League Rules

Download our 2021 Spring Softball Rule Book

League PhilosophyCode of ConductLeague ProceduresPlayer SafetyGame RulesLeague RulesPlayoffs & Tie-BreakersGame Times & SchedulingUmpiring & ArgumentsCOVID Overwrite & Addendum

League Philosophy

The Durham Softball League is a co-ed, recreational, adult, slow-pitch softball league. Participants should play to have fun, make friends, get exercise, and help local charities. Players must temper their competitive spirit with good sportsmanship and always attempt to avoid injury, both for themselves and others. Individuals who cannot translate these goals into attitudes and actions on the field should not play in this league.

Participants in Durham Softball must recognize that, as in any sport, there is a potential for significant injury. Players should also recognize that some of their teammates and opponents might have little or no experience playing softball, which makes injuries more likely. For their own safety, all players should learn proper techniques of batting, fielding and base running, and instruct less skilled players in the proper techniques.

ALL PLAYERS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR PLAYING THE GAME AS SAFELY AS POSSIBLE.

It is the responsibility of the team captains and umpires to monitor the conduct of the players and to take appropriate actions to correct objectionable behavior. Teammates of the offending players should exert pressure to stop offensive behavior. Peer pressure is our most effective means of enforcement. Umpires are charged with ejecting players if, in their opinion, the situation warrants it.

Permission to use the playing fields is contingent upon our respect for the facility and our behavior. You are expected to remove all trash from the field when you leave.

Code of Conduct

  • The base runner and the fielders have a shared responsibility to avoid collisions. See the Playing Rules section for further details.
  • Abusive language and/or profanity and vulgar behavior will not be tolerated and can result in player and/or coaches being suspended.
  • Individuals will not insult opposing players or umpires.
  • Players should park only in the designated parking lots. This includes motorcycles and vans. Do not park on the grass.
  • Do not broadcast loud music. Audio equipment is not allowed on the field.
  • Fighting constitutes automatic suspension for one calendar year.
  • No smoking or unused equipment is allowed in the playing area.
  • No alcoholic beverages or grills are allowed at the field.

League Procedures

All official correspondence with the league should be sent through e-mail to the Ryan Mentock (Commissioner) at play@durhamsoftball.com.

  • Rules regarding team rosters and game day lineups:
  • Rosters will be limited to a maximum of 16 players and a minimum of 13 players.
  • Players are only allowed to play on only one team in the league.
  • Players may be added or deleted from rosters with the Commissioner’s permission.
  • Waivers are mandatory, with no exceptions, and need to be received before any player participates in their first game of the season.
  • Any player that participates in a game who is not on that team’s roster or has not signed a waiver will cause their team to forfeit the game. Contact your commissioner via e-mail if there is any doubt.

The umpire will keep the official score, but both teams are encouraged to also keep track of their runs scored to help verify outcomes. After the game, the captains should confirm the final score with the umpire before leaving the field. The umpire will then update the official standings.

Safety Regulations

  • It is the base runner’s responsibility to run around fielders to avoid collisions. Umpires will not call such a diversion by a runner an out for running out of the base path. The runner may be called out for running out of the base path if, in the judgment of the umpire, he/she was doing so only to avoid the tag.
  • A runner should make every attempt to avoid a collision with a fielder in possession of or making a play on the ball. If a collision does occur, the runner will be called out if he/she could have avoided the collision. The runner is out even if the fielder losses control of the ball. This rule especially applies to plays at home plate. If collision occurs and is called so by the umpire the ball is dead and no other runners can advance.
  • If a runner deliberately and forcefully runs into a fielder, the runner is called out and will be ejected immediately.
  • Some collisions are inevitable. When a runner sees that a collision is inevitable, he should slide or slow down. A runner can be called out, but not ejected, if he/she did not slide or otherwise try to reduce the impact of an inevitable collision. If the runner slides, he might be tagged out, but will not be called out because of this rule.
  • A runner must try to avoid a collision or reduce the force of an inevitable collision. A runner may be called out because of the no-collision rule. This rule will be enforced at the umpire’s discretion.
  • The fielder also has a responsibility to avoid collision whenever possible. If the fielder appears to purposefully contact a runner, according to the umpire, that runner will be awarded an extra base and the fielder may be ejected.
  • These rules are not meant to apply to incidental contact, according to the umpire.

Player Injuries

  • If a player is injured and cannot continue to play a team may replace that player with a substitute player from the roster without penalty. The injured player may no longer participate in play once replaced. If the injury results in a team only having only 7 remaining participating players that team will forfeit the game.

Jewelry

  • For safety, no jewelry is allowed, including watches, earrings, or bracelets. There is an exception for wedding bands and necklaces that can be kept under the shirt collar, which are allowed. Failure to comply will result in an out or ejection.

Thrown Bats

  • The first player to throw a bat during a game will be issued a warning that will apply to their entire team. Any additional thrown bat by that team during the game will result in an automatic dead ball out for the batter. A thrown bat will be defined as any situation where the batter endangers the catcher, umpire, or on-deck batter with their bat after a swing.

Restricted Fielding Area

  • Infielders may not be inside the base lines prior to the batter contacting the ball.
  • Outfielders may not be on the infield dirt prior to the batter contacting the ball.
  • A player’s status as an “Infielder” or “Outfielder” is determined based on where the player was placed during the previous batter.
  • If a fielder enters this area prior to the batter’s contact, the ball will be declared dead and the batter will be awarded 1st Base automatically.

Pitcher’s Safety

  • After releasing the pitch, the Pitcher will create a safety zone:
    • The center of the zone will be a line from home plate to 2nd
    • The width of the zone will be the pitcher’s horizontal reach with both arms.
    • The height of the zone will be the pitcher’s reach, above their head.
    • The Safety Zone will be determined as the Pitcher releases the pitch.
  • Any batted ball that hits the Safety Zone in the air, is an OUT.
  • The ball does not have to be caught; it only needs to enter the zone in the air.
  • The pitcher can defend themselves in any way.
  • If the ball hits the ground prior to reaching the pitcher, the hit is legal and the ball is live.
  • The Umpire will make a judgement call to determine if the ball entered the zone.
  • After ruling that the batter is out because they hit the ball through the Safety Zone, the play will be called dead and runners will return to their base.

Valid Game Conditions

  • A game is official if a team has 8 or more players, with at least 2 woman players.
  • If a team only has 8 players, the opposing team may volunteer to supply a catcher whose only duty is to return pitched balls.

Valid Starting Rosters

  • There must be a minimum of 8 players to start a game, with no maximum.
  • If the team only has 1 woman, the game is Forfeited.
    • The two Teams may still scrimmage, but the game’s outcome will be a 7 to 0 victory for the winning Team.
  • Valid starting rosters vary depending on how many players arrive for the game.
  • If the team only has 2 women, the game can continue under these conditions:
    • Defensive Lineup: 6+ Males, 2 Women, Any player as Catcher
    • Offensive Lineup:g. M-M-M-M-M-F-M-M-M-M-M-M-F
    • Team takes an automatic out at the start of every inning.
    • If a 3rd woman arrives mid-game, they may be inserted into the lineup at the end of the current half inning. This would end the automatic out and the game would proceed, as normal.
  • If the team has 3+ women, the game can be played, as normal.
    • Defensive Lineup: 7+ Males, 3+ Women
    • Offensive Lineup:g. M-M-M-M-F-M-M-M-M-F-M-M-M-M-F
  • A maximum of 10 defensive players are permitted on the field at any time.

Lineup Order

  • There can be no more than 4 men batting in a row, including from the bottom to the top of the order.
  • For example, if a team has 12 men and 4 women and is batting the whole team, the order cannot be as follows:
    • WRONG: MMW1MMW2MMMW3MMW4MMM
      • This is disallowed because there would be 5 men batting in a row (bottom to top of lineup).
    • RIGHT: MMW1MMW2MMMW3MMMW4MM
      • In this case the woman’s place must be moved back to prevent 5 men from ever batting in a row.

Batting Count

  • 3 strikes are an out, 4 balls is a walk.
  • There is a courtesy foul in effect. After the second strike, a batter gets one free foul ball.
  • If the batter hits a 2nd foul ball with two strikes, the batter is out.
  • In all games, each batter will begin his or her at-bat with a 1-1 count.

Pitching Arc

  • This is a slow pitch softball league.
  • The ball must be pitched to meet each of the following conditions:
    • Moderate speed
    • Tossed from below the hip
    • Reach above a peak arc between a minimum of 6’ from the ground
    • Stay below a peak arc of 12’ feet from the ground.
  • A pitch that does not meet all four of these criteria will be declared an illegal pitch and called a Ball.

Strike Zone

  • The strike zone is defined by an extended home plate whose width is the normal plate width and whose depth extends approximately 2.5 feet behind the front of the plate. Any pitch landing partially or wholly in this area is a strike.
  • A pitched ball that lands on any part of the plate, including the black border, is a STRIKE.

Bunting

  • Bunting, or chopping, is not allowed. Attempts to bunt or chop will be an automatic out; a dead ball will be declared, and runners will return to their bases.

Stealing

  • Base stealing is not allowed.
  • Leading-off from the base is not allowed.
  • Pickoff plays are also not allowed.
  • If a runner leaves the bag prior to the ball crossing the plate, the runner will be called out.

Double First Base

  • The intent of the double first base is to reduce the chance of a collision between the first baseman and the runner during the initial force out attempt by giving them separate targets, the white part for the first baseman, and the orange part for the runner. Every runner must try to avoid a collision at any base, including both the orange and white parts of the double first base, as described in the section of the Playing Rules regarding collisions.
  • A batted ball hitting or bounding over the white portion is declared fair and a batted ball hitting or bounding over the orange portion is declared foul.
  • On any force out attempt from the fair side of first base, the defense must use the white portion and the batter/runner the orange portion. The batter/runner is out when there is a play being made at first base and the batter/runner touches only the white portion.
  • On any force out attempt from the foul side of first base, or an errant throw pulling the defense off the base into foul ground, the defense and the batter/runner can either use the white or orange portion.
  • On extra base hits or balls hit to the outfield, the batter/runner may touch the white or orange portion.
  • After the batter/runner passes first base, whether overrunning or toward second base, the color no longer has significance, and the batter/runner can return to either part of the double base.

“Walked Man” Rule

  • If a man is walked (intentionally or not) with less than 2 outs and the next batter is a woman, the male batter automatically advances to second base and the woman batter is up to bat.
  • If a man is walked (intentionally or not) with 2 outs, the woman batter has the option to bat or to take a walk.

Ground Rule Double

  • If a batted ball rolls under the outfield fence it will be ruled a double; the fielder should raise his hand indicating to the umpire this has occurred.
  • All runners on base before the hit will be awarded two bases.

Courtesy / Pinch Runners

  • Each team is allowed 1 pinch runner per inning, for any reason.
  • If a 2nd pinch runner is required, the team must take an automatic out.
  • Another male must pinch run for any male. Another woman must pinch run for a woman.
  • The pinch runner can be anyone on the team of the same gender, but the team incurs an automatic out if the pinch runner is still on base when their turn to bat comes up.

Obstruction

  • The runner is awarded an extra base if obstructed by a fielder in the base path, unless the fielder is trying to defensively field the ball or has the ball in his possession ready to tag the runner.

Infield Fly Rule

  • The infield fly rule is in effect. The infield fly rule is described as when there are fewer than two outs and there is a force play at third base (i.e., when there are runners at first AND second base, or the bases are loaded), the batter will be called out immediately.

Home Run Rule

  • There is a limit of 4 over-the-fence home runs per team.
  • Any over-the-fence hits after that will result in an out.
  • Inside-the-park home runs do not count against the 4 HR limit.

Mercy Rule

  • Games will be considered over due to the Mercy Rule under the following conditions:
    • One team is winning by 20 or more runs after 3 full innings.
    • One team is winning by 15 or more runs after 4 full innings.
    • One team is winning by 10 or more runs after 5 full innings.

Additional Hitters

  • If a team starts with a full lineup (10 players in the field with at least 3 women), it can choose to have a 10-position batting order or to have a longer batting order including any number of Additional Hitters so long as this rule is fulfilled.
  • Any numbers of Additional Hitters are allowed, if they maintain the MMMW format.
  • All players that are in the batting order must play at least two innings on defense.

Defensive Players

  • All players that play on defense must be in the batting order.
  • There is no “designated hitter” rule like there is in Major League Baseball.

Adding Players During Game

  • Additional players can be added to the end of a batting lineup after the game begins if a player shows up late to the game.
  • Substitutions and late entry on offense are done immediately. Once the new player shows up to the field, they can enter the game on defense after the current batter.

Playing Time Requirements

  • All players that are eligible, able, and willing to play are required to have a spot in the batting lineup for every game.
  • All players are required to play at least two innings in the field.
  • Any player may go in and out of the defensive lineup an unlimited number of times, provided the player still occupies the same batting position whenever he or she is in the lineup.

Field Details

  • Distance from back apex of home plate to the front of the pitching rubber is 50 feet.
  • Distance from home plate apex to base outside corner is 70 feet.
  • The black border that outlines the plate is considered part of Home Plate.
  • Home team occupies the dugout on the first base sideline.

Equipment

  • All players must wear close toed shoes, no sandals, boots or bare feet.
  • Only official softball equipment may be used.
  • All Bats must be ASA certified.
  • Bats will be inspected by the umpires to insure they meet specifications set forth by ASA.
  • Any player that is caught using a banned bat in competition will be an automatic out, ejected from the game, and suspended 1 more game. The coach will receive the same suspension as their player.
  • Metal spikes are NOT allowed; failure to comply will result in ejection.

Game Balls

  • All Game Balls must follow these specification:
    • 12”, Synthetic, Max .52 COR, Max 300 lbs. Compression.
  • Game Balls will be distributed by the umpire each game.

Tournament / Playoff Format

  • The playoff brackets for each league will be determined based on the number of teams in each league.
  • In a 12-team league:
    • The Top 8 teams advance to a single elimination tournament to decide the Champion.
    • The Bottom 4 teams advance to a Consolation Tournament.

Tie-Breakers

  • If two or more teams are tied at the end of the season, the following tie breaker(s) will be used to determine the regular season champion and seeding for the tournament:
    • The team with the best record in head-to head competition.
    • The team with the most runs scored in head-to-head competition.
    • The team with the best run differential, overall.
    • The team with the most runs scored, overall.

Game Starting Times

  • For Spring 2021, official starting times for all games will be:
    • 12:00pm; 1:00pm; 2:00pm; 3:00pm; 4:00pm; 5:00pm
  • The Home team will take the field two minutes before the start of the game.
    • If a team does not have enough players to start the game on time, they are allowed up to a 5-minute grace period to field a full roster.
    • If a team cannot field a valid starting lineup after 5 minutes, the team will forfeit the game. The teams can then play a scrimmage game for fun.
  • Regardless of when the game starts, no full inning shall begin more than 50 minutes from the game’s original starting time.
  • A single game will have an expected duration of 1 hour.
  • The umpire will give a 10-minute warning for the end of game time.

Rainouts

  • Before 10:00am on game day, in the event of unplayable field conditions, the head umpire and Commissioner will declare a rainout by sending an email to the league. If the umpire rules the field unplayable at game time, the game will be declared a rainout and rescheduled.
  • If the game is in progress, the umpire has the right to suspend play due to rain, lightning, darkness, or unplayable field conditions.
  • If a game is stopped after 3 complete innings, or 2 ½ if the home team is winning, then the game is official. If a game is stopped before 3 innings, the game will be resumed where it left off.
  • Games that are suspended due to rain or darkness are resumed at the point they were suspended. A separate set of players may play in the resumed game, but the male-woman sequence in the original batting order should be maintained in the resumed game, or as close as practical, through the first eight positions of the batting order.
  • The league commissioners will reschedule all cancelled or suspended games. The league will notify the teams involved through the web site. If a rained-out game cannot be played before the end of the season, then each team is awarded +0.5 points in the league standings.

Forfeits

  • If a team must cancel a game for any reason, they must inform commissioner and the other team at least 1 week before the game via e-mail. Any later notice will result in a forfeit.
  • The team responsible for calling a forfeit prior to the scheduled game time, must inform the league commissioner, the team effected and the head umpire of the decision in the event prior to game time.
  • Forfeits will result in a 7-0 score in favor of the wining team.

Umpires

  • Umpires will be supplied by Durham Softball.
  • Umpires will discuss ground rules before the game starts.
  • Email is the preferred method of contact.

Arguments

  • Judgment calls cannot be argued.
  • All decisions of the umpires are FINAL.
  • Rules interpretations may be challenged, but only by team captains. Players are not allowed to discuss matters with umpires.
  • There is a protest rule. A coach may protest a game if and only if one of the two following circumstances occurs:
    • An opposing team has players on the field that are found not to be on the roster.
    • An opposing team uses illegal equipment.
  • All formal protests need to be emailed to the commissioners no later than 24 hours after the completion of the game. The email must contain the reason for the protest and the circumstances of the situation. The protest will be reviewed by the commissioners.
    • If the protest is found to be upheld, the protesting team will be rewarded a victory and the team that was found to be in violation will be given a loss.
  • If an umpire incorrectly interprets the rules, the commissioners should be notified in writing via email.
    • The outcome of the game cannot be changed but the league will try to clarify the rule, especially to the umpire who incorrectly applied it.

Ejections

  • The umpires and commissioners have the right to eject any person from a recreational facility within their jurisdiction.
  • Umpires should report ejections to the commissioner.
  • Any player or coach ejected from a game will not be eligible to play in their team’s next game.
  • Any player ejected from two games will be suspended for the remainder of the season, including tournaments.
  • Any ejected player or participant who does not leave the field within two minutes or who continues to harass other participants shall cause the game to be forfeited by his/her team.
  • Minor violations may result in a warning, one time only, from the umpire.

Tiered Warning System

One of the best things about out league is the high-level of sportsmanship that all our teams show. Our players understand the purpose and spirit of the league, and it shows on the field. Still, we must account for the possibility that discipline will be required.

  • Strike 1: In-Game Warning
    • If your actions are disrespectful or unsportsmanlike enough to cause an escalated action by the umpire, you will receive your first strike. You may remain in the game and continue playing in the league, on a one-year probation.
  • Strike 2: Ejected From Game
    • If you commit a second act of unsportsmanlike conduct in a one-year period, you will be removed from the current game, but will be allowed to play in your team’s next game.
  • Strike 3: Ejected From League
    • If you commit a third act of unsportsmanlike conduct in a two-year period, you will be removed from the current game and be forced to leave the league. You will not be allowed to register for future seasons.

These rules replace specific rules outlined above (highlighted in RED) and add to existing rules to clarify and update league protocols related to Covid. For the 2021 season, the new rule below shall take precedent over any rule outlined previously in the league rulebook.

These guidelines may change from week-to-week. We hope to be able to relax some of these measures and all players will be notified of any changes during the season.

Face Masks

All players will be required to always wear face masks on the field, with one exception.

  • Outfielders have the option to remove their masks while they are in the field.
  • Masks must be carried with the player onto the field so that they always have their mask with them.

Outfielders must put their mask back on as soon as possible after the third out each inning, but always prior to coming within 20’ of any other player or crossing over the foul line into their bench territory.

  • If an Outfielder does not replace their mask before coming near another player or crossing the foul line, the next batter up will start their at-bat with a 1-2 count, instead of a 1-1 count.

Masks will be required before and after games. Players must begin to wear a mask once they leave their car in the parking lot and advance towards the field. After games, players should continue to wear their masks until they have reached their car.

All spectators over 4 years old will be expected to follow the same guidelines as players.

Masks with ventilators, holes, mesh, tears, or any other defect will not be considered acceptable face masks and must be replaced with a more effective covering. The League will provide you with an acceptable face mask if you do not have one. If you do not agree to wear a mask at the field, you will be asked to leave.

Strike Zone Mat

To keep our umpires safe by preventing close contact to every single player each week, while also allowing catchers to have more distance between themselves and the batters, a Strike Zone Mat shall be used to determine if a pitched ball is a Ball or a Strike.

The Umpire shall determine if a pitch reached a maximum height between 6’ and 12’. If so, the pitch shall be valid. The Strike Zone Mat shall determine if a pitch lands within the Strike Zone. If the mat is hit by a valid pitch in the air, the pitch shall be a Strike. Home Plate will still be considered a Strike, as normal.

A pitch shall be considered a Strike if the pitch meets these conditions:

  • Moderate speed.
  • Tossed from below the hip.
  • Reach above a peak arc between a minimum of 6’ from the ground.
  • Stay below a peak arc of 12’ feet from the ground.
  • The ball lands on either the Strike Zone Mat or Home Plate.

The Catcher will determine if a pitch hit the Strike Zone Mat in the air. The Catcher must be fair in their judgments. If the Batter disagrees with the call, they may appeal to the Umpire for an official ruling.

Socially-Distanced Bench / Fence Spacing

Teams will have the option of distancing along the fence lines when they are up to bat or not playing in the field. The league will provide the infrastructure to allow teams to distance themselves in specific, isolated areas along the fence line, and encourage all players to practice social distancing as much as possible at the field. However, there will be no league requirement for teammates to distance themselves away from the dugout during their game and no penalty if a team decides not to use these resources.

Teams and individuals must determine how they want to protect themselves when they are on the bench. We hope that team social dynamics, peer pressure, and your own individual considerations of “safe” precautions will help make this work for everyone.

During the game, a 200’ rope will be stretched along the fence line, with markers labeling every 10’ distance. If your team wishes to assign individual areas to players to ensure social distancing, this rope will identify and measure three areas to allow proper distancing among all players:

  • 20’ section for the On-Deck Batter.
  • 20’ section for the In-The-Hole Batter.
  • 160’ to allow 10’ spacing for 16 Players.

While teammates can determine their own distancing guidelines, players will not be allowed to interact with the other team while at the field. Players should make every possible effort to remain at least 10’ away from opposing players before, during, and after the game.

Teams must stay on their side of the field, but there will be no requirement to distance teammates on the sidelines. We hope you will practice social distancing and not sit too closely to each other, but that decision will be yours to make.

Arriving & Leaving The Field

To help keep Teams distanced, all Players must gather before the games in specified waiting areas. Players that arrive early will be required to wait in designated areas.

  • Home Team sits on the FIRST BASE side of the field.
    • Pre-Game: Team should gather at BEHIND THE 1ST BASE DUGOUT.
  • Away Team sits on the THIRD BASE side of the field.
    • Pre-Game: Team should gather NEAR THE LEFT FIELD FOUL POLE.

You will be expected to know if you are Home or Away. If you are unsure, check the schedule on durhamsoftball.com or ask the Field Attendant.

All Players are expected to stay at least 10’ away from any Player on any other Team, whenever possible. You will necessarily be close to your Teammates before the games, but you should try to avoid interacting or coming close to Players on other Teams.

  • PLAYERS LEAVING: After the game, please exit the field immediately and return to the parking lot. You will be required to keep your mask on until you reach your vehicle in the parking lot. Each Team should do their best to leave the Playing Area quickly (under 2 minutes) and efficiently while staying distanced from other Players. Players should grab all of their things and leave the dugout immediately, even if they must re-organize away from the field before they leave the grounds completely. Please try to stay at least 10’ away from any other Player while you are leaving the field.
  • PLAYERS ARRIVING: Players that are awaiting their turn to take the field should be patient and wait until the previous Team has completely left the area. Once the Team that occupied their side of the field has distanced themselves from the field, the Players may place their items in the dugout or along the fence. The Home Team should immediately take the field and prepare for the start of the game. Games will start ASAP after both Teams have entered the dugout, so warmup before the previous game is over and get ready to begin quickly.

We have a mandate to restrict the number of people gathered at the field for our events. Our gathering must be limited to no more than 50 people at one time. With 2 teams playing, and 2 teams waiting, we will approach 50 people in-between games. It is important that players leave the field quickly and waiting teams gather in their assigned areas prior to the game.

Attendance

You will not be allowed to play if you have a fever (100+) or recent exposure to a known or suspected COVID-positive person. We will be relying on the honor system and expect players to use good judgment in staying away from their friends and teammates if they might put them at risk by playing the game. We will refund you $5 if you miss a game due to illness or self-quarantine, so please do not come to the field if you might put others at risk.

We will have a Field Attendant at our games. The Attendant will be responsible for taking attendance of all players and spectators at the field, for two reasons:

  • To ensure our 50-person capacity is satisfied, and limit access to the field if we approach an excess of players & spectators at one time.
  • To document potential contacts and exposures throughout the league as a form of contact tracing if the league learns of COVID-positive players after the game.

We hope contact tracing is unnecessary because our players agree to take necessary precautions and stay away from the field if they are sick or exposed, but we must plan to be safe, anyway. Please be courteous to the Field Attendant when they take attendance during the game.

Spectators

Up to 20 People per Team will be allowed at the field each game, including all family, friends, kids (ages 5+), spectators, and players. The number of spectators allowed for each team depends on the number of players at the game. The total number of people allowed at the game for each side must equal 20.

  • If a Team has 12 players at the game, they may have 8 spectators. If a Team has 16 players at the game, they may have 4 spectators.

Children under 4-years old do not count towards the total number of people at the game. All Spectators must follow the same COVID precautions as our players, including not coming to the games sick, following mask requirements, and maintaining distancing measures.

Teams should discuss and coordinate their own spectators to ensure compliance. If a Team has more than 20 combined players and spectators at the game, spectators will be asked to leave. If the extra spectators do not leave the field after being warned, their Team will lose 1 Strike per minute until the spectator has left.

Respecting Others

Since some of these measures and recommendations are subjective, we must consider that all players will not have the same concern for properly following protocols. Still, everyone must respect everyone, regardless of their opinion. Even if you do not want to adhere to certain restrictions, you cannot prevent others from attempting to keep themselves safe.

If you have a teammate that you believe is being disrespectful, speak with them. If they refuse to change and continue to be disrespectful, please notify the league. For example:

  • Player refuses to socially distance themselves from you. You have asked them to stay 6’ away from you when it isn’t necessary, but they don’t.
  • Player refuses to wear a mask. They may think the umpire does not notice, but you noticed and do not feel comfortable with their actions.
  • Player lied about their health. They played with symptoms of illness or falsely reported answers to our pre-game screenings.

Players can report a teammate for inappropriate behavior by emailing the league at play@durhamsoftball.com.

  • If you are reported by one player, you will be questioned.
  • If you are reported by three players, you will be suspended for one game.
  • If you are reported by five players, you will be removed from the league.

Rainouts / Cancellations

We will be using DPR facilities at Pineywood and have a hard deadline to finish the season before all DPR facilities close for the Summer on July 1. Because of this time restraint, we will not be rescheduling games that are cancelled or rained out. Every effort to play all our games each week will be made, but DPR will ultimately decide if the fields are playable and determine if we can use the fields each day. This is to ensure the full season is finished before the fields close for the Summer.

To make up for the missed game, we’ll be offering players $5 per game CREDITS as compensation for any cancelled games. The credits can be used towards future Play NC & Durham Softball registrations, including the Fall 2021 softball season. These will be issued as coupon codes to use on our website for any event or league we offer, or you can consider the cancellation as a “donation” towards our charities. At the end of the season, we will total any amounts owed from cancellations and send you a form to either request the coupon code or add the funds to our donation pool.

COVID Policies

You will not be allowed to play if you have a fever (100+) or recent exposure to a known or suspected COVID-positive person. We will be relying on the honor system and expect players to use good judgment in staying away from their friends and teammates if they might put them at risk by playing the game. Because we do not want finances to be a reason you choose to play while sick or potentially exposed to COVID, we are offering $5 per game REFUNDS for any player who misses a game due to COVID or self-quarantine. If you stay home and miss a game because you are sick, tested positive for COVID, or are pending COVID test results after a potential exposure, we thank you for staying home and we hope you get better soon! We will gladly refund you for the games you miss and appreciate your consideration of others.

Read this post for a full breakdown of COVID-related precautions our league is taking this season. There are a few extra nuances and exceptions, but here is the TLDR:

  • You will be required to wear a mask while you play.
  • You will be asked to maintain distance from players and teammates, when possible.
  • We will be using a Strike Zone mat to call balls and strikes.
  • Players must follow specific directions and stay in designated waiting areas/paths when entering or leaving the field.
  • These rules are fluid and we hope to ease restrictions as soon as possible, but they will be strictly enforced to ensure we can continue to operate while keeping our players safe.

Our league has considered current CDC guidelines, standing Executive Orders, medical opinions, player feedback, and DPR facility requirements for use in determining these guidelines. We hope to get back to playing normally as soon as possible, but please remember that many of these rules are requirements for us to be on the field at all. It may be inconvenient or imperfect, but we’re playing.

Currently, wearing masks on the field is a requirement if we want to play softball at a city park. We agree with the rule, but is not our rule, so it is not currently up for debate. We must wear masks if we want to play softball. This rule will be strictly enforced while necessary to avoid jeopardizing our league or the safety of our players. If you sign up to play, you should expect to wear a mask while you are at the field.

Holidays / Memorial Day

To give us one more chance to play this Spring, we will schedule games for Memorial Day weekend. We have historically avoided all holidays, but we thought this year might be an exception. Since the Memorial Day holiday itself is on Monday and we expect fewer people going out-of-town for vacation, we think more people will want to play softball that Sunday afternoon. To fit the weekend’s theme, we will be hosting a donation event in honor of Vets to Vets United during our games, so I hope you will all participate and help our veteran’s charity.

For Spring 2021, we WILL play games the Sunday before Memorial Day (5/30), but we WILL NOT play games on Easter (4/4), Mother’s Day (5/9), or Father’s Day (6/20).

Field Attendant at All Games

To help ensure safety protocols, the league will hire a Field Attendant to work all games.

Job Description: Field Attendant required for adult softball league. Responsible for setting up field prior to game start each week and breaking down field at the end of the day. Will take player attendance, keep game score, verify registrations, and distribute jerseys. Will represent the league in enforcing COVID-related protocols and requirements by helping players adhere to safety measures.

  • Arrival: You should arrive at the field at 11:45am, or 15 minutes prior to the first game. You will be required to set up items listed here, in order of task priority:
    • BASES: 1st, 2nd, and 3rd base need to be placed on the field.
    • PITCHING RUBBER: Pitching Rubber needs to be placed on the field.
      • Front of Pitching Rubber is 50’ from back of plate.
    • SPACING ROPE: 150’ rope from start of dugout down fence line. Two ropes, one per side. Linked to the fence with three carabiners.
    • SCORE TRACKER: Flip-card scoring system set up at Registration.
    • LINEUP CARDS: Home and Away Line-up Cards should be hung from the fence near each team’s dugout.
  • Attendance: During the 1st time through each lineup, document the players for each team by referencing their lineup cards and asking the players if there is anyone absent. Record attendance and save records; this will be used in the event of a reported COVID-positive player and help with any necessary contact tracing.
    • If there are any spectators at the field, ask their first name and which player they are with. Document their name and association for future reference, as needed.
    • Each team is allowed up to 5 spectators, with a maximum of 10 total spectators at the field. If there are more than 10 spectators, you will need to ask the extra spectators to leave.
  • Score Keeping: During the game, help the umpire keep score by updating the Score Tracker. The umpire will be responsible for the official score, but you will be responsible for making sure the Score Tracker shows the offical score.
  • Questions: While you are at the field, you will represent Play NC. If anyone has questions about the league, charities, or softball, answer them or get their name and email so we can reply later.
  • Registration Table: During the first 2 weeks, Players will stop at the Registration Table to sign waivers (if not already completed) and collect jerseys.
    • Week 1:
      • Each Player signs Liability & COVID waiver.
        • Most Players should complete online, but we may need to collect their signatures in person.
      • Each Player receives a Jersey.
      • Distribute Face Masks and Hand Sanitizer, as needed.
    • Remaining Weeks:
      • Any Player that did not show up in Week 1 can sign their waivers and pick up their jersey at a future week.
      • Table will be FA’s main command station, with extra masks and hand sanitizer available near the entrance for all players.
    • Emergency Umpire: A lot of things would have failed to get to this point, but you may be asked to work as an emergency umpire, in the event all of our other umpires are unavailable. If this happens, you will receive an additional $20 per hour for the day, to be paid at $35 per hour, total.
    • Leaving: Preparing to end the day and leave the field.
      • After the last game has started, the Registration Table, Face Masks, and Sanitizer can be packed away and returned to the parking lot.
      • Once the last game has finished, collect the Spacing Ropes, Bases, Pitching Rubber, Lineup Cards, and Score Tracker from the field.
      • Pack all items away and prepare them in storage for next week’s Arrival.