HEAD COACH MUST ATTEND PREGAME MEETING (3-5-1) Head coaches now required to attend pregame meeting with umpires. Previous rule only required an adult coach to attend meeting. Captains may also attend meeting if desired, but attendance is not required.
HEAD COACH MUST ATTEND PREGAME MEETING (3-5-1) Umpires still required to inspect equipment before game. Game doesn’t begin until head coach attends pregame meeting.
HEAD COACH MUST VERIFY LEGALITY OF EQUIPMENT (3-6-1) Change made so head coach could verify to plate umpire that: –all players are legally equipped –players and equipment are in compliance with NFHS rules Rules change also provides a penalty if illegal equipment is found in game.
HEAD COACH MUST VERIFY LEGALITY OF EQUIPMENT (3-6-1) Penalty: Illegal equipment removed from game or made legal. Umpire issues team warning. Next offender and head coach restricted to the dugout/bench for remainder of game.
HEAD COACH MUST VERIFY LEGALITY OF EQUIPMENT (3-6-1) Responsibility for proper equipment rests with coaches, student-athletes and parents/guardians. Ultimate responsibility rests with head coach. Head coaches likely to take greater steps in ensuring players are legally equipped with possibility of penalty.
PENALTY ESTABLISHED FOR ERASING LINES (3-6-17) Players and coaches are intentionally removing batter's box lines to gain an advantage, primarily for "slap hitters." Removal of any boundary line makes enforcement of rules more difficult for umpires. Head coach assessed most severe penalty – players are being coached to intentionally remove lines.
PENALTY ESTABLISHED FOR ERASING LINES (3-6-17) Strike called on batter if member of offense intentionally removes line. Ball awarded to batter if member of defense intentionally erases a line. Team warning issued – next offense resulting in strike/ball and head coach restricted to the dugout.
PITCH PREVENTED FROM ENTERING STRIKE ZONE (7-2-1h) Batter hit by pitch and prevents it from entering strike zone (umpire's judgment): –Dead-ball strike Previously, situation ruled inconsistently: –Called a "ball“ –No pitch –Batter awarded first base –Occasionally called a “strike”
PITCH PREVENTED FROM ENTERING STRIKE ZONE (7-2-1h) Most likely occurs: –Bunter/slap hitter running to front of box. –Batter in front of box leans out of box to be hit.
PITCH PREVENTED FROM ENTERING STRIKE ZONE (7-2-1h) Imbalance created by depriving defense/ pitcher of a strike. Forces pitcher to throw another strike or even continue inning with a runner on base. No player or team should gain an advantage by circumventing the "spirit" of a rule.
BAT HITS BALL A SECOND TIME (7-4-11) Batter called out when discarded bat hits ball a second time. Previous rule only called batter out if bat intentionally hit ball a second time. Rules change removes need for judging batter's intent when bat hits a fair ball a second time.
BAT HITS BALL A SECOND TIME (7-4-11) Key issue – Bat hits ball – not vise-versa. Doesn’t matter if bat is: –Thrown –Dropped –Slung
BAT HITS BALL A SECOND TIME (7-4-11) Bat hits ball on or over foul territory: –Foul ball Ball hits bat on or over fair territory: –Live ball
BAT HITS BALL A SECOND TIME (7-4-11) Bat hits ball a second time – Batter is out if: –On or over fair territory. –On or over foul territory and has a chance to become fair. –While in batter's box with bat in hand(s) – second contact is intentional.
BAT HITS BALL A SECOND TIME (7-4-11) Batters have a choice of where to discard their bat. If batter chooses to discard bat in fair territory, she runs risk of possible interference and being called out.
ALTERING EQUIPMENT (1-3-6; 1-5-5) Clarifies that softballs and bats may not be altered from originally manufactured legal state by using any treatment or device. Recent examples: –Bat warmers, ball coolers
WARMUP CATCHER (1-7-3) Clarifies that non-adults warming up a pitcher within confines of field must wear approved catcher's helmet and mask combination and throat protector. (F.P.) Previous rule only required a mask and throat protector.
PREGAME CONFERENCE & UMPIRE DUTIES (2-15-2; 4-1-2; 10-2-3) Articles reorganized to clarify and eliminate redundancies. 2-15-2 defines the pregame conference and who must attend. 4-1-2 describes what occurs at the pregame conference. 10-2-3 describes the plate umpire’s duties as they relate to the pregame conference.
COACH ASSISTING RUNNER (3-5-4 PENALTY) Penalty changed to be consistent with Rule 8-6-5 and eliminate inconsistencies. Penalty: –Runner is out and ball is in play.
PASSING OBSTRUCTED RUNNER (8-6-4; 8-8-17) Clarifies a runner passing an obstructed runner is not out. Obstructed runners and those that follow them are afforded some protection.
OBSTRUCTION As play becomes imminent: –If fielder obtains ball before runner is hindered – no infraction has occurred. –If fielder's location limits runner's access to base or base path, and fielder does not yet have ball – obstruction should be called.
OBSTRUCTION Umpires must maintain proper positioning and stay attuned for any potential obstruction violations before focusing on the impending tag. Make the (delayed) obstruction call – don’t ignore it!
TEAM HUDDLES Last year's point of emphasis was not intended to prohibit team huddles – but merely ensure they were occurring within existing rules. To minimize risks to participants – teams should not huddle on the field after a third out while the other team is warming up.
TEAM HUDDLES During game – team huddles between players on the field are never considered charged conferences. Huddles should be permitted provided they do not violate any game rules: –One minute between innings –20 seconds pitcher has to pitch after receiving the ball
UNIFORMS High school student-athlete's appearance should be neat, respectable and suitable for interscholastic athletics. Rule 3-2 provides all necessary requirements for a legal softball uniform.
UNIFORMS A previous interpretation of Rule 3-2-10 – which states that players shall wear uniforms properly and as designed by the manufacturer – required players to wear sleeves down. Committee believes that rolling up or securing the sleeves does not distract from the player's appropriate appearance.
UNIFORMS Making an adjustment for climate or comfort doesn't necessarily contradict "properly and as designed by the manufacturer." Provided uniform numbers remain visible – sleeves of the uniform top may be adjusted to the comfort of the player – with or without tie-ups (designed for this purpose).
SLAP HIT & DRAG BUNT Distinguishing between a slap hit and drag bunt is important when batter has two strikes and ball is fouled off. Batter may be running forward. Umpire must visualize whether: –Batter holds bat stationary = bunt –Batter moves bat with the wrists = slap hit
SLAP HIT & DRAG BUNT If umpire determines bunt – batter who fouls off third strike is out. If umpire determines slap hit – batter who fouls off third strike remains at bat (foul ball).