Coaches Corner

Coaches Resources

Fort Hunt League Rules

Adverse Weather Conditions

A game may be temporarily delayed if it is raining or if lightning is seen. In the case of lightning,
players are to immediately go to cars or shelter with a roof. No game can restart until 30
minutes after lightning is last seen. If a game is delayed, the scheduled end time will be
extended by the amount of the delay.

18u League

General Game Information

USA Softball rules apply with the following exceptions:

  • Single Games: No new inning after 1 hour 45 minutes (NNI 1:45). Drop dead time is 2 hours (DD: 2:00)
  • Double-headers: No new inning after 1 hour 30 minutes (NNI 1:30) ; drop dead time is 1 hour 45 minutes (DD: 1:45). If either team is participating in a double-header then double-header times apply
  • Max 5 runs per inning for the first 4 innings. 5th and later, runs are unlimited.
    (interleague play limits runs to 4 runs for the first 4 innings).
  • A complete game is 7 Innings.
  • Games may end in a tie if the time limit has expired. For tournaments, use Tie Breaker.
  • A team must have 7 players present to start the game. 15 minutes after the scheduled start, a team that doesn’t have 7 players forfeits the official game.
  • Pitchers and infielders wear fielders' masks.
  • The illegal pitch rule DOES apply.
  • Drop third strike is in effect.
  • The infield fly rule DOES apply.
  • Designated runners allowed for catchers and pitchers. (FROM THE PREVIOUS INNING)

Pitching

  • A pitcher may only pitch two of the first five innings (A travel pitcher may only pitch one total inning) and then return for the 6th and 7th innings or subsequent innings.
  • One pitch counts as one inning.
  • A pitcher removed from the pitching position during an inning may not return that same inning but may return later in the game.

12u League

General Game Information

USA Softball rules apply with the following exceptions:

  • No new inning after 1 hour 45 minutes (NNI 1:45)Drop dead time is 1 hour 55 minutes (DD: 1:55)
  • Maximum 4 runs per inning per team for the first four innings. For the 5th and later innings, runs are capped at 8 runs per team after the 5th inning.
  • Drop 3 rd strike and the infield fly rule DOES apply.
  • A complete game is 6 innings.
  • During the regular season, games may end in a tie if the time limit has expired.
  • A courtesy runner is allowed for the pitcher and/or catcher (FROM THE PREVIOUS
    INNING). The substitute runner will be the person who made the last out.
    Pitchers and infielders wear fielders' masks.

Team Players

A team must have 7 players present to start the game. A 15-minute grace period will be given. A coach may use players from the 10U league to play in that game. All players who step onto the field MUST be paid registrants of FHYAA softball.

Nine players will play the field. Shifts from the standard infield positions are not allowed. Outfielders must play a reasonable distance from the infield, as determined by the umpire. If a player leaves the game early and was not identified at the time of the lineup exchange, that spot in the order will be an out (except in the event of an injury).

  • Players arriving late will be placed at the end of the order.

Pitching

  • A pitcher may only pitch two of the first five innings (A travel pitcher may only pitch one total inning) and then return for the 6th inning or subsequent innings.
  • One pitch counts as one inning.
  • A pitcher removed from the pitching position during an inning may not return that same inning but may return later in the game.
  • Umpires may call illegal pitches, but there is no penalty.

Hitting

  • The USA “Look Back Rule” applies.
  • Thrown Bats will be called as outs. The first thrown bat by either team will result in a warning to both teams; the second thrown bat by any player will result in the player being called out.

10u League

General Game Information

USA Softball rules apply with the following exceptions:

  • No new inning after 1 hour 35 minutes (NNI 1:35)
  • Drop dead time is 1 hour 50 minutes (DD: 1:50)
  • Maximum 4 runs per inning for the first four innings. For 5th and later innings, maximum 8 runs per inning.
  • Infield fly rule does not apply.
  • The dropped 3 rd strike rule is not in effect.
  • A complete game is 6 innings.
  • During the regular season, games may end in a tie if the time limit has expired.
  • A half inning is complete when batting around is complete or 3 outs are executed, whichever occurs first.
  • Pitchers MUST wear fielders' masks.
  • All helmets need to have chin straps and face masks.

Team Players

  • A team must have 6 players present to start the game. Coach’s discretion will be used to continue the game with less players.
  • All players who step onto the field MUST be paid registrants of FHYAA softball.
  • Nine or ten players can play the field. Shifts from the standard infield positions are not allowed. Outfielders must play in the outfield grass.

Player Pitching

  • A pitcher may only pitch two of the first five innings (A travel pitcher may only pitch one total inning) then return for the 6th inning or subsequent innings.
  • One pitch counts as one inning.
  • A pitcher removed from the pitching position during an inning may not return that same inning but may return later in the game.
  • Umpires may call illegal pitches, but there is no penalty.
  • There are no walks with player pitching. Ball 4 does not entitle the batter to first base, but shall result in the coaches pitching to their own batters. See below for details.
    (Walks are only counted in playoffs)

Coach Pitching

  • After a Ball 4 is called, the coach comes in to pitch for his/her team.
    • The batter retains the number of strikes she had when ball 4 was thrown.
  • The coach will pitch up to 4 pitches to her until:
    • The batter strikes out swinging based on count,
    • The batter strikes out on a called 3rd strike, or
    • The batter puts the ball in play.
    • If the batter fouls off the 4th pitch, she may continue to bat until one of the 3 above occurs.
  • Coach Pitch Interference: The adult pitcher must not interfere with a hit ball or a defensive player attempting to make a play on a hit or thrown ball. If interference occurs, a dead ball will be declared. All runners must stop and return to the base they occupied just before the interference occurred.

Hitting

  • Bunting is allowed. Any attempt to bunt is a strike. Players may not bunt during coach pitch.
  • Thrown Bats. The first thrown bat by either team will result in a warning to both teams; the second thrown bat by any player will result in the player being called out.
  • Hit by Pitch (HBP): On a hit by pitch, the batter is awarded first base or can elect to continue batting. There is no HBP when coach is pitching.

Base Running/Stealing

  • The play is considered dead once the ball returns to the pitcher within the pitcher’s
    circle.
  • Base runners may leave the base when the ball leaves the pitcher’s hand.
  • The penalty for leaving the base early will be for all base runners to return to the base after the play has ended. However, if the runner was thrown out on the play, the play stands and all runners remain on their current base.
  • Stealing will be limited to one base per batter.
  • If the base runner gets thrown out attempting to advance to another base, she is out.
  • There is no stealing when the coach is pitching with the exception of when a coach is pitching the entire at bat.
  • After leaving third base on the release by the pitcher, a runner may steal home only on a passed ball before the ball is in the pitcher’s control in the pitcher’s circle.  A “passed ball” is defined as any pitch not caught cleanly by the catcher.

Fielding/Defense

  • Play ends when the pitcher has possession of the ball in the pitching circle to end play.
    At this point, base runners not on a base must immediately (after 1 second) move to
    either the base in front of them or the base they have just touched.
    • The pitcher can make a play on any base runner off the base, but if she does, other base runners may advance at risk of being put out. Any base runner that does not immediately move to a base shall be sent back to the previous base.
    • Once on base, a runner cannot advance on the throwback to the pitcher unless the throw results in the ball going outside the pitching circle, then the ball is live and the runner can advance at her own risk. The umpire has the discretion to decide if a throw is intended for the pitcher.

8u RULES

The 8u Coach Pitch/T-Ball program strives to introduce new players to the game of softball and to continue to develop skills for the returning players while preparing all players to move to the next level of play. The emphasis for this league is teaching the rules and skills, positioning of players in both defensive and base running situations, and strategies of softball while encouraging teamwork, good sportsmanship, and enjoyment of the game. The rules for 8u will follow the same guidelines as USA Softball, except those modified in this document:

  1. General Rules:
    a. Each game will consist of no more than six (6) innings.
    b. All games will end (drop dead time) in 1 hour and 30 minutes; no new inning will start after 1 hour and 20 minutes into the game.
    c. All players present at the game will bat each inning.
    d. Players will be rotated to different defensive positions each inning. No player will be allowed to play the same defensive position more than once each game.
    e. There are no umpires assigned to these games. Coaches/Assistant Coaches will umpire the games. Base coaches will tell their own players if they are out.
    f. 110” Hard Balls will be used for the games.
    g. Teams will play a game regardless of the number of players present.
    h. The field will be set up with 60’ bases
  2. Batting:
    a. Coaches will decide if the batter should start from a tee or receive pitches from the Coach. As much as possible, players should start with a pitched ball.
    b. Coach Pitching: Each batter will receive a maximum of five (5) pitches. The emphasis is 5 pitches, not 5 swings. Do not pitch more than 5 pitches because more pitches will slow down the game. The pitching coach will release the ball in front of the circle around the pitching rubber. Foul balls and bad pitches are part of the 5 pitches. If the batter has not put the ball in play after 5 pitches, the batter will then move to the tee.
    c. There is no bunting allowed at this level. Any bunt will be considered a foul ball.
    d. Any ball that stays inside the baselines is fair and playable except if it is not hit beyond a semi-circle drawn 5 feet from home plate. Any ball that ends up within this semicircle is a foul ball.
    e. Coaches must ensure that the batter takes her swings safely. Batters should be taught to hit and drop the bat rather than throw the bat after hitting the ball.
    f. The inning is over, regardless of the number of “outs,” when the last batter in the lineup takes her turn at bat. When the last batter in the lineup comes up to bat in any inning, the Coach of the team that is batting will clearly announce to the fielding team/coaches that this is the “last batter” prior to the player’s at bat. Under the “last batter rule” once the last batter has gotten a hit, all runners (to include the batter) will circle all the bases in an attempt to “score” regardless of the ball’s location. The fielding team may attempt to get one or more of the runners out on the bases first and then throw the ball to the catcher in an attempt to get an out at home. (POINT OF EMPHASIS – Teach the catcher where to stand and how to apply a tag)
  3. Base Running:
    a. All base runners must wear a helmet.
    b. There is no stealing allowed. The runners may not leave the base until the ball passes over the plate or is hit by the batter.
    c. Once an infielder or outfielder retrieves a hit ball and throws the ball toward any defensive player, or an infielder with the ball touches a base, base runners can advance only to the base that they are running to at the time the ball is thrown or the base was
    touched.
    (Exception: When the last batter of the inning hits, all runners must advance to home unless they are put out by the defense.)
    d. If the ball is overthrown, players may not advance beyond the base to which they are running.
    (Exception: Rule does not apply when the last batter of the inning hits.)
    e. Play stops when all base runners are on a base.
  4. Defense/Fielding:
    a. There is no limit on the number of defensive coaches allowed on the field during a game, but coaches must allow room for the players to play. The duties of the defensive coaches include ensuring that all defensive players are in the proper defensive positions before the coach pitches or the ball is placed on the tee, including the outfielders staying in the outfield, infielders in the proper place, and catcher in the proper place. Coaches should help the players avoid the tendency to move closer to the plate throughout the inning.
    b. No more than 10 players on the field at one time. Six players are allowed to play in the infield (1st, 2nd, 3rd, SS, P, and C); all
    other players must play in the outfield. (POINT OF EMPHASIS – Outfielders MUST be in the grass to begin each pitch) Players will be rotated to different defensive positions each inning. No player will be allowed to play the same defensive position more than once each game.
    c. Players should be encouraged to always try to throw and catch the ball with the other players (rolling the ball in should be discouraged).
    d. Catchers must wear full catcher’s gear including face guard with helmet, chest protector, and shin guards. (POINT OF EMPHASIS – 8U begins the process of developing catchers for our higher levels. Please have a catcher every inning in full gear.) As much as possible, catchers should return the ball to the coach/pitcher (use good judgment to keep the game moving along)
    e. Infielders must start each play in their position and move to the ball after it is hit.
    f. When the last batter hits the ball, the defense must attempt to put out a base runner before throwing the ball to the catcher. (Exception: This rule does not apply if there is a base runner on 3rd base.)
  5. Fields:
    a. Field Cancellations: Please check 703-324-5264 for Fairfax County field cancellations. Coaches may both agree to cancel a game if weather conditions, within two (2) hours of game time, warrant.
    b. All practices and games must stop if anyone sees lightning or hears thunder.
    c. Everyone must take cover in cars and play may not resume until 30 minutes have gone by without seeing lightning or hearing thunder.
    d. Home team is responsible for preparing the field before the game. This includes raking any bad spots, lining the field with chalk (lime), and getting the batters T available. The measurements and/or base/chalk lines are to be made by the home team before each game are as follows:
    • 60’ between the bases
    • 35’ between home plate and the pitching rubber
    • The baseline from home to 1st base and home to 3rd base
    • Right and left batting boxes are 3’ wide and 7’ deep – 4’ from the middle of the plate forward and 3’ from the middle of the plate backward
    • 8’ circle (radius) chalk line around the pitching rubber
    • 6.5’ arc (radius) chalk line in front of home plate (inside the arc is considered a foul ball) drawn from the 1st baseline to the 3rd baseline.

Video Resources