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RULES (Rev 1/1/2018)

The Stateline Stars of Tomorrow League is currently composed of recreational softball programs from Stateline Sports Group, Roy Gayle Softball, & Poplar Grove Softball. The league was formed to help guarantee a unified goal of continued growth and enjoyment of recreational fastpitch softball.

Scores - It is very important all game scores are submitted in a timely manner. It will be the responsibility of the home team, or the home team’s organization to submit the final score of any game. There will be an online form you can use on the Stateline Sports Group Website. If the score is not submitted within one week then the visiting team will be given the win with a score of 1-0. If the visiting team wins the game they will be given the opportunity to correct the score within 2 weeks of the game. The league may need to change the deadlines once we are in the last couple weeks of the season.


Rules governing Stateline Stars of Tomorrow League are defined in the USSSA Rulebook.  All rules stated below are provided to help clarify, emphasize, or modify USSSA rules.  Where changes are identified, League Rules will take precedence


Home Team
The home team will be decided by a coin flip at all venues.


●      8U & 10U -      6 Inning games
●      12U & 14U -    7 Innings per game

Defensive Players (see playing short page 7):

8U & 10U - 10 players with a minimum of 7 (Opposing team is allowed to loan a player to bring the team to 7 and there will be no automatic out imposed).
12U & 14U - 9 players with a minimum of 7 (Opposing team is allowed to loan a player to bring the team to 7 and there will be no automatic out imposed).

Player Positions

Prior to the ball being pitched, there shall be no more than 6 defensive players on the infield. These positions would normally include catcher, pitcher, first, second, third, & short. A team’s outfielders must, in the umpire’s opinion, be in the outfield and not the infield. After the pitch has been released, there are no restrictions. This rule is intended to prevent teams from playing their outfielders in too close.

Offensive Players:

All age divisions will bat with a continuous batting order with all players batting.

Playing Time:

No player is allowed to sit out on defense for two consecutive innings.

Pitching Distances:

●      8 U - 35 ft.
●      10U -35 ft.
●      12U-40 ft.
●      14U - 43ft

Pitching Rules:

●      8U & 10U
An individual pitcher will be allowed to pitch 2 innings per game (innings do not have to be consecutive).
o   8U teams must provide a parent or coach to back up their catcher to keep the game moving

●      The following apply for coach pitch only (8U & 10U)
o   After the 4th ball or maximum 6 pitches, regardless of the count, the offensive coach will come in to pitch.  The batter will then be allowed two pitches to put the ball into play and one additional pitch only if the batter fouls off the 2nd coach pitched ball (maximum 3 coach pitches).  If the ball is not put into play on any of these pitches, the batter is called out.

o   The pitcher/coach must pitch with at least on foot on the pitching rubber and the pitcher/player must have one foot in the pitcher's circle and one foot out.

o   The pitcher/coach is not allowed to do any coaching while the ball is in play and must remain in the circle until the play is over and the umpire has called time.

o   On any play where the coach/pitcher makes contact with a hit ball or player the play will be ruled dead and coach pitch will start over from the same count.

o   All foul balls are live as long as they go over the batter's head and normal rules apply. If a foul ball does not travel over the batters head it will be ruled foul, even if the catcher catches it, and the batter will continue up to the max 3 coach pitches.

o   There is no stealing during coach pitch.

12U & 14U

Pitcher will be allowed to pitch four innings per game but cannot pitch more than two consecutive innings.

In all age groups, when a pitcher throws at least one pitch in any inning, the pitcher will be charged with an Inning pitched.

Hit by Pitch:

o   Must be removed from the inning if in the umpire’s judgment; two batters have been hit with significant force in that inning.
o   Can return in later innings as long as all pitching rules are enforced.
o   If the pitcher is removed from the game a 2nd time they may not re-enter the game as a pitcher.

o   Batter has the option to continue batting after hit by one pitch. The umpire and coach of the hit batter shall immediately consult on this.
o   If the batter is hit a 2nd time in the same at bat they must take their base.

Being hit by a pitch will count even if the ball hits the ground at any point before making contact with the batter (USSSA Rule 8, Section 4B, Note 2). (Revised 1/1/2018)

Infield Fly Rule:
There will be no infield fly rule in 8U & 10U.

Dropped 3rd Strike:
●      8U & 10U - Batter cannot advance on dropped 3rd strike - Batter is out
●      12 & 14U- Dropped 3rd strike rule is in effect.

Leading Off & Stealing:
Leading off is permitted in all age divisions as soon as the ball leaves the pitchers hand.

●      8U - No stealing
●      10U - Runners can steal only 2nd & 3rd
o   A runner may not advance past the base they were stealing even on an overthrown ball.

●      12 & 14U- All stealing is allowed
o   If at any time a base runner is played on while attempting to steal a base and an overthrow occurs, all baserunner(s) are allowed to take as many additional bases as possible at their own risk.

Overthrows Other Than Stealing Overthrows (this is after a ball is hit by the batter):
●      8U & 10U
o   All runners on base can only advance in jeopardy one base on an overthrow including home base.

o   If the defense makes a play on any of the runners AFTER the overthrow is recovered, the overthrow rule resets at that point and runners may continue to further bases. If further overthrows occur, the overthrow rule will be in play again from that point.

o   The umpire shall determine which base the runners can advance to; this mostly involves a runner that has reached a base before the overthrow occurs.

●    12U & 14U can advance in jeopardy as many bases as possible on any overthrow.

Overthrows out of play
●      8U cannot advance any additional bases on an overthrow out of play
●      10U, 12U & 14U can advance without jeopardy to the base the player base runner was going to when ball went out of play.

Run Rules:
●      8U        4 Runs per inning
●      10U      4 Runs per inning
●      12U      5 Runs per inning
●      14U      7 Runs per inning

If a team is too far behind to tie/win because of the run rule then both teams are still encouraged to continue playing in accordance with the time limit rules. Umpires are to continue if both teams decide to continue. In tournament play only, this rule may be altered to speed up play or either team may opt out to keep players fresh for future games.

Mercy Run Rules:
All age divisions will have a mercy run rule of 12 after 3 innings, 10 after 4 Innings, and 8 after 5 innings.

Collision Plays
When a defensive player has possession of the ball and is preparing to make the tag on a runner, the runner must avoid contact or vacate the base path.  The runner may not deliberately run into the defensive player.  (Interference – Penalty: Runner is out)

Sliding is not required at any base, yet strongly recommended.  The ultimate responsibility in avoiding a collision belongs to the runner.

If the Umpire (in his/her judgment) determines that the runner would have been safe had the player not attempted to avoid a collision, the Umpire will call the runner safe, even though she was tagged out (Obstruction – Penalty: Runner is safe and may be awarded that base).

Collision plays can only involve a player being played on.

In the cases of collision, and the runner is called for interference, all other runners will return to the last base they touched.  The runner will be given a warning that will be recorded on the game Scorebook.  If this occurs a second time to the same player (same game), that player will be removed.

If no play is being made on the runner, the defensive player must not interfere with the runner (obstruction).  If solid contact occurs, a “delayed dead ball” will be signaled.  Defensive interference will be called and the runner will be awarded as many bases as the Umpire (in his/her judgment) determines the runner could have made safely had the interference not occurred.

A runner cannot be called out for collision when colliding with a defensive player after a runner touches home plate safely or first base safely (and does not attempt advancement to 2nd base).

On Deck Batters:
On deck batters will take a position behind the current batter and must have safety helmet on at all times.

Manager or Coach Ejection:
If a manager or coach is ejected they must leave the playing area and will not be allowed to coach the next scheduled game. If a manager or coach is ejected from the game and then (after being sent to the viewing area) is ejected from the park, they will not be allowed to coach the next two scheduled games. It will be the responsibility of the home field venue manager to notify the program in which the coach coaches for with regards to an ejection.

Throwing the Bat:
The plate Umpire shall warn any batter who accidentally throws her bat after making contact with the ball in an unsafe way (first time offense).  If this occurs a second time, the batter will be called out, the ball shall be dead and runners cannot advance.  On the second offense the umpire will decide if the batter can continue to bat in that game. If the umpire decides to not allow the batter to continue on offense, the player will be allowed to continue playing defense.

Tie Games:
When a regular season game is concluded and the score is tied after regulation or the expiration of the league adopted time limit, then the game will end in a tie.

Courtesy Runners:
In all leagues there will be the option to use a courtesy runner for the pitcher. In all leagues a courtesy runner must be used for the catcher if there are any recorded outs. If there are no outs then it will be the head coaches option to use a courtesy runner for the catcher, however a courtesy runner must be used for the catcher at any time there is a recorded out. In all cases of using a courtesy runner the last batted out will be the courtesy runner. It will be the coach’s option to announce to the umpire and the other manager of a catcher's substitution in the next inning allowing them to not have to use a courtesy runner with any recorded outs.

Trips to the Mound:
A trip to the mound is defined as: Any time a coach walks on the field to talk to any defensive player including the pitcher.  If a pitcher calls time out and goes to the sideline to talk to a Coach, this will also constitute a trip to the mound.

A coach can make 2 “trips to the mound” per inning.  On the 2nd trip, the pitcher has to be removed.  The removed pitcher can play another position on the field but cannot return to the mound.  This only applies to the 12U, 14U, &16U. In the 8U & 10U a coach can make 3 “trips to the mound” per inning. On the 3rd trip the pitcher has to be removed.

Game Time Limits:

It is the head coach’s responsibility to find out the game time restrictions at the host venue prior to the start of any game. Unless a venue needs to change the amount of time allowed, all games will have a 90 minute limit. Once the game hits 90 minutes, the game will end upon completion of the current inning. An inning is officially complete once the last out of the home teams at bat takes place. If time ends after this point or as teams are taking the field the inning shall continue.

Games are expected to move along and umpires are instructed to help with this. Players need to hustle in and hustle out and coaches need to help with catchers and getting pitchers warm. There is no time limit between innings, but 2 minutes should be the goal.

If venues have additional available time the teams may continue playing but the official time limits will decide the winner of the game.

Starting Time & Between Innings:

All games will start exactly at game time or 5 minutes after the last recorded out of the previous game. There will be no pre-game warm-ups and pitchers are to be warmed up and ready to play. The coaches, & umpires, will continue to remind players to hustle in and out between innings. Coaches will need to have their lineup changes managed accordingly. Coaches need to make sure catchers have gear on and ready for the start of each inning.

Pitchers will be allowed five (5) warm up pitches in the 1st inning and three (3) warm up pitches for every inning after (any new pitcher will be allowed 5 pitches). The infield and outfield may use a warm up ball for the 1st Inning only and must be done the same time the pitcher has completed her 5 warm up pitches. There will be no warm up balls used after the 1st inning.

Warm-ups Prior and During a Game:

There will be no soft toss against diamond fences with hard balls. There will be no pre-game warm-up on the official playing diamond prior to the game unless you are the first game and time allows for both teams to be completed at the official starting time (Roy Gayle does not allow warm-ups on the infield at any point before or after the game). All teams will be warmed up and ready to play within 5 minutes of the last recorded out of the prior game or exactly at game time if you are the first game of the evening.

Batting practice is not permitted on the field prior to any game.  It is the responsibility of each head coach to hustle their players in and out between innings.

Rain Outs:
It will be the goal of all venues, if possible, to announce rainouts 90 minutes before any scheduled games. Each venue will be responsible to reschedule the rained out game as soon as possible. It is the responsibility of all head coaches to make every attempt in playing the canceled game(s).

Thunder & Lightning:
If at any time thunder is heard, or lightning is seen the game is to immediately be halted and all players moved to a place of safety. Any game halted due to thunder and or lightning will not resume for a minimum of ½ hour after the last sound or sighting. THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS.

Interrupted/Official Game:
If a game is suspended due to weather, injury, temporary light failure, unruliness of teams or its spectators, and other incidents the game can be played at a later time. These games may be resumed on the same day at the discretion of the Umpire. An interrupted game shall resume at the exact point it was suspended, including the inning, outs recorded, runner(s) on base, and ball/strike count. The remaining game time limit will be adjusted for the delay. If four (4) innings have been completed, then the game is over and official (3 ½ if the home team is leading). All games called and not completed by rule should be rescheduled. In case a game needs to be rescheduled it will be the responsibility of the home venue to schedule the completion of the game. (Revised 1/1/2019)

Playing Short:

A)  If a team loses a player for any reason they may continue playing as long as they still have 7 players and there shall be no automatic out imposed unless the player was ejected. Any ejected player will result in an automatic out.

B) If a player, batter, or runner is injured, the injured player may be replaced by a player not currently on base who had the last batted out. If replacing the batter, the current ball/strike count remains. Defensive players can be replaced at any time without penalty.  In either case, if no substitute player is available, no out will be charged to the injured player’s turn at bat.

C) A team may begin the game with 7 players. Absent player(s) shall be added in the last batting position(s) should they arrive, and the team will not be charged an out at this position in the batting order.

D) The team may not play short if there is an eligible substitute available. If an eligible player arrives, they must enter the game immediately.

F) Teams knowing they will be short players are encouraged to work within their organization to offer the opportunity of “playing up” to players in the next lowest age division. Use of players in the same age division is also allowed. This should only occur when a team does not have enough regular team members to field a full roster for that game. The team must have at least 6 original players on their roster or they will forfeit. If borrowing from other teams, younger players may play/bat any position but borrowed players from the same age may not pitch or catch and must bat in the 7th position or lower. Teams can borrow players until their lineup has 10 players. Teams may not borrow players if there are already 10 rostered players present. If a 10th rostered player arrives they must be substituted for the borrowed player. Borrowed players shall only come from the same age group or younger.  Same age players that are registered in an older division may not play down; this will be considered the same as pulling down an older player. At no time may a team use a player that is not registered in the Stars of Tomorrow League. In all cases of substitute players, opposing coach and officials should be notified of substitute players in their lineup. (Revised 1/1/2019)

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Rockford, Illinois 61102

Email Us: [email protected]
Phone : 815-670-0756
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