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The new 2000 playing rule changes are listed below with comments prepared to help explain the intent of the rule. TRANSPARENCIES will be available January 1 to assist the local instructors in interpreting these changes. 

Rule 1 CHARGED CONFERENCE: 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 1 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 2, Sec 1 Modified Men: Add maximum fence distance of 300 ft (91.44 m)

B18-UFP: Increase fence distance to 225 feet (68.58m) minimum and 250 feet (76.20m) maximum.

G10-USP: Increase fence distance to 175 feet (53.34m) minimum and 200 feet (60.96m) maximum.

B10-USP: Increase fence distance to 200 feet (60.96m) minimum and 225 feet (68.58m) maximum.

B12-USP: Increase fence distance to 225 feet (68.58m) minimum and 250 feet (76.20m) maximum.

B14-USP: Increase fence distance to 275 feet (83.82m) minimum and 300 feet (91.44m) maximum.

G10-USP: Increase base distance to 60 feet (18.29m)

B10-USP: Increase base distance to 60 feet (18.29m)

B10-UFP: Increase base distance to 60 feet (18.29m)

COMMENTS: For 2000, increased fence distances in the above divisions of play were made due to the distance batted balls now travel, and increased youth base distance were made so most ball field base distances will be the same and fewer changes will be required.

Rule 3, Sec 1L L. Shall have a safety knob of a minimum of º inch protruding at a 90-degree angle from the handle. It may be molded, lathe, welded, or permanently fastened. A “flare” or “icon” 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 “icon” 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 3N N. The gold stitch 12-inch ball with a COR of .44 and under shall be used in all men’s and women’s senior slow pitch play, and shall be used in the super slow pitch when fences are less than 325 feet and men’s major slow pitch when fences are less than 315 feet. It must be marked ASA-4495. 

COMMENTS: Men’s and Women’s Senior Slow Pitch will now be required to use the .44 COR for play rather than the .47 COR because of a slower reflex time. Super Slow Pitch and Men’s Major Slow Pitch championships must also use the .44 COR if field distances are less than that defined by rule.

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 1C C. A team shall consist of players in the following positions:

1. Fast Pitch and Modified Pitch. Nine players: pitcher (F1), catcher (F2), first baseman (F3), second baseman (F4), third baseman (F5), shortstop (F6), left fielder (F7), center fielder (F8), and right fielder (F9)

2. Fast Pitch and Modified Pitch with a Designated Player (DP). Ten players: same as fast pitch or modified pitch plus a DP. NOTE: Refer to Section 3 DESIGNATED PLAYER for options resulting in nine players continuing the game.

3. Slow Pitch and Ten Man Modified Pitch. Ten players: same as fast or modified pitch plus an extra fielder (F10).

4. Slow Pitch with an Extra Player (EP), Senior Slow Pitch with two extra defensive players, and Ten Man Modified with a Designated Player (DP). Eleven players: same as slow pitch plus an EP who bats in the lineup, or ten man modified pitch plus a DP. NOTE: Senior Slow Pitch may have 12 or 13 players using one or two EP’s.

COMMENTS: Modified Pitch (both nine and ten man) was added to this rule for the first time. In addition in 2000, Senior Slow Pitch teams can use two extra players on defense (11), plus one or two EP’s in the batting order (12 or 13).

Rule 4, Sec 6B B. If a substitute enters the game without reporting, and after a pitch has been thrown (legal or illegal), or after a play has been made, the player will be disqualified when discovered. The use of an illegal substitute is handled as a protest by the offended team while the player is in the game. If the team manager or player in violation informs the umpire prior to the offended team’s protest, there is no violation regardless of how long the player or players were legally in the game. All action prior to the discovery is legal.


(1) If an unreported substitute on offense bats and reaches base safely, and then is discovered and protested before the next pitch, or if at the end of the game and before the umpires leave the field, all runners will return to the base occupied on the batted ball. All outs that occur on this play will stand.

(2) If the substitute is an illegal player for any reason, he will be subject to the penalty for that 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 8 HOME RUN RULE (Code Article 209 I) A limit of over-the-fence home runs will be used in all men’s and coed slow pitch divisions. The following limitations are per team per game:

D. Six (6) Class A Industrial, Class B, Major Coed, Major Church, and Coed Slow Pitch.

E. Three (3) Class C, Class A Coed, Class A Church, and Class A Masters.

COMMENTS: Both Church divisions were reduced for 2000, as the Major division has gone from Twelve (12) home runs per game to six (6) and the Class “A” division was reduced from six (6) to three (3). 

Rule 5, Sec 9 RUN AHEAD RULE (Code Article 209 F). 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 1 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.  
1. (Male Only) The pitcher shall take a position with his pivot foot in contact with the pitcher’s plate and his non-pivot foot on or behind the pitcher’s plate.

2. (Female Only) The pitcher shall take a position with both feet incontact with the pitcher’s plate.

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

(Male Only) If the pitcher decides to pitch with the non-pivot foot to the rear and off the pitching plate, a backward step may be taken before, simultaneous with or after the hands are brought together. The pivot foot must remain in contact with the pitching plate at all times prior to the forward step.

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

COMMENTS: After one year requiring the male fast pitch pitcher to have both feet on the pitching plate prior to, and during the delivery, in 2000 the male pitcher will be allowed to place his non-pivot foot to the rear of the pitcher’s plate once again. The leap will remain illegal, therefore, both male and 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 7, Sec 6F F. When a batter leaves the box to gain a running start, but has returned to the box when he hits the ball.

EFFECT - Section 6 D-F: If no contact is made with the pitched ball, there is no penalty.  

COMMENTS: The words “slow pitch and 16î slow pitch only” were removed from the heading of this rule, which now means the rule is in effect for all softball. The EFFECT was added that there is no penalty if the ball is not hit.

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.


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)

Rule 8, Sec 3I I. Awarded bases must be touched in legal order.

EXCEPTION: Super, All Men’s Major and All Men’s Class “A”. (This does not apply to Master’s and Senior’s Play). On any fair batted ball hit over the fence for a home run, or a four base award, the batter and all runners are credited with a score. The batter and any runners on base do not need to run the bases. NOTE: This would eliminate any base-running appeal plays.  

COMMENTS: Not having to run the bases on a home run hit over the fence has been added to all Men’s Major Slow Pitch (including industrial and church) and all Men’s “A” Slow Pitch (including industrial and church). It is not included in Major and “A” Master’s or Senior’s play however.

Rule 8, Sec 4G G. (Super, All Men’s Majors, and All Men’s Class “A” Slow Pitch Only. This does not apply to Master’s and Senior’s Play). Runners may advance when the ball reaches home plate, or if the pitcher has the ball and is not in the vicinity of the pitching plate. (Remaining part of section remains the same.)  

COMMENTS: As stated previously under Rule 7, Sections 4 and 5, stealing is now allowed in the Super Slow Pitch, all Men’s Major Slow Pitch (including industrial and church) and all “A” Men’s Slow Pitch (including industrial and church). Stealing is not allowed in Major and “A” Master’s or Senior’s play, or in “B”, “C”, or “D” levels of Slow Pitch.

Rule 8, Sec 7G G. (Slow Pitch Only) Base stealing is not allowed. EFFECT: Each runner may leave a base when a pitched ball is batted, touches the ground or reaches home, but must return to that base immediately after each pitch not hit by the batter. EXCEPTION: Super, All Men’s Major and All Men’s Class “A”. (This does not apply to Master’s and Senior’s Play) Runners may advance after the ball reaches home plate, unless it hits the ground or plate in fair territory.  

COMMENTS: Follow the same comments as listed in the previous new rule 

Rule 8, Sec 10 COURTESY RUNNERS. (Senior Slow Pitch Men and Women, and Master and Senior Men’s Fast Pitch Only)

(SP Only) Unlimited courtesy runners are allowed each inning.

(Master and Senior Men’s FP Only) Courtesy runners may be used only for the pitcher and the catcher.

Any player on the official line-up sheet including available substitutes may be used as a courtesy runner.

A courtesy runner is in the game when he touches the base.

A courtesy runner whose turn at bat comes while he is on base will be out. He will be removed from the base and come to bat. A second courtesy runner cannot be substituted at this time.

A player may be a courtesy runner only once per inning.

A courtesy runner may not run for an existing courtesy runner except for an injury.

A runner who is replaced with a courtesy runner may not be used as a courtesy runner for the remainder of the inning.

EFFECT ñ Sec 10 F-H: If a runner violates any of these three situations, he will be called out and removed from the base.

(SP Only) Runners must touch the second home plate located adjacent to the right handed batter’s box in order to be safe at home. Defensive players can only touch the original home plate and runners can only touch the second home plate. Runners tagged by the defensive team will not be out. If the runner touches the original home plate, he will be out and the ball will remain live. (See diagram under Rule 2, Sec 3G).

(SP Only) Once a runner crosses a line 20 feet from home plate, he cannot return to third base. EFFECT: The runner will be called out if he returns and the ball remains live.

COMMENTS: Courtesy runners have been added to the Senior and Master Men’s Fast Pitch, but for the pitcher and catcher only. Sub-sections B-H will be used for fast pitch and all sub-sections will be used for slow pitch. Sub-section “C” was approved and listed in the 1998 Rule Book, but was left out of the 1999 book.


A. The team at bat may use courtesy runners for the pitcher and/or catcher at any time. The same runner may not be used for both positions durring the entire game. 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 the pitcher 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. The courtesy runner can enter the game at that time, or any time thereafter, ie., if they have been on base for one or two batters, the coach can then insert a courtesy runner. this allows the catcher time to put on her protective 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 during the entire game, 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. NOTE: If the courtesy runner fails to report and is protested by the offended team, the player is disqualified, based on Rule 4, Section 6 ruling.