Rules of Play

The league follows the ASA rules for senior softball. The Vernon league has added a few rules for safety.

Changes for 2019 are in red.



A. Code of Conduct

B. Forfeiture

C. Scoring Line

D. Hitting and Base Running

E. Double Bag & Second Base Plays

F. Bunting, Stealing & Sliding

G. Outs

H. Pitching

I. Limit on Runs per Inning

J. Commitment Line and Outfield Limitation Line

K. Courtesy Runners

L. Equipment

M. Game Starting Time and Format

N. The Lineup

O. Rule Changes

P. Parity

Q. Postponements

R. Selection of Teams

S. Umpires


All members of VSS League shall conduct themselves on the field of play in a manner that brings honor and good will to the organization.

Keeping in mind that the VSS League has expanded in recent years to be a family oriented group, members must refrain from the use of profane language, gestures, and expressions that would cause any uneasiness or embarrassment to spectators or players. A VSS League member should enjoy the game for its exercise and camaraderie by displaying good sportsmanship. All VSS League members should conduct themselves as gentlemen and ladies playing by the rules and regulations, of Senior Softball ( and this organization.

The organization has the right to disassociate itself from any member for fraud, theft, or gross moral turpitude. If the Board of Directors feels that the member is or has had an adverse effect and improper influence upon the organization, it may vote to have the membership terminated.

During a game, a member violating this code of conduct, violating the rules of the game, or deliberately trying to cause injury to a fellow member, umpire or spectator of the game shall be promptly ejected from the game by the officiating umpire or at the direction of the Commissioner.


Forfeitures shall be avoided at all times. If a team cannot field at least 8 players from its own team roster the game shall be forfeited. Pool players, if available, may be used to meet the 8 player requirement. A team is considered short if it has less than 11 players.

If a team is short, (less than 11 players) the manager may ask any current registered Vernon Senior Softball member to fill out their game roster up to a maximum of 11 players. Substitute players may play any position in the field provided that they are not displacing a player that normally plays that position. Substitute players must bat at the bottom of the lineup and be removed if a roster players shows up during the game.

If there are more spectators willing to play for the short team the player(s) will be selected by lottery as specified in VSS rules. If a spectator is selected he/she must be a registered VSS league player.

The league has published a list of players on each team that qualify as a #1 player. These #1 players can only substitute for another #1 player on the team that is short. The exception to this rule is in the case of a pitcher needed by the short team when none of their regular pitchers are available. In that case, a #1 player can be added to the short team as a “pitcher”.


An extended home plate strike zone mat will be used. If a pitched ball strikes any part of the home plate, including the extended mat, the pitch will be considered a strike, regardless of the direction the ball bounces.

A runner to home shall run across a scoring line. The runner’s scoring line shall be placed eight feet from home plate and in line with the first base foul line. The offensive player must touch or cross the scoring line or the runner shall be called out.  The catcher (or other defensive player) must make all defensive plays on the home plate or the extended mat. All plays at home will be force-outs; the catcher or any other defensive player may not apply a tag to a runner advancing to the scoring line, unless such offensive player has not crossed the commitment line.


Unlimited base advancement on any hit is allowed, however, each player will be limited to one, over the fence, home run per game. If a batter hits a second, over the fence, home run during a game, he will be limited to a double. Unlimited inside the park home runs are allowed.

After receiving two walks in a game players must continue to bat until they either make an out or get on base via hitting the ball.

SECTION E – DOUBLE BAG, SECOND & THIRD BASE PLAYS                                                           

A double bag shall be used at first base – a white base inside the foul line, and an orange bag outside the foul line.

The runner must touch the orange bag if the ball is hit to the infield or if there is a play at first. If he fails to do so, he will be called out.

If the ball is hit to the outfield where there is no play at first, the runner may touch the inside bag and continue to second if he is able.

The defensive player must touch the white bag or tag the runner to get an out at first base.

Players who overrun second or third base are eligible to be tagged or forced out (see Section G – Outs).

Any player who runs to the bag and in doing so, in the judgment of the umpire, results in interference with a player or the play itself, will be called out. 


Bunting and stealing are prohibited. Any one attempting bunting or stealing shall be called out.

Players may, at their option, slide into second or third base. A runner returning back to first, second, or third base may slide or dive back to the bag. However, if in the judgment of the umpire, the runner deliberately tries to make contact with a defensive player, he shall be called out.


All plays at home plate and all bases are considered force-outs, going and returning.

If the ball beats the runner to the base or the plate, the runner is out as long as the fielder is touching the base or the plate and has control of the ball before the runner touches the base or plate.

Runners may be tagged out while approaching a base (either arriving or returning) if the defensive player has the ball and tagging the runner instead of the base facilitates a putout. However, a runner to the scoring plate may not be tagged out once the runner crosses the commitment line.

A runner may be tagged out only with the hand or glove containing the ball.


The pitch count shall start as 1 ball and 1 strike.

A second foul ball on third strike shall result in the batter being out.

The arc of the pitched ball must be between 6 feet and 12 feet above the ground. If the pitch is too low or too high, the umpire shall call it an illegal pitch while the ball is in the air, and it shall be deemed a ball. If the batter swings at the ball and misses, it will be called a strike. If the batter swings and hits the ball it shall be in play and called fair or foul.

If the pitcher starts to deliver the ball and either stops the delivery or reverses the delivery while no time out is called, a ball shall be called.


A five (5) run limit shall be applied each inning except when the one hour rule is used (see section M), the seventh inning or extra innings.


A commitment lines shall be established halfway between third base and home plate.

A runner crossing the commitment line must advance to  home plate and is subject to a force out. If the runner does not cross the commitment line, he may return to third base. An exception is made for runners who pass the commitment line on a fly ball and said fly ball is caught. The runner must return to third base after the catch. He may then tag up and proceed to home plate.

An outfield limitation line shall be established at a distance 160 feet from home plate. The four outfielders shall position themselves no closer to home plate than the outfield limitation line prior to the ball being hit by the batter. No fielders may position themselves on the grass between the skin of the infield and the outfield limitation line. Once the batter has made contact, the fielder may pursue the ball into this area.

No infielder other than the pitcher, may play closer to the batter than the base line. Once the ball is put in play, the infielder may field the ball wherever it is hit.


The maximum advancement by a courtesy runner from home on any play is first base. If the courtesy runner from home makes any move to advance to second base the play will be called dead. All runners will go back to the last base they reached.

At the beginning of the season, each team will provide the Board a list of players who will have a courtesy runner from home plate. This list will be approved by the board and provided to each manager. This list will be reevaluated by the board at the mid-point in the season.

A player may request to have a courtesy runner once he reaches first or second safely. The umpire will announce the use of a courtesy runner to the defensive team. A courtesy runner may only run once per inning however they may run each and every inning that occurs during the game. A courtesy runner whose turn at bat comes while on base will be called out. The courtesy runner will be removed from base and take their turn at bat. A second courtesy runner is not permitted at this time.

The courtesy runner must be in place before the batter is ready to hit in order to speed up the game.

If a courtesy runner from home doesn’t reach first base safely it doesn’t count towards his one per inning limitation.


No metal cleats shall be permitted.

A mask MUST be worn by all pitchers. The VSS League will provide the mask.

Bats:  The league provides approved bats for the use by our members. If a player wishes to use their own bat it must be ASA approved and have an ASA Certification Mark on the bat. Members need to know that many ASA bats with the Certification Mark have been banned after field testing and are no longer to be used in the league. There is a list of recent ASA bats that are Non-Approved in the VSS binder in the shed. All double-walled, multi-walled and titanium bats are not allowed. The use of these bats is not allowed at any time except for Travel Team activities. Players that have been approved by the Board of Directors are allowed to use Senior Bats. The list of those players eligible will be published for the league. Those bats must have an approved league sticker on them that can be obtained through a designee as determined by the Board of Directors. Any player not on this list that takes their stance in the batters box with a Senior bat, whether by deliberate or inadvertent means, will be called out and will forfeit their at bat.

If you have a question please check with the umpire prior to your game before using the bat. The umpire can refuse to allow the bat to be used at any time prior or during the game if the umpire feels there is a safety issue. The player may appeal the decision to the VSS Board.

The official ball shall be an official slow pitch 12” softball with a core of 44, and a compression of 375 lbs. The color of the game balls will be optic yellow.

The catcher is not required to wear a mask (although a mask provided by the League is available).

Players must wear team jerseys and must wear League hats or no hats. Jerseys and hats other than Team jerseys or League hats are prohibited.


Community Field:

Game 1, when scheduled, will start promptly at 3:30 pm on Mondays through Thursdays.

Game 2, when scheduled will start promptly at 4:55 pm on Mondays through Thursdays.

Henry Park games will start at 4:45 pm.

After one hour of play, the next full inning and all innings after will be open innings to score as many runs as a team can.

These beginning and ending times are subject to change depending on the availability of the field as determined by the Vernon Recreation Department.  All games will be played at Community Field, which will be cleared for play 10 minutes prior to the first scheduled game. The first game home team is responsible for putting away the pitchers screen and insuring the sponsor’s banner is up and all equipment (plates, board, clock, etc) is set up.

The format shall consist of single inning games but will conclude promptly at the completion time set forth above. If an inning is not completed by the time deadline, the final score will revert to the end of the previous completed inning. An inning will be considered completed when both teams have completed batting for that inning, or, if the home team is leading, the inning is completed when the visiting team has completed batting for that inning.

A game will be considered a complete (regulation) game when five full innings are played; or if the home team has scored more runs in four or more innings than the visiting team has scored in five or more innings. If the game is suspended and does not meet the above criteria, the game will be rescheduled and played as a new game with no score.

Following the completion of the last game of the day, the Home Team will be responsible for stowing the sponsor banner, and all League equipment (bats, balls, home plate, and the clock).


All teams shall use an official scorebook. The responsibility for the scorebook shall be the team manager or whomever he designates.

An official lineup or batting order must be filled out prior to each game and the scorebook should be maintained in a manner commensurate with established score keeping guidelines for slow pitch softball.

Teams are allowed unrestricted field substitution to promote participation. All players present will be put in the batting order. All players present must play at least two innings in the field, unless injured. Players arriving after the game begins will be placed at the end of the batting order. Players leaving during the game will not be recorded as an out unless they are ejected by the umpire.


Any team manager may petition the commissioner for any redress that is required because of a violation of the rules.

The commissioner may request the Rules Committee to further review the rules, if necessary.

Members of the League may request rule changes to the Rules Committee or the Commissioner at the end of each season. Proposals should be submitted in writing and may be given to any member of the Rules Committee or the Board of Directors.


The league tries to keep a competitive balance, and to help achieve this the season will be split into two equal parts. At the end of the first part, internal competition may adjust rosters as needed to accomplish this goal.


The Commissioner has final decision making authority in all matters concerning postponements. VSS will attempt to use the hotline for Vernon Recreational Activities. In the event that this does not give enough time to call a game, last minute decisions will be made by the managers of the opposing teams, based on field safety. No game will be played while lightning is seen in the vicinity. Make up games will be re-scheduled as quickly as possible.


VSS will complete a registration process by the second week in April, using a combination of mail-in and live registrations.

Players during the registration process will have an OPT OUT option.  If a player wishes to exercise this option, they he/she must do so through written communication, either by email, regular mail, or during the live registration with the Boards representative. The Board must honor a player’s desire to OPT OUT. The player has an absolute guarantee of reassignment to another team and is barred from being re-selected by the same team in a draft.  Players, who have not opted out, do not receive a similar guarantee of assignment. In the event a conflict arises during the execution of the plan, a player’s right to OPT OUT supersedes all other considerations.

With the exception of players opting out and players registering later than the allowed deadline, all players from the previous year’s roster will remain on the team. Opting out players, new registrations, returning players who were not registered with a team in the previous year, and late registrations will be put in a common pool for selection.

The board will determine a target team size known as a “cap”, based on the number of registrants.  The teams will draft, at a minimum, the difference between their tentative roster size and the cap.  Example:  The Board sets the cap at 14 and a team’s tentative roster size is 11. That team will be able to draft 3 players, to reach the cap.

Members of the common pool will be assigned to teams via a scheduled draft or by slotting by the Boards representatives, depending on the amount of eligible players in the pool. If a draft is to take place, assuming one is needed, it would be administered by a Board member(s) and would work as follows:

    1.    The last place team, from the previous year, picks first in every round.  The sequence is next to the last team picks second, and so on.

    2.    Once a team reaches the predetermined cap size, they no longer pick.

   3.    If the cap is reached by all teams, an additional round of drafting may be required.

  1. 4.   Late teams must draft 4:55pm players only.


All games will have two assigned Umpires. Games can be played with one umpire, if the second umpire becomes unavailable for any reason. Teams should, however, make every effort to not self-umpire.