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.

FIELD LEFT FIELD CENTER FIELD RIGHT 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.

Durham Bulls Ballpark Renovation Project Award Presentation

Durham Bulls Ballpark Project

Our league applied for the $10,000 Durham Bulls and Coastal Credit Union Ballpark Renovation Project grant, awarded to four deserving organizations in the Triangle area. And we won! From Capital Broadcasting:

Four organizations have been chosen as the inaugural winners of the Durham Bulls Ballpark Project presented by Coastal Credit Union. Person High School, Bull City Little League, Durham Softball and Hillsborough Youth Athletic Association have each earned a $10,000 donation for facility renovations.

“This was an extremely tough decision for our committee, as every application was well-done,” Durham Bulls Vice President Mike Birling said. “In the end, these four organizations stood out not only as worthy groups, but as locations which will help to grow the sports of baseball and softball for years to come.”

Person High School will have renovations made to both its baseball and softball fields, and Bull City Little League will see an improvement to its facility which houses three fields. The Durham Softball facility will have an overhaul for the first time since it was built, and Hillsborough Youth Athletic League will see renovations for its over 500 children who participate in its leagues each year.

Each facility will be renovated in the coming months, with a list of priorities submitted by each location. Additionally, representatives from each organization will be honored on-field at Durham Bulls Athletic Park on Tuesday, August 7.

I am super excited about what this means for our league and our future in Durham sports. I want to thank all the players for believing in the concept and making this amazing league possible.

To celebrate, get your Durham Bulls tickets for Tuesday, August 7 through this link! The Bulls and Columbus Clippers will play a doubleheader (two 7-inning games) starting at 6:05pm.

As if $2 Taco Tuesday wasn’t enough motivation to attend, we get to accept the $10,000 check for our league on the field in-between the two games! Special tickets are discounted down to just $8.99 and two sections of tickets have been reserved for all winners!

Represent our league and wear your Durham Softball shirt, if you can. I’ll make a cool, custom Durham Softball keychain for anyone who wears their Durham Softball jersey and tags our league in a Facebook post on your personal timeline or on our page’s timeline. Show off your Durham Softball pride and help support the other three deserving winners during the ceremony in-between games of the double header! I hope to see you there!

https://groupmatics.events/event/BallparkChallenge