League Rules and Procedures
All participants should be familiar with:
Procedures (for example, rescheduling postponed games, assigning pool/guest players, session player draft rules, election process, etc.)
Rochester MN Senior Softball Rules
RMSS will play by the current year SSUSA rules including those listed below.
No smoking or alcoholic beverages allowed on the playing field at any time. No glass containers of any kind are allowed in the park.
Playing Qualifications: With the primary concerns for:
maintaining respect for the league.
All player candidates shall possess minimum ability and skills in Defense and Hitting.
Qualification for hitting
A player shall be able to hit a pitched softball (44 COR) to the outfield grass, either in the air or on the ground a minimum of 5 times out of 10 strikes pitched. The registration fee will be refunded if a player does not satisfy the qualification standards.
Qualification for playing a defensive position
In the interest of player safety, managers may recommend that a player with questionable skills participate in a qualification fielding test, to be performed by the Rules Committee members. For the standard fielding test, the candidate shall be able to catch a softball cleanly in 6 of 10 attempts. The ball is to be thrown from a distance of 65 feet and must be within arms reach.
Any player who is unable to pass the fielding test may be used only as a designated hitter and will not be allowed to participate in a defensive field position. The player may request a retest 1 time per each scheduled league session. If a player does not wish to serve in the capacity of a designated hitter, the registration fee will be refunded on request.
Eleven players may be used defensively. Twelve players may be used only with the agreement of both managers. Absolutely no more than twelve players can be used.
All players should be placed in the batting order.
A player may enter a game at anytime during the game but must be inserted last in the batting order. All pool players are to be put last in the batting order.
The Strike Mat
The strike mat is 19 inches wide by 34.5 inches deep. The mat will be placed over home plate, aligned with the front edge. A defensive player making a play at home plate will be allowed to complete the force out by touching any portion of the strike mat not just the home plate.
A team may use an unlimited number of pinch runners, but a player may only pinch run once an inning. provided the ball is put in play (strikeouts do not count). The exception will be if a walk occurs. Then a player can run as often as they'd like. A pinch runner is defined as a player running for a batter or for another base runner. A runner is defined as someone running in the event of a walk. For a regular walk, the runner will take 1st base and any others on base will advance to the next base if applicable. If the walk is intentional, the runner goes to the empty base. Pinch runners will be allowed from the back screen for the batter. The pinch runner will be positioned behind the batter within arms length of the fence and with the lead foot on a line extending from home plate that runs directly from the pitcher's mound to home plate to the fence. The pinch runner will not break for first base until the ball has been batted.
If a pinch runner is on base when his turn to bat comes up he can be replaced by another runner.
Home Runs 1 + 1 Rule
The first team to hit a home run cannot hit another one until the opposing team hits one, then the one up rule applies. Either team can hit one to go one up, this continues for the rest of the game.
Any home run hit in excess of the limit is considered a single, the ball is dead, and any runners advance 1 base.
A scoring line is used instead of a scoring plate. The scoring line should be marked from approximately 6 feet from the front left corner of the strike mat, perpendicular to the 3rd base line and continue to the backstop fence. The base runner's foot must be down on or down past the scoring line prior to the ball being received by a defensive player touching the strike mat for the scoring of a run.
A commitment line 30 feet from the scoring line will be used. Once a runner's foot touches the ground on or past this line the runner is committed to advancing to the scoring line and can no longer be tagged out. If a runner from 3rd base gets within 30 feet of home plate, that runner is committed to continue home and cannot return to 3rd base. Tag of the runner by a defensive player will not be allowed - the runner will be called safe and the ball remains live. If a runner touches or re-crosses the commitment line in an attempt to return to 3rd base, the runner will be declared out and the ball remains live.
Outfield depth rule
All outfielders except the rover must stay behind the lightposts until the ball is hit. This is to give the older, slower runners a chance to get on base.
The only player that can shift to play all outfield positions is the rover. The left centerfielder, right centerfielder, shortstop, and second baseman have to stay on their side of second base until the ball is hit. If playing with 12 defenders, the right and left rovers must also stay on their side of second base. Only 1 rover (either left or right) may come into the infield and play on the dirt. The other rover should be no closer to the infield dirt than halfway between the lightposts and the dirt.
When playing with 10 players, the four outfielders need to be behind the light poles. When playing with 11 players, the four outfielders need to be behind the light poles and the rover can be anywhere.
Infielders depth rule
Infielders must be behind the first, second and third base bags until the ball is hit. This is to give the older slower runners a chance to get to base.
All games will be nine innings
The first eight innings will be played in two inning intervals. (this will save time). Visiting team will bat for two innings followed by the home team batting for two innings. After eight innings the team behind will bat first for the final inning.
There will be a five runs per inning rule with the exception of the final inning.
The team trailing in the final inning, whether it be by one run or ten runs, will hit first in the final inning. The five run rule is waived in the final inning but the team hitting first can gain no more than a five run lead (this is basically a "Catch up rule").
The team hitting last in the final inning cannot win the game if they trail by five runs. They will only be allowed to tie the game.
When a game is tied after nine innings, the game will remain a tie.
A walk or base on balls occurs when the number of pitched balls reaches three. An intentional walk is when runners are put on base to assist the defense by adding a force out at one or more bases, each runner added is in effect an intentional walk to the scheduled batter. A walked batter (either by three pitched balls or intentional) always has the option of either taking first base or hitting again with a new ball and strike count. If the batter chooses to hit again then a runner will be inserted at first base in the batters place. Runners currently on base move forward one base, except when bases are loaded, all runners remain in place and a run is scored. If the batter continues to be walked and continues to choose to hit again additional runners will be inserted each time the batter is walked. An intentional walk can only be requested by the defensive manager. Once the defensive manager requests an intentional walk he can’t change his mind.
Managers will be responsible for designating 2 to 3 qualified home plate umpires for each team.
The team at bat provides the home plate umpire who will be responsible to make the calls at 1st, 2nd, 3rd and home. The home plate umpire may ask for help from the 1st base or 3rd base coach. The final decision will be made by the home plate umpire.
Infield Fly Rule
There will be no infield fly rule in the Monday and Wednesday recreational league only.
When the batter hits a foul tip or foul ball and it is caught by the catcher it is an out. ( It does not have to go over the batters head.)
Runners who begin an at bat on 1st or 3rd base may use a phantom base for safety purposes. The runner may get off the bag in foul territory if they are concerned about a pull hitter batting the ball towards them. Once the ball is hit and you leave the phantom base you can continue directly to 2nd base or home. However, if you need to tag up or return to your base, you must use the actual 1st or 3rd base bag. Basically, once you leave the phantom base, your base then becomes the actual 1st or 3rd base bag.
Pitcher Protection Rules
For the safety of the players a safety screen must be placed between the pitching rubber and home plate, 12 -14 feet away from the rubber (measured from the bottom bar) and centered on the pitcher. This allows the pitcher to pitch from wherever they choose on the rubber. The pitcher is required to stand on the rubber, behind the screen and pitch over the screen (not around the screen). The pitcher's foot must be touching the rubber until the pitch is released. The pitcher has to remain behind the screen until the ball has been batted. This rule will be for batting practice and the game.
If the pitch is thrown around the screen's side, and detected by the umpire, the umpire should call an illegal pitch. A "ball" is counted, unless subsequently swung at by the batter in which case the ball is in play just as any pitched ball. This is identical to an illegal pitch called for pitching the ball too high.
If a batted ball hits the pitcher's screen after being hit and not yet fielded by any player, it is a dead ball. No strike or ball is counted.
If a batted ball is in play and hits the screen after being thrown by a player, the ball remains in play.
If a pitched ball, immediately after exiting the pitcher’s hand, hits any part of the screen, the pitch will count as a ball. .
It is highly recommended that the pitcher wear a mask and shin guards.
Face Mask Requirement
In our league the safety of our players is very important us. By recommendations of managers, players, and if the safety committee feel the skills of a particular player would not protect him or herself from a hard thrown or batted ball, they will be required to wear a face mask at all times during practice or regular games.
The registration fee will be refunded to a face mask required player if they choose not to wear the face mask.
Civil Defense Warnings
During the civil defense warnings, typically at 10am on Wednesdays, play will be stopped during the sounding of the sirens. This is a safety concern as defensive players cannot hear the ball off the bat or each other. This is not an option, play must be stopped on all fields during the sirens. Managers need to enforce.
Disruptive behavior by players will be addressed by the team managers on the field. Should such behavior continue, it will be brought to the attention of the Board for a vote to issue a written warning to the disruptive player. The warning will contain a statement indicating that continuation of disruptive behavior may result in dismissal from the league. The vote to warn the player shall be unanimous by the Board members in attendance at the Board meeting, and all Board members in attendance will sign the warning letter.
Should the disruptive behavior continue after the written warning, the issue will be brought to the attention of the Board for a vote to dismiss the player from the league. The Board vote shall be unanimous by the members in attendance at the Board meeting, and all Board members in attendance will sign the dismissal letter.
Should the disruptive behavior be significant and/or threatening, in the opinion of the Board, a letter of immediate dismissal may be issued without a written warning. This action must be based on a unanimous vote by all Board members present at the meeting, and all Board members in attendance will sign the dismissal letter.
***Unresolved conflicts will be dealt with by the League Board and Rules Committee
Cancelling games due to poor weather conditions
On game day, an appointed person will go to McQuillan fields to check for safe playing conditions - at approximately 7:30 AM. He will call the Assistant Field coordinator who will sign on to firstname.lastname@example.org and send the appropriate e-mail indicating play/don’t play.
When a game has been cancelled via the broadcast RMSS e-mail note, team managers must call their team members who do not have access to e-mail.
If no e-mail has been sent out by 7:45 AM postponing the game, assume the game is on.
A cancelled game will not be re-scheduled.
When a game is interrupted by heavy rains/lightning, the Assistant Field Coordinators will consult with the team managers and call a 10 minute game suspension to see if conditions improve to resume play. After the 10 minute delay, the player safety level of the fields will be evaluated and a decision to resume play or cancel the game will be made. The Field Coordinators will make that decision with input from team managers.
If 5 innings (4 1/2 innings if the home team is ahead) have been completed, the game will be declared complete and no cancellation will occur.
Utilizing Pool/Guest Players
All RMSS players are advised they may be asked, on a specific game day, to play with another team (other than on the team on which they were drafted for the current session). This would occur in order to have a more equal number of players on each team playing that day.
Five minutes prior to the start of games that day, a designated league official will meet with the team managers (or their assistants) to determine on which team pool/guest players can be selected for that day. The procedure for selecting a pool/guest player to a team is as follows:
The team record, worst to best, will determine the picking order (only for teams with fewer than 11 players). Continue selecting until all teams get 11 players (they drop out when they hit 11). When all teams have at least 11 players, the remaining pool/guest players get selected again by team record, best to worst, regardless of how many players they have.
If a team remains short of 11 players after all available pool/guest players have been selected, that team may select a player from another team having more than 11 players. The team with more than 11 players can protect 10 of its players plus the team manager from being selected to play for another team. If there is more than one team being short of 11 players, the order of selection is again by record, worst to best.
At game time, a team manager with an insufficient number of players may ask the team they are playing to fill defensive position(s) for them in order to equalize the number of players in defensive positions. In this case, the supplied defensive player continues to bat only for his actual team.
Special Note: Guest players are asked to sign a liability waiver and pay a nominal fee as determined by RMSS. The fee is waived for the first time that player is a guest during the season.
Handling donations to charities
Cash donations and checks made out to the specific charity may be given directly to a representative of the charity. Either a representative of the charity or an RMSS representative shall record the total amount of the donation to the charity. A brief letter documenting the total donation should be given to the charity representative and the total donation amount shared with league members via an email.
Immediately following the election of RMSS board members at the end of the season, the League Coordinator and new Treasurer must visit the RMSS bank along with the previous League Coordinator and League Treasurer to update names for valid check signers for the next season. This action, if needed, must take place prior to the next RMSS Board meeting following election of new officers and must be reported at that meeting.
Player draft rules for team roster selection
Teams for each session are formed by a player draft held shortly before the start of that session. For the purpose of team equity, all players will be rated based upon their playing skills. The ratings will be done by the team managers and will be kept confidential to the managers and the RMSS Board members.
Players will be rated as AA, A, B, C with AA being the top rating.
The ratings will be reviewed by the managers prior to each draft for any changes in player skills and for the addition of new players.
The following will be the process for each session draft:
RMSS Summer Draft Format (used since 2nd session 2021)
Managers draw for draft position
Draft is an “open” draft – managers may pick any level player throughout.
Round #1 1 – XX (number of teams)
Round #2 XX – 1 (AA rated managers must draft themselves)
Round #3 1 – XX
Round #4 XX – 1
Round #5 1 – XX ( A rated managers must draft themselves)
Round #6 XX – 1
Round #7 1 – XX
Round #8 XX – 1
Round #9 1 – XX ( B & C rated managers must draft themselves)
Round #10 XX – 1
Round #11 through end of draft 1 – XX (no snake)
Note: Round where A, B & C rated managers can and has been adjusted – but seems to have worked using this format with 6 teams currently.
Managers will draft one player per round unless choosing two 1-day players for opposite days. In such cases neither of the two can have a rank higher than the draft rank for that round.
Managers will draft all players who have registered and paid.
New players who register and pay after the draft will be assigned to the team manager next in line to draft.
Rochester Minnesota Senior Softball Elections
Elections for Executive Board members of the Rochester Minnesota Senior Softball (RMSS) League shall be held on the second to last regularly scheduled softball game of the calendar year.
Election results shall be made available on the last regularly scheduled season game of the calendar year and all elected Board members shall be installed on that date, to begin serving their term on January 1 of the next year.
Eligible voters may vote by paper ballot on election day or by absentee ballot prior to election day.
Absentee ballots shall be obtained from the League Coordinator and returned to the League Coordinator.
An Election Committee of at least three (3) members shall be appointed by the League Coordinator prior to the start of the election process.
No person who is seeking elected office can be appointed to the election committee.
Duties of the Election Committee:
At the beginning of the final softball session of the season a list of all positions of the Executive Board up for election and a description of each position's duties shall be distributed or by E-Mail to all voting league members.
The Election Committee will also serve as the nominating committee and then shall seek nominations after the position’s description list has been distributed (see above).
On election day the Election Committee shall have a list of all eligible voters and shall hand out one paper ballot per eligible voter and then shall mark by that person's name that they have received a ballot.
After all ballots have been returned it shall be the duty of the Election Committee to count all ballots, record the results, and report the results.
All ballots shall, after counting, be retained for one (1) full year by the League Secretary and then destroyed.