either before, during or after a game. If a player or Captain, in the opinion of the home plate umpire continues to display unwarranted or unsportsmanlike conduct after a call is made, the player(s) and/or captain(s) may be ejected for the remainder of the game in play. Unsportsmanlike conduct includes fighting and any intentional contact by a player with any umpire. If uncalled-for behavior continues after a player/captain is ejected, the team causing the disruption shall forfeit the game and play shall cease.

39. TEAM ROSTERS: A team roster must be submitted by all team Captains prior to the start of the season. Fees are due no later than December 15, 2018. Players may be added to a roster during the regular season. However, if a late added player has not been on the team’s roster for at least the final three weeks of the regular season, he/she shall not be eligible for tournament play at the end of the season. The Commissioner must be informed of a roster addition prior to the game. There is no limit to the number of players a team may carry on its roster during the season.

40. YISL FEES: Each player shall pay a fee of 10,000 kyat if a Myanmar national and 50,000 kyat if a national of any other country or a student on an international school team, collected by Team Captains and paid to the league no later than December 15, 2018. No refund nor prorating of fees for only playing part of the season are allowed. Players must have paid their fee in order to participate in games.

41. SCHEDULE AND TIE-BREAK METHOD: Opening day for the men’s and women’s 2018-19 season shall be Sunday November 4, 2018. There shall be a 14-game schedule for the men’s league and a 14-game schedule for the women’s league. The regular season shall be followed by a two-week double-elimination tournament. Should teams finish the season with identical records, the following method shall be used to determine the higher placed team, both for the regular season standing and for seed in the tournament. First, the won-loss record of tied teams in head-to-head games between the tied teams. If still tied, then the run differential of tied teams in head-to-head games shall be used. If still tied, the teams shall share the same place in the standings and a coin toss shall be used to determine the higher seed in the tournament.

42. UNSPORTSMAN-LIKE CONDUCT – INTERFERENCE/OBSTRUCTION: Is defined as any act by an offensive or defensive player or team member which impedes, hinders or confuses an offensive or defensive player attempting to execute a play. It may be in the form of physical contact, verbal distraction, visual distraction, or any type of distraction which would hinder the fielder in the execution of the play. An umpire may call a batter or base runner out or award a batter or a base runner an extra base for interference/obstruction by a member of the opposing team.

43. VERBAL DISTRACTION OF THE BATTER: No member of the defensive team (including members in the dugout) may verbally distract the batter while the pitched ball is in flight towards home plate. The batter must be able to hear the umpire’s call of “flat” and “high pitch” without the distraction of any member of the defensive team. If in the umpire’s judgment, a verbal call by a defensive team member distracted the batter, a “delayed dead ball” shall be signaled by the umpire. At the end of the play, the umpire shall give the batting team the choice of accepting the play as it stands or to receive a “walk” to first base. Further, the defensive team shall be warned of the rule infraction.

44. HOME RUN: It shall be the responsibility of the Captains of each team to keep the tally of homeruns and to inform a commissioner of the tally at the end of each day of play.

45. HOME RUN HITTERS: Players who completed the previous regular season with 4 or more homeruns shall begin the new season classified as a “homerun hitter” and shall remain so for the entire season. Any player who hits 3 homeruns by the Holiday Break or hits 4 homeruns during the regular season shall immediately become classified as a homerun hitter. During the last 4 weeks of the season “homerun hitters” that are intentionally walked a third time in a game will have that third intentional walk count as a HOME RUN and be added to that hitters home run totals for the season tally.

46. UMPIRES: Each team shall try to be responsible for providing one player to umpire the game following their own game. The teams playing the last game of the day shall try to be responsible for providing one umpire for the following Sunday’s first game (08:00). Women shall not be required to umpire men’s games. If no umpires are available, the league will pay 3,000 kyats per umpire per game. Those teams that continue to provide an umpire can receive a refund at the end of the season or donate the funds to the league. See rule #33 regarding umpires.

47. LEGAL BATS: All Bats MUST comply with the ISF Legal bat list as listed on the ISF website and provided to each team.

Soe Soe Cole – Assistant Commissioner, Women
Maung Maung Tin – Umpire Coordinator
Mick Amundson-Geisel – Commissioner
League Treasurer – Natalie Brink
Tom Just and David Tegenfeldt – Advisory Committee/webmaster

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