Rule Book


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Rule #1: DON’T BE A DICK



The Cleveland Softball League (est. 2009), is an all-volunteer, DIY organization. It has evolved over the years with many unique rules and guidelines that are specific to us. When you participate in the Cleveland Softball League you are agreeing to all the rules and guidelines henceforth.


  1. The minimum a team can play with on the field is 9 players (the maximum on the field is 11, you can have any number of people in the batting order). If less than 9 players are present, the Captain must notify the opposing team’s Captain and Umpire before the start of play and a compromise or forfeit will be determined. The opposing Captain has full authority to declare a forfeit.
  2. Please have the majority of your team ready at least a half hour before the start of play.
  3. Players can only play full-time for one team. Substituting is allowed but discouraged. Please have a large enough roster to account for when people are unavailable, especially in the playoffs.
  4. Team uniforms are mandatory.
  5. Players must be 21 years of age or older.
  6. All team finances are handled in-house, there is no money paid to the league and there is no “league fee”. For the purposes of procuring uniforms and any needed equipment, teams will collect sponsor money (amount calculated by the Captain) and may also collect a player contribution if needed. The league will have fundraising events to procure the purchase of playoff trophies, any needed league equipment or any other such shared-use items.
  7. All players, spectators and Umpires are subject to the laws and guidelines set forth by the cities, parks and other such locations where we engage in sporting.



  1. All players present bat in the lineup.
  2. The lineup must have 3 females; if there are only 2 females present then an outfielder must be pulled on defense. You cannot play with only 1 female in the batting order or on defense
  3. There must be a female at least every 4th batter in the lineup. Females may bat multiple times within the course of a batting order if it is necessary to fulfill this.
  4. A designated hitter is permitted and should be identified as such in the batting order. They do not play in the field. Multiple designated hitters can be used.
  5. Captains must exchange lineups prior to the game. If a team is found to be in violation of having a female at least every fourth batter, the batter in question will be called out once a pitch has been thrown, if it can be proven that they are batting out of order. If an Umpire notices a mistake in the batting order, they can address the situation at their own discretion.



  1. Infield (6): Catcher, Pitcher, 1st base, 2nd base, Shortstop, 3rd base
    Outfield (5): Fielders play in whatever configuration the Captain chooses.
  2. All non-designated hitters in the batting order can only sit from playing the field a maximum 3 innings per game. Captains must keep track of this on the score sheet and notify their players before the start of play of what the substitution scheme is going to be. The Captain reserves the right to change this substitution scheme at any time during the game.
  3. There must be at least 3 females present in the field at all times. They can be positioned anywhere, it is not mandatory for a female to play in the outfield.
  4. During the course of play, there is to be no players brought in from the outfield to play an auxiliary or additional infield position.
  5. Outfielders must not crowd the infield and must stay a reasonable distance away from the edge of the infield. It is up to the Umpire’s discretion to enforce this.
  6. There is no “Infield Fly” rule. We expect fielders to refrain from pulling a cheap double play on an infield fly where there is a force out. You will look like an asshole and everyone will talk shit about you.



  1. There are no called balls & strikes. A strikeout occurs when a total of (3) strikes happen by way of a batter swinging and missing or hitting a foul ball. Any combination of (3) strikes is a strikeout (Added 2/23/17, v1.4). A foul ball that comes in contact with the backstop or any other such obstruction is considered a dead ball.
  2. There are no walks.
  3. We expect the Captain to have a Pitcher who can give a consistent, hittable pitch to all batters.
  4. If the opposing Captain decides after a reasonable time that the Pitcher is not consistent, they can notify the Umpire between innings who will consult with the Captain of the opposing team to make a change. An Umpire can go ahead on their own and recommend a pitching change if they deem it necessary.
  5. We expect a pitch to be at minimum 6 foot elevation and within a foot of the backside of the plate when it falls to the ground.
  6. A strike mat may be used but is not mandatory. It is solely used as a reference point to determine if actual strikes are being thrown. It has no other bearing on the game, does not count towards actual strikes and is not to be used as an extension of home plate during any play involving the plate.
  7. Pitchers are highly encouraged to wear a protective face mask at all times. All teams will provide one.


Base Running

  1. If there is an over-throw at first base on a field that has a fence, it is a live ball. If there is a dugout or other such place that a ball can become trapped in, one base is awarded to the base runner. Captains and Umpires should agree in advance if there is any other such circumstance involving the area next to First Base.
  2. No lead-offs, no steals. No leaving the bag early.
  3. A baserunner who is struck by a batted ball while running the bases is out if they are not standing on a base. A baserunner who is struck by a thrown ball while running the bases is still in play.
  4. There is to be no “bull-dozing” of the Catcher during a play at the plate. Conversely, the Catcher is not allowed to block the plate. If any of these circumstances occur during a close play at the plate then it will be up to the Umpire’s discretion when making the call.
  5. It is not mandatory to slide into home plate during a close play but it is encouraged for safety reasons.
  6. A batter with a physical limitation may have a substitute base runner. This runner must be the previous out. The runner will start directly behind the Catcher



  1. All teams should make their best efforts to have a roster of reliable players so that at least 11 people are there for a game. In the case that a team is short, it is permissible to sub players from other teams, within reason. The players who are subbing must be of an equal talent level to those they are replacing. Captains are expected to use good judgment and opposing Captains are allowed to protest if it seems a team is “stacking” their roster with subs.
  2. It is STRONGLY advised that there is to be no substituting during playoff games. Opposing Captains do not have to agree to any substituting by their opponent. NOTE: We voted in 2013 & 2014 that there was to be no subbing in the playoffs, however it was allowed due to Captain’s agreement.
  3. Subbing base runners: when a substitute base runner is needed due to physical limitation, injury or any other such circumstance, the sub will be the last person to make an out in the inning or the prior inning if needed, regardless of gender.



  1. The League puts forth maximum effort to insure that there is at least one scheduled Umpire. The Umpires are people the League has put full faith in that they will call the games objectively. They are volunteering their own time to participate, this should be kept in mind.
  2. If there is an extremely close call that by all reasonable accounts appears to be a tie, the tie goes to the runner.
  3. The Umpire’s initial ruling on any play will stand and is not subject to reversal unless a conference between multiple Umpires sheds light on a different angle to the play. There will be no screaming matches, complaining, etc., and team Captains should make every effort to have their team act with class and respect during any dispute. Only the Captains should be talking to the Umpires during a play of special circumstance.
  4. If there is no Umpire present then the Captains must agree in advance on a system to self-call the game and to evenly rotate calls that are too close to make objectively.
  5. The Umpire is responsible for keeping official score, keeping track of outs, innings and making all calls on the base paths.
  6. If special circumstances present themselves in a game, Umpires have full authority to make reasonable decisions based on their own discretion.
  7. Umpires are not to inject themselves into the game by giving tips or any other such advice to players. Also Umpires should not use their position as a means to overly socialize with spectators during the course of play.



The Captain’s responsibilities are as follows:

  1. Make sure you can field at least 11 players on game day.
  2. Represent the team in any dispute or rule clarification, both during games and otherwise.
  3. Create the batting order and fielding position chart, including deciding when players will rotate in the field.
  4. Keep score or assign scorekeeper. (Umpire will keep the official score)
  5. Schedule practices if desired, introduce players to each other if needed.
  6. Explain and demonstrate fundamentals to players that may need it. If the Captain is unable to do this then get someone knowledgeable from your team to help out and encourage new players.
  7. Stay in constant contact with your team (via email, Facebook, phone, etc.) and be available via email, Facebook, phone, etc. The Captain must keep their team informed and organized.
  8. Keep harmony and order amongst your team and intervene in any internal conflicts.
  9. Attend League meetings, if you are unavailable then send a Representative for the team.
  10. Make best efforts to attend League functions such as fundraisers or other such social events.
  11. Delegate certain duties amongst the team such as batting music, etc.
  12. Encourage players to show class and good sportsmanship in all situations.
  13. Collect sponsor money and communicate with the sponsor when needed, oversee any internal team finances and acquisitions. Collect player money contributions if necessary.
  14. Make sure all players have a team-issued uniform.
  15. Assign a Co-Captain who can step in and fulfill your duties on game day, in your absence. Co-Captain also assists with all team functions.



  1. The top 4 teams from each Division will compete in a single-elimination tournament that is seeded according to regular season record. (1vs4, 2vs3). The Divisional champions will compete for the League Championship
  2. The League champion will place the perpetual trophy in their sponsor location, which will remain there during the following season. An updated placard will have the names of the Championship teams and Captains.
  3. Anyone caught stealing the perpetual trophy will be subject to future exclusion from the league, at the discretion of the league office.
  4. The Divisional Champions may do as they please with their trophy (Captain’s decision).
  5. Teams must only use players in the playoffs who are on their opening day roster.


Tiebreakers/Scoring/Time/Complete Game

  1. Regular season record tiebreakers:
    1. Head to head won-loss record. If still tied then:
    2. Run differential during regular season games. If still tied then:
    3. Coin toss.
  2. Extra innings: if a game is tied after regulation play, there will be extra innings to determine the winner. There are to be no “tied” games. If a tied game reaches 10 innings, each team will start their half of the inning with a runner on Second Base. This runner will be the player who made the last out of the previous inning.
  3. No mercy score rule
  4. No time limit
  5. In the event of rain during a game, in order for it to be a “complete game” it must reach 4 completed innings (if the home team is up in the bottom of the 4th then it is considered complete). In the event of rain during a game the Captains and Umpire must meet before the game or between innings to agree at what point the game is going to be called and there must be a unanimous agreement on this. If the game is not deemed “complete” and is postponed to a future date, it will start over fresh from the beginning. If a coin toss was used to determine home team in the original game then that team will retain “home team”. If there was already a prior designation of home team on the schedule then that team would also retain “home team”. (Added 3/18/15, v2015.1.2)



  1. The regular season will begin in mid-late April and run till late July. There will be 12 regular season games.
  2. The playoffs will be late July/early August..
  3. Teams will be scheduled on a “strength of record” system whereas the majority of your games will be played against teams who had a similar record the previous year. This helps to balance competition. Teams will play at least once against their Divisional opponents. You’ll play twice against some Divisional opponents with a similar record from the previous year. You will play some games against a few of the opposite Division’s teams with a similar record from the previous year. Due to the “strength of record” system, the #4 seed in each division may be scheduled to play every team only once.
  4. In the event of rain on game day, we will make every effort to get the games in. Re-scheduling is very difficult. Always assume that the game is on until you hear otherwise from your Captain. Captains must stay in contact with the League Office, updates will be posted as much as possible at In the event of a rain-out, Captains must re-schedule the game promptly. The League Office can assist if needed.
  5. If 2 scheduled opponents wish to reschedule their game in advance, it must be done within 2 weeks of the original date.


League Structure (revised 3/09/16, v1.3)

ABC Tavern
Beachland Ballroom & Tavern
Joy Machines Bike Shop
Gotta Groove Records
Happy Dog

Crank-Set Rides
Pat’s in the Flats
Grog Shop
Now That’s Sam’s!
Weird Realms



  1. Bats must be certified to ASA and/or USSSA. If they are not it is considered illegal. Please see your Captain for more info on this. Players caught using illegal bats will be subject to expulsion from the league.
  2. Base runners are encouraged to wear a helmet. Captains are encouraged to provide them but they are not mandatory.
  3. Each team provides at least one new game ball per contest, which are a Dudley Thunder Hycon ZN 52/300 Composite ASA 4A-068Y 12″ slow pitch softball, red stitching. (Added 2/23/17, v1.4).



  1. All players must leave dugout area clean after game.
  2. At bat music is allowed and encouraged. Once the Pitcher is ready to pitch please turn it back down to a reasonable volume so that the players on the field can communicate
  3. Our permit with the city of Cleveland stipulates that the concession stand is the exclusive vendor.
  4. Home and Away designations for games may be determined in advance on the schedule, for teams that play multiple games against each other. If they are not determined in advance, a coin toss between the Captains and Umpires will occur.
  5. Any rules not addressed here will divert to the ASA official rulebook for co-ed softball.
  6. You play at your own risk. Cleveland Softball will not be held liable for any injury or death that may occur as a result of participation. A waiver must be signed in order to participate, releasing Cleveland Softball from any future claim due to injury or death.


Contact/League Office

Commissioners: Matt Jauch & Jae Kristoff
Umpiring Directors: Eric O’Callaghan, Andrew Schriver
Special Events Coordinator: Lindsey Krivenki
Legal Counsel: Zach Germaniuk, Chris Klasa
Podcast: Graham Beck for “Diamond Bags”
Media: Eric O’Callaghan for “Sportslandia Illustrated”
Website/I.T.: Anthony Franchino

web: &
phone: 216-577-9407