2013 Rule Changes:
Added that the color of the softball glove/mitt not be entirely optic yellow and that they do not have optic yellow markings on the outside or inside of the glove/mitt resembling the appearance of a softball.
Rationale: This pertains to all players on the field.
Identified that the person the Plate Umpire should announce any changes to and substitutions on the lineup card would be the opposing Head Coach.
Rationale: This proposed rule change creates uniformity with other umpire to team game management communication by specifically stating the person responsible for his/her team, the Head Coach, is guaranteed to be kept in this substitution information exchange process.
Explained that a team who intends to utilize the DP/FLEX option advises the Plate Umpire and their opponent during the exchange of line-up cards at the pregame conference.
Rationale: This change would require teams to make known the desire to use the DP/FLEX at the time the line-ups become official.
Noted that objects other than stopwatches, scorekeeping materials and devices are prohibited in the coach's box.
Rationale: The running game is an important and exciting part of the game. Allowing coaches in the coaching box to use a stop watch to time a pitcher’s release to the plate and possibly the subsequent throw to second base is important information to determine if a steal should be implemented.
Clarified when a batter is awarded first base from an illegal pitch.
Rationale: There are times when the batter could become a base runner without hitting an illegal pitch. This would allow a consistent penalty for illegal pitch regardless if the batter hits the illegal pitch or not.
8-1-2 PENALTY 2
Identified when a hit batter is awarded first base and that she may not deliberately allow the ball to touch her in the batter's box.
Rationale: A batter is penalized for prohibiting a pitch from entering the strike zone; there should be a penalty when the pitcher hits a batter when the pitch is completely inside the batter’s box.
2013 MAJOR EDITORIAL CHANGES
Defined the knob component of the bat.
Clarified the legality of a hole created in front of the pitcher's plate.
Clarified the batter's feet position within the batter's box.
2013 Points of Emphasis (POE):
For the 2013 high school softball season, attention is being called to: DP/Flex Education, Bench Personnel Conduct (home run celebration), and Good Sporting Behavior. When a topic is included in the Points of Emphasis, these topics are important enough to reinforce throughout the academic year because they are not being given the proper attention.
News From Around the Diamond
Pitching (6.1.1) - Prior to starting the delivery (pitch), the pitcher shall take a position with the pivot foot on or partially on the top surface of the pitcher's plate and the non-pivot foot in contact with or behind the pitcher's plate. Both feet must be on the ground within or partially within the 24-inch length of the pitcher's plate.
a. Prior to pitching, the pitcher must take a position with shoulders in line with first and third base with the ball in the glove or pitching hand, and with the hands separated.
b. While in this position, the pitcher shall take (or simulate taking) a signal from the catcher.
c. After completing "b" above, the pitcher shall bring the hands together in front of the body for not less than one second and not more than 10 seconds before releasing the ball. The hands may be motionless or moving.
(6.1.2) . . . About the Pitch:
a. The pitch starts when one hand is taken off the ball or the pitcher makes any motion that is part of the windup after the hands have been brought together.
b. Once the hands are brought together and are in motion, the pitcher shall not take more than one step which must be forward, toward the batter and simultaneous with the delivery. Any step backward shall begin before the hands come together. The step backward may end before or after the hands come together.
EXCEPTION: See Rule 6-1-1f2 - When removing self from the pitcher's position.
NOTE: "Toward" is interpreted as within or partially within the 24-inch length of the pitcher's plate. (See "Figure" – Rule Book, Page 48)
c. The pivot foot may remain in contact with or may push off and drag away from the pitching plate prior to the front foot touching the ground, as long as the pivot foot remains in contact with the ground and within the 24-inch length. If a hole has been created in front of the pitcher’s plate, the pivot foot may be no higher than the level plane of the ground. Pushing off with the pivot foot from a place other than the pitcher’s plate is illegal.
1: It is not a step if the pitcher slides her foot in any direction on the pitcher's plate, provided contact is maintained.
2: Techniques such as the "crow hop" and "the leap" are illegal. (See 2-16; 2-33)
Gloves/Mitts (1.4.1) – Gloves/mitts shall:
a. Be a maximum of two colors excluding lacing and manufacturer's logo colors. Lacing shall not be the color of the ball.
b. Not be entirely optic in color.
c. Not have an optic-colored marking on the outside or inside that gives the appearance of the ball.
d. Be permitted to have one American flag not to exceed 2 inches by 3 inches.
e. Not be judged as distracting by the umpire.
Gloves with optic yellow markings can be made legal by coloring in the optic yellow with a black marker or black shoe polish. Tell the coach so they can make the glove legal for play.
Please feel free to contact me should you have any questions with the above material or any unusual plays or circumstances. We are all in this together and together we will strive for consistency. Have a great softball season.
NHSOA Softball Home Plate Newsletter
Renee Williams – NHSOA Softball Chair
Hello All and Welcome to the High School Softball Season: It is an exciting time in high school sports as the Nebraska High School Officials Association (NHSOA) has partnered with the NSAA to assist you in bettering your umpiring.
Please visit the NHSOA website at nhsoahome.org and read on the front page under Officials what the NHSOA is all about or log into you NSAA Page, click on the Downloads Tab and read the document, labeled NHSOA Introduction Letter.
NHSOA Softball Committee members are:
District II – Jim Bewley – LaVista
District III – Domenic Consoli – Wayne
District IV – Jane Kirby – Johnson Lake
District V – Mike Gonzales – McCook
The NHSOA Softball Umpires Clinics were held in conjunction with the University of Nebraska High School Softball Team Camps in July. The purpose of the clinics was to train umpires in 3-umpire mechanics. The one day clinics consisted of classroom instruction followed by actual contest observation and instruction. There were five clinics with a total of 32 members present.
The NHSOA Softball Committee will be brainstorming in the near future to create a softball policy manual. This manual will be all encompassing for important NSAA softball umpiring and committee operations. We will be putting together a pregame responsibilities document as well as a checklist for all umpires but geared more to the 1st year umpire.
It is believed that many coaches and umpires still may not completely understand the DP/FLEX rule (3-3-6) since it was passed in 2004. The committee felt a “refresher” would be appropriate to more fully understand and utilize all the options available with the rule. The DP/FLEX rule was originally adopted because it provides more participation opportunities for student-athletes and more flexibility to coaches.
Umpires the following are helpful hints in properly maintaining your lineup card:
1. A team may use the DP/FLEX option provided it is made known at the pregame conference.
2. The DP’s name is indicated on the lineup as one of the nine hitters in the batting order.
3. The name of the player for whom the DP is batting (FLEX) is placed in the 10th position in the lineup.
4. The DP may be substituted for at any time by a legal substitute or the FLEX may play offense for the DP. In either case, the DP has left the game.
5. The DP may play defense at any position.
6. The FLEX may be substituted for at any time by a legal substitute or the DP may play defense for the FLEX. In either case, the FLEX has left the game.
7. Placing the FLEX into one of the first nine positions for someone other than the DP’s position is considered an illegal substitution.
8. A team may go from 10 to nine players and back to 10 any number of times during the game; the game may also end with 10 or nine players.
9. The DP and FLEX may never be on offense at the same time; however, they may play defense at the same time.
BENCH PERSONNEL CONDUCT (HOME RUN CELEBRATION)
By rule, team personnel are not allowed outside of the dugout/bench or designated warm-up area during live ball action. However, during the dead ball period of a home run it is appropriate for team personnel to congratulate a team member when she accomplishes such a feat. It is also a teachable moment to encourage camaraderie and greater participation of teammates.
GOOD SPORTING BEHAVIOR
Umpires and coaches need to work together. Each contest is another opportunity for coaches and umpires to teach not only softball, but also model appropriate behavior as well. The positive values that are learned will serve the players long after their softball experience has concluded. Game situations typically provide a coach the opportunity to identify a teachable moment to reinforce good sporting behavior.
Approved NSAA Uniform:
Officials have an obligation to the profession to dress appropriately. The first impression of an official’s uniform should be impeccable. The uniform shall be clean, free of wrinkles, not faded, torn or have holes and fit properly.
Powder blue pullover polo (collar and sleeve trim shall be navy and white) – NO navy polo.
Powder blue long sleeve pullover polo (collar trim shall be navy and white) is acceptable.
Heather gray slacks – NO dark gray.
Jackets shall be all navy blue OR navy blue with the shoulder inset being powder blue and white.
A navy blue turtleneck may be substituted for a shirt when wearing jacket.
Hat is to be navy blue and a sized hat is recommended.
Ball bag shall be either navy blue OR heather gray.
Patches – NSAA patch is worn on the shirt where a pocket is or would be and the NHSOA patch is to be worn on the left sleeve (of both the short and long sleeve shirt).