Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some modifications to softball rules have been mandated. As of February 26th, we are still waiting for the updated return to play guidelines. As the protocols and guidelines are updated by the PSO these updates will be communicated to all teams registered in the league and posted on our rules page.
Urban Rec Softball Rules
- SPN (Slo-Pitch National) rules apply except for exceptions detailed by the specific Urban Rec rules for your league
- Check the list of banned bats in your league-specific rules and ensure that your team does not use any of the banned bats during league games
- A full starting lineup for all of our softball leagues is 10 players:
- Thunderchicken- 5 guys/5 girls (for fall season, the Maxfun ratio of 5/5 or 6/4 of either gender as mentioned below is used)
- Maxfun- one of the following: 5 guys/5 girls, 6 girls/4 guys, or 6 guys/4 girls
- Batting order must be guy/girl/guy/girl (or vice versa) regardless of how many players of each gender a team has
- SPN Rules can be found by clicking here
- Banned Bats – a list of approved bats can be found by clicking here
A team that with a banned bat as a first time offence will confiscated by the Urban Rec staff and be returned at the end of the season. A team that is caught with a banned bat as a second offence will receive an automatic 4 week suspension from league play. Don’t bring banned bats – leave them at home or in the car. If they are in your bat bag or sitting on the grass – they are constituted to being in play.
*For all Maxfun leagues*- each team must have their own set of bases for use during the season. The home team is responsible for providing and setting up the bases prior to the start time of the game (however, it is recommended that both teams bring their set to each game in case something is missing/forgotten).
Each set must consist of the following:
- Home plate
- Home plate extension mat
- First base (with orange safety bag)
- 2nd & 3rd bases
- 65-foot rope (for measuring distance between bases as well as from 1st/3rd base to the encroachment cone)
- Cones x 4
*For Thunderchicken leagues- bases are provided by the league. The home team for the first game of the night on each field is responsible for picking the baes up from the storage area for their field and setting them up prior to the first game. The losing team in the final game of the night is responsible for collecting the bases and bringing them back to the storage area for that field.
There are no glass bottles allowed at the fields. 1st offense will result in an automatic 4 game probation. 2nd offense will result in a 4 game suspension and disqualification from the playoffs.
- All games will be played as scheduled unless otherwise noted on the rain out line which will be updated 2 hours before the first game of the day at 604-878-RAIN (7246). Urban Rec staff (League Managers) will determine if conditions are unsafe to begin play if conditions worsen throughout the day. If conditions are unsafe for play, then play will be cancelled at Urban Rec’s discretion. If this occurs, the League Managers will notify each team at the fields and via phone call that play is halted for the day. If 4 or more innings of play have been completed, the game score at that point will stand and the game will NOT be rescheduled. If less than 4 innings of play have been completed, the game may be rescheduled if possible. If play is NOT cancelled by Urban Rec but the two team captains mutually agree to not play a game (or to stop playing after a game has begun), then the game will NOT be rescheduled and the score at the time will stand as the game result. In this situation, both team captains must notify Urban Rec League Managers so that there is no dispute. If one team unilaterally decides to not play and leaves, then that team will be held to the default policy unless Urban Rec agrees that conditions warranted play being halted.
- No steal cleats are allowed.
- The home team on the schedule will get last at bats.
- A maximum of 10 players on the field at any time, of which a maximum of 6 players of either gender may be on the field (i.e. 6 males and 4 females, 5 males and 5 females, 4 males and 6 females) for MaxFun and fall Thunderchicken leagues (for spring summer Thunderchicken leagues, the maximum is 5 of either gender on the field). To avoid a forfeit a team needs a minimum of 8 total players including at least 3 of each gender. If you have 8 players, but only 2 of one gender, this is not sufficient – you need to have at least 3 of each gender. If a team of at least 8 players (including at least 3 of each gender) cannot be fielded within 15 minutes of the scheduled start time, the game will be recorded as a 1-0 victory for the opposing team. The team unable to field a minimum lineup will be subject to the Urban Rec Default Policy to compensate the other team. At this point it is encouraged that the teams redistribute players and just play for fun.
- Games are limited to 90 minutes in length to ensure all games are completed. Teams are not permitted to go over their game time thus bumping the following games from starting on time.
- for Maxfun leagues, there is generally only one time slot for weekday games- 6:30pm. Sunday game times are generally 2:00pm, 3:30pm, 5:00pm & 6:30pm.
- for Thunderchicken leagues, gametimes are generally 5:45pm, 7:15pm, and 8:45pm (on some nights of play)
- No new inning may start after 75 minutes; teams are responsible for watching the time to ensure they don’t bump the games following them.
- If a game reaches the 90-minute limit then the game will be called and the score will revert back to the previous completed inning.
- A regulation game will consist of seven innings (time permitting) and the three-out rule. Mercy rule of 5 runs per inning is in effect for all but the last inning which is open. If teams are unable to complete 7 innings in their allocated game time, then the result of the last completed inning will be recorded as the game result.
- If tied after 7 innings, the eighth inning (time permitting) is started with the last batter from the previous inning immediately put on second in both the top and bottom of the inning. If time will not permit a tie-breaking inning, then the game shall be recorded as a tie.
- Teams must decide rules governing balls hit into a short outfield (if the field has a short outfield). Recommended that balls hit into short outfields are considered ground rule doubles.
- A batting order and list of substitute players must be filled out by each team prior to the start of each game. Batting order must remain as listed on the game sheet. A team can have more than 10 players in their batting order. Batting order must alternate male/female
- *New Rule* If a team has only 3 of one gender, then ONE automatic out will be added to their lineup at the point where the ‘4th’ player of that gender would be up to bat. If a team has four of one gender, there is no automatic out.
- Safety bags are used at 1st base. If the runner touches the white half of the bag they will be considered still in play and may be tagged out if not touching the base. A runner who intends to over-run first must only touch the orange half of the bag. The first baseman should never be touching the orange half of the bag if this occurs the runner will be called safe under any circumstance where an out depended on the fielding team being in contact with first base.
- A 130-foot encroachment line (distance from home plate to the outfield as marked by two cones; one cone on the 1st base line and 1 cone on the 3rd base line) will be used. If any of the 4 fielders (3 outfielders & the rover) are inside the boundary indicated by the encroachment line at the time the ball is hit, the batter will receive a free pass to 1st base after the conclusion of the play. NO base runner will be in jeopardy of being put out at the next base they are going to. If batter hits the ball past the fielders encroaching, then the play would continue with the ball being live. Once the bat makes contact with the ball, the fielders are free to come past the encroachment line.
- There is no encroachment line for the infielders other than the pitcher (the pitcher must pitch from a position located on a line between 1st and 3rd bases). The pitcher must be standing between 50 and 65 feet when pitching.
- A pitch is a strike if it has a 6 to 12 foot arc and it either lands on home plate or on the pitching mat. It will be called a ball otherwise. The pitcher must be directly between 1st and 3rd base as per SPN Rules.
- *RULE AMENDMENT FOR 2021- Any batter (regardless of gender) who is walked on four straight pitches (4-0 count) will be awarded second base. Any base runners will also advance only if forced to do so by the player who was awarded second base. E.g. if there are runners on 1st and 2nd, the runner on 1st would end up on 3rd and the runner on 2nd would come home; if there is a runner on 2nd (but no runner on 1st), they would advance to 3rd base only.
- A foul ball on the 3rd strike is an out.
- Bunting is not allowed.
- No leading off or stealing of bases is allowed. Base runners cannot leave the base until the ball has been hit. Should a player leave the base prior to bat-ball contact they are out.
- Sliding is allowed at any 2nd and 3rd base but must not interfere with the fielding team completing a play otherwise the sliding player will be called “out”. A player may slide into 1st if they are on their way back from second base only. A player who slides into first from home will be called out. This will be decided at the discretion of the umpire only.
- Games are self-umpired. The team at bat will provide a player to be the umpire at home base as well as an assisting official at 1st (and 3rd if necessary) who can assist the umpire. The umpire’s final decision will not be argued under any circumstance. The integrity of the league rests on the integrity of the players to fairly officiate the games. Any issues that arise should be discussed between team captains only and if they are unable to agree on a solution the situation will be documented and brought to the attention of the League Manager as soon as is practical .
- On close plays, the tie always goes to the fielding team (as the batting team is umpiring).
- A player that touches home base or the home plate mat must be called out – players must run behind the plate and mat to avoid collisions. A commitment line exists 20 feet from home plate. Once a runner has rounded third and gone beyond the commitment line they must continue to home plate and may not return to third base.
- All plays at home are a force out; once a player passes the commitment line (approximately 20 feet from home plate- marked by a cone) they can only be put out by a force out at home. A player cannot be tagged at home plate.
- Home plate is considered fair territory; the mat is considered foul territory. If a batted ball hits home plate and then remains in fair territory, the ball is live and in play. If a batted ball hits the mat and then moves to fair territory, it is a foul ball.
- Ball Out of Bounds “Overthrow” Rule: base runners are entitled to advance when a batted ball is fair but goes out of bounds, whether or not the ball is first touched by a fielder (i.e. the fielder makes an overthrow). Out of bounds is considered to be when the ball passes past the fence line along 1st and 3rd base lines, or approximately 5 meters outside of the baseline. Prior to the game starting, team captains should agree on what constitutes a ball out of play. Once the ball is out of bounds, the ball is dead- base runners are awarded two bases from the base held at the time of the pitch or a single base beyond the one they were approaching (more than ½ way there) or had safely reached prior to an overthrow.
- Please note that the consumption of alcoholic beverages in public is illegal and is subject to a fine if apprehended by the Vancouver Police Department.
- Please be responsible for the cleanup of your dugout area following play.
Play-off games ONLY
Any game tied at the end of regulation play will continue into extra innings until a winner is declared using the following format:
- At the beginning of each extra half inning, the team at bat will start with a runner at second base and with one out.
- The runner starting at second base must be the last batter available in that inning. That is, they must be the person who precedes in the batting order the first person to bat in their half of the inning.
- A player must play a minimum of 2 games in the regular season, and be on a teams’ roster to be eligible for playoffs.
The Urban Rec Softball League has a long standing tradition of good old fashioned fun! We encourage you to solve any conflicts with respect for your opponent and in keeping with the intended fun atmosphere. Any situation that arises should be resolved calmly and respectfully by the two team captains.
The MaxFun Fall Softball League has NO RAINOUTS. Please note that all games will be played RAIN OR SHINE
Note that the above details are generic Softball rules. The rules for each specific league may differ.