Softball Rules

Any intramural policies not mentioned here may be found in the Intramural Handbook. Unless specifically mentioned below, Intramural play is governed by NFHS Softball rules. By participating in Intramural Sports, the participant agrees to abide by all Intramural rules and policies.

You may suffer physical and/or mental injury from participating in Intramural Sports. There are certain risks of injury that are inherent to participation in sports and recreational activities. These types of injuries may be minor or serious and may result from the actions or inactions of themselves or others. By choosing to participate in Intramural Sports, you do so at your own risk. It is understood that most activities require a certain level of fitness and health, and that each person has a different capacity for participating in these activities. Participants of Intramural Sports are highly encouraged to have a physical examination and procure health insurance prior to play. UC Campus Recreation does not provide health insurance.

Intramural Supervisors undergo concussion recognition training. In the instance a participant is exhibiting any signs or symptoms of a concussion as a result of a head injury sustained during intramural play, he or she will be removed from the activity. This individual must provide a physician’s note clearing the individual to play by a specific date. This note may be e-mailed to or faxed to 513-556-0601.


Following each game, teams will receive a sportsmanship rating between 0.0 and 4.0.


In order to qualify for playoffs, teams must obtain a 3.0 or higher sportsmanship average during the regular season based on the table below:

Sportmanship Rating
Score Player & Team Behavior   Penalty
4.0 Always respectful to officials and opposing team.
No complaining or arguing.
No unsportsmanlike penalties.
3.0 Usually respectful to officials and opposing team.
Minimal arguing or complaining about officials.
Maximum one (1) unsportsmanlike penalty.
2.0 Moderately disrespectful to officials and/or opposing team.
Moderate arguing or complaints about officials.
Multiple unsportsmanlike penalties OR Maximum one (1) ejected player
1.0 Frequently disrespectful to officials and/or opposing team.
Frequent arguing or complaints about officials.
Any contact or provocation of officials.
Multiple ejected players or one (1) player involved in a fight.
0.0 Player(s) out of control.
Excessively disrespectful to officials and/or opposing team.
Excessive arguing or complaints about officials.*
Multiple players involved in a fight. Destruction or abuse of property.

* A team that receives a "0" rating will be suspended from competition until its captain meets with the Assistant Director or Coordinator of Intramural Sports. The team may be removed from competition.


In addition to team ratings, any unsportsmanlike actions may be forwarded to Judicial Affairs and may include but is not limited to revocation of Intramural Sports and/or Campus Recreation privileges.


To be eligible for intramural sports, each player must possess an active membership to the University of Cincinnati Campus Recreation Center AND be a current University of Cincinnati student (enrolled in at least one (1) credit hour), faculty, or staff member.


Uptown, full-time UC students receive a Campus Recreation membership through full payment of the Campus Life Fee. All other populations will need to purchase a membership in order to be eligible to play.


Participants may participate on one (1) mixed gender and one (1) non-mixed gender team (i.e. men's, women's, open, Fraternity, Sorority) per sport, per season. Substituting for another team in the same league is prohibited.


Every game, each participant must check in with the intramural official with a valid Bearcat card.


Intramural particpants must additionally meet all requirements of Section 3.4:


Teams are limited to two (2) competitive club sport participant (in the same or similar sport) on its roster.


Current varsity athletes and professional athletes are not allowed to play on an intramural team of the same or similar sport as their varsity sport.


Former varsity athletes must sit out 365 days from last appearing on a varsity roster to be eligible to play in the same or similar sport as their varsity sport. Teams are allowed one (1) former varsity athlete (in the same or similar sport) per roster.


Jewelry is not allowed during intramural play. This includes earrings, bracelets, necklaces, and fitness trackers, among other things.


Medical jewelry is allowed but must be taped down.


Hats are permitted during Intramural play, but are worn at the risk of the participant and must be taken off if deemed dangerous or interferring with the sport by staff


Athletic clothing and footwear is required. Prohibited items include but is not limited to: jeans, cargo pants/shorts, skirts, loafers, open-toed shoes, and boots. 


Rubber molded cleats are the only cleats permitted. Removable or metal cleats are prohibited.


Any casts, braces, or other protective equipment must be padded and secure.


Helmets and Face Masks are recommended, but not provided.


Campus Recreation will have legal softball bats for use.  Teams bringing their own bats must get each bat checked by umpires prior to the game.  Bats must be on the Team USA approved bats list to be allowed.


Gloves are to be provided by the players


Prior to registration close, a team must have at least nine players confirmed on its IMLeagues roster. Teams that fail to do so may not be included in the league.


Once playoffs begin, players may not be added to the roster without direct approval of the Coordinator and/or Assistant Director of Intramurals.


Teams may have up to twenty (20) players on its roster.


No team shall participate with less than eight (8) players at any time


Teams must take an out at the end of the batting order for every batter they are short of nine (9) rostered batters [Exception: Injury only]


If injuries or ejections cause a team to drop below minimum players required, the team may continue, as long as they started with the minimum number of players.


At the approval of the supervisor and opponent, teams may participate below the minimum number of players needed to start a game if deemed competitive by the staff and the opponent agrees to waive protest rights under Section 5.4


Mixed gender teams may not have more than five players of one gender on the field


Mixed gender teams must adhere to section 5.5 regardless of injury or ejection - even if it results in a short handed scenario


Teams are permitted one (1) checked-in coach on the bench. 


Subs may only substitute for one player. Substitutions must adhere to all guidelines of Section 6.1:


The substitute must play a complete inning before being subbed back out


Once a player is replaced, they may only re-enter the lineup in the same spot of the order


All subtitutes must report to the Home Plate umpire prior to entering


The length of the game shall be seven (7) innings or 50 minutes, time permitting.


Time limit shall not be a drop dead, and the inning occurring as time expires shall be completed. A new inning is defined as beginning at the moment the final out of the previous inning is made


A game shall be considered complete after the conclusion of five (5) innings


Each team shall be limited to two (2) visits per game


All checked-in players and coaches have the authority to initiate a visit on behalf of their team.


Teams that arrive late to games and/or are not ready with the minimum roster by start time will receive the following penalty:


1-4 minutes late = Other team begins up 3-0 and has choice of home/away


5-9 minutes late = Other team begins up 5-0 and has choice of home/away


10+ minutes late = Game is forfeited. 


Teams that forfeit must pay a $20 non-refundable reinstatement fee prior to the end of the regular season to be eligible for playoff consideration [Refer to Section XII of the Intramural Handbook for more information]


In order to prevent forfeits, teams may also default once per season. Teams must give a minimum 48 hour notice of default to qualify by emailing [Refer to Section XII of the Intramural Handbook for more information]


There is no extra innings during the regular season


During playoffs if a game results in a tie at the end of regulation, extra innings will be played until a winner is determined.


Extra innings will be performed in a one-pitch Texas Shootout manner


The last batted out from the previous inning will start the extra inning at second base


The inning will begin with one out, and the one pitch rule will be applied


Should a ball be thrown, the batter will be walked. Should a called strike, swinging strike, or foul ball occur the batter will be deemed out. There will be no courtesy foul in extra innings.


The inning shall be played until three outs are obtained, and the format will repeat until a winner is declared


The official will hold a pre-match Rock, Paper, Scissors. The winner will determine if they want to be home or away


In playoffs, the higher seed will determine if they want to be home or away


All players in the field must be in the batting order


Teams may may bat up to twelve batters


Teams are free to use Extra Hitters (EH), but no Designated Hitters (DH)


Mixed Gender batting orders must alternate genders, including an alternation when the order turns over. Extra Hitters and Subs must adhere to Section 9.3


Teams are limited to ten (10) runs for the first four (4) innings. Beginning at the fifth inning, teams are not capped to run limit restrictions


Teams are limited to five (5) homeruns and/or ground rule doubles per game. All additional homeruns/ground rule doubles will be deemed outs


Teams responsible for hitting and/or throwing the ball out of play are responsible for retrieving the ball


Mercy Rule – A game will be considered final if:


A team leads by 25+ runs at any point


A team leads by 20+ runs at the conclusion of the 5th inning


A team leads by 15+ runs at the conclusion of the 6th inning


A strike mat will be placed as an extension of home plate, serving as the strike zone


Pitching distance shall be marked with a rubber or cone at 42-45ft with a safety net or 48-50ft with no safety net


Contact with the rubber must remain for the duration of the pitch or it shall be deemed an illegal pitch, resulting in an automatic ball


The pitching motion shall be one fluid motion or it shall be deemed an illegal pitch, resulting in an automatic ball


A legal pitch must have an arc between six (6) and twelve (12) feet, or it shall be deemed an automatic ball regardless of contact with the strike mat


A strike is defined as a pitch meeting all legal specifications and contacting the strike mat (includes all sides of the mat).


A ball is defined as a pitch not meeting any legal specifications or a legal pitch not contacting any portion of the strike mat (including contact with Home Plate but not with any part of the strike mat)


The count begins at one ball and one strike.


A batter with two strikes who hits a foul ball on the ensuing pitch will be given one courtesy foul. After a second foul ball, the batter is out


A batted ball contacting any part of the pitcher safety net shall be deemed a foul ball and is applicable to all parts of Section 10.6


Bunting is not allowed and is determined at the judgement of the umpires - considered a foul ball if deemed and applicable to all parts of Section 10.6


If a ball in play becomes lodged or unplayable, the fielder should put their hands up to notify the umpires and not touch the ball


The nearest player to an out of play or lodged ball must hold both their hands in the air and not touch the ball. An umpire will call time and check to see if the ball is out of play and/or lodged and award proper bases 


The infield fly rule is in effect when applicable


Bases shall be 65ft apart


Runners are not permitted to steal at any time.


If a player breaks contact with the bag before the batter makes contact with the balll, a dead ball shall occur and the runner shall be deemed out


Runners must slide or give up on all non-forced outs that are close.


Sliding or diving head first into a base is not recommended.  If a player dives or slides head first, serious injury may occur.


If a ball is overthrown and goes out of play, a runner will receive the base they were going to at the time and one additional base.


If a player reaches base safely, but is too severely injured to run, the player sharing that spot in the batting order will replace the injured runner.


If that spot is not shared, the last batted out will replace the runner.  In coed, the last batted out of the same gender will replace the runner.