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Rules & Regulations

Section 1:  
City Park Regulations & League Government

1.1 - Office Hours & Phone Numbers

The Adult Softball office is located inside the Civic Ice Arena, at City Park of Garden City. We are open Monday - Friday from 12:00 to 8:00pm. To speak with someone from our office, please call (734) 793-1882. To speak directly to the Softball League Director, please call 734-793-1886. Field Conditions will be updated on league days, if weather conditions are not favorable, at 4:00pm (M-F), and 12pm on Sunday.

1.2 - Smoking & Drinking of Alcoholic Beverages

Smoking by managers, coaches and players alike during the progress of a game is absolutely prohibited on the playing field or players benches. The drinking of alcoholic beverages by managers, coaches, players and spectators alike is absolutely prohibited at City Park.  Players, coaches and spectators may not have alcohol at or near the playing field at Garden City Park. Anyone under the age of 21 caught in the act of drinking alcoholic beverages will be indefinitely suspended from the game, and may be subject to further action. Please cooperate with umpires and league personnel if they ask you comply with this rule. Anyone considered intoxicated will not be allowed to compete in the game.

1.3 - Pets

Pets are allowed on the premises, but NOT ALLOWED on the playing field or dugouts. All animals MUST BE on a leash.

1.4 - League Government

This program shall be governed by the City of Garden City Department of Parks and Recreation. Only amateur teams, by filling out an application with the coordinator of the leagues, may become a member of the league. The Official Rules of Slow Pitch Softball, as stated in this manual, along with the U.S.S.S.A. Rule Book, shall govern all league games. All teams and umpires will be registered with the Michigan United States Specialty Sports Association (MIUSSSA). The Garden City Parks and Recreation department may revise, amend, or interpret these rules and regulations whenever necessary, and may rule upon any new or unclear situation.

Section 2:
General League Rules & Regulations

2.1 - Manager's Responsibility

Managers are the primary link between their players and the Garden City Parks & Recreation League Manager.  It is the manager’s responsibility to attend the managers meetings and to obtain and read all information and rules regarding league play and to make this information available to his/her players. Manager’s must inform our office of changes in his/her address or telephone number. Managers must insure that all players read and sign the team roster before playing and ascertain the eligibility of each player signing the roster. Managers as well as players are responsible for their behavior while at City Park. This includes behavior on and off the field, and parking lot. Managers and players, please be aware, if your behavior is deemed unsafe, dangerous or unsportsmanlike, it will affect your playing eligibility. We feel that we have a responsibility to other players as well as non-playing visitors to provide a safe and enjoyable atmosphere and hope you as valued patrons can help us in this effort.

2.2 - Player Conduct

Players are responsible for their behavior while at City Park. Please be highly aware of this at City Park where youth athletes are present in the same vicinity. This includes behavior on and off the field, and in the parking lot. There will be zero tolerance policy towards players who use inappropriate language, verbal abuse and any conduct that is deemed to be unsportsmanlike. Also, CELL PHONES ARE NOT ALLOWED on the ball field while the game is being played. Players will be warned for the first offense. Repeat offenders will be ejected from the game.

2.3 - Tournament Player Roster Eligibility (Amended 12/18/18)

Men's Super D: 
Teams may have 2 (B) players and 3 (C) tourney players, SUBJECT TO APPROVAL by the League Commissioner. Teams may have unlimited D & E tournament players. No Major or A players are allowed.

Men’s D: 
Teams may have two (C) tourney players, SUBJECT TO APPROVAL by the League Commissioner. No more than five (5) D Tournament Players allowed. No restrictions on E Tournament Players. No Major, A or B players allowed.           

Men’s E: 
Teams may have  1 (D) player, which REQUIRES APPROVAL by the League Commissioner before they can play. Teams may also have up to three (E) tourney players. No Major, A, B or C Tournament Players allowed.
Coed D:  
Teams may have 2 (D) & four (E) tourney players, SUBJECT TO APROVAL by the League Commissioner. No Major, A, B or C Tournament Players allowed.

Coed E:
Teams may have 1 (D) tourney player, and 2 (E) tourney players, SUBJECT TO APPROVAL by the League Commissioner. No Major, A, B or C Tournament Players allowed.

A USSSA Tournament Player refers to a player’s classification as defined by the Michigan USSSA State Director, taking in to consideration the player’s tournament history over the past 3 years. If you have any doubt about your team’s eligibility to play in Garden City, you may request that the League Commissioner verify a player’s status with the Michigan USSSA State Office.  Garden City umpires and softball staff have full authorization to request photo id to verify the identity of any player. If at any time during a game, a player’s “tournament-player-status” comes in to question, the questioned player MUST COMPLY by showing a photo ID. Any tournament-player-eligibility protest must be brought to the attention of the Umpire and/or Field Supervisor immediately. At notification of the protest, the umpire/Field Supervisor will collect $20 from the protesting team for each player in question. Once photo id is verified for the player(s) being protested, and the protest has been completed, the game will continue. All protested player information and monies collected will be turned in to the League Commissioner, and verified with the Michigan USSSA State Office within 48-72 hours. If the protest is upheld, the protesting team will receive an automatic 7-0 forfeit victory. If the protest is overturned, the outcome of the game will stand.

2.4 - Rosters (Amended 1/14/2020)

Rosters throughout the season will now be managed online at Teams will be allowed to add/drop players through game 4. Starting at Game 5 and until playoffs, teams will be allowed to make up to 2 roster changes through the MAIN OFFICE ONLY. The roster consists of a maximum of 20 active players who have completed the eligibility and release form. Teams will not be permitted to play until a valid roster is complete and are subject to forfeiting games. Any players added must have information and signature filed in the office before participating in a game. NO additions can be made once playoff games have begun. League Staff and Umpires will be checking ID's on playoff nights. A separate team roster must be on file for every league even if the same team plays a different night. Any protest made against a team without a roster on file at the office will result in the protest being upheld. A player removed from a roster may sign with another team, providing it is within the above time limit. Players can only play on one team per league / per night.

2.5 - League & Umpire Payments

Full payment must accompany your registration form in order to ensure a scheduled spot. Garden City Parks & Recreation accepts cash or check as payment for league and/or umpire fees. Credit card payments are accepted with an added processing fee. Please make all checks payable to “Garden City Parks & Recreation.” Please include on all checks your phone number, current address, and drivers license number. If the bank returns any team checks, your team manager is responsible to repay balance and bank service fees before your next scheduled game with cash or a cashier’s check. You are responsible to cover any checks provided to us by a sponsor.

2.6 - Injuries & Continued Participation

Player, substitute, manager, team member or umpire who is bleeding or who has an open wound shall be prohibited from participating further in the game until the bleeding is stopped and the wound is covered. If treatment can be administered in a reasonable amount of time the individual would not have to leave the game. The length of time that is considered reasonable is umpire judgment. If excessive time is involved, the re-entry rule would apply to players. If there is an excessive amount of blood on the uniform or if a bandage becomes blood soaked, in the judgment of the umpire, the uniform/bandage must be changed before the individual may participate. If a player leaves a game due to injury, no out will be declared.

2.7 - Scoring

The official game score will be kept by both teams playing, and verified each half inning by the umpire. It is both managers’ obligation to confirm with the umpire that the score is correct before each half inning starts and that the final score is also correct. Incorrect or unreadable score sheets result in incorrect standings! Be sure the final score is written clearly at the bottom of the score sheet and that the correct scores are listed under the correct teams! Teams are highly recommended to verify the game score after each completed inning for accuracy, and to not wait until the game has concluded! Team Lineups are due before the 1st pitch of a game, no exceptions

2.8 - Standings

All league standings will be posted online at Teams are awarded points throughout the season. All wins are 2 points, ties 1 point and losses are 0 points. All game scores will be recorded and a team will receive a [7-0] win as a result of a forfeit or team default. Final league standings will be based on total points and head-to-head results. If two 1st-place teams split their head-to-head matchup, additional tie-breakers will be used to determine a league champion at the discretion of the League Commissioner. In the event that more than two teams are tied for 1st place, the winner will be based on overall wins between the teams involved, runs-scored, and runs-given-up (in this order). The Garden City Parks and Recreation department may revise or amend these rules as necessary for the betterment of determining a league champion.

2.9 - Insurance

Players, managers, coaches and spectators may not be protected by their own private medical or liability insurance while on Garden City property. Therefore all participants and spectators are encouraged to purchase insurance independently or through the USSSA team insurance plan. 

2.10 - Official Team Roster & Team Contract

To participate in league play with Garden City Parks & Recreation, all players, managers and coaches must agree to the following team contract which also appears on the official roster. In addition, any injured player who remains in a game despite being injured assumes all liability for any additional injury or damage that may result. The following release appears on the Garden City Parks & Recreation Official Team Roster, Players Contract and Release of Liability Waiver Form and agreement of such is a condition of signing the Garden City Parks & Recreation Official Team Roster, Players Contract and Release of Liability Waiver Form for participation with Garden City Parks & Recreation.

I do hereby acknowledge, agree and understand that:

  • I am 18 years or older and voluntarily and of my own free will elect to participate as a member of the softball team and league as indicated with Garden City Parks & Recreation. 
  • Playing softball is hazardous and may result in injury.
  • Sliding is dangerous to me and other players. I will slide at my own risk.
  • Other aspects of softball are dangerous and may result in injury. I will observe all fences, barriers and obstructions prior to the game. Garden City Parks & Recreation encourages the wearing of helmets while playing.
  • Metal spikes are prohibited.
  • I will not fake tag players. I will not crash into other players. I will not throw my bat and/or equipment or conduct myself in a hazardous manner.

Further in consideration for the right to play softball in the City of Garden City, I agree by signing the Garden City Parks & Recreation Official Team Roster, Players Contract and Release of Liability Waiver:

  • I assume all risks of injury incurred while on the premises of the City of Garden City.
  • I hereby release, hold harmless and agree not to sue the City of Garden City, its officers, all parties involved, servants, associations, employees, USSSA, advertisers or sponsors for any claims, loss, damage or injury sustained while on the premises of Garden City Park, whether caused by its negligence or otherwise.
  • I am aware and understand that copies of the Garden City Parks & Rec rules and regulations were furnished to each team’s manager at the start of the season and that copies are available in the main office. I also understand and agree that it is my responsibility to read, understand and abide by these rules.

Section 3:
Schedules, Make-Ups, Forfeits & Rainouts

3.1 - Scheduling

Schedules will be posted online two (2) days before league-play begins. It is the manager’s responsibility to inform all players regarding game dates and times. League schedules may include single and doubleheader games. Due to the demand for diamond space and to be fair to all teams, we cannot guarantee any special requests as to playing times. Schedules are subject to change as deemed necessary by the League Coordinator and Parks & Recreation office staff. 

3.2 - Make-Up Games

If league games have to be re-scheduled due to a rainout, or any other circumstance, new schedules will be posted online for managers to download. Due to the heavy demand for diamond space, make up games may be rescheduled on any day of the week. It is the manager’s responsibility to inform his/her players of make-up games. Also please have your players check with the Umpire before game time for important information regarding make-ups, diamond changes, etc. If a team drops from your league early in the season, Parks & Recreation will make every attempt to reschedule the rest of the season’s games involving the dropped opponent, but no guarantees can be promised that another team will fill the vacancy.

3.3 - Forfeits

After a team forfeits their 2nd game they will be removed from the league for that season unless they pay an additional $35.00 within 48 hours of their 2nd forfeit. Paying this $35.00 is the only way a team will be able to stay in the league. The $35.00 fee must be paid at the main office prior to your next scheduled game, or your team will not be allowed to play.

3.4 - Rainouts/Field Conditions

Any information regarding rainouts, delays, etc. will be put on the Garden City Parks & Recreation Weather Line at 734-793-1890. Please do not call the business office for field conditions.

Section 4:
Playing Rules

4.1 - Official Game

The USSSA 3-2 COUNT RULING will be in effect. A batter will be allowed 3 balls and 2 strikes versus 4 balls and 3 strikes used in the past. A regulation game is 7 innings. League games, in the event of inclement weather, are official after 3 ½ completed innings if the home team is ahead at the time. If the team at bat is losing and ties at the time of the cancellation, and the game is later than the third inning, the game will revert back to the last complete inning. NOTE MANAGERS: There is a difference between a "DELAY" and a "CANCELLATION." It is your responsibility to know which decision has been made by the Umpire and/or Scorekeeper; ASK! In the event of a DELAY, please keep your players together and be ready to resume play at a moments notice. If games are delayed, restart information will be announced at the field of play. We ask that ONLY MANAGERS communicate with the umpire/scorekeeper requesting information about GAME DELAYS. It should be NOTED that Umpires do not cancel games, only the Field Supervisor and League Coordinator cancel games.  PLAYERS should not be sent home by their managers unless the games are officially canceled.

4.2 - Game Time & Starting Lineups

Game time is forfeit time. Team managers may choose to give the opponent a maximum of 10 minutes to field a team. When this game starts it will be official and time waived will be deducted from the 1 hour and 10 minute time limit rule. EXCEPTION- If the ENTIRE team is completing a game on another field, the umpire may delay the game. This rule is applicable to the first game time only on a league day.

Men’s teams must start with a minimum of seven (7) players at GAME TIME. Coed must start with a minimum of eight (8) players at game time. Men’s teams may add an 8th, 9th or 10th (no A.H.) player at any time to the bottom of the line-up when play is dead. If a team loses a player(s) for as a result of a player ejection, and cannot fill his/her spot, that spot becomes an automatic out. The spot may be refilled at any time. EXCEPTION: When an umpire deems that a player may not continue due to application of the CONTINUED PARTICIPATION RULE (i.e. injury-see 2.5), the spot will be passed without penalty.

4.3 - Time Limit

No new inning shall be started after one hour and ten minutes from the start of the game. The inning must be completed unless both teams agree to terminate the game at any time. MANAGERS- it is not mandatory for an umpire to notify teams as to the amount of time remaining to play in a game; therefore please take initiative to ask the umpire for the remaining time.

When 2 teams are playing a double-header, if the first game of the DH ends in a mercy, the next game will start no later than 15 minutes after the final out was recorded from the 1st game.

4.4 - Mercy Rule

A 20-run mercy rule will be in effect after 3 ½ innings for all league games. A 12-run mercy rule will be in effect after 4 ½ innings. A 10-run mercy rule will be in effect after 5 ½ innings. Umpires may elect to institute the flip-flop rule to give teams a chance to avoid a mercy. This may only be instituted by the game umpire. When instituted, teams must comply with the ruling. When 2 teams are playing a double-header, if the first game of the DH ends in a mercy, the next game will start no later than 15 minutes after the final out was recorded from the 1st game.

4.5 - Pitching

The USSSA recommended pitching distance is 50’ from the middle of the pitching rubber to the back end of the plate. The pitcher may pitch from the Pitching Rubber, or from the Pitching Area, an area the width of the Rubber and up to six (6) feet behind the Pitcher’s Plate. Pitching arc is 3-10 feet. The ball must be pitched underhanded at a slow speed with a minimum arc of three (3) feet before it crosses any part of Home Plate. The pitched ball may not rise any higher than ten (10) feet above the ground. The speed and the height of the ball are left entirely to the judgment of the umpire. The umpire shall warn a pitcher who delivers a pitch with EXCESSIVE SPEED. Repeating such an offense will cause the pitchers removal from the PITCHING POSITION for the remainder of the game. A pitch that does not arch the full three feet, as required, may not be an excessive speed pitch! The pitched ball must be released within five seconds from the time the pitcher has the ball and the batter has taken their position in the batters box. Once the pitcher begins the delivery motion, the batter may not request time out.

4.6 - Home Run Limits

Men’s Super D: 4
Men’s D: 3
Men's E: 2
Coed D: 3  
Coed E: 2

NOTE: Any home runs over your class limit will result in a dead-ball out with no runners advancing. This applies to untouched (by a player) over the fence home runs ONLY. Teams are responsible for retrieving their own home run balls hit over the fence and returning them to the umpire before the end of the inning!

4.7 - Foul Ball Rule

The following rule will ONLY APPLY to Coed E leagues in Garden City. 
The foul ball rule is as follows: The batter is out if the batter hits two foul balls after one strike. If the second foul ball after one strike is caught, base runners may NOT advance.

4.8 - Additional Hitter

This rule is optional! A team may insert ADDITIONAL HITTERS (One or Two) into the line-up before the start of the game. The batting order must remain constant; however any 10 of the 11 or 12 players may take a defensive position throughout the game. Failure to declare an A.H. prior to the start of a game eliminates the use of the A.H. for that game. The A.H. is part of the re-entry rule and may re-enter once.

4.9 - Player Re-Entry & Substitution Rule

Any of the STARTING players (A.H. included) may withdraw and re-enter once, provided such player occupies the same batting position whenever he/she is in the game. A substitute who has withdrawn may not re-enter! All re-entries by any starter should be reported to the umpire.

4.10 - Courtesy Runner

This rule is easily misunderstood, so please read carefully and ask your umpire before your game for the definition of the rule. If a manager requests a courtesy runner, the opposing manager has the option to grant or DENY IT on each occasion. If granted, the person who made the last out will be the runner. In Co-Ed, the runner must be of the same sex. PLEASE REMEMBER, that this is a COURTESY GRANTED by the OPPOSING TEAM.  This is a courtesy rule teams’ are expected to not abuse!

Section 5:
Protest, Eligibility, and Ejections

5.1 - Protest

Umpire judgment calls are not subject to protest! Umpire will discuss disputes on the field with the affected player or manager only. Players are not to question an umpire’s call or ruling. Only when there is a difference of opinion between the protesting team and the umpire regarding the application or interpretation of a specific playing rule, may a protest be lodged. The protest must be made to the umpire BEFORE the next pitch or the protest is invalid. In the event of a protest, the game shall be halted to note all of the specifics (team offended, situation, exact rule protested and any other important information.) After all notations are made, the game shall continue. At completion of the game, the umpire will sign the score sheet to validate the protest. Upon posting the Field Supervisor will consult with the League Coordinator and/or Umpire-In-Chief, review the protest and make a decision. If the protest is upheld, a date will be selected by the office to continue that game from the POINT of PROTEST.

5.2 - Player Eligibility Protest

NO PROTEST WILL BE ACCEPTED AFTER THE 3rd INNING OF A GAME (League or Playoff Game), unless a new player enters the game in the 4th inning and beyond. Any player eligibility protest must be brought to the attention of the Umpire immediately. At notification of a player eligibility protest, the umpire will check with the Field Supervisor and the team roster to confirm player eligibility. It is the protested manager and player’s responsibility to meet with the Field Supervisor immediately with the score sheet. The protesting team must post a $20 protest fee for each player being protested. IF A PROTESTED PLAYER FAILS TO COMPLY, HIS/HER TEAM WILL BE CHARGED WITH A FORFEIT! Players are responsible for having either PROPER PICTURE IDENTIFICATION (Drivers License, etc.) in their possession while playing at City Park, or able to verify all personal information via the official team roster they’re playing on. All Players MUST have their first and last names listed on the team roster.

5.3 - Ejections

Fake tags, bat throwing, crashing, unsportsmanlike conduct (on or off the field), use of vulgar language, and alcohol in the dugout or cigarettes/chewing tobacco on the field of play, may result in ejection from the game. If ejected from the game, that player may be suspended from future games. The Umpire-in-Chief and Parks & Rec staff will determine all player and/or team penalties. Note: There will NOT be a mandatory warning given to the team before each game. Managers, this is your warning! Managers are responsible for the conduct of their players and fans, and are subject to suspension for failure to maintain these responsibilities.

If you are ejected for touching or striking an umpire you will be suspended for a minimum of the entire year. If you are ejected for striking or fighting with another player, you will be suspended for a minimum of the two games following the ejection with the assurance that other actions will be taken through the Garden City Police Department as deemed necessary. If teams are ejected from the complex for any reason, they will not be eligible for a refund! The circumstances of their ejection will be reported to the USSSA Michigan & National offices. When a player is ejected from a game, they are ejected for both games on that league night (INCLUDING ALL OF SUNDAY). Players will be asked to leave the ball field, dugout, and immediate surrounding area, including but not limited to the parking lot, spectator viewing areas and bleachers. Failure to comply will result in Garden City Police being called to the site. Once the ejection is reviewed by the League Coordinator, further action may occur depending on the severity of the incident.

Section 6:
Coed Rules

6.1 - Coed Rules

Batting Order:
Co-Ed teams may have any combination of male and female players listed on their roster.  Teams must start with a minimum of (8) eight players. Teams may start with 9 or 11 players (odd player can be female or male), but the 10th or 12th spot will be an automatic out. If team starts with less than 10 players, they may add players, up to 10, throughout the game. Teams are NOT ALLOWED to play 6 males and 4 females.  Male and female players must alternate in the batting order. There are no distance restrictions to the fielding positions of any players. Also there are no restrictions as to the rotation of fielders.

When a player has to leave a game due to injury, a second player (opposite-sex) must also leave the game to keep the lineup balanced with the same number of guys and girls.       

A USSSA licensed 12" softball with a .44 core will be used for both male and female batters.

Base on Balls:
When a male batter receives a base on balls or intentional walk, he will be awarded first and second base with the next female batter in the line-up having the option to walk or bat.

There must be a minimum of 3 outfielders in the grass at the time of a pitch

No defensive fielding switches during an inning unless due to an injury or a pitching change.

Other Co-Ed Rules:
All playing rules not specifically covered in the above rules shall be governed by Garden City Parks & Recreation Rules and Regulations and USSSA rules.

Section 7:

Bats, Warm-up Bats, Shoes & Gloves

Umpires have 100% discretion to confiscate a bat from any player, team or dugout they deem suspicious of being illegal. If a player DOES NOT COMPLY with the umpires decision to confiscate the bat, the player will be suspended an automatic 2-years from all USSSA-related league and tournament play. All bats will be turned over to the League Commissioner and tested for compliance. Legal bats will be returned to players within 48-72 hours. All bats are subject to be turned in to the state office, and up to the discretion of the Michigan USSSA State Director and Garden City League Commissioner.

USSSA-stamped bats are required for ALL MENS LEAGUES (E, D, Super D) as well as the Coed D league. Non-stamped USSSA bats are allowed in Coed E (lower), with exception of the following: Miken Freak, Miken Maniac, Miken Psycho, Easton Synergy, Worth GTL and Worth Mayhem.  

Warm-up Bats: 
No donuts, lead bars or fins are allowed.  Warm-up with bats are only allowed in the on deck area. No swinging of bats allowed outside of the playing area.

No Metal spikes are allowed!  Shoes must be worn by everyone on the playing field and dugout. Open-toed shoes are not allowed on the playing field at any time. Players will be warned once and asked to change their shoes if not in compliance. Repeat occurrences will result in game ejection.                

All players must wear a glove. Catchers and first basemen may wear a first basemen’s glove.

7.2 - Uniforms

Shirts must be worn by all players! Teams are encouraged to wear jerseys, however it is not mandatory.

7.3 - Game Ball

Each game is given two new balls before the start of the game.

7.4 - Bat Compression Testing

The Parks and Recreation main office will be the sole location for all testing for compression testing of a bat. Players may have a bat tested any time during regular hours of operation. A record of the compression test will be kept on file in the main office. A copy of the test results will be given to the player as well.

Section 8:
Playoffs & Awards

8.1 - Playoffs

All teams are eligible to complete in the playoffs, and usually take place over 1 night (exception, 10 team leagues).  Brackets will be formed after the last league night (once final standings are known), and mailed to all team managers. All playoffs are single-elimination. All league rules are in effect during playoff games, with exception of “time limit” during championship games only. No playoff championship games will end in a tie.

8.2 - League Awards

  • Sponsor Trophies - 1st place.
  • Individual Awards - 1st place.
  • Additional awards may be purchased by placing an order in the Parks & Recreation office.

8.3 - Playoff Awards

Playoff Champions receive 12 individual awards per team and a sponsor trophy.