League Rules

Beginner Objectives

  • STRESS FUNDAMENTALS: The girls must learn the correct way to catch, throw, hit the softball, and run bases. It is important to stop bad habits before they begin.
  • ALL POSITIONS: All girls must have equal opportunity to learn and play all infield positions. Additional players will play behind infielders.
  • WINNING AND LOSING: Winning and losing is not important at this time. This is the time for learning and fundamentals.

Beginner Rules Addendum

  1. Coach will pitch
  2. A strike out can only occur when a player swings and misses the third strike. No called strikes.
  3. No walks.
  4. Batting order will remain the same throughout the season. The on deck batter at the end of the game will bat first the next game. (Rolling lineup)
  5. Coaches on both teams will umpire for their games.
  6. A game is 6 innings or 50 minutes.
  7. Coaches may stop the game at any time to give instructions to players.
  8. Each team may score up to 5 runs per inning.
  9. No running extra bases on overthrows and no stealing.


Decatur Girls Softball League (DGSL) follows IHSAA rules as stated in their rule book. Additional rules are implemented as needed and are listed as follows. DGSL will not use IHSAA experimental rules.

A. Eligibility

  1. Beginner League is for players in grades PK (at least 4 yrs old)-1; Minor League is for players in grades 2-4; Major League is for players in grades 5-9, or no older than 15 on Jan. 1.  If a falsified registration is found, the girl will be ineligible to play during the current season.
  2. Entry and shirt fees (if applicable) are to be paid at registration before the girl will be eligible to play.
  3. Any player entering the league must go through the draft unless she has a sister or stepsister currently playing. If she wishes she will be placed on the team with her sibling. See exception of Rule #8. Girls may move up early with board approval.
  4. DGSL will take precedence over any other softball organization.
  5. Any girl wishing to change teams must register for the draft.
  6. Any girl not registering for one season cannot automatically be on the team she was previously on but must re-enter the draft.
  7. A head coach’s daughter, stepdaughter, granddaughter, step-granddaughter, sister and/or stepsister may be automatically placed on his/her team at the beginning of the season, even if the girl has previously played on another team. Assistant coaches are not allowed to have their daughter, stepdaughter, granddaughter, step granddaughter, sister and/or stepsister as automatics. Exception: When an expansion team is formed and before the draft is held, the assistant coaches are given consideration in having their daughter, stepdaughter, granddaughter, step granddaughter, sister and/or step sister automatically placed on the team.
  8. Stepsisters must live in the same house and have the same phone number, and must sign up at the same time to be put on the same team.
  9. Any changes to a registration form must be done by the final registration date.  Charges may apply where applicable.
  10. Every player must wear her team shirt to be eligible to play. No defacing of team shirts. Player will be ineligible if the shirt has been tampered with.
  11. All players, coaches, and umpires must wear proper attire, including shoes.  Piercings are allowed at the players own risk.
  12. No foul language, verbal or written, will be permitted. Personal attacks aimed at umpires by coaches, players, board members, or fans will not be tolerated. Forfeiture of the game will be at the discretion of the umpire.

B. Playing the Game

  1. The game is played with ten (10) players for Junior/Minor League and Senior/Major League. The minimum number of players required to start each game is six (6), with no players remaining on the bench. Each team must have six (6) of its own members.
  2. Minor League Only Runners may lead off when the ball crosses the plate. The ball has to get past the catcher before the base runner can steal, if the catcher doesn’t catch the ball but keeps it in front of her the base runner cannot steal. The base runner will be sent back to the base she occupied at the time of the pitch if she runs when the ball doesn’t get past the catcher. A runner cannot steal home – runners may only score on the continuation of a batted ball. A runner may not advance past first base on a walk. The third strike rule will not apply. The infield fly rule is NOT in effect. Minor League will use the 11 inch ball.
  3. Drop Third Strike will not apply to any league.
  4. The pitching distance will be 35 feet for Junior League and 40 feet for Major League. Minor League Only –  After 3 free bases in one inning (total), the field umpire will pitch the remainder of that inning (the umpire does not have to stand on the mound, but must be within the circle). Players will throw the ball to “their pitcher” who will hand it to the umpire. The pitcher must be in the circle when the umpire is pitching. No batter may be walked while the umpire is pitching. Any pitcher may start pitching the next inning. Minor and Major League – if a pitcher hits 3 batters, she must be removed from the mound for the remainder of the game.
  5. Outfielders must have both feet in the grass before the ball is pitched.
  6. Sliding and/or non-collision are covered by IHSAA rule.

Runners are never required to slide

**Legal Slide: A legal slide may be either feet first or head first. If a runner slides feet first, at least one leg and buttock shall be on the ground. If a runner slides, the runner shall be within reach of the base with either hand or a foot when the slide is completed.

**Illegal Slide. A slide is illegal if:

  • the runner uses a rolling or cross-body slide into the fielder;
  • the runner’s raised leg is higher than the fielder’s knee when the fielder is in a standing position;
  • the runner goes beyond the base and makes contact with or alters the playof the fielder;
  • the runner slashes or kicks the fielder with either leg; or
  • the runner tries to injure the fielder.

PENALTY: The ball is dead and the runner is out. Each other runner must return to the last base touched at the time of the interference.
**or if she remains on her feet and maliciously crashes into a defensive player. Malicious contact supersedes obstruction. Player will be ejected for the remainder of the game.

  1. If an infraction calling for an ejection occurs in the last inning of a game the ejection will be enforced in the next game. The board reserves the right to take disciplinary action towards coaches and players.
  2. The home team will occupy the bench on the third base side of the diamond. The home team will be the official scorekeeper.
    **** During the tournament, the bottom team listed on the bracket will occupy the 3rd-base bench.
  3. The winning team will be responsible for turning scores into the newspaper in a timely manner.
  4. A complete game will consist of six (5 1/2) innings.
  5. A legal game is four (3 1/2) innings, or 1 ½ hour time limit. The umpire is responsible for noting the game’s start time and will call games at the one hour thirty minute time limit. Two hours for tournament games other than the championship. Exception: There is no time limit on a tied game or tournament championship game. If for any reason there is a game delay and can not continue that evening, the game will be completed the next available evening until a legal game is played. Time from the previous night will be enforced.
  6. The International Tie-Breaker rule will be enforced. Starting with the top of the 7th inning (or any extra inning due to time limit)  and each half inning thereafter, the offensive team shall begin its turn at bat with the player who is scheduled to bat last in that respective half inning being placed on second base. (Example: If the number 5 batter is the lead off  batter, the number 4 batter in the batting order will be placed on second base.)
  7. Run rule- 
    Minor League – a ten (10) run lead by the end of the fourth or fifth inning is a legal game. The run rule per inning is five (5) runs, or equal to the deficit (which means they can tie the game). This is until the sixth inning or when the umpire declares, at the start of the inning it will be the last inning. The last inning of every game must be declared by the umpire. The official clock (timer) must be checked by the official after every home team at-bat. Once the 75 minute mark has been broken, the next inning will be declared “last inning” by the umpire. There is no run limit in the last inning.
    League – a twenty (20) run lead by the end of the third inning or a ten (10) run lead by the end of the fourth or fifth inning is a complete game.
  8. If a team is behind and that team forfeits the score stands.
  9. At the conclusion of the regular season play, if there is a tie for first or second place, the standings will be determined as follows.  This is for both leagues.
    • Head to head results during regular season
    • Least runs given up between teams that are tied
    • Most runs scored against teams that are tied
    • If no winner can be determined there will be a playoff game before the league tourney begins
  10. Metal cleats will not be allowed.
  11. All players present at the start of the game will be in the batting line up and bat. A player that shows up late will be inserted at the bottom of the line up.
  12. All players must play defense a minimum of three (3) innings with open substitutions. If the game does not last the full six (5 1/2) innings, the players that did not play their three (3) innings must start the next game and play the first three (3) innings.
  13. If a player cannot continue the game, she will be removed from the batting lineup and no out will be charged to the team. If the coach does not take the out when it is her turn at bat, that player or any sub may NOT be inserted into that line up in that spot. The coach may choose to take an out for the player if the coach might wish to return her later in the game. The umpire and opposing coach must be informed of the decision at that time.
  14. The IHSAA flex rule will not apply.

C. Substitute Players

  1. Minor – Subs must be in grade 2 or younger, and must play in the outfield.
    Major – Subs must be in grade 5 or younger, and must play in the outfield.
    All subs must bat after all regular players from the team (bottom of the line up) and wear their team shirts. Coaches are responsible for the eligibility of substitute players. They must be registered in the DGSL. ****Subs can not be used if the team has 10 players.
  2. If a player gets injured and a sub is available (she must wear her team shirt), the sub will go into the regular players batting spot if it puts the team under 10 players. The regular player may return to that batting spot and the sub is done for that game. If the team still has 10 or more batters, no sub may be used.
  3. regular player arriving late may enter the game at the first dead ball, replacing the sub.
  4. If a player gets injured on the base path and cannot continue, the player who made the last out will replace her.
  5. The batting rule does not apply if a player is being disciplined for excessive unexcused absenteeism from games or practices, or for behavior matters. If disciplinary measures are being taken, the action of the player must be serious enough that the player must sit out the entire game. The actions being taken must be announced to the umpire and opposing coach before the start of the game.

   D. Weather Delays and Cancellations

  1. Field and weather conditions prior to game time will be monitored by board members. The decision to play will be made by 4 PM if possible. Coaches will receive a text as soon as we make the final decision.
  2. The umpire is responsible for delaying or postponing a game in progress. Reasons games may be postponed or delayed include but are not limited to rain and electrical storms. After making sure the girls are safely off the field, the umpire will consult with other umpires and/or board members present before postponing a game. Umpires will decide within 30 minutes if a delayed game can continue, taking into consideration the weather conditions and the condition of the field for which he/she is responsible, fields will be assessed on an individual basis.
  3. A rain delayed incomplete game will resume where it was stopped, (time will still be enforced).
  4. In the event of a rain out, rain out dates will be posted at the concession stand. Coaches are responsible to find out when the make-up games will be played. Double headers may be scheduled if necessary.
  5. If players who were in the game at the time of game suspension are not available, any legal substitute will be allowed until regular players arrive.


NOTE: Any rules, ground or IHSAA, not followed could result in forfeiture of ball game as determined by the board of directors.