BWCS General Rules and Regulations

PROBLEMS at Field | Batting Order | BWCS Updates e-Group | Courtesy Belt | Equipment | Forfeits | Fouling Out | Game Requirements | Ground Rules | Mercy Rule | No Umpire | Pitching | Rules of Play (ASA) | Shortened Games | Reporting Scores | Rosters & Eligibility | Walks

1. Problems at Field

1.1 In the event of problems at the field, such as Permit Problems, no umpires, lights not coming on, etc., please call the League Commissioner (“Commissioner”) at home. (Team Captains already have this number). Leave a short message with your name, field you are at, and cell phone number you can be reached at.

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2. Rosters & Eligibility

2.1 Final rosters are due after your third game.

2.2 A player must play in a minimum of four (4) regular season games to be eligible to play in the playoffs. Prior to each game, the captain of each team will provide the opposing team a duplicate copy of their lineup for that game. The captain should be able to check this against the team’s actual lineup. The captains will keep a record of the teams they are playing until playoff time to keep track of how many games players have been in. In the case that a player is prevented from playing in the playoffs due to unforeseen circumstances, a team captain can petition the league for eligibility. The final decision on eligibility will be made by the Commissioner of the league.

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3. No Umpire Play Rules

3.1  Strike zone measurements will be measured from the back tip of the plate. A standard sized softball bat (32” to 34”) will be used to measure the depth of the box. The Captains will draw a line to represent this back measurement to aid in the calling of balls and strikes. The width will be the width of the plate.

3.2  When you play with no umpire, close calls will be awarded on an exchange basis. (First close call your team is safe, next close call your team is out, and so on.)

3.3 Pitchers must allow the batter the opportunity to hit the ball. This will help minimize delays in the game. If ten (10) pitches to a batter fail to cross the plate in a manner defined in Rule# 8.1, the hitting team’s captain will request and receive a new pitcher.

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4. Ground Rules

4.1 Alcohol or drugs during or after a game are not permitted at any field. Violators will be expelled from the league without refund.

4.2 Team captains and umpires must meet before the game to clarify the rules and to determine how to handle controversial plays.

4.3 During the game, only captains may approach the umpire with a grievance. Teams must abide by the umpire’s decision. Umpires can remove unruly players from the game, after first issuing one (1) warning to both captains and the player(s) involved. 

4.4 The Boston West Coed Softball League is based on the American Softball Association (ASA) standard. Any rules not overridden by this document of league by-laws should fall back upon ASA governing rules and regulations.

4.5 Although this is a competitive league, please have fun and play safe.

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5. Game Requirements

5.1 The HOME team is the team listed second on the schedule and must supply the game ball and bases. (Example: “1 @ 2” means team #2 is the HOME team).

5.1.1 The HOME team must supply three (3) bases (and, occasionally, home plate depending on the field)The AWAY team must supply ONE base for use as the "safety" first base. The "traditional" first base is placed in the usual position on the inside of the foul line while the second "safety" first base is placed adjacent to it on the outside of the foul line. The batter is the only person who uses the safety base (when trying to beat out a grounder). After the batter has reached safely or while the batter is rounding first, the traditional base is to be used. The batter is out if they do not touch the safety base when running out an infield grounder. The batter is safe if the first-baseman does not touch the traditional base.

(5/7/2003) 5.1.2 If the AWAY team fails to supply the SAFETY base, the AWAY team will be assessed a one-time penalty of two (2) runs, which will be added to the HOME team's tally at the bottom of the first inning.

(5/12/2003) 5.1.3 If the HOME team fails to supply the three bases (and home plate depending on the field), the HOME team will be assessed a one-time penalty of two (2) runs, which will be awarded to the AWAY team when their first batter steps into the batter's box.

5.2 Teams must begin the game if eight (8) or more players are present at 6:15 p.m. 

5.3 Teams must field a minimum of seven (7) players by 6:30 p.m. or forfeit the game. If a team forfeits three (3) games, that team will be automatically dropped from the league.

5.4 If a team has 8 or fewer players, the opposing team must supply a non-defensive courtesy catcher. Any defensive infielder may cover plays.

5.5 Each team must field a minimum of three (3) women at all times during the game. Maximum number of men on the field at any one time is seven (7). A team may play with no women, but they are subject to league penalties for not fielding 3 women and may play only 7 men in the field.

5.6 Teams without the minimum required women (three) will be penalized two (2) runs per woman missing at the top of the third inning only. This penalty is assessed only once. The maximum penalty for a team that is missing 3 women is 6 runs, 2 women is 4 runs, and 1 woman is 2 runs. In addition, any missing women will be put in the lineup (anywhere) as a ghost batter and will be an automatic out each time the ghost batter comes up to bat. The ghost batter must be inserted in the lineup at the start of the game.

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6. Shortened Games

6.1 In the case of a game being shortened due to inclement weather, darkness, etc., the following rules will be applied.

(1) During the regular season, the game will be reverted back to the last completed inning and that score will determine the winning team

(2) If this happens during the playoffs, the game will be continued at a date and time to be determined. When play continues, the game will be picked up at exactly the spot where it was stopped and will be played to the completion of a 7-inning game. In this case, there may be no changes to the lineup, with the exception of replacing any players who cannot make it to the continuation. When players are replaced for this reason, you may only replace a male with a male and a female with female. There may be no other additions to the batting order.

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7. Batting Order

7.1 Teams may establish their batting order in one of two ways, but NOT a combination of both::

(1) Bat all players present. With this type of batting order, there may be free substitution on the field.  You are allowed to make changes to the batting order as long as the slot you are changing HAS NOT yet come up to bat  in the game.  Once a batting order slot has come up to the plate in the game, it must not be changed.  If a player is to be added to the lineup for any reason and the team has already batted through the order, that player MUST be added to the very end of the batting order.  Keep in mind that the rule still applies that a team cannot bat more than 7 males in a row, including the order "wrapping around".

i.e. A team is batting 13 players and a player is being added to the order after the game has started.  If the team has only gone through, say, the first 7 batters, the player being added can be put into any slot AFTER the 7th slot and other players can be moved down to accommodate the change or whatever the coach would like to do, as long as slots 1 through 7 are not changed.

 2nd Example... A team batting 13 players has a player arrive AFTER the team has gone through the batting order.  If this player is to be added to the game, he/she MUST be added to the end of the batting order.  No exceptions!  If the addition(s) would cause a team to have more than 7 male batters in a row, the addition will NOT be allowed.

(2) Bat only 10 players, with a minimum of 3 women. With this type of batting order, a player may only bat in their designated position in the batting order, which means that there must be specific player-for-player substitution. For instance, if Player B (the pinch hitter) substitutes for Player A (the starter), Player A can only reenter the game in place of Player B. And if Player B goes back into the game, it must be for Player A.  Any player is allowed to enter the game TWICE (starting or substitution).  Once a player has been removed a second time, they cannot return to the game.   This is known as the Re-entry Rule.

NOTE:  Teams MUST choose either scenario (1) OR scenario (2).   You CANNOT use a combination of the two.  If a team is batting ALL players and using the free substitution, you CANNOT insert a player into the middle of the order OR substitute for a player in the order  (unless the slot has not yet come up in the game, as detailed in scenario 1).  

7.2 The batting order may not have more than seven (7) male batters in a row at any time in the game. (This includes when the bottom of the order loops back to the top.)

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8. Pitching

8.1 Pitching is regulated by ASA rules. The pitcher may hold or grip the ball in any manner. The pitch must be delivered in a definite underhanded motion. The pitcher may not attempt to put a sideways spin on the ball so as to try to create a curving effect. The pitch must be delivered between the shoulders and knees with a 6’ to 10’ arc.

8.2 If the umpire determines that a pitched ball does not meet the required arc (6’ to 10’), the umpire shall declare the pitch illegal, while it is still in flight. At this time, the batter still may swing at the pitch and the pitch (and results of batter swinging) becomes legal. If batter chooses not to swing, the pitch will be ruled a ball.

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9. Fouling Out

9.1 A batter will be declared out if he/she fouls off two pitches after having two strikes in the count.

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10. Walks (Base on Balls)

10.1 The league will adhere to the ASA rule regarding walking a male batter when a female batter is on deck. When a male batter is walked with a female batter on deck, the male batter will be awarded second base. If there are less than two (2) outs, the female batter must bat. If there are two (2) outs, the female batter has the option of accepting an automatic walk or batting. Of note to umpires, our league only requires 3 female batters in the order (unlike 5/5 ASA coed teams), so this ruling would only be applied in cases where a female is on deck.

10.2 Any batter may refuse a walk when batting before a ghost batter only when there are two (2) outs.

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11. Courtesy Belt

11.1 A courtesy belt of 60 feet from the bases to the outfield is required for all women batters. One (1) outfielder may move in behind 2nd base, as long as that fielder is in the infield. In cases where a field does not have a dirt infield to distinguish the area in which this fielder may go, the fielder should be within 4 feet behind 2nd base. All outfielders must move behind the 60’ area. No fielders are allowed in this 60’ area while the courtesy belt is in effect. The umpire will count off the 60 foot area down the left and right field lines. This will aid the umpires in determining the line, which outfielders must stay behind.

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12. Mercy Rule (a.k.a. Slaughter Rule)

12.1 The Mercy Rule applies after five (5) full innings (12 run rule during the regular season).  The Mercy Rule during the playoffs is a 15 run rule after 5 complete innings (4 1/2 if the home team is up by 15 or more runs).

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13. Rules of Play — ASA

13.1 Also refer to Rule# 4.4.

13.2 Pinch hit only once per batting order when a team goes with a lineup of only ten (10) players (male for male batter/woman for woman batter). Pinch hitters must take the field in the same inning that they pinch hit. A pinch hitter can be replaced by the starter. However, once a pinch hitter has been replaced, s/he is out of the game for good. (This is the softball Re-entry Rule.)

13.3 Runners may leave a base only after the pitched ball crosses the plate, or the runner may be called out.

13.4 No aiding a runner (but you may give a teammate the high five). If a coach or anyone from the bench aids a runner, the runner may be called out.

13.5 No fake tags, or the umpire will give one (1) warning to the team. Any fake tags after the warning will result in the umpire awarding the runner an extra base.

13.6 No blocking a base (or basepath), or the runner will be awarded an extra base.

13.7 No intentional takeouts or plowing over fielders. This will result in an automatic out and ejection from the game.

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14. Forfeits

If you cannot field a team on a given night, you must contact the Commissioner by 3:00 p.m. that day or you will be assessed the $50 forfeit fee which will be awarded to the team that shows up at the field. Any team forfeiting three (3) games will be automatically dropped out of the league.

14.2 If a team goes to the field and is awarded a forfeit win by the umpire, the winning team shall pay the umpire his fee and be reimbursed by the league from the forfeiting team’s forfeit fee.

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15. Reporting Scores

15.1 The Winning team of each game must submit their score via this website's Score Reporting Form. Scores not reported within seven (7) days after the scheduled play date will be recorded as a LOSS for BOTH teams. 

15.2 Report your score on the Commissioner’s answering machine only if neither you nor any of your team members have access to the Internet. When reporting via telephone, please report your score in the following manner:

For example: "This is John Doe reporting a score for Division A. Team #6 beat team #3 by score of 6 to 5."

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16. Equipment

16.1 All softball bats used in the BWCS League, must be ASA slow-pitch approved and be clearly marked that it does not have a BPF (Bat Performance Factor) which exceeds 1.20.  Any batter using an illegal bat will be declared out, the team will be warned, and the bat will be removed from the field.  If the bat is used again, the batter will be declared out and ejected from the game, whether it is the same player who previously used the illegal bat, or not.

    Boston West Co-ed Softball League recognizes and adheres to the "Illegal Bat List" produced by the ASA organization.  Any bat appearing on this list is not allowed to be used in any BWCS game.  To view the list of bats banned by the ASA, please click this Banned Bat hyperlink. 

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17. BWCS News e-Group

17.1 All captains (or a designate) must join the BWCS News e-mail group to receive league information, mainly concerning rainouts and/or important announcements during the season. To subscribe to the e-mail BWCS Updates, send a blank email to It is suggested that all your team members join the BWCS News e-group.

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Again, this is a competitive league however,
Play Safe and Have fun.
No alcohol.