Playing Rules and Equipment

Playing Rules and Equipment

Orange First Base

The league utilizes an orange safety bag at first base to limit runner-defensive player collisions.  When a play is being made on the batter/runner the defense must use the base in fair territory (white) while the batter/runner must use the base in foul territory (orange).  If the fielder has crossed the foul line in order to attempt to catch an errant throw or field a fly ball in foul territory the runner may then use either base to avoid a collision.  On extra base hits or balls hit to the outfield where there is no play being made at first base, the runner may touch either base.  A runner failing to tough the orange base when required to do so may be called out.


In all divisions, runners may steal a base once the ball has been pitched (legal or illegal) and crosses the front edge of home plate.  If a pitch hits the plate, a "dead ball" is called and the runner must return to the base they started on.  For further clarification see Rule 8 in the USA Softball Rule Book.

Courtesy Runner Rule

A substitute runner may be used once per inning.  The runner may be any eligible player on the official line up card, whether they are in the game or on the bench.  If a substitute runner is on base when their turn to bat comes up, the runner is called out and the runner must come to the plate to take their at-bat.  If that out is the third out to end the inning, the courtesy runner will take their regular at-bat.  For further clarification see Rule 8, Section 8, parts B and C in the USA Softball Rule Book.

Additionally, in 2024 an additional courtesy runner is granted to each team's pitcher, in an effort to give the pitcher time to put on any equipment before they must go pitch in the next inning.  The pitcher is the person that threw the final pitch in the previous inning.  This courtesy runner does not count against the team's one courtesy runner per inning (see above).

Home Run Limits

Home run limits are in effect during league play.  A home run (ball hit over the fence) that is over the limit allowed is an automatic out and all runners remain on their base.  The following are the current limits in each division:

Thursday Nights (A, B, and C Divisions in  2024) - 6 home runs allowed

Wednesday Nights (D Division in 2024) - 4 home runs allowed

Tuesday Nights (E Division in 2024) - 2  home runs allowed

10/15 Run Rules

Games will be officially end when a team is ahead by 15 runs after 3 innings, or 10 runs after 5 innings.

Definition of an official Game

A game called by the umpire shall be regulation if five or more complete innings have been played, or if the team second at bat has scored more runs in four or more innings than the other team has scored in five or more innings. The umpire is empowered to call a game at any time because of darkness, rain, fire, panic or any other cause that places the patrons or players in peril. 

Minimum Number of Players to Play

The minimum number of players a team must have to start a game is 9.  Below are some scenarios and resulting actions.   Unless otherwise specified here in league rules, the rules described in the USA Softball Rule Book apply.  Information on Rules, Players, and Substitutes can be found in Rule 4 in the USA Softball Rule Book.

60 Minute Time Limit

The League uses a 60-minute time limit for games. The clock starts after the coin flip; team managers should note the time and confirm with the umpire. In the event that a team(s) does not come in for the coin flip once it has been called for by the umpires, the 60 minute clock will start two minutes after the call for the flip, with umpires notifying each team. Any inning started before the end of the 60th minute, defined by the next scheduled batter coming to the plate, will be completed. Any game that is tied after the 60th minute will continue play until a winner is determined. Umpires will notify teams of remaining time limit when nearing the 60th minute.   The new Players South Complex comes with score boards that have time clocks so that teams will be able to see how much time is left and when the clock shows zero time remaining.

Definition of a Forfeit

If you have to forfeit, notify a league officer w/confirmation at least 24 hours in advance to avoid the $25 per game penalty.  

Official Scorebook

The home team in each game is responsible for maintaining an official book, and is the default book to handle discrepancies in score, inning, homeruns, or any other recorded issue. Teams may compare scorebooks to resolve issues, but the home team’s scorebook is the default official scorebook. In the event that the home team cannot keep an official scorebook, both teams should record their batting record as a reference for scoring and any other in-game issues. Umpires make the final call in any dispute involving scoring, innings, homeruns, or any other in-game issue. 

Use of Illegal Equipment

Cleats:  Players wearing metal spikes after being warned by the umpire will be ejected and the team will need to have a replacement or forfeit the game.

Bats:  A player having been found to be using an illegal bat (either entering the batters box, taking a pitch, or completing their at-bat) may be called out and potentially ejected depending on the unique situation (i.e., if the bat was illegal, non-approved, or altered).

Balls:  Teams must use .52/300 Dudley balls, either purchased from or provided by The League.  A team found using an illegal ball will be instructed to remove the ball from play and will receive a warning.  Continued use of an illegal ball will result in an out being given to the offending team.  Further use of illegal balls could result in ejection of the team's designated manager and/or offending player.

** Further and more detailed information can be found in Rule 3 and Rule 7, Section 3 of the USA Softball Rule Book.


The Aberdeen Men's 12in Softball League does not have specific rules regarding uniforms, although it is encouraged that players wear similar or matching jerseys with unique numbers so that lineups, substitutions and records keeping can be done accurately.  Players/teams found to be using uniforms to manipulate or deceive the opposing team may be warned, issued outs, or even ejected, depending on the severity of their actions.  Players refusing to remove illegal shoes, jewelry, or illegal parts of the uniform will not be allowed to play.  Wise managers will take care to check the uniform requirements for state tournaments, as they can vary by division.  Hats are required to be worn "properly" and are optional.  Plastic visors are not allowed.

USA/ASA Softball Certified Bats

Bats used in games should be checked and stickered by a League Official. Bats used should have a visible ASA/USA Softball certification mark. There are some bats with ASA certification marks that no longer meet ASA specifications. You can find the listing of bats that have the certification mark but are restricted in USA Softball at the official website of USA Softball Teams and players are encouraged to read through the information regarding approved and illegal bats if they have any questions regarding the legality of a bat.  A restricted bat list will be posted in the umpire room at the complex for teams and players to reference. For a bat to be approved for play it must be determined to be: 

Approved USA/ASA certification marks

USA Softball Rule Book

Each manager should read his USA Softball rule book…that should lead to a better understanding of the game and result in fewer arguments. The manager should also explain the rules to his players so they know what is going on when a call is made. All gameplay rules and regulations not otherwise described in this handbook are derived from the official USA Softball handbook. Our USA Softball sanctioned and trained umpires make the final call on all in-game rulings. Only team managers, or their designated appointee, may protest calls on the field, and continued disagreements/protests can be made to League Officers to identify and consider potential rule changes for future seasons.