Expectations of Players
EXPECTATIONS OF PLAYERS
- All players participating in ESSC Tournaments are expected to play with respect for everyone at the field and with a “fun-first” attitude. Slo-Pitch can be an intense sport however, the ESSC Slo-Pitch Tournaments must be a fun, non-threatening environment. There are no Umpires at Slo-Pitch games.
- All players are expected to know the rules and manage their actions on the field.
- Players should promote fun and safety throughout the game by: following the rules and talking to their own teammates who are not following the rules.
- Promote sportsmanship throughout the game. Let the opposing Team Captain know if you are enjoying their team, congratulate your opponent on fun and fair play throughout the game.
- Players that are concerned about a player on the opposing team are required to talk to their Team Captain so he/she can address the issue with the opposing Team Captain at the appropriate time.
- Players are expected to act in a respectful manner if approached by an opposing Team Captain regarding their style of play and to make any requested changes.
- Teams are expected to cheer for their opponents at the end of a game.
- Players can provide constructive feedback to the ESSC as needed, which can include facility conditions, unsportsmanlike play, or helpful comments.
GAME PLAY EXPECTATIONS
- Before the game, the Captains will meet to introduce themselves, review the opposition's bats and game balls, discuss field specific restrictions and rules or sportsmanship issues that need to be emphasized.
- Team Captains are to communicate their expectations to each other. At the end of the pre-game meeting Team Captains are required to communicate all information with their players.
- At the end of the game, all players shake hands and Team Captains meet to discuss any issues with the game.
There are specific Slo-Pitch etiquette guidelines that must be honored by all players:
- Players sitting on the bench/sideline must not chatter at the fielders/base runners about missed calls, leading off, or other possible rule violations. This behavior always leads to frustration and escalated tension. If your opponent seems unaware of a rule, please discuss calmly amongst the captains between innings.
- It is unsportsmanlike for the majority of players on a team to not know the rules. While a team may be ‘just out to have fun’, they can ruin the experience for everyone if they are constantly violating rules.
- While Captains are encouraged to know and bring the rulebook to the games, it is unsportsmanlike to constantly refer to the rulebook and continually remind your opponent about minor discrepancies.
- Public displays of anger such as bat throwing or kicking equipment has no place in an ESSC Tournament. Players doing this are to be removed from the game.
- Directing foul language at an opponent is cause for automatic removal from the game. Captains MUST honour this rule and are obligated to sit or remove from the field any of their players/spectators who are not displaying proper etiquette.
- Drinking alcohol at the field is a fineable offence and is not permitted. Players must not leave any types of cans or garbage on the field after the game – the field must be left in cleaner condition than it was when players arrived.
- Community residents are particularly aware of Slo-Pitch players urinating in public. Any complaints to the City will result in the ESSC losing the rights to use that field and the offending player or team will be immediately removed from the tournament.
Format & Scoring
- Teams are expected to arrive 15 minutes prior to their scheduled start time.
- Games are 7 innings in length.
- A coin toss will determine who the Home Team is and therefore which team gets the last bat.
- Both captains will bring a score sheet to every game.
- Teams must track the batter results each inning for their own team as well as runs scored by the opposing team.
- Please confirm the score with the other captain at the end of each half inning. Confirm the score with the other captain at the end of the game to ensure that both teams report the same score.
- If there is a discrepancy at the end of the game, figure it out at the field so that both teams report the same score to the ESSC tent or booth.
- A team can score and count a maximum of 5 runs in one inning with the exception of the final inning where there are unlimited runs.
- If the team due to bat in the bottom of the 7th inning is leading the game, the game is over and the score will stand as is. There is no situation where this rule does not apply.
- In the bottom of the 7th inning, once the batting team has scored the winning run the game is over. The final score will stand as the winning team winning by 1 run.
- Mercy will be called when one team gains a lead of 20 runs. The score will freeze and teams are encouraged to play the rest of the game for fun.
- Ties are allowed in the Round Robin.
- Ties in Playoffs:
- There are no ties in playoffs.
- If the score is tied at the end of 7 innings, one or more extra innings will be played.
- Both teams get a chance to hit using the “International Scoring Rule”.
- International Scoring Rule: Each team (when hitting) will start with the player who was the final out of the previous inning on 2nd base, then proceed as normal from there.
General Playing Guidelines
- The pitching mound should be ~50 feet from the home plate (~17 paces). Captains decide on the exact pitching mound location prior to starting the game.
- The pitch must be between 6 and 12 feet or it will be deemed a ball.
- If the ball arcs less than 6 feet or more than 12 feet and the batter swings, the ball is in play and the pitch counts.
- A strike occurs on: a foul ball, a swing and a miss, or if the batter takes the pitch and it lands on the strike mat. On the third strike, the batter is out.
- If the ball hits any part of home plate it is deemed a 'ball'. On the fourth ball, the batter walks to 1st.
- If a male batter is walked with balls on each of the first 4 pitches, and is followed by a female batter, the male batter will automatically advance to 2nd base on the walk. The female batter up next has the option to bat or automatically take first base. Other runners already on base will advance only if the walked batter forces them (forced play).
- All players at the game must be listed in the batting order prior to the game starting. Teams that have more than 10 players (Traditional) must have an extended batting order. There is no limit to the length of the batting order. Players do not have to play in the field in order to bat. Any additions/changes to the batting order after the start of the game (due to players arriving late, not showing up, etc.) must be discussed with the opposing team and adhere to the guidelines below.
- There are three components to the batting order rule that all players must understand:
- Male/female placement in the batting rotation:
- A typical batting rotation is M-M-F assuming there are twice as many guys as girls
- 3 male batters may bat in a row in one (and only one) part of the batting order.
- M-M-F-M-M-M-F-M-M-F – this is a legal batting order.
- M-F-M-M-M-F-M-M-M-F – this is NOT a legal batting order.
- There is no limit on the size of a batting order as long as the male to female ratio stays intact.
- Male batters in the batting order:
- Example: Starting in the first inning Ruth would bat 3rd, Mary would be 6th, Jen 9th, Ruth 12th, Mary 15th, Jen 18th, etc. as the innings progress.
- In the example above if you had only 3 females they would bat more often than once per full rotation.
- Example: Mo, Zak, female, Bill, Jed, female, Bob, Mat, female, Dan, Hal, female, Rob, Von, female
- In the event that there are more than 7 males and all of them want to have a regular turn batting, the team is to record each of their names onto the score sheet ensuring that the male to female requirements in section 1 above are met. This is achieved by penciling in the word ‘female’ for every third batter (with the one exception where 3 males may bat in a row as outlined in section 1 above). In this scenario the females remain in the same sequence and would hit as required to maintain the proper male to female ratio.
- If there are more than 7, they can all have a permanent position in the batting order.
- Female batters in the batting order:
- 3 females must appear in the batting order and be in the first 10 batters
- If only 2 female players are present at the game then every 3rd female spot is an automatic out. This is still the case is a team is playing with a short roster. Example: If they had only 7 players, their order may be as follows: m-m-m-f-m-m-f-out.
- If there are more than three females all of them are to be placed into permanent positions in the batting order.
- Male/female placement in the batting rotation:
- There is no bunting allowed in any ESSC Slo-Pitch division.
- When any player is hitting, the ball does not have to pass the pitcher to be live, but the batter must have taken a full swing at the ball (i.e. a bunting motion is not allowed).
- If the two teams agree that the batter did not make an attempt at a full swing, it would be considered a strike.
- Regular Slo-Pitch hitting rules will apply. This means that any batter who has two strikes and then hits a foul ball is out.
- The infield fly rule applies - if there are less than 2 outs and runners on 1st and 2nd or 1st, 2nd and 3rd, then on an infield fly the batter is automatically declared out (the infielders do not have to make an attempt to catch the ball). This prevents the fielder from purposely dropping the fly ball in an attempt to force runners out.
- An infield fly is defined as: the hit must be 8' or higher, must have an up and then down arc (line drives are exempt), and does not go past the infield. The entire shale is considered the infield when determining if this rule applies. Note: in some other leagues, the infielder must be able to catch the ball with ‘ordinary effort’ for it to be deemed an infield fly. This is not the case in ESSC leagues because there are no official umpires to make this determination.
- Out of Play: any hits (infield or outfield) that fall outside of the ‘out of play’ lines are not catchable for an out. The corners of the backstop are the most common reference point for designating the Out of Play lines. These lines are in effect to the end of the outfield; therefore, if a fly ball is outside of these lines it is not catchable for an out.
- Clarification on Foul Balls:
- If a ground ball starts out foul but curves back into fair territory before it passes 1st or 3rd base then it is a fair ball, as long as it is not touched by an infielder while in foul territory.
- If a line drive passes 1st or 3rd base outside of the base line but then curves back in and first touches the ground in fair territory in the outfield, then it is a fair ball.
- If a ball is hit into fair territory and then rolls outside the 1st or 3rd base line once it has passed the bases then it is a fair ball.
- If the ball is hit and first touches the home plate (NOT the strike mat) and then rolls into fair territory it is considered a fair ball. If the ball is hit and touches the home plate or the strike mat and then rolls into foul territory it is considered a foul. If the ball first touches the strike mat and then rolls fair, it is a foul ball.
- If the ball is hit and touches the batter’s body (e.g. foot) and then rolls into fair territory it is a dead ball strike, if the player is still in the batter’s box when it hits them. If they are outside the batter’s box and running towards 1st base and it then hits their body while the ball is in fair territory, then they are out.
- If a player catches a foul ball that is within bounds, the base runners are allowed to tag-up unless it is the batter’s third strike. In this case the batter is out and the runners may not advance.
- If a batter steps across, or onto the home plate and/or strike mat to attempt to hit a ball, it is an automatic out.
- Home Runs are limited to 5 per game for each team. Before the game, the captains will designate a ‘home run line’ using four white cones at the edge of the outfield. A hit is considered a home run when it travels in the air, over the home run line. It is NOT considered a home run if the defence commits errors and a player is able to score or if a line drive or grounder passes between the fielders and past the Home Run line. If a ball passes the home run line in the air, it automatically becomes a dead ball and cannot be fielded to make a play. If a ball first touches the ground and then rolls over the line, it is a live ball. Any long hits (home runs) hit after the 5 per game limit has been reached will be considered doubles (player stops at second base).
- Lead-offs are not allowed - the runner is called out if they leave the bag before the bat makes contact with the ball.
- The orange safety base is beside the white 1st base to protect both the runner and the infielder. The safety base is to be placed 6 inches from 1st base. There are two possible scenarios:
- A single base hit: If the batter will not be running past first base, they must step on the orange safety base. If the runner touches any part of the white 1st base then they are out. If the 1st baseman touches any part of the orange safety base as they catch the throw, then the runner is safe.
- If the runner is rounding 1st base on a hit where there will be no throw to 1st base, they are allowed to touch the white base instead of the safety base. The 1st baseman must move out of the runner's path as he/she rounds 1st base.
- When running from 3rd base towards home plate the runner is to keep outside of the baseline and is considered safe if he/she passes the home base line (the runner must have one foot on the ground past the line) before the catcher has the ball while touching home plate. If a base runner touches the home plate while attempting to score it is an automatic out.
- To record an out at home, the catcher cannot tag the runner, they must touch home plate with possession of the ball before the runner touches down with one foot past the home run line. The runner will be out if they touch home plate rather than passing the home base line.
- A commitment line will be drawn halfway between 3rd base and home plate. Once a runner passes this line by touching the ground beyond the line they must proceed to the home line (they cannot run back to 3rd). The runner is out if the back-catcher catches the ball before the runner passes the home line.
- Sliding into 2nd or 3rd base is permitted. Sliding into home is never allowed. Sliding into 1st base is only allowed if the runner is returning to 1st base, not on their initial hit and run to 1st base.
- Tagging up and running on a caught outfield fly is permitted. The runner must stay on the base until the ball contacts any part of the fielder’s body or glove.
- If the third out occurs on a fly-out the inning is over. The fielders do not have to field the ball in to make any plays and any runs scored do not count.
- With two outs, if a runner scores before a non-forced third out is made, the run will count.
- Pinch Running - Pinch runners are allowed for injured players. A pinch runner can step in at anytime. If the batter is not running at all, the pinch runner must start from behind the plane of the plate.
DEFENCE AND FIELDING
- A full “Traditional” team consists of 10 players: a catcher, a pitcher, 4 infielders, 3 outfielders and a rover.
- Bases should be 65’ apart, unless limited by the size of the shale infield.
- On a throw to 1st base, the 1st baseman must have at least one foot touching the white base in order to register an out. If he/she has either foot touching the safety base when the ball arrives then the runner will be safe (to avoid collisions).
- The respect line rule applies in all divisions. Infielders cannot pinch in, they must stay along the base lines until the ball has been hit. Outfielders must stay behind the respect line until the ball has been hit; the respect line is 10 paces (30 feet) from the edge of the infield. The rover must also abide by the outfield respect line.
- If an overthrow occurs on a play and the ball rolls out of play:
- 'Out of play’ is considered to be 10-12 feet beyond the base lines. A good marker on most fields is the corners of the backstop and thus the line that would extend parallel to the first and third base lines.
- For ESSC non-umpired leagues, all runners can advance one base beyond their next base on an overthrow. For example, if the runner is running between 1st and 2nd, then he/she can advance to 3rd base.
- For further clarification, even if the runner is standing on 2nd base when the shortstop overthrows to 1st base, that runner will proceed to home.
- Captains may choose to extend the out of play infield boundary lines for overthrows all the way into the outfield. If these boundaries are set, the hitter is not out if the fielder catches the ball beyond the out of play line (the hit would be considered a strike). The purpose of an outfield ‘out of play’ area is to ensure players’ safety and is recommended.
- A foul ball exceeding the height of the batter and caught by the catcher is an out (less than this is simply a strike). Captains or umpires should quickly decide if players are unsure. If an agreement cannot be made, the ruling will be in favour of the batter.
- Interference/obstruction must be avoided at all costs. There are two kinds of interference:
- Offensive interference from the runner: a base runner is not allowed to collide with a fielder, yell at them or screen them from being able to make a clear throw or to field a hit (waving hands or blocking them from seeing a play). If they do, and the play is not contested by either team, then the runner is out. Regarding the other runners not involved in the interference: if the base runner that interfered with the fielder make physical contact, and the fielder was attempting to make a play at another base, then the base runner where the fielder was attempting to make a play will also be out.
- Defensive obstruction from the fielder: the fielder may not block the bag by putting their foot or body in front of it or stand in the line of the runner (unless they are making a play on a hit). If they do this and it is uncontested then the runner will be safe at that base. If the fielder on this play throws out a runner at another base then that runner will be out. In a case where the runner would have easily taken the next base if they were not interfered with by a fielder, then they will be awarded that base. E.g. the first baseman stands in the line of the batter as they round first on a play where there was clearly no play to be made at 1st base.
- Interference is difficult to call, even by sanctioned umpires. ESSC players are expected to avoid interference or body contact at all costs, and if a possible interference foul does occur, the two teams need to resolve it quickly and amicably. If the sides are not in agreement then there is an option to replay the play. All base runners return to the bases they were at prior to the hit and batter will begin his/her count from where it was prior to that hit.
- If there are less than 2 outs with a runner on first and an infielder throws to 1st base, there are three possible legal outcomes:
- The 1st baseman touches the base to force out the hitter. If the runner is standing on 1st base when it is tagged, then they may safely remain on 1st and cannot be tagged out for a double play.
- The runner is tagged out because they left the base after the hitter was forced out at 1st – this is a double play. There is no forced play here – the runner must be tagged in order to be out.
- The 1st baseman tags the runner first (they have left the base) and then touches the base to force out the hitter – this is a double play.
- All ESSC games are self-officiated. Teams playing in the game supply the umps.
- Batting team must supply 1st and 3rd base umpires. These umpires must know the rules and be willing to make the tough calls at all bases. In the Recreational Plus and Intermediate divisions, the hitting team must also provide a home plate umpire to call balls, strikes and foul balls and any plays at home.
- If an umpire makes a wrong call because they didn't see the play or know the rules, the two captains should quickly agree on the call. Remember this league is for fun, players make mistakes and so will umpires. If you are a player who cannot remain calm or just walk away from a bad call without argument or getting upset - you are playing in the wrong league!