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Tri-State Senior Softball League

Rules and Responsibilities

Updated May 09, 2023

(Changes are reflected with an asteric *)


Code of Ethics

As a participant in Tri-State Senior Softball League, I agree to conduct myself as a gentleman or lady both on and off the

field and when playing I will:

  • Abide by the “TSSSL Playing Rules” to the best of my ability.
  • Accept the decision of the umpires and my team manager in good sportsmanship.
  • No use of Tobacco or Alcohol at any TSSSL field (city and county rules).
  • Never taunt nor degrade my opponent.
  • Avoid bodily contact that may cause injury to myself or others.
  • Never direct abusive or profane language at officials or opponents.
  • Exercise control over my family members and friends to the extent possible.
  • Never commit any act that could be considered unsportsmanlike conduct.

Playing Rules

1. Game Rules

    • Official Senior Softball-USA (SS-USA) slow-pitch softball rules apply, except as modified/reinforced herein. (see – click on tab Tournaments + Rules).
    • There shall be no rule changes on the field.
    • All TSSSL players are expected to abide by the Code of Ethics document.

2. Equipment


a. All bats used by any player must be certified and approved by the league prior to use in practice or a game. Bats with a BPF rating of 1.21 and on the approved list by SSUSA are authorized for players 70 and older and all FEMALE players.  ALL players under 70 shall use bats with a BPF rating of 1.20 and have certifications for ASA/USA Softball.  Also, bats certified in prior years remain legal for league use unless an older bat is decertified by ASA/USA Softball due to failed re-testing or if the bat was voluntarily removed by the manufacturer from re-testing.


b. To insure player safety, managers are responsible to assure that players on their team do not use illegal, altered or unapproved bats.  The penalty for use of an illegal or altered bat will cause immediate suspension of any future league play. In addition, the player will be called out and no runners on base shall advance.


*c. Softballs used for league play are determined by the Board annually. Beginning 2023, both men and women hit the standard 12-inch softball.


d. Metal Cleats are not permitted.


e. Uniforms- TSSSL acquires team sponsors.  Each uniform will have a minimum 5” number on the back and no number shall be the same.


3. The Team


a. All regular team members in attendance will be included in the batting order and play on field at least three innings of the game on defense.


b. A team may play with no less than nine players from start to finish and may use a volunteer catcher from the opposing team.  Note, the opposing team catcher will not bat. If unable to play with at least nine players, the game is forfeited.


*c. Extra Players (EP) - If a team is short of roster players available to play, the manager may acquire NO MORE THAN two EPs from teams not playing that day up to 11 players.  Any EP shall be compatible to the player or players missing, this includes age (no more than 2 years + or -) and playing ability.  The EP shall bat last in the batting order. If two EPs are not enough, then the manager is to follow rule 3-b above.


d. If a regular team member arrives late, he or she shall be placed at the end of the batting lineup and into the defense.  If an EP was in use, the EP shall stay in the game, but will bat only.  The EP could return to defense if there is an injury or other reason to necessitate the need.


e. If a player has to leave the game prior to its completion, the team will not be charged an out due to the vacancy.  The line-up simply “collapses”.


f. Teams may play with an eleventh player on the field; this “roaming player” may play as an extra infielder, outfielder or as a short fielder.  If as a short fielder, may play anywhere in the outfield including in front of the 165 foot line.


g. All outfielders must play behind the 165 foot arc.

4. The Playing Field


a. A commitment line shall be placed between third base and home, marked across and perpendicular to the foul line and placed thirty feet from home plate and 40 feet from third base.  Once a runner has crossed the commitment line he/she cannot return to third base and must continue home.

b. A strike zone mat is placed at Home plate to determine the strike zone.

c. A 165 foot arc from home plate is to be placed prior to the game.  All outfielders must play behind the arc.

d. Bases shall be set 70 feet apart.  The pitching rubber is to be 50 feet from home plate in accordance with SS-USA rules.

e. There is to be a “double” base at first.  All runners must touch the outside base.

f. Home plate for runners is perpendicular from the first base line and 8 (eight) feet from the batting home plate.  All runners coming home to score must touch this base.

g. The Home Team sits at the First base “dugout” and the third base side is the visiting team.  Exception may be at City Park fields where seating is inadequate or nonexistent.


5. The Game


a. All single games begin at 6:30 PM on Halfway A & B, lighted fields and games on Halfway C & City Park will begin at 6 PM. All games are 8 innings.  In the event of a shortened game due to weather or darkness, a game will be considered complete at 5 innings, 4 ½ if the home team has the lead.  After 5 innings, shortened games will revert back to the last complete innings unless the home team has the lead.

b. Game cancellations due to inclement weather or extreme heat are determined by the managers.  However, managers must adhere to any decision by the Board of Directors or the field maintenance crews regarding fitness of the ground for a game or any cancellation.

c. Flip-Flop Rule-If a team is ahead by 15 or more runs after 7 innings, the team behind may remain at bat after three outs and start the last inning.  If the team fails to tie or go ahead, the game ends.  However, if the team behind does tie or go ahead, the team that was on the field will take their turn at bat their last inning.

d. Plays at Home Plate: On all plays at home, the defensive player needs only to be in possession of the ball and touch home plate (not the extension plate).  An out will be recorded if home is touched before the runner touches the extension plate.  Tagging the runner in this situation is not allowed.

e. THE PITCH to the batter must have an arc of at least 6 feet from the ground and no more than 12 feet high.  The umpire determines if the pitch is illegal and should make the call as soon as the under 6 or over 12 is determined.  If illegal is called, it is a ball. However, the batter may still hit the ball.

f. A strike is called when the pitched ball hits any part of the home plate or mat.

g. Intentional walks are allowed and may be called for by simply a motion by the pitcher.

*h. WALK to a male batter, whether intentional or not, if before a female batter, will be awarded first base and the female then has the option of either taking her at bat or accepting a walk.

6. Umpires


a. With only a few exceptions, the team batting will provide the umpires during their half of the inning.  These Base and Home Plate Umpires are selected by the Managers of each team based on their ability to judge calls and knowledge of game rules.  The opposing manager may discretely request the removal of any umpire that they deem incapable or lack the proper knowledge to call a fair game.

b. If necessary, the umpires may confer with each other to make a decision on a call.  The manager is permitted to inquire on their interpretation of these rules.

c. Every effort should be made by the Managers to resolve issues and rules interpretations during the game. However, if necessary, the TSSSL Board of Directors will review and make decisions on any rule interpretations and render a final decision.

d. INFIELD FLY - Any umpire may make a call on an infield fly which is deemed as a “fair fly ball”, not including a line drive, which can be caught by any infielder, pitcher or catcher with ordinary effort.  This pertains to when the bases are occupied at 1st and 2nd or if the bases are loaded with less than 2 out.


7. At Bat


*a. If a foul ball is hit on the third strike, the batter is out.  Similarly, for all double-header games, the count will start at 1-1 and one courtesy foul on strike three is permitted, but the next foul is an out.

b. Any foul tip caught by the catcher before hitting the ground is ruled an out, regardless of height of the foul.

8. Base Runner Rules


*a. Sliding is permitted ONLY if there is a play at second or third base.  This is for fielder safety. The runner will be called OUT if he slides into a base for no reason. Sliding into first and home is NOT permitted and the runner will be called out.  Diving back into 1st, 2nd or 3rd is permitted..

b. Where a slide is permitted, the legs and feet are to be down at the base.  Any runner who slides with legs & feet up to potentially cause injury to a fielder will be called out.

c. The Batter/runner must touch the “orange” or outside portion of the double base at first base when running thru the base. However, if going for extra bases, may use the “white” or inside base to continue to second.

d. When a runner from third passes the commitment line, he/she MUST continue home.  The runner will be called out if returning to third after crossing the commitment line.

e. As described in 4-f, the original home plate is used by the defense.  If any runner coming home to score does NOT go to the scoring plate and touches the original home plate, they will be called out.

*f. All runners shall advance one base on overthrows that go beyond the fence & out of play.  At the time the ball goes out of play, runners will be given the base they were going to PLUS the next base.  If multiple runners are on base, the advancement is determined by the position of the lead runner.  Gates leading into the “dugout” should be closed during play in order to stop a ball, if open and a ball goes in, it’s considered out of play.

g. Avoiding Collisions, A runner must make every effort to avoid colliding with a defensive player while running bases. If, in the umpire’s judgment the runner missed a base to avoid a collision with a defensive player, the runner will not be called out.  Furthermore, if a runner is forced out prior to reaching the base on a force play, the runner should peel out so as to not interfere with a double play.  In such a case, the umpire may rule the other runner out.

h. Obstruction, No defender can block a runner on a base or base path unless he has possession of the ball or is in the act of fielding a batted ball.  This is to eliminate collisions on the base path.  Any violation will award the base runner an extra base.

i. All batters are required to run to first base.  The only exception is 70+ players who ask for a Courtesy Runner (CR) from home plate. Additionally, a team may designate ONE player less than 70 that has an injury that prevents running from home.  In these situations, the CR will start behind the Catcher with his/her hand on the backstop perpendicular to the first base line and can start AFTER the ball is struck by the batter.  The batter/base runner is limited to first base only unless there is an overthrow by the defense that goes out of play.

j. Once any batter reaches first base, they may request a Courtesy Runner.

k. Courtesy Runner (CR) – Any player in the lineup can serve as a CR, however just one time per inning.  Once a CR is on the base for another player, he/she cannot be replaced by another CR.  In a situation where the CR is on base when it is his/her turn to bat, the CR will remain on the base, but an out will be recorded for the at bat. The only exception to this rule is when a CR becomes injured or ill while on base.  In that case, the injured CR is removed from the game and lineup, a new CR is permitted and no out will be recorded as in Rule 3-E.


9. Safe Zone


a. The playing field shall have a marginal line in the outfield in the form of an arc 165 feet from home plate for the purpose of forming a Safe Zone between the infield and outfield.  The line shall be clearly marked so that it is understood by all players.

b. All outfielders shall play behind the line until the ball is hit. Likewise, all infielders must remain in the dirt portion of the infield until the ball is struck.  The only exception to Safe Zone play is the roaming player as described in 3-F.

c. If early Safe Zone encroachment occurs by the defense, (judgment of the umpire) the batter shall be awarded first base and any runners on base will advance one base.

d. Batter/Base runner shall be awarded first base when a batted ball reaches the grass in the Safe Zone, even if touched by an infielder.  However, a ball in the grass will not prohibit a force out on any other base runners.

10. Scoring Limitations


a. A team will be limited to scoring 5 runs per inning with two exceptions, the last inning when unlimited runs can be scored and if a team is 6 or more behind. In that case, the team can score more than 5, but no more than to cause a tie game.


b. In extra innings, there are no limitations on runs scored by either team.


11. Make Up Games


*a.  All three fields at Marty Snook Park are now available Monday thru Thursday.  Any games that are not played because of weather or are not completed due to weather or darkness will be played/completed within two weeks and/or via a double-header, whichever comes first.  If the game is not completed by that time, both teams will be given a forfeit.  

b. Make up Doubleheader games will be 6 innings in length with batters starting with a 1 ball/ 1 strike count.  These games will be considered complete after 4 innings or 3 ½ if the home team is in the lead.


c. When a game that was stopped due to weather, when they resume will pick up at the last completed inning.  When resuming the game, each team may start with a new line up and will start at the top of the batting order like it was a new game.


Additional SSUSA Rules NOT required by TSSSL.


6.17 Pitcher protective face mask- Recommended only.

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