Softball Rules | Recreational Services
The University of Iowa

Softball Rules

 Rule 1: Facility | Rule 2: Player Eligibility | Rule 3: Team Composition | Rule 4: Equipment | Rule 5: Ground Rules | 
Rule 6: Game Time and Length | Rainout Hotline Information

The rules and regulations for 2018 Intramural Softball will be those set by USA Softball with the following exceptions.The Intramural Sports Staff will have the final say on any rules or protests.  Recent rule changes appear in italicized font.

Rule 1: Facility

  1. All games will be played at the Hawkeye Softball Complex unless otherwise communicated directly with teams. Alcohol and tobacco are not permitted inside the complex or in the parking lot.
  2. Teams shall remain clear of the fields while games are in progress. Warming up can occur only in the designated areas. No infield practice before games and between innings is allowed.

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Rule 2: Player Eligibility

  1. All Intramural Sports eligibility rules apply. Please check the Intramural Sports Rules and Regulations carefully.
  2. All players must check-in with a government-issued photo ID cards or University ID cards with the supervisor prior to the start of each game.

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Rule 3: Team Composition

  1. Eight players must be present to start a game. No outs will be taken for vacant lineup spots. Players may be inserted into the lineup upon arrival after they have checked-in with the supervising staff.
  2. Teams can choose to bat up to a maximum of 12 players or bat the 10 players in the field and use any remaining players as substitutes.
    • Co-Rec modification: Teams may have a maximum of five males and five females in the field at one time. Teams may also participate with four males and four females in the field at one time. Teams with nine players may have five males and four females or four males and five females. 
    • Co-Rec modification: The batter order must alternate between male and female batters. 
    • Co-Rec modification: If a team is playing with an uneven number of each gender, the players of the outnumbered gender will advance one spot in the batting order each time through the order. 
      • Example - Batting order for a team with 5 males and 4 females:
        • Male 1, Female 1, Male 2, Female 2, Male 3, Female 3, Male 4, Female 4, Male 5, Female 1, Male 1, Female 2 etc. 
    • Co-Rec modification: The alternating batting order will utilize the difference of one principle. The line-up requirements are as follows:
      •  12 players in the batting order – 6 males and 6 females
      • 11 players in the batting order – 6 males and 5 females or 5 males and 6 females
      • 10 players in the batting order – 5 males and 5 females
      • 9 players in the batting order – 5 males and 4 females, 4 males and 5 females
      • 8 players in the batting order – 4 males and 4 females
  3. A player may leave the game and return after his/her substitute has batted, and has played at least three defensive outs in the field provided the player occupies the same batting position in the batting order. 
    • A team may only use one Courtesy Runner per inning. The Courtesy Runner can be anyone on that team's roster. If an injury occurs during the at-bat or while a running the bases, a Courtesy Runner may be used to take the place of the injured runner. If a Courtesy Runner's spot in the batting order comes up while that runner is on base, an out will be recorded, the base vacated, and that person shall bat. A Courtesy Runner will not be allowed if, after batting the ball, the batter-runner reaches third base safely. 
      • For Co-Rec games the courtesy runner or substitute must match the gender of the player needing a courtesy runner.
  4. A team must finish a game with at least eight players, except in the event of an injury.
  5. If a position in the batting order is vacated and no substitutes are available to take that position the following will be enforced:
    • A vacated position in the batting order due to ejection will result in an out in that spot for the remainder of the game.
    • All other situations in which a position in the batting order is vacated (such as injury, needing to leave the game early) will not result in an out.

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Rule 4: Equipment

  1. All players must wear close toed shoes. Tennis shoes, soft-soled shoes, and one piece softball shoes are legal. Metal spikes or cleats with metal exposed are not allowed.
    • Any player found wearing metal spikes in the field of play during his/her team’s defensive half of the inning will be removed from the game and that team will play short-handed for the remainder of that half inning.
    • Any player found wearing metal spikes in the field of play during his/her team’s offensive half of the inning will be declared out.
      • Any runners that have advanced as a result of a hit by the player wearing illegal equipment will return to the bases they previously occupied.
    • If the player does not have other shoes/cleats he/she will not be allowed to participate in that game.
    • A player cannot be called out once the play is completed and the player in question has entered into his/her team’s dugout.
  2. Each team shall provide their own softballs that must be  12” softballs (USA Softball approved .52 COR or under and 300.0 lbs). At the start of each game teams will exchange two of their own balls with their opponent who will verify these specifications. The batting team will hit their own balls that will be pitched to them by the pitching team. Throughout the game the pitching team will be responsible for verifying that the correct balls are being used as they are introduced into the game.   
    • Co-Rec modification: Co-rec teams will not exchange balls as they will pitch to their own batters. 
  3. Participants are encouraged to wear personal safety equipment.
  4. Players must supply their own gloves and bats.
  5. Only USA Softball approved softball bats may be used.
    • A complete list of illegal bats is available from the Intramural Supervisor.

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Rule 5: Ground Rules

  1. A coin toss will determine the home and away teams.
  2. Each batter will start with a 1-and-1 count. A foul ball on the third strike will be recorded as a strikeout.
    • Co-Rec modification: Co-rec batters will receive three pitches that will be pitched by their teammate.
  3. A runner may not lead-off or steal. He or she must remain on the base until the ball crosses home plate or is contacted by the batter. If this occurs the player leading off or stealing will be called out.   
  4. There will be a three over-the-fence home run limit for each team in each game. Any home run over the limit will result in an out. If both teams reach the home run limit, teams can then hit additional home runs until one team has one more home run than the other. At this point, only the team with fewer home runs may hit one.
  5. The infield fly rule will be applied.
  6. A legal pitch will have a minimum arc of six feet and a maximum arc of twelve feet.
    • Co-Rec modification: Co-rec teams will pitch to their own batters. The batter and pitcher have three pitches to put the ball into play. Pitches below six feet will be deemed illegal and count as one of the batter's three pitches.  
    • Co-Rec modification: The pitcher is part of the offensive team. They cannot touch the ball or interfere with play in any way. If they are hit by a ball, touch the ball or interfere with play, the batter will be declared out and the runners must return to their base.
  7. The batting team is responsible for keeping its own score and reporting it to the umpire after each half inning. The umpire is the final judge in case of a score discrepancy.
  8. Base path lengths will be 70 feet for all divisions.
  9. Pitchers must toss from the pitching rubber furthest from home plate. 
    • Co-Rec modification: All outfielders must begin the play behind the outfield restriction line (180- foot arc from home plate), and remain behind the line until the batter hits the pitch. Penalty: The batter and all base runners will be awarded one base unless each has advanced one base safely, in which case the play proceeds without reference to the violation, and all runners may advance at their own peril.
  10. When a ball is overthrown and ends up out of playable territory, such as over the fence or in the dugout, the base runner(s) will be allowed the base they were going to plus one additional base.

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Rule 6: Game Time and Length

  1. Games will last seven innings (six and a half if the home team is ahead) or 50 minutes, whichever occurs first.  No new inning may begin after the 50-minute mark has been reached.
  2. A game that is tied at the end of seven innings or 50 minutes will continue into the next inning, and each half inning thereafter, with the offensive team placing the player that was last scheduled to bat in the previous inning on second base. The inning will begin with zero outs. Each half inning will continue as such until a winner is declared. 
  3. In the case of rain, or other occurrences, a game will become official after the completion of five innings (four and a half if the home team is ahead). If less than a legal game has been completed, the game shall be suspended at this point.
  4. There will be a 10-run rule in effect after the fifth inning and a 15-run rule in effect after the fourth inning.
  5. If inclement weather occurs while games are in progress, the decision to continue or stop will be made by the Intramural Sports Supervisor.

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Rain Line - (319) 333-7032 Ex. 3

If there is inclement weather and outdoor sports are scheduled, call our Rain Line for the most up-to-date information on the status of games.

You can download the RainOut Line app in the Apple App Store or Google Play. You can use this app to check the status of Intramural Sports contests right from your smartphone! Download the app, search "Recreational Services" and select "The University of Iowa Recreational Services." It's that easy!