Working the Slot
Working the Plate
24 Inch Pitching Lane Violations
2019 Softball Rules
Leap Crow Hop
Batting Out of Order
Calling the Pitch
illegal Crow Hop
Obstruction at 3rd Base
Legal Removal/Double Touch
Obstruction-Pick-Off at 1B
Fair or Foul down Line
Over Base Fair or Foul
Look Back Rule
Softball Rules Changes - 2021
Due to the COVID interruption of the 2020 Season, there are no 2021 Rules changes
Softball Rules Changes - 2020
NFHS Softball Rules Changes - 2020
1-5-1e, 2-4, 2-4-3, 7-4-2 PENALTY NOTE: Damaged bats are defined. Rationale: Clarifies that a damaged bat is removed from the game without penalty.
6-1-1: Prior to starting the delivery (pitch), the pitcher shall take a position with the pivot foot in contact with the pitcher's plate.
Rationale: Clarifies that the pivot foot must be in contact with the pitcher’s plate, rather than on the top surface of the pitcher’s plate.
9-1-1 EXCEPTION c: A run is not scored if the runner advances to home plate during action in which the third out is made by the preceding runner who is declared out on an appeal play.
Rationale: Clarifies that on any appeal play, a run is not scored if the third out is made by a preceding runner.
2020 SOFTBALL MAJOR EDITORIAL CHANGES
1-1-7: Clarifies that game management or a state administrator may establish a dead-ball media area within the confines of the field, but that area will remain a dead-ball area throughout the game. By Iowa Adaptation, a ball passing through the media box is ruled dead ONLY if the media box is occupied while the ball passes through it.
1-5-1d: Updates to add the new USA Softball All Games certification mark. 8-4-3d PENALTY: Clarifies that the batter-runner, not the batter is awarded bases
when a fielder intentionally contacts the ball with detached equipment.
2020 SOFTBALL EDITORIAL CHANGES
1-2-3, 2-22-4, 2-57-3, 3-4-1c, 7-1-2 PENALTY 2
2020 SOFTBALL POINTS OF EMPHASIS
Bat certification marks and USA Softball’s list of Non-Approved Bats with Certification Marks
Damaged bat vs. illegal bat penalties
Contact with the pitcher’s plate
Inspection of equipment
Softball Rules Changes - 2019
By NFHS on July 19, 2018
1-1-7, 2-22-4, Table 5-1, 5-1-1o: The media shall be prohibited from being in live-ball area. The home team or game management may designate an area for the media in dead ball territory.
Rationale: Clarifies that game management may designate a media area in dead ball territory.
1-5-2a: The knob may be molded, lathed, welded or adjustable, but must be permanently fastened.
Rationale: Clarifies that an adjustable knob is permissible, provided the knob is permanently fastened by the manufacturer.
1-8-4: Defensive players are permitted to wear a shield on their face/head protection in the field but it must be constructed of a molded, rigid material that is clear and permits 100 percent (no tint) allowable light transmission.
Rationale: In an effort to promote risk minimization, tinted eye shields are prohibited for defensive face/head protection.
6-1-1 PENALTY, 6-1-2 Thru 4 PENALTY, 6-2-1 PENALTY, 6-2-7 PENALTY: in the case of an illegal pitch, the batter is awarded a ball. The penalty that permitted base runners to be awarded one base without liability to be put out is removed.
Rationale: The new language creates more balance between offense and defense. The batter should receive the award rather than runners already on base.
2019 SOFTBALL MAJOR EDITORIAL CHANGES
2-65-2: Clarifies there can be no appeal of the play that occurred prior to the umpire awarding an intentional walk.
6-1-2a, b: Clarifies what motion constitutes the start of the pitch and when the step back of the non-pivot foot may be taken.
APPENDIX H: An Appendix regarding DP/FLEX rules was added for quick reference.
2019 SOFTBALL EDITORIAL CHANGES
2-65-2, 3-5-1 NOTE, 5-1 Table, 5-1-1k, 6-2-5, 7-1-2 PENALTY 3, 8-2-4 PENALTY, 8-4-3, 10-1-1
2019 SOFTBALL POINTS OF EMPHASIS
1. Simulating taking a sign 2. Sliding safety 3. Lineup card best practices
4. Illegal pitch penalties
Softball Rules Changes - 2018
By NFHS on February 8, 2018
2-65-2, 8-1-1c, 8-4-3a, 9-6-2: The coach, pitcher or catcher of the defensive team may request an intentional walk either before or during the pitch count.
Rationale: This change to allow intentional walks was enacted to align fast pitch and slow pitch rules, to keep up with current trends of the sport, and also to maximize the flow of the game.
3-2-7c: Language was added to address the use and placement of the wristband playbook/play card and defines this item as a piece of equipment. It also addresses restrictions on color.
Rationale: The wristband playbook/playcards are worn on the forearm and considered equipment, not a garment. Therefore, these items are not required to adhere to the color restrictions addressed in 3-2-7c.
3-2-15, 10-2-3a: This change removes the responsibility of the umpires to inspect equipment prior to the start of the game. Rule 4-1-2d already requires head coaches to verify that their players are legally and properly equipped.
Rationale: The responsibility to verify that players are legally equipped rests with the coach and administration of the school. Rules 7-4-2 and 10-2-3l provide the authority to umpires to penalize for equipment violations.
3-7-1 NOTE, 6-2-5 NOTE 2: Added language provides umpires with the authority to allow a reasonable number of warm-up pitches to an incoming pitcher due to circumstances that require a pitcher to be removed by rule.
Rationale: Currently there are no guidelines for warming up the incoming pitcher under these circumstances. The default number of pitches used by the umpires is 5 unless there is inclement weather. The note will give guidance to all parties involved.
6-1-2b: The pitcher may now step back with the non-pivot foot at any time prior to the start of the pitch.
Rationale: This is a change to assist the developing pitcher.
Major Editorial Changes
3-6-12, 10-1-6: Language provides clarity and consistency for restriction of alcohol and tobacco use by participants and officials.
8-1-2: This change requires the batter to make an attempt to avoid being hit by a pitched ball in the area between the plate and the batter’s box. This portion of the rule had been inadvertently omitted.
2018 Points of Emphasis
1. Coaches responsibility to verify players are legally equipped including all bats and helmets used in the game.
2. Rules associated with when batter must attempt to avoid being hit by a pitch.
3. Courtesy runner for the pitcher and/or catcher.
Softball Rules Changes - 2017
By NFHS on September 28, 2016
1-5-2c: The taper is the transition area which connects the narrower handle to the wider barrel portion of the bat. The taper shall have a conical shape. Language requiring the taper to be of a solid surface has been removed.
Rationale: This change brings the NFHS in line with other rules codes concerning the surface of the taper.
3-2-1: While uniforms of team members shall be of the same color and style, state associations permit players to participate while wearing a different style uniform for various reasons, including inclement weather.
Rationale: There may be circumstances in which state associations make accommodations relative to inclement weather, religious exceptions, or other situations.
3-2-7: Exposed undergarments, if worn, are considered part of the official uniform. All exposed undergarments shall be a solid single color: black, white, gray or a school color.
a. For individual players, exposed upper-body undergarments do not have to be the same color as exposed lower-body undergarments.
b. For all team members, exposed upper-body undergarments shall be the same solid single color, and all exposed lower-body undergarments shall be the same solid single color.
c. Garments other than team uniforms such as arm sleeves, leg sleeves, and tights are permissible. Anything worn on the arm or leg is a sleeve, except a brace, and shall meet the color restrictions.
Rationale: Multi-color undergarments and sleeves are a distraction and create a possible safety concern. This rule establishes solid color requirements similar to other NFHS sport rules.
3-2-15 NEW: All equipment shall be inspected by the umpire, and is to be placed outside the dugout/bench prior to the start of the game.
Rationale: Placing all equipment in one location at one time is a more efficient method to conduct this inspection.
3-6-7 PENALTY: Players and substitutes shall not enter the contest unreported. The umpire shall issue a team warning to the coach of the team involved and the next offender on that team shall be restricted to the dugout/bench for the remainder of the game. The head coach is also restricted to the dugout/bench for the remainder of the game for a second violation.
Rationale: Language clarifies when the coach is restricted to the dugout/bench.
2017 Major Editorial Changes
6-2-2; 7-4-8 NOTE; 8-1-2; 8-2-4 EXCEPTION
2017 Points of Emphasis