Slow pitch softball is an American pastime that can be enjoyed by all ages. Leagues are formed for children, men, women and coed teams. The rules differ from baseball and fast pitch softball, so staying on top of the rules can help your slow pitch softball game run smoothly and ensures fairness for both sides.
Games consist of seven innings. Teams most often have 10 to 15 players. For coed leagues, the number of men cannot usually exceed the number of women. Games often have time limits, commonly 60 minutes or less. There are also often run rules that can also end the game early. For example, a league may specify that if a team is ahead by 10 runs or more in the fifth inning, the game will be over.
Most leagues allow teams to have as many batters as they'd like. Coed leagues usually require teams to alternate male and female batters. Bases are 65 feet apart, and neither base stealing nor bunting is allowed. The count includes three balls for a walk and two strikes for an out. Foul balls are considered strikes. Some leagues allow a courtesy, or extra, strike before being called out. Players can also be called out if they step outside the batter's box or step on the plate during a swing. Failure to slide when a play is at the base toward which a player is advancing can also be called an out. Fly balls that do not leave the infield may be called "infield flies" and automatically called as outs. Runners have the option to advance on a caught fly ball, but they must wait until the ball is caught to move forward.
There are 10 defensive players allowed on the field at once. Most leagues will allow teams to play with nine people if they're short on team members. Contrary to baseball, there are four outfielders that cover left field, left center field, right center field and right field. Fielders cannot intentionally drop fly balls or get in the way of an advancing runner.
The pitcher's mound is 50 feet from home plate. All pitches are thrown underhand. The pitcher must have contact with at least one foot and the rubber mound marker before throwing a pitch. The rules for the arc of the softball can vary within different leagues, but don't usually exceed 12 feet.
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