Preamble and Purpose of the Touching Bases Softball League:
The Touching Bases softball program is a competitive league where the emphasis is for the players with disabilities to:
- Experience the competitive hitting and fielding of a true softball game
- To enjoy and learn the skills and rule of the game
- To work as team members with the goal of team play and sportsmanship
- Promote socialization and communication with each other leading to future friendships
The benefits to the players of the Touching Bases Program include:
- Team play
- Understanding the game
- Following coaching instructions
- Personal development
The rules are broken down into the following categories for ease in review by all coaches and participants:
- Administrative Rules
- Rules for play
- All players who are present at a game will be included in the batting line-up.
- No player shall sit more than one consecutive inning when their team is in the field. Each player should play at least 50% of the game.
- There is free substitution for all players on the field.
- The game will be played with a maximum of 10 fielding players (including a 4 th outfielder). There must be a minimum of 7 fielders at the start of play (both coaches and the umpire will determine an acceptable length of time to wait for the start of play), for the game to count as an official game. Otherwise, that team will forfeit the game. In the event that a team does not have 7 players to start a game, the game may then be played as a scrimmage with players from the larger team moving to the smaller team to even out the size of the teams.
- A coach of the offensive team may be used to pitch to his/her own team if no player pitchers are available. A player pitcher will only pitch to his/her own team unless otherwise agreed upon by both coaches and the umpire.
- Where defensive teams have no players for the catching position, available volunteers can play the catching position. Any plays at home, however, must be made by a player who moves in to cover that position.
- Coaches/volunteers may be used as umpires. Good sportsmanship is extremely important. Any disagreement in the interpretation of the rules should be worked out discreetly between the coaches when no umpire is available. If further interpretation of a rule is needed, any member of the board or the rules committee may be called upon to assist. The league does not allow game protests. All rule disagreements are worked out during the game day.
- A team may bat until 3 outs have been made or until there have been a maximum of 10 batters that inning. If a team does not have 10 players present and 3 outs have not been made, one or more batters may bat twice (following the pre-established batting order) until a total of 10 batters is reached.
- The head coach is responsible for monitoring the actions of his/her team’s associate coaches, players, and parents; for promoting good sportsmanship; and for dealing with objectionable behavior. Repeat offenses will be addressed by the board of directors.
- Only two base coaches (1 st and 3 rd) will be allowed.
- Coaches will rate their players’ batting abilities prior to each game and will provide these ratings to the other team’s scorekeeper. These ratings will not change during the course of a game however, they may be revised prior to the start of the next game. Ratings will be as follows:
- Only hits live pitching
- May require a tee, but will start with live pitching
- Is only able to bat off a tee
- Each team should have three active coaches per game including one head coach and two base or assistant coaches. Additional volunteers may be used to assist players throughout the game.
- All games should begin promptly at 6:00 PM on weekdays.
- All games will have a two hour time limit, beginning at 6:00. The Commissioner of Touching Bases will signal a blast with a siren or horn to denote that the two hour limit has been reached and all play will stop at that time. Games that begin after 6:00 PM will not go beyond this time limit. Games may also be called due to darkness or inclement weather after mutual agreement between the umpire and respective team coaches, or by the league commissioner or designee.
Any rule changes must be presented formally by a proposing person(s) to the Touching Bases Board of Directors for discussion and voting. The proposing person(s) will present the request to the board and will discuss the need for the rule and the rationale for the change.
Rules of play :
- Player sliding of any kind is prohibited. In the interests of safety, collisions should be avoided by the offensive player. A defensive player may not block the base path unless he/she is making a play.
- There will be no lead-offs. Players cannot advance off a base or around the bases until the ball is hit and is in play.
- No base stealing is allowed.
- A side will be retired after three outs or when the offensive team has batted a maximum of 10 players as per administrative rule #8.
- There will be a limit of seven reasonable pitches (at the discretion of the umpire) for an “A” rated batter. “B” rated batters may request a tee if having difficulty with a pitched ball or after 2 strikes. A “B” player can decide that they do not want to use the tee, however, they then risk being called out after 7 reasonable pitches, the same as for an “A” batter.
- There will be no called balls and no walks. There will also be no called strikes. Strikes will only be called when a player swings and misses.
- Foul balls are considered strikes except on the 3 rd strike. A player must swing and miss to be called out on a 3 rd strike. They may also be called out after they have been pitched 7 reasonable pitches (as determined by the umpire) and have been unable to hit the ball.
- If a runner cannot continue to run on the bases for whatever reason, the player who made the previous out should take his/her place on the base. If this occurs in the first inning and no outs have yet been made, the last player in the line-up will replace the player who is unable to continue.
- Base coaches should refrain from making contact with base runners to advance them on the base path (unless physical assistance is needed). Such contact will result in a warning from the umpire.
- The infield fly rule does not apply.
- An out will be counted as a caught fly ball, a caught foul ball, a tagged runner, a force-out on a base, or three swings and misses of the bat. All outs must be accomplished by
- a touching bases team member. A volunteer or coach serving as a catcher, pitcher, or fielding partner, cannot make an out.
- The pitcher must stay near the designated pitching rubber. A player pitcher will only pitch to his/her own team. They will be relieved prior to their turn at bat. A coach may be used as pitcher when there is no player pitcher available or when the player pitcher is batting. The coach pitcher will also pitch to his/her own team. There will also be a defensive pitcher at all times to make plays for the defensive team. This player must remain behind the pitching mound until the ball is hit.
- In order to have a fair game, it is imperative that fielders remain on or behind their bases until the ball is hit. No one is to play in front of a base or the pitching mound before a ball is hit.
- When a ball is hit, play stops at the discretion of the umpire. A double (two bases) is the maximum hit unless otherwise agreed upon by the coaches and the umpire prior to the start of the game. There are no home runs unless awarded by the umpire.
- Catchers will wear all protective equipment designed for that position.
- Touching bases league uniforms and hats are strongly encouraged to be worn during all league and playoff games.
- Regulation softball/baseball gloves should be used by all defensive players. The umpire will inspect all questionable equipment and make a determination if the equipment is acceptable or needs to be replaced.
- Incrediball® Softstitch Softballs will be used during regular season and playoff play.
- Protective helmets will be worn by all offensive team batters, base runners, batters on deck and catchers. Protective helmets should fit snugly and should not fall off during the course of running.
- It is recommended that all players, both male and female, wear protective cups during practice and play.