Kitchener-Waterloo Masters

 Slo-pitch League




Ask the Umpire

League Rules

Illegal Bat Rule

Rainout Policy

Bloomingdale Park Agreement
BRG Park Agreement Page 1
BRG Park Agreement Page 2

Slo-pitch Ontario

Umpire's Corner
Questions and Answers about the rules with Paul Del Net of the Bandits
The order of precedence for the rules we use are:
 - Special league rules that supersede those of SPO.
 - If not modified by our bylaws the SPO Handbook should be used.

The SPO handbook can be found at:
(It says 2012 but its valid)

Many rules are not specifically listed in the SPO hand book but can be found in the Softball  Canada rule book.

Pitching Screen

There was a dicussion at the spring captains meeting about the location of the pitching screen. I was asked to give a diagram that describes what we agreed on.


Below are the dimensions of the playing field that we use. There is more information here than we talked about but still worth noting.


The home plate area consists of, home plate, the wood board and the batters boxes. Although we don’t mark batters boxes the general dimesions are still good to know.


Although the official dimensions in slo-pitch have the start of the pitching zone 50’ from point 1 of home plate, the diamonds we play on have a mound in the ground. So we use this as the start of the pitching zone.


The pitching zone is a rectangle that is 2 feet wide and 10 feet long. The picture below shows a pitching screen that is set up for a left handed pitcher.


The object of this is to ensure the screen is used only as protection for the pitcher and not offer any addition defensive coverage. The screen may not have its right edge past (any further to the left) of an imaginary line drawn from point 1 of home plate to the centre of second base, the same rules apply for a right handed pitcher with the screen on the other side.


Based on the rules for pitching the pitcher must have 1 foot ( the plant foot) inside the pitching zone at the time of release of the ball.

The screen is also no more than 12” in front of the mound.



Click on either diagram to see a larger version.



Tags at Home Plate  & Runner Touching Home Plate

I have been asked by a player about whether a runner may be tagged between the commitment line and home plate.
The answer is yes, I have been in touch with SPO to find where this is printed in the rules but it is not specifically described in that way.
Here is the response from SPO:
Yes you can tag between the lines, it is not stated in the handbook. It is the same as tagging between the bases that is not stated in the handbook either. Tagging is allowed anywhere.

This also brings up a question not asked but can happen as a result of the ability of a defensive player at home plate attempting to catch a thrown ball that is off line to make an attempt to tag the runner coming home.
As a general rule if you touch home you are out. The purpose of this rule is to protect all players from injury caused by collision. There is however an instance where a runner is allowed to touch home plate - if it is to avoid a collision. This should not be confused with an attempt to avoid a tag. The line the runner describes when running home is the line he must maintain.
If a play is close and a collision is imminent the runner may change their line and touch home only in an attempt to prevent a collision.

Award of bases on overthrow.
The common misconception with this rule is the old rule of “one plus one,” a rule that was changed long ago. The correct ruling is that when a thrown ball goes out of play (beyond the established boundary lines of the playing field)
all runners, including the batter-runner shall be awarded two bases from the last base legally touched based on their position at the time that the thrown ball left the fielder’s hand
if there are two runners between the same bases, the award is based on the position of the lead runner.

Keys to remember with this rule:

  • the award is based on their position at the time the throw was made, not at the time that the ball went out of play - watch for that very long overthrow from the outfield

  • the award is two bases from the last base legally touched - if a runner is returning to first base to tag up on a fly ball, they will still be awarded two bases which is second base and third base as the last base that they had legally touched was first base

  • The proper mechanics for this situation are to call “Dead Ball” as soon as the ball goes out of play then award the bases accordingly. Your award should be swift and decisive.

  • With multiple runners or a long overthrow, if you have any doubt consult with your fellow Umpire(s) immediately before the award and get it right the first time.


Updated home run league rule (to conform more closely with SPO):

home run "trot": SPO rules allow for not having to run the bases if a ball is hit over the outfield fence for a home run. In our league, the choice should be the batter’s: if someone hits a home run and it is not a regular occurrence, they should be able to run the bases (and enjoy it!). Conversely, if you don’t want to, SPO rules say the batter and any runners do not need to run the bases but go directly to their team area. 

Clarifying Home Runs vs 4 Base Errors:

SPO states that if a batted ball would have cleared the fence without being touched it is counted as an “over the fence home run” and counts towards the +/- tally of the team that hit it.

If in the discretion of the umpire the ball would have cleared the fence the “touch” does not factor in the ruling and would not be considered a 4 base error even if the fielder made an error trying to catch it.

There has also been some discusion about the “touched or untouched” part of the sentence. In fact this section of the rule has changed (in SPO) a couple of times in the past few years. As an example, this did come up in a Bandits / Panthers game this season. The Panthers pitcher thought it was a four base error (we hit it) -  I corrected the call and in fact caused us to have it count as a walk (we were already at +2) not a 3 run - four base error.


Playing Field

Some notes on the slo-pitch playing field:

  • Bases are 70 feet apart (all divisions). Doesn’t apply to our league, actual diamond dimensions used will not allow this.

  • Pitching distance is 50 - 60 feet.

  • Pitching Box is 2 feet wide by 10 feet long. Its front edge shall be in a line between home plate and second base and 50 feet from the back corner of home plate.

  • Batter’s box is 7 feet by 3 feet.

  • Double base shall be used at first base.

  • Coaches' Box is 15 feet by 5 feet and 12 feet back from the foul line.

  • Strike Mat / Home Plate:  A 2 feet by 3 feet mat.



League Rules 

Slo-Pitch Ontario rules apply. (open link, then select About Us from the top menu, and SPO Handbook)


Plus the following amendments (Bold sections are new for 2017):

all players must be 40 years of age as of December 31, 2017 to be eligible to play in our league (players between the ages of 35-39 are eligible if they were on a team roster in a season prior to 2013 or if they are the son of an existing player). Any other new players under the age of 40 must have approval from the league in order to play.

all players must be registered with the league and league fees must be paid in full to be eligible to play.  Team rosters may be made up of full time and pool only players, with a minimum of 14 full time players and a maximum at the discretion of each team and the league.

the maximum number of players from other teams or the general pool will be 4 per game.  No substitute will be used to bring the lineup to more than 12 players.  Pool players who are part time players one the team in question are not considered substitutes.

if a team has less  than  nine  players, they will have a 10 minute grace period, and then will have to forfeit the game. All players present will be divided into two teams and play a game for fun only. If the fielding team only has 9 players, the batting team WILL supply a catcher, and the catcher WILL attempt to make all required defensive plays.

all players at the game will bat.

a lead off will be called if a runner leaves a base before contact is made with the ball and that runner will be called out. Clarification: No anticipation step is allowed.

any foul tip caught by the catcher is an out.

a batted ball striking the plate and rolling fair is considered in play.

sliding or diving will be permitted at second and third base. Sliding is not permitted at first base or home.  A runner who slides into first or home will be called out. Diving is allowed back to the bag at 1st, 2nd or 3rd base.  If any player uses a slide for aggressive purposes, he will be called out and referred to the disciplinary committee.

a bunt is an automatic out.

a legal pitch has to be a minimum height of 6 feet and a maximum of 12 feet (usual height of backstop).

courtesy runners are allowed at any base for injured players.  The courtesy runner is the last out available. No player may act as a courtesy runner more than once per inning.

courtesy runners from home plate must be fully behind the courtesy runner line (one bat length behind the extension of the 3rd base line at the backstop). If the trailing foot leaves the ground or moves beyond the courtesy runner line without contact from the batter, the runner is out for a leadoff. There is NO requirement for the runner to hold the fence with their hand.

there will be no maximum number of home runs, with the following exception: a team may have no more than 2 home runs more than the opposing team at any time.  Any additional home runs after +2 will be considered a walk.

to avoid lopsided scores, a maximum of  5 runs may be scored by any team in each of the first eight innings at which time the half inning is over regardless of the number of outs.

Catch-up Rule: If a team is trailing by 6 or more runs in any inning, they can continue to bat and score runs (beyond the normal 5 run limit) until they either catch up so the score is tied or they get 3 outs. This can be done any time either team is down 6 or more runs.

the mercy rule: the game will be called any time after 7 complete innings of play are complete and one team leads the other team by 20 or more runs. If the home team is behind by 20 or more runs, they will get their last at bat.

Flip flop rule (updated 6/9/2017): if either team is behind by 8 or more runs after their at bat in the 8th inning, the flip-flop rule will be invoked if both teams agree, and the team that is behind will bat again.  If the team that was behind ties the score or goes ahead, the other team will have their last at bat (if they are the visitors) OR at bats (possibly 2, if they are the home team).

no abusive language or alcoholic beverages are allowed.

 pool players will bat at the bottom of the batting order in all games.

 there will be no infield warm up balls allowed after the first inning.

Ground Rules:

Pitching Screens (optional):  There will be a pitching screen available at each diamond for use to protect the pitcher, at their discretion. If used, these rules will be observed:

  • screen must be used for entire 1/2 inning.
  • A batted ball striking the screen is a strike, and the ball is dead.
  • pitcher may still field a batted ball.
  • any throws striking the screen are live.

At Bloomingdale, bases are to be set up by the home team of the 6:30 game.  They will also set up the pitching screen and place it where it is available for each team.  Home team from the 8:15 game will put the bases and pitching screen away.

At BRG, bases will be set up and put away for us.  Home team of 6:30 game is responsible for retrieving the pitching screen from inside the club and setting up for use, and the home team of the 8:15 game is responsible for putting it away.

BRG is a licensed facility.  As such, all alcohol consumed on club property must be purchased from the BRG.

the extended line from the backstop screen determines the out of bounds.

all efforts should be made to complete 6:30 games, even if 8:15 games are delayed by a few minutes.  For late games, be prepared to begin at 8:15 since most early games are over before that; but, understand that late games sometimes may not start until close to 8:30. (changed 5/29/2017 to match agreed to league policy).

a game will be nine innings, unless the captains agree on less innings before or during the game.

the team at bat must supply an umpire whose decision is final.

Bridgeport Rod and Gun Club only - If the ball strikes the light standards in the field at the BRG club in the air or on the ground, the ball is considered still in play.


Tie Breakers:

1. in the case of a 2-way tie , the head to head games in that round of the playoffs will be used to decide the winner. If there is still a tie, then the team with the overall season head to head game advantage would advance, and if there is still a tie then the overall season standings will be used to break the tie.

2. In the case of a 3 or more-way tie, the overall season standings will be used to break the tie.

Home team for A, B, and C finals/consolation games will be the higher placing team in the playoff round robin.


Clarification of SPO rules for KW Masters Slo-pitch League:

home plate line: SPO states that any part of the foot must touch or go over the line extended from home plate towards the fence before the ball is caught by the catcher touching home plate (mat).  Since 2014, this is our rule as well.

overthrow rule (as per SPO) the runner is awarded two bases beyond the last one touched from the time of the throw, from the outfield or the infield (not from when the ball goes out of play).

infield fly: While this rule remains the same (SPO rule – runners on 1st and 2nd or bases loaded with less than 2 out and the batter hits a fly ball that is reasonably catchable by an infielder), team captains can invoke the infield fly rule after the fact, if in agreement that it should have been called. In this case, the batter will be out, and the runners will return to their original bases. Infield fly should only be called in this method if it is an obvious oversight and both teams are in agreement. If the umpire did invoke the infield fly rule, that is not reviewable and cannot be overturned.

intentional walks: are allowed, and to keep unnecessary delays out of our game, no pitches are required to a batter – just an indication that the batter should advance to 1st base, as per the SPO rule. Remember, this is a sensitive issue for some, and keep sportsmanship in mind when you decide to issue an intentional walk.

home run "trot": SPO rules allow for not having to run the bases if a ball is hit over the outfield fence for a home run. In our league, the choice should be the batter’s: if someone hits a home run and it is not a regular occurrence, they should be able to run the bases (and enjoy it!). Conversely, if you don’t want to, SPO rules say the batter and any runners do not need to run the bases but go directly to their team area. 

batters box: the SPO batters box is defined as 3 feet wide by 7 feet deep.  As long as the player stays within this box, they may move around as desired before/during the swing.  All players are encouraged to keep player safety in mind if they intend to "step into" a pitch by moving forward to the front of the box during a swing.  Before each game, captains will draw the front of the batters boxes, with spray paint if available.


Physical altercations both on the field or in the park area will not be tolerated. The team captains are to notify the league Commissioner as soon as possible of any incident and the player or players involved will be suspended indefinitely until the Disciplinary Committee can meet and review the matter.

 Abusive behavior towards an umpire, official or opponent will not be tolerated.

Please remember this league was started so all players could get some exercise and have some fun and enjoyment. 


  Illegal Bats 

All composite bats must have either a KWMSPL sticker from 2015 or the USSSA thumbprint from the manufacturer to be legal. Alloy bats must be in good condition (no dents, etc) to be legal.  There are no plans for league wide bat testing for 2017.

An illegal bat shall be defined as a bat NOT having a valid 2015 KW Masters bat sticker AND no USSSA thumbprint . If a player is found using a bat that is illegal, the following will occur:

A. At the point of discovery, the owner of the bat is ejected for the balance of the game in progress and the bat is removed from play.  

B. If there is no ownership taken by a player for the illegal bat then the captain will be held accountable.

C. An automatic 2 game suspension will be served by said player or the accountable captain over and above the game in which the bat was discovered.

D. The current game will continue until conclusion.

E. A further review of the incident will be conducted by the disciplinary committee and league executive and additional discipline may be pending.

F. Any subsequent incidents will result in a further review by the disciplinary committee and league executive to determine additional discipline.


Use of illegal bats can void our insurance.  Please play responsibly!


Rain-out Policy

         The league rain-out policy is slightly different this year. As before, Rained out games will not be rescheduled. We will continue to use the percentage format for the final standing

  • Bloomingdale:

    1.     When KWMSPL is not able to utilize the fields due to inclement weather, KWMSPL must notify the Facility Booking Agent before or by the next working day, of the unused field time.

    2.     When the Township/Rec Association does not intend to prepare the fields due to inclement weather, tKWMSPL will be notified within 3 hours prior to the booking start time that the fields are unplayable.

  • BRG:

    1. In the event that BRG Club cannot prep the fields due to inclement weather, KWMSPL will be notified within 3 hours prior to game time that the diamond is closed.

    2. Teams may decide that the diamond is unplayable due to heavy rain, standing water on the field, snow, or lightning.

  • If not notified that the diamonds are closed, assume the game is on!  Please show up - teams must decide on whether diamonds are playable at the park, unless the park has closed the diamonds.


If a game is started, and must be called due to rain or field conditions (added 06/02/2017):

  • A game will be considered a complete game if 4 ˝ innings are completed and the home team is ahead.

  • If 5 innings are completed, the team with the highest score will be declared the winner or if the teams are tied, the game will end in a tie.

  • In the event more than 5 innings have been completed, however the home team did not get an opportunity to bat in the bottom of the inning before play was stopped due to weather conditions, you will revert back to the last completed inning and the highest score will be declared the winner, unless the score is tied, the game will end in a tie.