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Prince William Girls Fastpitch Softball

Prince William Girls Fastpitch Softball

Local rules

Prince William Girls Fastpitch Softball: Local Rules

Updated April 2021

PWGFS local rule modifications

The league uses USA Softball rules except for any modification listed below. Rule numbers listed correspond with previous rule numbers in the USA rule book. The section numbers may not always correspond. 

All divisions

Any and all rule clarifications or questions shall be delivered to the appropriate age division commissioner via email.

All pitchers, regardless of division, are required to wear a protective face mask while occupying the pitching position, whether physically pitching or not. No exceptions.

No metal-spiked cleats are permitted.

Batting helmets need to have a guard on the front.

No balls will be carried on to the field by fielders after the first inning. This is intended to speed up game play.

On-deck batters will be to the back side of the batter at the plate, for safety reasons.

All players present shall be in the batting order.

Home team will occupy the first-base dugout while the away team will occupy the third-base dugout.

Home team will be responsible for turning on and off the field lights at Dale City Rec.

Home team is responsible for field preparation before their game. The last home team of the day needs to make sure equipment is put away and locked up. 

Away team is responsible for providing concessions stand workers when playing at Andrew Leitch Park.

During all games, except for base coaches and 10U designated adult pitchers, only one coach will be permitted outside of the dugout area, within the field of play. Any such coach must remain at the fenced area by the dugout opening furthest side from home plate. The coach may sit on a bucket but is responsible for removing the bucket when a possible play is occurring. While this is a PWGFS local rule, certain umpires may not allow this. In such cases, the umpire’s decision supercedes the local rule. This rule does not apply to the 8U division, which is 100% instructional. 

In regard to communication with umpires, only the head coach:
1. participates in the plate conference before the game 
2. communicates questions or concerns to the umpire during the game
3. initiates protest of a ruling (plays game on the protest)

If head coach is not present at the game, he or she will designate someone to take that role during the game. 

8U Division rules

1. An 11-inch Softee safety ball will be used for game play. Coaches may introduce a regulation softball during practice time only, and at their discretion.

2. Pitching will be a combination of pitching machine and coach pitch. Coach is expected to maintain the same speed and pitch height as the pitching machine. No arc in the pitch. 

3. When up to bat, each batter will receive a maximum of four pitches from the pitching machine. If not successful hitting a fair ball off the machine, the coach will pitch two pitches to the batter. A foul on the last pitch will extend the “at bat.” The player will then remain at bat until she either misses (strikes out) or hits a fair ball.

4. Only 10 players are allowed on the field at a time.

5. Players will rotate their positions on the field and the same player will not sit in the dugout for consecutive innings. Additionally, players will not sit in the dugout for more than one inning per game. 

6. Runners are permitted to advance one base per infield hit. If the ball lands in the outfield grass, coaches have the option of advancing the runner(s) one additional base, with the risk of potentially being tagged out at the next base (e.g. If a runner is already on first base, she could advance to third, allowing the hitter to advance to second. Likewise, a runner on second can advance to home plate). Missed grounders to the outfield do not apply and only allow for advancing one base, unless there is an overthrown ball.

7. Runners are allowed a maximum advancement of one base at the runner’s risk of being thrown out, following an overthrown ball. If a second overthrow results while attempting to put out the advancing runner, the runners may not advance again – it is a dead-ball situation after the second overthrow.

8. Three outs or the entire lineup getting to bat once per inning will retire the side. Coaches will expedite the transition from offense to defense.

9. The game will be four innings with a time limit of 1 hour 15 minutes. This includes regular-season games, playoff and championship games.

10U Division rules

Official rules: USA Softball Association with local modifications

The rule modifications for the 10 & Under Division are designed to allow players who have been playing instructional league or other various playing rules to make the transition toward a more-competitive level of play.

RULE 3: Equipment

Section 6 — Players should wear the complete issued uniform during games. However, in the case of excessive heat, cold, or inclement weather, jackets, sweatshirts, etc. may be worn. No team or player will be penalized for variations from official team dress. It is the umpire's responsibility to rule on clothing variances which may cause a safety concern or hinder play.

RULE 4: Players and substitutes

Section 1 (a) (Also Rule 7, Section 2 (a) (b) ) — All players present will be in the batting order and will bat in turn. Players arriving after the start of play will be placed at the end of the batting order upon arrival. A player who is injured, becomes ill, or leaves early will be removed from the batting order without penalty.

Section 1 (d) — A team must have a minimum of seven players to start or continue a game. In no case will teams agree to play a legal game with fewer than seven players.

Section 4 (d) (1)(c) — A team will not be penalized nor charged an out because of an unoccupied spot in the batting order.

Section 1 (d) (2) — The eighth and subsequent players may enter the game upon arrival and must be added to the end of the batting order.

Sections 5 and 7 — A starting pitcher may re-enter the game as a pitcher only once. She may return as a pitcher in the same inning after one batter has been pitched to by the relief pitcher and that batter completes her turn at bat, whether an out has been made or the batter reaches base. Relief pitchers, after being removed from the pitching position, may not return as a pitcher.

Section 6 — There will be open substitutions on defense except for the pitcher. This means a team may make defensive changes at will and as many times as they want as long as all players meet the minimum play requirements.

Section 8 — Except for illness, injury or special situations, the defensive innings played must constitute a minimum of two innings (six outs). A player who arrives after the first pitch is thrown is not subject to minimum-play rules. However, a coach should try to use the player as much as possible.

Section 9: Player Pool Rule — When a team is short-handed and needs to borrow additional players to field a full team (maximum 10 players), it must pull players from the next lower age division player pool only.

10U shall pull players from the 8U division.

Using players from the same division or players who are not on a PWGFS roster is not permitted under any circumstance. Players who are in the player pool are only present on a fill-in basis, not to replace any player on the borrowing team’s roster who was present at the game’s start time. The player pool player shall be subject to the PWGFS minimum-play standards (Local rule 4 – section 8) at the expense of the player(s) who arrived following the game’s start time. Once the fill-in player has met the minimum play standards, if a player becomes ill or is injured and is completely removed from the game, a player pool player already in the lineup may replace the player defensively only if there are no remaining regular players. 

Borrowed players will maintain their positions in the batting rotation for the entire game. Players who arrive late shall be inserted at the bottom of the batting order. If a player pool player was requested from a lower division to play up and is present at the start of the game, they are subject to the same minimum-play rules as regular team players.

All player pool players must be identified to the opposing coach prior to the plate conference with the umpire, and must be obtained through contacting the player agent, who will assign the player(s).

Coaches must contact the player agent and division commissioner at least 24 hours in advance via phone and or email when requesting a player pool player.

For tournament (playoff) games, short-handed teams may only borrow enough players from the next lower division to allow them to field a legal team of eight players.

RULE 5: The Game

Section 3 — Games will be six innings if time allows. Each inning has a four-run limit, except for the sixth inning, which will have a six-run limit. All innings started will be played to their conclusion (if needed) but no new innings will begin beyond the 1-hour 40-minute time limit. The inning the game is in at the 1-hour 40-minute mark will be completed, whereas both teams have equal amount at-bats. The sixth inning will be considered complete if the away team has completed its at-bat, and the home team is up by one or more runs. If the home team is losing, but can still come back and win or tie, it must complete its at-bat until a) three outs are achieved or b) it leads the game by one run, at which point the game ends. 

In case of a tie after six innings and there is remaining time, the game will continue using international tiebreak rules (ITB). The last player who completed her turn at bat in the prior inning will begin the next inning as a runner on second base with no outs. The next regularly scheduled batter will lead off. ITB innings will follow a four-run limit. If the time limit has been reached, the game will be recorded as a tie unless in tournament play.

Section 4 — A team has a fifteen-minute grace period from the scheduled start time to field a legal lineup before the game is declared a forfeit. All grace time used will count towards game time. 

Section 9 — The game is over if a team is behind by 10 runs or more after a legal game (four innings) is established, and the losing team has had its rightful turn at bat. 

General — During playoff games, if the game ends in a tie after the sixth inning, ITB rules apply. ITB rules will be followed and innings continue until there is a winner.

Championship games shall be played to completion without time restrictions.

There will be no infield fly rule.

Rule 6: Pitching regulations

(Also affects Rule 8 Section 1 (c) ) This local rule modifies the pitching regulations. The intent of the rule is to improve the play of the game, both on offense and defense while also developing pitching. 

Prior to the start of the game, the head coaches shall designate a coach or parent to assume the position of coach/designated pitcher. This pitcher will pitch to all batters from both teams who are issued a fourth ball, through the completion of the at-bat. The batter will keep the current strike count in the at-bat, which now may only result in a strike out or any other legal play other than base on balls. Once that at-bat is completed, the player pitcher then resumes pitching to the next batter. There will be no walks, unless a player is hit by pitch.

If the coach/designated pitchers are called upon, they will pitch from the pitching rubber and this will not count as a player pitcher leaving and returning as a pitcher unless she is moved to another position or removed from the game. 

In order to ensure the continuity of the game, coach/designated pitchers must be prepared to pitch. While a coach is pitching, the player pitcher shall assume a defensive position within the pitching circle. 

Rule 8 — Batter-runner and runner

Section 1 (b) — There will be no dropped third strike rule.

Section 4 (a) — Runners are allowed to steal one (1) base per pitched ball regardless of any put out attempts or overthrows resulting from the runner's attempt to advance.

Section 4 (f) (2) base stealing — If, in the act of the catcher returning the ball to the pitcher, the ball leaves the 16-foot circle, the runners may not advance. The intent here is to keep the game moving by eliminating catchers walking the ball back to the mound and to minimize overaggressive base stealing while the ball is in the air between the catcher and pitcher. There will be no delayed stealing allowed. Stealing home is not allowed, but a runner may advance home if the catcher attempts a throw-down play to third base.

Runners are not allowed to steal while the coach/designated pitchers are pitching.

Section 4: Overthrows — We have a distinction between infield and outfield overthrows. On a batted ball that leaves the infield (including fair or foul fly balls allowing the runners to tag up), runners may continue to advance at the risk of being put out until the ball is returned to the pitcher within the 16-foot circle regardless of the number of overthrows. On a hit fair ball to the infield, runners are allowed a maximum advancement of one base at the runner's risk of being thrown out following a throwing error. If a second overthrow results while attempting to put out the advancing runner, the runners may not advance again — it is a dead-ball situation after the second overthrow. Once the pitcher has the ball within the pitching circle, runners must immediately return to the last base touched or break to the next base. Failure of a runner to immediately return to the base or break to the next base will result in the umpire calling the runner out.

A. Infield overthrows — On any throw originating from an infielder, the runner(s) may advance one base, at the risk of being put out.

B. Outfield overthrows — On any throw originating from the outfield, the runner(s) may advance in an all-you-can-get situation, at the risk of being put out.

12 & Under division

Official Rules: USA Softball Association with local modifications

Rule 2: Equipment 

Section 1 — Players should wear the complete issued uniform during games. However, in the case of excessive heat, cold or inclement weather, jackets, sweatshirts, shorts, etc. may be worn. No team or player will be penalized for variations from official team dress. It is the umpire's responsibility to rule on clothing variances which may cause a safety concern or hinder play. 

Rule 3 — Players and substitutes 

Section 1 — All players present will be in the batting order and will bat in turn. Players arriving after the start of play will be placed at the end of the batting order. A player who is injured, becomes ill, or leaves early will be removed from the batting order without penalty.

Section 2 — A team must have a minimum of seven players to start or continue a game. This constitutes a legal lineup. A full team will consist of nine players.

Section 3 — The eighth and subsequent players may enter the game upon arrival and must be added to the end of the batting order.

Section 4 — A team will not be penalized nor charged an out because of an unoccupied spot in the batting order. 

Section 5 — In no case will teams agree to play a legal game with fewer than seven players. 

Section 6 — There will be open substitution on defense except for the pitcher. This means a team may make defensive changes at will and as many times as they want as long as all players meet the minimum-play requirement. 

Section 7 — A starting pitcher may re-enter the game as a pitcher only once. She may return as a pitcher in the same inning after one batter has been pitched to and an out has been made or the batter reaches base. 

Section 8 — Except for illness, injury, or special situations, all players must play a minimum of three defensive innings (nine outs). In doubleheader games, players must play a minimum of two defensive innings (six outs) per game. A player who arrives after the first pitch is thrown is not subject to minimum-play rules. A team will not be penalized for not meeting the minimum-play rule if a game ends early, a player is injured, becomes ill, or leaves early, etc. Willful disregard of the minimum-play rule by a manager or coach is grounds for a protest and forfeiture of the game.

Section 9: Player Pool Rule — When a team is short-handed and needs to borrow additional players to field a full team, (maximum 9 players); it must pull players from the next lower age division ONLY. 

12U shall pull players from the 10U division player pool.

16U shall pull players from the 12U division player pool.

When the 14U and 16U divisions are combined, 12U player pool may play up to 16U division.

When the 12U and 14U divisions are combined, 10U player pool may play up to 14U division, and 14U player pool may play up to the 16U division.

Using players from the same division, or players who are not on a PWGFS roster, is not permitted under any circumstance. Player pool players who are playing up are only present on a fill-in basis, not to replace any player on the borrowing team’s roster who was present at the game’s start time. The fill-in player shall be subject to the PWGFS minimum-play standards (Local Rule 4 – Section 8) at the expense of the player(s) who arrived following the game’s start time. Once the fill-in player has met the minimum-play standards, if a player becomes ill or is injured and is completely removed from the game, a fill-in player already in the lineup may replace the player defensively only if there are no remaining regular players. 

Player pool players will maintain their position in the batting rotation for the entire game. Players who arrive late shall be inserted at the bottom of the batting order. If a player pool player was requested from a lower division to play up and are present at the start of the game, they are subject to the same minimum-play rules as a regular team player.

All player pool players must be identified to the opposing coach prior to the plate conference with the umpire and obtained through contacting the player agent, who will assign the player(s).

Head coaches must contact the Player Agent and Division Commissioner at least 24 hours in advance via phone and or email when requesting a player pool player.

For tournament games, short-handed teams may only borrow enough players from the next lower division to allow them to field a legal team of seven players.

Section 10: Player Pool Rule for Pitching Situations – Teams may request to borrow player pool pitchers from the next lower division. The player pool pitcher playing up may occupy the pitching circle for a maximum of three innings

Rule 5 — The Game

Section 3 — Games will be seven innings if time allows. Each inning has a 5-run limit, except for the seventh inning, which will have a 7-run limit. All innings started will be played to their conclusion but, no new innings will begin beyond the 1-hour 40-minute time limit, meaning, the inning the game is in at the 1-hour 40-minute mark will be completed, whereas both teams have equal amount at-bats. The final inning will be considered complete if the away team has completed its at-bat, and the home team is up by one or more runs. If the home team is losing, but can still come back to win or tie, it must complete its at-bat until a) three outs are achieved or b) it leads the game by one run, at which point the game ends.

In case of a tie after seven innings and there is remaining time, the game will continue using international tiebreak rules (ITB). The last player who completed her turn at bat in the prior inning will begin the next inning as a runner on second base with no outs. The next regularly scheduled batter will lead off. ITB innings will follow a 5-run limit. If the time limit has been reached, the game will be recorded as a tie unless in tournament play.

Section 4 — A team has a 15-minute grace period from the scheduled start time to field a legal lineup before the game is declared a forfeit. All grace time used will count towards game time. 

Section 9 — The game is over if a team is behind by 10 runs or more after a legal game (5 innings) is established, and the losing team has had its rightful turn at bat. 

General — During playoff games, if the game ends in a tie after the seventh inning, ITB rules apply. ITB rules will be followed and innings continue until there is a winner.

Championship games shall be played to completion without time restrictions.

16 & Under division

Rules for 16 & under division mirror the 12U rules with one exception: The pitcher's rubber shall be 43 feet, not 40, from home plate.

PWGFS tiebreaker procedure

If between two teams:
1. Head-to-head record
2. Head-to-head run differential
3. Commissioner coin toss with both coaches present

Examples:
1. 
Team A played Team B three times, winning twice. Team A wins the tiebreaker based on head to head.
2. 
Team A played Team B twice. Team A won 3-2 and lost 5-3 against Team B. Team B wins the tiebreaker based on a 1-run differential in head-to-head games.

If between more than two teams:
1. Best common record against the teams involved in the tie
2. Best run differential against the teams involved in the tie
3. Lottery pick, with the coaches involved present

Examples: Three teams finish with an 8-2 record. Team A played Team B twice and Team C twice, winning each game. Team B split two games against Team C. RESULT: Team A wins the tie-breaker based on (1) best common record against the teams involved in the tie. Teams B & C would be treated as a tie between two teams.

Three teams finish with an 8-2 record. Team A played Team B twice and Team C twice:
Team A splits with Team B, 6-3 (W) & 7-4 (L). Team A spits with Team C, 1-0 (W) & 4-2 (L).
Team B splits with team C, 5-3 (W) & 5-4 (L).
RESULT: Team B wins the tiebreaker with a +1 run differential (2) against the teams involved in the tie. Team C would be next based on an even run differential followed by Team A with a -1 run differential.

If it works out that only two teams remain tied using the run differential (2), Head to Head run differential would be used next, followed by the Commissioner Coin Toss. 

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