Tournament Rules
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For regular season rules, see the Season Rules page.

The tournament game rules shall be the 2023 USA Softball rules except for the following:

Tournament Eligibility

1.1 Teams must complete and record 10 regular season games by 11:59 pm on August 31st to be eligible to compete in the tournament. A forfeit loss will count in the rankings, but not as one of the required ten games. The top 32 teams in the League Standings as of midnight on August 31st will advance to the tournament. Seeding will be based on the standings. Should any team be unable to participate in the tournament, the next highest ranked team will be invited in their place.

Tournament Rosters

1.2 The deadline for submitting rosters for teams interested in playing in the tournament will be 11:59 pm on August 4th. Teams will be able to submit rosters online through their team pages. Tournament rosters are limited to 25 players.

Tournament Scheduling and Completion of Games

2.1 The tournament schedule and pairings will be made public on the league website several days in advance of the tournament as well as e-mailed to all coaches.

2.2 Games will not be postponed unless determined by league commissioners and posted on the league website. All teams are required to be at the tournament site at their designated times unless notified otherwise.

2.3 Once a game has begun, only league commissioners or tournament umpires may interrupt or end a game due to weather or field conditions. If such a circumstance should occur, pursuant to Rule 2.4, such games will be completed at a later time determined by league commissioners.

2.4 Except for the Final Four and Championship rounds, seven innings shall constitute a complete game unless the game reaches 55 minutes. No new innings shall begin after that time. If a game is tied after seven completed innings or 55 minutes, the game will continue into extra innings until a winner is determined.

For the Final Four and Championship rounds, no new innings shall begin after 1 hour and 15 minutes. If a game is tied after seven completed innings or 55 minutes, the game will continue into extra innings until a winner is determined.

2.5 All games will begin as scheduled unless delayed by a prior game. Team members should be ready to play 5 minutes prior to the scheduled starting time. If a team is unable to field a minimum number of players at that time, it will forfeit by a 7-0 score.

2.6 If, after 3 innings, one team's score is 20 or more runs greater than the other, the game will be declared over due to the "mercy rule." If, after 4 innings, one team's score is 15 or more runs greater than the other, the game will be declared over due to the "mercy rule." If, after 5 innings, one team's score is 10 or more runs greater than the other, the game will be declared over due to the “mercy rule.” This rule will NOT apply to the Final Four or Championship rounds.

2.7 If a team accepts a tournament invitation and, without notifying the League at least three days in advance, forfeits their first tournament game, they will be required before registering the following season to reimburse the League for costs associated with paying an umpire for that game.

Bats and Cleats

3.1 Only legal Amateur Softball Association (ASA) and USA Softball bats may be used in tournament games. For a complete list of approved bats, go to the certified equipment section of", or Baseball bats or altered bats may not be used. Anyone using an illegal bat after the start of any game will be ejected from the game. Umpires will check the bat prior to the start of each game.

3.2 Metal cleats or spikes of any kind may not be used. Players wearing them during the game will be ejected from the game.

Team Lineups

4.1 Teams must have a minimum of 8 players, with at least three females at all times. These positions must be identified in the batting order, and only females can substitute for those positions. Teams must field a pitcher and a catcher as part of the minimum requirement.

4.2 No one may play on more than one team during the tournament. Anyone caught playing for more than one team will result in the disqualification of those teams from the tournament.

4.3 Prior to each tournament game, the coaches must submit a line-up (with substitute players) to the umpire and other team. Anyone not listed on those lineups will not be permitted to participate in the game.

4.4 All substitutions must be reported to the umpire and the other team’s scorekeeper. Failure to do so may result in a team being declared batting out of order, resulting in outs.

4.5 Once a player has left the game, that player may re-enter the game only once and only if that player was a starter and may re-enter in the next half inning. Anyone re-entering the game must bat in that player’s original batting order position.

4.6 A pinch runner will be treated as a substitution and can only enter the game once, female for female and male for male.

4.7 Any eligible players on the official line-up, including available substitutes, may be used as a courtesy runner. A courtesy runner may be used once per inning (one male and one female runner). One male and one female must be of the same gender.

4.7 If, during the course of a tournament game, a female player is injured and there is no female substitute, the game may continue with an out being given in that batting slot, and down one player on defense. However, a team may not start a subsequent tournament game with only two female players.

4.8 A female may substitute for any other player, and a male may substitute for any male or a female other than the three female positions in the batting order.

4.9 A team can elect to use an extra hitter by adding an 11th player to the lineup. This is a starting position and must be maintained throughout the game. A team cannot add an extra hitter once the game starts.

4.10 The higher seeded team will be the home team for each game.

4.11 Per 2023 USA Softball rules - one male and one female at pitcher and catcher, pitcher and catcher combo cannot be 2 males or 2 females.

Game Play Rules

5.1 All games will be slow-pitch softball, and the pitcher may release the ball pursuant to USA rules, which permits a backhanded delivery.   Each at-bat will begin with a 1-1 count. One courtesy foul will be allowed when there are two strikes. A pitcher may intentionally walk a hitter by indicating so to the home plate umpire.

5.2 If a male batter preceding a female batter is walked on the first three pitches, the male batter is awarded second base in all cases. The female must then bat. However, if there are two outs, the female batter has the option to take first base by indicating so to the home plate umpire or hit away. In all cases, when the male batter is awarded second base, he must touch first base on his way to 2nd base.

5.3 Bunting is not allowed. Anyone judged to have bunted by the umpire will be called out.

5.4 A runner cannot leave a base until the pitched ball crosses the plate. Anyone leaving a base before the ball crosses the plate shall be called out. A runner may not advance on a passed ball or wild pitch.

5.5 On an overthrow that goes out of play, runners will be awarded the base towards which they were advancing toward when the throw was released by the fielder, plus one base. If the ball remains in play, runners may advance at their own risk.

Direction of a runner has no bearing on the base award given to the runner. Example: If a runner is retreating to first base as throw is released from the outfield towards first base, the runner would still be considered as advancing towards second base.

On a throw going out of play, that runner would be awarded third base. Similarly, a runner remaining on 1st base during the entire play would still be awarded third base on a throw going out of play.

5.6 A runner will be called out for interference if the runner interferes with the fielder who is attempting to field a batted or thrown ball. The runner shall at all times attempt to avoid the fielder who is attempting to field a batted or thrown ball. A runner will be called out and ejected from the tournament for maliciously or recklessly running into a fielder.

5.7 Before the start of the game teams must notify the umpire whether they plan on playing 3 outfielders and a rover or 4 outfielders. Outfielders must remain outside the cones until the ball is hit. A rover must stay inside the cones until the ball is hit. This alignment may not change during the course of the game.

5.8 Teams will be limited during tournament games to three homeruns per team. After the third homerun, each additional home run will count as an out until both teams reach three homeruns. At such time, each team will continue to be permitted an additional homerun until both teams have the same amount (the 1-and-1 rule). Any homeruns in excess of that will continue to result in an out.

5.9 Only the on-deck hitter, and first and third base coaches are permitted on the field when a team is at bat. The rest of the team must remain in the dugout or in the area behind the dugout.


6.1 A Friendly competition and good-spirited rivalry are expected. The USHSL Officials and league commissioners will not tolerate verbal abuse or physical threats from players, coaches, or spectators. Teams will be responsible for the conduct of their players, coaches, and spectators. Misconduct can result in ejection or forfeiture of a game.

6.2 The umpires and USHSL Officials shall have the authority and discretion to make decisions on any matters of conduct or questions not specifically covered in the rules.

6.3 The officiating will be done by umpires who are in absolute control of the game.

6.4 Only the designated team captain may raise a dispute or ask for a rule’s clarification. Judgment calls such as balls and strikes or outs may be questioned only for clarification purposes.

6.5 All disputes will be settled by the umpires or league commissioners. These decisions cannot be protested or appealed. Prolonged argumentation or abusive language directed at umpires or commissioners by any player, coach, or spectator will lead to ejection for the remainder of the tournament.

6.6 Any player, coach, or spectator ejected from a game must leave the entire facility and will be suspended from any participation for the following regular season and tournament play. Failure to immediately leave the facility will result in the entire team forfeiting the remainder of the tournament.

6.7 Any player, coach, or spectator ejected may petition the league commissioners for Early reinstatement.

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