2017 DDSPL Rules & Regulations

1. General Gameplay

1.1 Games will consist of 7 innings with start times of 7:00pm and 8:45pm. A grace period of 10 minutes will be granted to teams short of 10 players, after which, teams may begin the game with 9 players as long as rule 4.6 is met. There will be no time limit placed on the 7, regulation innings, which are to be played in their entirety.
1.2 In the event of a tie, after regulation innings, extra innings may be played if 90 minutes have not passed since the scheduled start time of the game. International tie breaking rules will be used for any extra innings played. No new, extra inning is to be started once 90 minutes have passed since the scheduled start time of the game. Ties will be permitted in any case that time does not permit extra innings to be played.
1.3 In the event that a game cannot be completed for any reason, five full innings played will constitute a full game; four and a half if the home team is winning.
1.4 A maximum of seven runs may be scored by a team in any one inning. This limit does not apply to the final regulation inning being played, or to extra innings.
1.5 A two-ball system will be employed, where a smaller diameter ball will be pitched to women, unless she chooses to receive the larger ball. In the event that the wrong ball is pitched to a male batter, the pitch stands, unless the ball is hit, in which case a "dead ball" will be declared. In cases where the wrong ball is pitched to a woman, the play will stand, regardless of whether or not the ball is hit. The umpire will be tasked with making sure the appropriate ball is in play at all time, however it is assumed that the pitcher will aid in making sure batters are served the correct ball.
1.6 Bats bearing the USSSA, ASA2004, or ASA2000 stamps may be used in the league. Bats marked with the ASA2013 stamp are legal only if there is an accompanying USSSA stamp present. "ASA2013" are not allowed.
The "ASA Non-Approved Bat Lists" as linked to on the SPN website still applies regardless of stamp.
1.7 Bases and balls will be provided, bats will not.

2. Batting

2.1 A batter may not step on or in front of home plate while making contact with the ball. If this occurs, the player is called out.
2.2 Absolutely no bunting is allowed. An attempt to bunt will result in an out called against the batter.
2.3 A batted ball that hits a batter while still in the "batter's area" is a foul ball. If it's on the third strike the batter is called out.
2.4 Any batter who is walked, intentionally or otherwise, without a strike recorded against them, will advance to second base. If the next batter is female, she has the option to hit or automatically advance to first. A male must bat.
2.5 . Double Batting Rule - Opposing teams must have an equal number of women in the batting order for each game. In order to fulfill this requirement, a team fielding less women than their opponent will add extra "batters" to the batting order and, in those spots, bat all women present in an alternating fashion to compensate for the missing women. The extra batting spots must be slotted later in the order than the spots occupied by the women present.
2.6 . Home Run Rule - "Match plus 2" applicable to all players. Home runs will be valid for a given team only until that team has 2 more home runs than the opposing team. While a team is at "+2" any further home runs by that team will be ruled a strike. Home runs can once again be counted if the opposing team closes the home run differential to less than 2. There is no "home run hitter" limit.
2.7 Third strike fouls result in an out for men and women.
2.8 No more than 3 men may bat in a row.

3. Base Running

3.1 While on base, no anticipation will be permitted. The batter must make contact with the ball before a runner may leave his/her base.
3.2 A base runner may not step on or over the plate, or slide, when scoring. Any of these will result in the runner being called out. The runner is required to cross the line between the plate and the fence to score.
3.3 Courtesy Runners - Five courtesy runners will be granted to each team per game. Male for male, female for male or female. The same player may not be used a second time until all players of the same sex have run once. If a courtesy runner is used and that runner is still on base when it is their turn to bat, another courtesy runner may be used to allow the scheduled batter to bat. If the team has previously exhausted their 5 courtesy runners, an out is recorded for the scheduled batter and the game continues. Courtesy runners are not counted when replacing a woman on base who is due to "double bat" (see rule 2.3). Any other woman may be inserted to run in this case, and will not count against the "not used a second time" rule stated earlier in this clause.

4. Fielding

4.1 Teams must field three women or they face an automatic out at the bottom of their batting order. The scorekeeper must instruct the umpire of this occurrence.
4.2 Outfielders must stay behind the 165ft. line until contact with the ball is made. This applies to all batters.
4.3 Pitchers must stay completely behind the designated line until the ball is released, that is, both feet must be behind the line at release. This line will be drawn 50ft from home plate. If a pitcher violates this rule, it will be deemed an illegal pitch and result in a called ball. If the batter swings at the pitch, the play will continue as if it were legal.
4.4 Infielders must stay behind the base path until contact with the ball is made. Failure to stay behind the base path will result in an illegal pitch as above.
4.5 No outfielder may throw the ball to first base in an attempt to force out the batter. Any such attempt by an outfielder will result in the runner being called safe at first, and all base runners advancing one base.
4.6 No more than 7 men may be on the field at any time.

5. Sitting Rule

5.1 Players who are not playing defensively for an inning are considered "sitting" for that inning. There cannot, at any time, be a difference of more than one inning "sat" between any two players on a team (ie. no player can "sit" a second time until every other player has "sat" once). An exception arises when rule 4.1 must be adhered to. If a team has only 3 women they will not sit. Rule 5.1 exists to ensure that all players get a relatively equal opportunity to play, and prevents teams from continually "sitting" weaker players.
5.2 A player removed from the field at any time after the start of the inning is not considered to have sat for that inning. Likewise, a player entering the field at any time after the start of the inning is not considered to have sat for that inning.
5.3 A player who pitches for the entire game is exempt from the sitting requirement. That is, provided the pitcher pitches every inning, he/she is not required to sit. If the pitcher is replaced at any point within the game, for any reason, he/she is subject to the same sitting rules as all players. Violation of this rule will result in a forfeit by the offending team.

6. Substitution/Borrowing

6.1 If a player has to permanently leave a game for any reason, the remainder of their at bats will be filled by the most recent same sex out at the time of each at bat. If a situation should arise where there is no available same sex person available to bat (eg. only two women remain and both are on base), an out will be recorded in the departed player’s at bat.
6.2 A player arriving late may be added to the batting order, as long as he/she is added after every other member of the same gender and no other rules are broken; coaches are expected to plan ahead for late players. In order to conform with rule 5.1, after the arrival of the late player, no other player may sit for a second time until the late player sits at least once. If every other player has already sat once, the late player must sit the first defensive inning after they join the game (the missed innings do not count as sitting).
6.3 If a player is forced to leave a game, due to injury or an unexpected, personal emergency, and the loss of this player leaves his/her team with fewer than 10 players, or fewer than 3 women, a substitute player may be used in place of the player. Any substitute will be the same gender as the departing player, and must have an equal or lower borrow ranking. If no substitute player is used, then follow rule 6.1 when the missing player is due to bat.
6.4 Teams may borrow as many players as needed, from other teams within the league, to field a maximum of 10 players. An exception to the maximum occurs in the case of a team having only 2 women present. In this scenario a team may borrow an additional woman to allow the team to field 10 players (due to the 7 men max from rule 4.6). A second exception applies to teams fielding 2 or more women less than their opponent. The short team will be able to borrow women to reduce the differential to one, regardless of how many players the team is already fielding. This will help in fulfilling the requirement outlined in rule 2.5.
6.5 Teams may not exercise the exceptions in rule 6.4 if they have already borrowed a male player. That is, a team may not borrow men to reach 10 players, and then borrow additional females to reach 3 women, or get within 1 of the opposing team.

6.6 A borrowed player must be of the same rank or lower than the person being replaced (except in the case where a player from the lowest grouping may be replaced with one from the next group up), and must be the same gender as the missing player.
6.7 Borrowing is allowed in the regular season and in the playoffs.
6.8 A borrowed player may play any position, including pitcher.
6.9 Borrowed players must bat after all present players of the same sex, that is, no borrowed player may be slotted earlier in the order than any regular same-sex team member. A team fulfilling rule 2.5 is permitted to bat a borrowed female earlier in the order than the "extra girl" spots. A borrowed player is permitted to bat before a regular team member of the opposite sex.

7. Playoffs

7.1 The play-offs will consist of a two division round robin format. The top three teams from each division will advance to the final round, with the two first place teams earning a bye into the semi final games. Pools are formed from league standings at the end of the season, with pool A consisting of the 1st, 4th, 5th, and 8th place teams, and pool B consisting of 2nd, 3rd, 6th, and 7th.
7.2 For the complete first round, the team with the highest ranking will be classified as the home team. Starting in the second round, home and visitor will be determined by a coin toss, called by the higher-ranking team.
7.3 All games will be 7 innings in length. Ties will not be permitted.
7.4 Under no circumstances is the home team to bat in the bottom of the last inning if they are ahead. This applies to playoffs and the league tournament.

8. Miscellaneous Rules

8.1 No intentional rough play, fighting, or abusive behaviour will be tolerated whatsoever. Any player found to be in violation of this rule will be ejected from the game and an additional penalty will be issued. Umpires will submit a report to the league with recommendations, and THE LEAGUE EXECUTIVES' DECISION ON THE MATTER WILL BE FINAL.
8.2 Absolutely no alcohol is permitted in the dugouts! Please refrain from the consumption of alcohol near the diamonds. Failure to comply could result in termination of our league permits and season.
8.3 Players found to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs will not be permitted to play!
8.4 Jewelry must be removed or covered with tape; exemptions will be made for activity monitoring devices (ex. fitbits). Any player coming to bat, wearing non-exempt jewelry will be called out. In case of any dispute between a player and umpire, over whether or not a particular exemption should be allowed, the umpire’s decision will stand and the executive can be notified for a decision going forward. Please consult with the umpire, prior to the game if clarification is required.
8.5 Jerseys:

8.5.1 No player will be permitted to play without the jersey provided to them by the league. There are no exceptions to this rule. An additional spare jersey has been provided to all coaches and will be available should someone accidentally forget their own, however, there is only one spare. More than one person without a shirt will result in someone not able to participate in the game. Again, there will be no exceptions to this rule. NO SHIRT, NO PLAY.
8.5.2 Any situation where a player is removed from the game for not having a jersey after the game begins will be treated in the same manner as outlined in rule 6.1.
8.5.3 Players who lose their jersey will be required to purchase a replacement before being permitted to resume play.
8.5.4 Jerseys may not be altered in any way that obscures or otherwise interferes with any printing on it. Any player doing so will be required to purchase a replacement before being permitted to resume play. Cutting of sleeves is strongly discouraged.

8.6 Your registration form and waiver must be signed and league fees paid in full before you are permitted to play.
8.7 Questioning of umpires with regards to judgment calls such as balls, strikes, safes or outs will not be tolerated. Only coaches are permitted to discuss the interpretation of rules as stated in this document with umpires. Coaches are advised to have a copy of the rules with them at all games.