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Oct. 1, 2011

NEW RULES FOR 2012: HOME RUNS NO LONGER OUTS; NEW FORMAT TO BE STUDIED


St. PETE BEACH, FLA. – The Senior Softball-USA Rules Committee met here during the SSUSA/ISA Convention and repealed the California-Florida border closure rule, enacted a mercy rule for the Major-Plus Division, and approved a pilot program to try a new tournament format system.

In an earlier meeting in September, the committee enacted a number of other rule changes, mostly dealing with home runs.

Here is a complete breakdown of rule changes for 2012 (Rules are listed in the order they appear in the rulebook):

§5.1 – GAME TIME [Added new language to end of section] – Teams must be present and ready to play thirty (30) minutes before the stated game starting time.

§5.5(2) – FIVE RUN LIMIT PER INNING [Added new language to end of Section] - EXCEPTION: Major-Plus Divisions for ages 50+ through 65+ (ONLY) are limited to nine (9) runs per inning, except for the final inning.

MERCY RULE FOR 50+ THRU 65+ MAJOR PLUS (ONLY) [Amends Rulebook §5.8 - Game Scores]-

Mercy Rule of 20 runs after four innings or 15 after five innings.

§8.4(2) – HOME RUN OVER THE FENCE - MAJOR PLUS (50+ to 65+) [Section title changed for 50+ to 65+ and amended]

In the Major-Plus Division for ages 50+ through 65+, a limit of twelve (12) home runs. Each home run over the limit is a walk and the base runners advance only if forced by the batter being awarded the walk. The “1-Up-Progressive Rule” shall be enforced after a team has reached the home run limit. A team may only hit a home run after the opposing team has hit the same number of home runs and must wait to hit more until the opposing team hits a home run. Additional home runs in excess of the 1-Up rule count as walks.

§8.4(2) A. – HOME RUN OVER THE FENCE - MAJOR PLUS (70+) [New Section for 70+]

In the 70+ Major-Plus Division, a limit of ten (10) home runs. Each home run over the limit is a walk and the base runners advance only if forced by the batter being awarded the walk. The “1-Up-Progressive Rule” shall be enforced after a team has reached the home run limit. A team may only hit a home run after the opposing team has hit the same number of home runs and must wait to hit more until the opposing team hits a home run. Additional home runs in excess of the 1-Up rule count as walks.

§8.4(3) – HOME RUN OVER THE FENCE - MAJOR [Section amended]

In the Major Division, a limit of seven (7) home runs. Each home run over the limit is a walk and the base runners advance only if forced by the batter being awarded the walk. The “1-Up-Progressive Rule” shall be enforced after a team has reached the home run limit. A team may only hit a home run after the opposing team has hit the same number of home runs and must wait to hit more until the opposing team hits a home run. Additional home runs in excess of the 1-Up rule count as walks.

§8.4(4) – HOME RUN OVER THE FENCE - AAA [Section amended]

In the AAA Division, a limit of three (3) home runs. Each home run over the limit is a walk and the base runners advance only if forced by the batter being awarded the walk. The “1-Up-Progressive Rule” shall be enforced after a team has reached the home run limit. A team may only hit a home run after the opposing team has hit the same number of home runs and must wait to hit more until the opposing team hits a home run. Additional home runs in excess of the 1-Up rule count as walks.

§8.4(6) – GAME WINNING HOME RUN [Added new language to end of Section] - A team may not win a game in the bottom of the last inning on a home run that would put them 1-up under the “1-Up-Progressive” Rule.

§12.1 – PLAYERS MUST PLAY IN REGIONS [New provisions added at the end of the EXCEPTION 1 paragraph] - Players who have been issued a “Snowbird ID Card” are not eligible to appear on the roster of Major Plus division teams aged 50+ through 65+. However, Major Plus teams (ONLY) in the 50+ through 65+ divisions may select two (2) players from East or West of the Mississippi River, depending on the home state of the team.

§15.1(1) DIVISIONS OF THE

SSWC - [Changes to multiple sub-sections, as follows]

MAJOR PLUS HOME RUNS

• §15.1(1) A. 2. Have a 9-run limit per inning, except for the final inning of the game in which each team may score unlimited runs. [Major Plus rule] 

ROSTER COMPOSITION RULES

• §15.1(1) B. 3. A ‘Major’ team roster shall not have more than three (3) players with a team affiliation rating history during the previous two tournament seasons greater than Major. [Major Rule]

• §15.1(1) C. 3. A ‘AAA’ team roster shall not have more than three (3) players with a team affiliation rating history during the previous two tournament seasons greater than AAA. [AAA Rule]

• §15.1(1) C. 3. A ‘AA’ roster shall not have more than three (3) players with a team affiliation rating history during the previous two tournament seasons greater than AA. [AA Rule]

The SSUSA Home Office may grant an exception to the absolute maximum number in the case of a team that will not, in their sole judgment, have an unfair competitive advantage solely by exceeding the maximum. Such teams may not have an average run differential in the SSUSA Ratings Scores Database that exceeds +2.5 runs per game.

Other Action:

Florida / California Border Closure Repealed

§15.1(2) TEAM REGIONS OF SSWC – The “Border Closure” Rule for California and that portion of Florida not including the “Panhandle” area was repealed. Florida and California teams may now draw players from touching states.

FORFEITS DURING BRACKET PLAY - Teams that purposely forfeit Elimination Bracket play to either play one less game than other teams and/or to select or avoid a particular opponent in a succeeding round will be awarded a double forfeit (effectively ending the tournament for the team).

POOL PLAY SYSTEM (PPS) - The Committee received a presentation from Rainer and Julie Martens regarding an alternative system for pool play and resultant bracket composition for tournament play. The system would, in effect, attempt to place teams in specific brackets following general pool play that may not necessarily be based on the current SSUSA Ratings for teams, and could, under their hypothesis, ultimately replace or significantly modify the current SSUSA Team Rating system.

The committee directed further study and possible implementation in a limited number of 2012 Qualifiers.
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