With few exceptions, CT USSSA Fastpitch will abide by the rules and by-laws governed by the USSSA Fastpitch Rulebook. The on-line rulebook supersedes any printed edition. Like most softball sanctioning bodies the rules of USSSA play are virtually identical to Pony, ASA and other organizations. However, there are some differences. These following rules are the most commonly asked about by coaches and the following will be adhered to in ALL USSSA tournaments in Connecticut.
Downloadable USSSA Fastpitch Rules.
NEW FOR 2016 Jewelry: USSSA tournaments in CT, MA and RI will now allow players to wear non-hanging or non-dangling stud type ear or nose piercings only. Players in the game are prohibited from wearing jewelry such as rings, watches, hanging or dangling earrings, bars or other piercing type jewelry whether covered with tape or not, bracelets, necklaces (including cloth and string type), or other hard decorative items. Unadorned devices with no sharp edges or points, such as bobby pins, barrettes and hair clips, no longer than 2 inches, may be worn to control a player’s hair. Medical alert bracelets or necklaces are not considered jewelry. If worn they must be taped to the body, so as to remain visible. It's always up the the umpire's judgement if anything is being work in a manner than can pose a danger.
NEW FOR 2016 Headgear: Headbands, Bandannas: USSSA tournament in CT, MA and RI allow more headgear than do other states. We allow headbands, bandannas, caps and visors. It's always up the the umpire's judgement if anything is being work in a manner than can pose a danger.
NEW Pilot Program for 2016 Tournament Game Time Limits: CT USSSA tournaments are all quite large (32-50 teams) and almost always have 7 time slots per day. Due to many requests from teams to make more efforts to stay on schedule and to extend game lengths for semi-final and finals games, we are trying a pilot program in the April and May tournaments. Based on the results of this pilot program we will determine if this will become permanent for the summer tournaments and beyond.
10U C: In CT, MA and RI we will NOT be using the amended rules for the 10U C division.
Metal Spikes: Metal spikes are allowed at tournaments for ages 13U and up.
Chin Straps: Chin straps are NOT mandatory but highly recommended.
Pitching Distance: For 10U the pitching distance is 35 ft. For 12U the pitching distance is 40 ft. For 13U and higher it is 43 ft..
Pitching Rules: Two feet are required to be in contact with the rubber.
4 Pool Games: In 3-game pool play when an uneven number of teams exists, one team will play 4 pool games. When this happens the 4th game of the day played by that team does now count for them in runs allowed or runs scored.
DP/Flex: A team may use the Designated Player (DP)/FLEX option provided it is made known prior to the start of the game.
Additional Player(s): Up to two additional players can be used to increase the batting lineup to 10 or 11 batters. The additional player(s) will be placed in the lineup in the batting position(s) to be occupied. The Additional Player(s) can be used on defense (only 9 defensive players on the field), but must keep the same position in the batting order. The Additional Player(s), if used, must be selected prior to the start of the game, and their name(s) must be included on the lineup card presented to the umpire. Failure to declare the use of the Additional Player(s) prior to the game precludes the use of an Additional Player(s) in that game. If a pinch-hitter or pinch runner is used for an Additional Player, that player becomes the new Additional Player. The original Additional Player(s) may re-enter like any other player under the re-entry rule. If an Additional Player is used, the position must be used the entire game.
Courtesy Runner: (A) The team at bat may use a courtesy runner for the pitcher and/or catcher any time after they reach base other than by substitution. The same runner may not be used for both positions in the same inning. Neither the pitcher nor the catcher will be required to leave under such circumstances. (B) Players who have participated in the game in any other capacity are ineligible to serve as a courtesy runner. Penalty: A player who is not entitled to be a courtesy runner who is used as a courtesy runner shall immediately be called out and a team warning issued. On the second offense: The head coach is ejected for the remainder of game only. (C) A runner put in for any player other than the pitcher or catcher will be considered a substitute player. (D) A Player may not run as a courtesy runner and be used as a substitute for another player in that half inning. Exception: Unless there is an injury and there is no substitute available, the courtesy runner must be used as a substitute and take the place of the injured player. Should the courtesy runner be on base, the pitcher or catcher for whom the courtesy runner is running must run in their place. (E) Once a courtesy runner is designated for that half inning, no other courtesy runner or the pitcher or the catcher may return to run for the original courtesy runner. Should an injury occur, another courtesy runner or the pitcher or catcher may run until they score or are put out. (F) The courtesy runner is not permitted to be used if there is a Designated Hitter being used for the pitcher or catcher.
Tiebreaker: After the completion of 7- innings, or when time limits have expired, and the score is still tied, the tiebreaker procedure will begin. The player, who had the last completed at bat, assumes a position on 2nd base. A substitute may be inserted. A courtesy runner may be used for the pitcher or catcher. This procedure would be done at the beginning of each half inning; until a winner is determined. If the absent player should begin the half inning at second base, no out is declared. The player whose name precedes the absent player in the line-up is placed on second base.
Playing Short: A team shall be allowed to play one player short. The batting position the team cannot fill shall be designated as the absent player. When the absent player is scheduled to bat, an out shall be declared for each turn at bat. A team may play short under the following circumstances: A. A team may continue a game with one less player than is currently in the batting order whenever a player leaves the game for any reason other than ejection and no substitutes are available. 1. If the player leaving the game is the batter or a runner, they shall be declared out. Exception: If the player is injured, the player may be replaced by the player not currently on base who had the last completed time at bat. This exception does not apply to any future time at bat. 2. The players who left the game cannot return to the lineup. Exception: a player, who has left the game under the blood rule, may return. B. A team may begin the game with eight (8) players in a 9 player lineup. The absent player shall be listed in the ninth (9th) batting position and the team will be required to take an automatic out in the ninth position in the batting order. Under no circumstances shall a team be allowed to have less than eight (8) players in the batting order. C. The team may not play short if there is an eligible substitute available. If an eligible player arrives, they must enter the game immediately.
Run Rule: The run rule awards a win to a team that has a 12 runs lead after 3 completed innings or 2 1/2 innings if the home team is ahead, 10 runs after 4 completed inning or 3 1/2 innings if the home team is ahead, 8 runs lead after 5 completed innings or 4 1/2 innings if the home team is ahead.