NLBSA. North Lincoln Baseball Softball Organization located in St. Joseph Michigan provides youth Baseball, Softball and Football leagues at beautiful Eaton Park in St. Joseph Charter Township

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NLBSA Freshman Softball Rules

1.0      General Rules:

1.1           Good sportsmanship is expected.

1.2           Managers are responsible for their players, coaches and fans conduct during a game. Any display of temper or intimidation will not be tolerated. Any swearing or other unsportsmanlike conduct will be cause for immediate ejection from the Eaton Park facility.

1.3           The home team is to occupy the 3rd base dugout, while the visiting team is to occupy the 1st base dugout.  Teams are responsible for picking up trash in and around their dugout after a game.

1.3.1        No spectators, brothers/sisters etc. shall be allowed in the dugout area during the game.  One bat-girl/boy is permitted and they must wear a helmet at all times.  No smoking is allowed in the dugout or on the field of play.

1.4           There is one minute between innings.

1.5           There will be two umpires officiating the game.

1.5.1        Umpire is responsible for feeding the pitching machine.

1.5.2        The umpire may adjust the pitching machine at any point during the game to ensure the batter is pitched strikes. (This is at the discretion of the umpire, however, managers may request machine adjustments as well) The goal is to teach the kids to swing at strikes.

1.6           Only the manager can question an umpire’s decision.  They must wait for a dead ball, ask for time, once granted they may speak to the calling umpire.  A rule interpretation may be requested a judgment call (safe/out, fair/foul, ball/strike) may not be questioned.

1.7           Games will be 6 innings.  The Umpire is required to notify both managers of the actual start time of the game prior to the first pitch (note this may be different from the scheduled start time).

General Rules specific to Freshman League:

1.8           No new innings may begin after 75 minutes from the actual start time of the game.

1.8.1        If a game is tied after 6 innings, and the 75 minute time limit has NOT been reached, extra innings may be played utilizing International Tie-Breaker rules.  International Tie-                  Breaker means the player who made the last out in the previous inning will start the extra inning on second base. Games may end in a tie.

1.8.2        After 4 complete innings (or after three and one-half innings if the home team is ahead), the game is considered “official” if called due to Weather or Darkness. Games can be called anytime under agreement of both Managers. Incomplete games will be rescheduled and will start from the point of where they left off.

1.8.3        A half-inning shall consist of a 5 run limit, or three outs, whichever comes first. However, there is no run limit in the sixth or final inning.

1.8.4        The Mercy Rule states that if a team is ahead by 15 runs after 3 innings, 12 after 4 innings or 10 after 5 innings the game is “official”, and is over.   If the Mercy Rule applies the score will be documented as the official score and the scoreboard will be reset.   After the Mercy Rule is applied, the playing format will change a half-inning limit of five (5) runs scored or three outs whichever comes first. The game will continue without runs being posted on the scoreboard until either the 6th inning is finished or the game time limit has been reached.

1.8.5        Games will not be rescheduled due to a team being short players. Teams must play with the players that are available. If a team is not able to field 8 players, that team is allowed to pull-up substitute players from the league below (Freshman teams may pull-up T-Ball players).  These substitute players will be added to that team's roster for the game(s) being played that day. If original roster players arrive during the game, they must play.  No substitute players may play in the field if it forces a regular roster player to sit out, but they may remain in the batting order.

1.8.6        The minimum number of players required to start an “official” game is eight (8). If one of the teams is unable to field a team with eight (8) players from their roster, the game will be played as an "Exhibition" game.  The team that IS ABLE to field at least eight (8) of their roster players is awarded the "win" for the regularly scheduled game.  Should neither team be unable to field eight (8) players at the start of their game, the game will also be classified as an “Exhibition” game and neither team will be given credit for a “win”.  The status of a team’s attendance must be reported to the umpires and opposing manager prior to the first pitch of the game. Once that notification is given to the umpires, and the game is ruled to be an “Exhibition” game, it may not be reversed under any circumstances. NOTE: Games will not be rescheduled due to a team being short players.


2.0      Equipment Rules:

2.1         All base runners must wear a helmet at all times.

2.2         All batters must wear a helmet with a face mask.

2.3         All bat-boys / bat-girls must wear a helmet.

2.4         Pitchers must wear a helmet with facemask.  It is highly recommended that 1st and 3rd base positions wear a fielding mask.

2.5         No metal cleats are allowed.

2.6         Players must wear full regulation uniforms (no shorts). Shirts must remain tucked in.  Caps and visors, when worn by players or coaches shall have the bill facing forward.

2.7         Eleven (inch) 11” softballs are to be used.

2.8         Pitching machine distance will be approximately 35’ (feet). Jugs machine will be set per grid beginning at 36 mph.

2.9         Pitching machine speed may be increased throughout the season at the discretion of the    league director.


3.0       Fielding Rules:

3.1         Up to ten (10) players will be allowed on defense with the tenth player being an outfielder.  Outfielders must start play on the outfield grass.

3.2         The infield fly rule will not be enforced.

3.3         When any defensive player has control of the ball within the pitching circle, all play stops.

3.4         Unlimited substitution of defensive players is allowed, but the original batting order must be followed.

3.5         Each player must play a minimum of three (3) innings in the field.

3.6         All defensive players may only play two (2) consecutive innings in the same defensive position.  Players may return to original defensive positions after one inning in any new position.  (i.e. First baseman can play 1st, 2nd inning at first, must play 3rd inning at other position, 4th, 5th inning at first, last inning at other position).

3.7         The catching position must be maintained and the catcher must be ready and on the field at the start of their defensive inning.

3.8         Runners may at their own risk, advance one base on an overthrow to the pitcher or any defensive base, then the play is dead.  An overthrow is defined as a ball that goes behind the fielder. This is an Umpires judgment call and not a manager’s appeal play.

3.9         At the time of the pitch, no defensive players may be forward of the pitching machine.


4.0       Batting Rules:

4.1         Every player is included in the batting order. Batting order is continuous throughout the entire game.  A player arriving late will be placed at the end of the original batting order. Ghost outs are not used.

4.2         Each batter will be allowed three (3) strike pitches at each at bat. Umpire may call “no pitch” if in their judgment the ball is not in the strike zone, regardless of whether or not the batter swings.   For each foul ball after two (2) strikes, the batter will receive an additional pitch or pitches until a foul ball no longer occurs. There is no limit on consecutive foul balls.

4.3         There are no walks.

4.4         No bunting is allowed.

4.5         Each team will receive one warning for a thrown bat by a batter on their team. The second violation per team will result in the batter being called out. This is a dead ball situation.

4.6         If a batted ball hits the pitching machine, it is a dead ball.  Runners will be allowed to advance one (1) base, and the batter will be awarded first base.

4.7         Player injured while batting: If a player can-not complete their turn at bat because of an injury sustained while batting, the next player in the batting order will step in and assume the count.  If she strikes-out, then she is out and the next batter in the order takes their turn. An injured player may return to her original position in the batting order at any time during the game.

4.8         On a related issue, should a player leave early during a game, she may be removed from the batting order without penalty. However, other than in the event of injury, if a player misses their turn at bat they will not be allowed to return to the game, neither on offense or defense.


5.0       Base-running Rules:

5.1         Bases are to be 60’ (feet) in distance.

5.2         No stealing is allowed.

5.3         There is no dropped third strike.

5.4         Runners cannot leave their base until the ball is hit or crosses home plate. A runner leaving early will be called out.

5.5         Baserunners leaving the base prior to the pitch crossing home plate: The umpire shall give each team one (1) warning per game. Subsequent violations will result in a violating base runner being called out. A baserunner leaving their base early shall be a “delayed dead ball” situation.  The defensive team shall have the option of taking the result of the play or the result of the “warning” or “out” (whichever is applicable at that time) being issued by the umpire. The result of a “warning” or an “out” being issued by the umpire shall require all baserunners returning to the base occupied prior to the pitch. The pitch will then be ruled “no pitch”, and it will not count against the batter.

5.6         Hash marks are positioned 40 feet from first, second, and third base.

5.7         A baserunner that has not advanced past the “Hash Mark” to the next base when the Pitcher (any defensive player) has possession of the ball within the 16’ diameter pitcher’s circle must return to the last based touched. This rule does not apply to “force-out” situations or when the batter runner is going to first base. This is an Umpires judgment call and not a manager’s appeal play.

5.8         Advancing on an overthrow: The batter runner or baserunner may advance only one (1) base past the base they were heading to when the ball was hit (this is at their own risk so they may be played on, if another overthrow occurs, the runners will NOT be allowed to take any additional bases).

5.9         A courtesy runner for the player that is catching the next half-inning is allowable at any time.

5.10       The umpire, at the conclusion of the play, will call out a runner that misses a base or fails to legally “tag-up” on a caught fly ball. This is an Umpires judgment call and not a coach’s appeal play. The “runner half-way” rule will apply in reverse if the runner is trying to return to a missed or non-tagged base when the pitcher obtains control of the ball in the pitcher’s circle.


6.0       Coaches Rules:

6.1         Three (3) offensive coaches are allowed on the field while their team is batting. One in the first base coaching box, one in the third base coaching box. A batting coach may also be used, but must retreat to the on-deck circle area prior to the pitch.

6.2         Two (2) defensive coaches are allowed in the outfield. They must remain on the outfield grass.  Under no circumstances should a defensive coach advance across a base line without first calling a time out.


Revision date: March 3, 2015