2019 Game Changes

This post describes some of the major changes that returning Players will notice from our 2018 season. We are changing venues and trying to accommodate new challenges this year, so we hope to provide the best game possible within the restrictions we’re given. If you have any questions, email Ryan.

Registration fee increased by $5.

Last Spring, we charged $55 + Tax for an individual registration for 10 weeks of Softball. This year, we’re charging $60 for the same thing. Why?

This year, Durham Softball has partnered with Shepard Middle School to help renovate and maintain the Shepard baseball field for their student athletes. Our league is committing the majority of our Durham Bulls Field Renovation Grant winnings from 2018 into the initial renovations of the field, but it will require additional yearly maintenance fees to maintain the field and keep it perfect for everyone that uses the field.

We believe we can reach 200+ players per season and have committed to providing Shepard with a minimum of $2,000 per year to help maintain their facilities, so everyone can pay their share of the field maintenance budget by paying an additional $5 for each season’s registration fee. We hope to create the best middle school baseball field in the district over the next few years. We believe a $5 increase in fees is well worth the improved quality of the field we get the play on every Sunday.

Team Fee Increased

Last year, a full 16-player team cost $650 + Tax. This year, the same team will cost $750 + Tax.

Most of the increase is explained by the $5 per player increase for everyone ($80 of the $100 increase for 16 Players). For the extra $20, I realized last year that I still need to buy 16 jerseys. Sort of forgot that part in the budget last year and had to reduce our donation pool by about $200 to pay for it. The extra $20/team will go towards making sure we can still pay the minimum costs to include any additional person in the league and still not reduce the amount of our donation pool relative to each team.

Fences pushed back.

Last year, we played on a short outfield fence. This year, the field’s dimensions will be more in line with a traditional slow-pitch softball field.

RTP Field 264’ 268’ 262’
Shepard Field 288’ 295’ 272’
Difference +24’ +27’ +10’

Bases increased to 80’.

Last year, we played on 65’ bases. This season, we are increasing the distance between each base to 80’. Because we are partnering with Shepard Middle School, we are standardizing the distances available on the field. Middle School uses 80’ bases, so we will use 80’ bases. To make it simpler for everyone, we’re going to align our league with their dimensions.

Most adult softball leagues play on 70’ bases, so we’re still trying to work out a way to get the distance down. We are complying with Durham Public Schools field requirements and accommodating the current grass infield at Shepard, so 80′ is currently the only current option available. Because we believe strongly in supporting public schools with our field budget and are grateful for the opportunity, we’re happy to adjust our game. Players will have to run more (60′ more on a homer, almost an entire base from last year), but it should make it a fair balance with the larger field. I’m interested to see how it impacts scoring during the season. Regardless of the distance, the important thing is that the field is the same for both Teams.

Game Times

Starting game times will vary depending on how many Teams sign up to play this season. Here are the possible options:

  • 10 Teams: 12:00pm, 1:10pm, 2:20pm, 3:30pm, 4:40pm
  • 11-12 Teams: 11:00am, 12:10pm, 1:20pm, 2:30pm, 3:40pm, 4:50pm
  • 13-14 Teams: 11:00am, 12:05pm, 1:10pm, 2:15pm, 3:20pm, 4:25pm, 5:30pm
  • 15-16 Teams: 10:00am, 11:05am, 12:10pm, 1:15pm, 2:20pm, 3:25pm, 4:30pm, 5:35pm

Summer League games may be moved earlier due to sunlight restrictions on the 5:30pm games. Notice will be made at the start of the Summer Season.

Pitcher’s Safety Rule

Any line drive that hits the pitcher in the air is an out. A “line drive” is defined as a batted ball that does not hit the ground or rise above the pitcher’s head before contact with the pitcher. The ball does not have to be caught, it only needs to be touched while the pitcher is defending themselves. Rule is void if the pitcher leaves the Safe Zone to put themselves in the path of the ball.

Pitcher “Safe Zone” will be 6’ Wide x 8’ Long. Center of Vertical will be a direct line from Home Plate to 2nd Base. Center of Horizontal is 4’ in front of the Pitching Rubber.

This rule was designed to protect our pitchers. By allowing the pitcher to get an out on any touched ball, the batter will be encouraged to avoid hitting it at the pitcher. This is a good thing.

Minimum Female Roster Requirements

There will be new requirements for the minimum number of players and females that are necessary to field a valid roster. Like last year, there must be a minimum of 8 players to start a game, with no maximum.

  • Team only has 1 female: The Team must forfeit. A scrimmage game can be played, but the offending team will be forced to take a 7 to 0 loss.
  • Team only has 2 females: The game can be played, with the offending Team incurring an automatic out to start every inning. The Team can have no more than 10-Players in their batting lineup (eg. MMMMFMMMMF). A female may not play Catcher.
  • Team has 3 or more females: The game can be played, as normal!

 Tiered Warning System

One of the best things about out league last season was the high-level of sportsmanship that all our teams showed. Our players truly understood the purpose and spirit of the league, and it showed on the field. As our league grows and the games become more competitive, we must account for the possibility that discipline will be required. This will be the formal, tiered discipline system that we will enforce in the event it becomes necessary.

  • 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.
  • Strike 2: Ejected From Game
    • If you commit a second act of unsportsmanlike conduct, 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, 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.

2019 Field Changes


I hope you all had a fun softball season! This post explains why the Durham Softball League is moving fields this season and what to expect from our new facility.

Last season, I started Durham Softball through a partnership with the RTP Foundation. We recruited 12 great local non-profits to join our cause and I received tremendous feedback and support from the community about the idea. More than 220 people played softball for charity this season and we were able to donate more than $2,500 to local charities. In June, we won a $10,000 grant from the Durham Bulls based on our proposal to renovate RTP Field #2 because the Bulls wanted to support our mission.

In July 2018, I met with Directors at RTP that would be involved in the project to discuss the plans for the field’s improvements. I expected excitement about the opportunity to renovate the fields and gain public recognition for helping local charities. Instead, I learned a lot about the corporate structure of the Research Triangle Park organization and why this news put them in a difficult situation. There are rules that restrict the fields from being used by non-RTP employees and the tax structure of the organization meant they had a hard time accepting funds from outside sources, like our grant.

Because of that difficulty, the RTP Foundation has decided that they cannot be partnered with Durham Softball in 2019. Further, RTP requested that the two leagues become separate entities and that my involvement with Durham Softball was a potential conflict of interest for RTP Softball. I was forced to resign as RTP Softball Commissioner. It was also determined that Durham Softball would not be allowed to renovate RTP Field #2 or play on the field next season, so those plans have been cancelled.

The good news, however, is that we didn’t give up. Durham Softball is now operated by Play NC, Inc, a 501(c)3 non-profit, founded by Ryan Mentock, that has no relationship with the RTP Softball League or the RTP Foundation. After being forced to find a new home for our league, I had the idea to partner with a local school to help fix their fields. It was a lot more work than expected and the project took over the majority of my free time for the last 6 months, but it was worth it.

The Durham Softball League is moving to Shepard Magnet Middle School at 2401 Dakota St, Durham, NC 27707 for the 2019 Season. We will be partnering with Shepard to renovate their baseball field so that the improvements we make will benefit our league and the kids of Shepard at the same time.

Last season, our league spent exactly $0 in field maintenance expenses. This season, we have committed a substantial amount of funds to help renovate and maintain the Shepard field. Some of the renovations will be paid for by our league’s grant winnings, but that alone will not be enough to cover our anticipated renovations over the next few years. To make a better field for everyone, we have increased our registration fees by $5 per player, per season. This will help us subsidize the field’s renovations and make for a better long-term facility.

We hope this explains the change in locations and that you’ll understand the added $5 value of not only improving our league’s field, but improving the field that the Shepard kids play on, as well. Our league’s entire purpose is to benefit the Durham community, so we thought this partnership would be a perfect fit for our league.