League Rules / FAQ / Interpretations (Georgian Bay Minor Softball League)

PrintLeague Rules / FAQ / Interpretations
A full list of league rules and by-laws can be found under League Documents.

Approved Bats
If you are looking to purchase a new bat for your child.  The GBMSL follows the Softball Canada Approved List. Bats will be required to have one of the list of approved certification stamps in order to be used in league play.

96 Hour Rule for Cancellations- May/10
The following email has been approved by the league for 2010 and will be enforced! If you have questions please contact your community contact for the GBMSL for clarification.

Good morning everyone,

As league statistician it is my job to follow the rules and allocate scores as they come in as well as monitor games that are not played and keep records updated.

There seems to be a second opinion, contrary to the rules, that coaches have the power to overrule the rules and that as long as 2 coaches agree then they cancel a game inside the 96 hours prior to the game. THIS IS FALSE!

Rules state that a game can only be cancelled outside 96 hours and if it falls within the 96 hours time frame the game can only be cancelled “with permission/approval of the league statistician”- This would mean that if something came up that was considered an emergency the statistician has power to cancel!

If you call a coach inside the 96 hours and they agree to cancel the game this game will still be declared a forfeit to the team that cancels by the league statistician- WHY? Because it’s inside the 96 hours and the league statistician did not approve the cancellation!

The online cancelled game report- This report is the only evidence that you have that you cancelled outside the 96 hours- When you submit it, the form is time & date stamped upon you pushing the submit button! If you do cancel outside the 96 hours and do not submit a form then technically you did not cancel the game! If anyone questions the cancellation and there is not a form you will forfeit!

I know this email sounds firm but considering that there are half a dozen cancellations already for this season and some of them sent forms in late (or not at all) I want to make sure that this is resolved early so that it doesn’t continue to be a problem throughout the season.

Remember- you have the right to request a cancellation outside 96 hours (4 days) before game time- after that your right to cancel is gone and you cannot cancel without league statistician approval. That approval will only be given in the event of an emergency! If no cancelled game report is sent in then the game is not cancelled! If you want evidence of the cancelled game then print the confirmation that comes up when you submit the form.

Questions- Read rule 13 of the GBMSL rules given to all centers.

Rebooking game- remember when you cancel you must rebook and send updated info to the league statistician within 2 weeks of the scheduled game or a 0-0 score will be given for the game in question!

Thanks for your help with this,
Sandra Chapman
GBMSL Statistician

Taking your last bat? When do we?- June 27/06

Something that seems to be an issue of contention, often not on purpose, but just generally misunderstood in the whole scoring procedure, is last bat and when to take it?
1- Tyke always take last bat, because they only play 3 innings it's only logical that all teams get to bat 3 times, so the maximum score you can get is 36
2- Mini-Squirt to Midget- Last bat is only taken if the home team is losing or if game time is not yet up.
Example- you are losing by 2 runs and time is up, you still take your last bat until you score 3 runs and then the game is over, at best you can win by 1
Example- you are winning by 2 runs and time is not up and there is still 5 minutes left to game. You will bat until the 1:45 is up and then the umpire will call the game and whatever the score is at that point will count.
Example- you are winning by 2 runs and the time is up. You do not take your last bat!
3- There is a 15 run mercy rule in Peewee, Bantam & Midget after 5 innings or 4 1/2 if the home team is winning. If you are winning by 15 at that point then the game is finished. The only way you can have a run spread higher than 15 is that it must be obtained in the first 4 1/2 innings.
Example- you are the home team and winning by 15 at the end of 3 innings, the other team would continue to play at the top of the 4th. If when their bat is over in the middle of the 4th and there is still 15 runs or more difference in the score the home team still takes their bat in the bottom of the 4th. If the visiting team cuts the spread down to 13 runs in the top of the 5th then the home team would go to bat in the bottom of the 5th. As soon as their second run scores and a 15 run spread occurs, the game is over. If after the top of the 5th the visiting team did not cut down the 15+ run lead then the home team would not bat in the bottom of the 5th and the game would be over.
4- Mini-Squirt and Squirt have a mercy rule of a maximum of 7 runs per inning with the final inning being open if it is announced. Occasionally the open inning will not happen due to a 7 run limit inning lasting too long and going past the 1:45 game time limit. If this is the case then the open inning will not happen. Our rules encourage the umpires "NOT" to call the open inning prior to 8:15 during the regular season. The only exception would be innings that are lasting exceptionally long. We've seen innings last 1/2 hour and as such some umpires will call the open inning earlier so that they can make an effort to get the open inning in.
Rules are the same in Mini-Squirt and Squirt even with the 7 run limit and open inning. Teams do not take last bat if they are winning and if you do take last bat because you are losing, you do not run up the score and the most you can win by is 1 run, and then the game is over.
We've had a few scores come in where last bat was taken even though the home team was winning. This only runs up the score and affects overall run spread which is instrumental in breaking ties at season end. I know that 99% of the teams playing are not doing this but we also know of a couple that are and as I said at the beginning, likely because they are unaware of the scoring process. Please make sure your coaches understand this and I hope I've made it clear in the above examples.
Some of this is not in GBMSL's rules as it is typical Softball Ontario format
Losing home teams always take their last bat until either 3 outs are attained or they are winning by one. Winning home teams never take their last bat if time is up, the game is over as soon as the visiting team has 3 outs.
Thanks for your help with this,
Keith & Felix

Acceptable Dress for Coaches/Players/Umpires- June 13/06

Date:      June 12, 2006
To:          GBMSL Community Contacts
Cc:          GBMSL Website
From:     Pat Rodgers, Umpire In Chief, GBMSL
RE:          Appropriate Dress – Junior Umpires, Players & Coaches

Hello to all:

As the season has progressed both myself and other members of the executive would like to stress the importance of appropriate dress for both Junior Umpires and players/coaches within our league. Appropriate dress serves to promote the legitimacy of our league and adds an air of professionalism as well.

The following lists what is deemed to be the acceptable minimums standards of dress within our league.

Junior Umpires:
1.        Shirt supplied at clinic or light blue shirt with Junior umpire crest sewn on left shoulder.
2.        Dark long pants for plate.  (Tattered, faded blue jeans unacceptable.)
3.        Dark shorts for bases.
4.        Dark coloured shoes for either base or plate.
5.        All shirts must be tucked in.
6.        Ball caps are optional.  If cap is worn should be of dark colour with minimal logos. (Note:  Exception to this would be GBMSL special awards ball cap).
7.        Caps must be worn with bill facing forward.  No twisting of cap to side or wearing cap backwards.

1.        All shirts tucked in.
2.        If cool weather, sweatshirts/hoodies to be worn under uniform such that the team colours are visible and number is legible on back.
3.        Ball caps or visors optional. Preferred cap to represent player’s home community or GBMSL special award cap.
4.        No toques, bandanas or any other form of headdress.  (Religious headdress would be accepted.)
5.        Ball caps or visors must be worn with bill straightforward.  No twisting of cap bill to side or wearing cap backwards.
6.       Ball caps or visors may not contain any wording or implied statements that would not be deemed acceptable by your local school.


1.        All shirts tucked in.
2.        If available shirt should match team they are coaching.
3.        If shirt does not match team they are coaching, then shirt should be of solid colour or minimal patterns. 
4.        No “Hawaiian”, multi-coloured shirts or “muscle” shirts. 
5.        T-shirt, golf shirt or front button style only. Note:  Exception to this would be respectable ladies sleeveless shirt.
6.        Respectable shorts or long pants. 
7.        Hats or visors optional.  Must meet standards as noted above for players.
8.        Sport shoes or closed toe footwear only.  No open toed sandals.  (Note: This is a requirement by Softball Ontario rules and for liability reasons.)

If you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact me via email @ [email protected]
Pat Rodgers


It has long been the goal of our organization to increase the validity and level of ball in our local ball organization. We have noticed a gradual decline of dress to the point where uniforms are not being worn even though they are available and various forms of headgear are worn to replace the ball cap. Coaches are wearing Sandals on the field while they coach the bases.  Softball Ontario rules are quite severe and we have chosen to allow some flexibility on their rules. Young kids who wear the same uniform tend to bond better as a team. There is no competition on the field in regards to who has the most expensive/radical/newest craze clothing on, everyone is just one team playing for the same cause. They also look good and do a great job at representing their community as ambassadors. Pat had addressed this above with a fair level of flexibility and he has the full support of the league in enforcing it. A player will be given polite warnings to fix or remove offending items but if they refuse then they will be deemed an illegal player and as such will be removed from the game.

Thankyou Coaches, community reps & parents for your support in this,
Keith Chapman

The so called "15 Minute Coutesy Rule"- 2004

GBMSL games are scheduled to start at 6:45 and 8:45 p.m. for regular season games. Sometimes in the event of makeup games other start times are established.

There is "NO" courtesy rule in GBMSL or in Softball Ontario that says the team that is short on players is allowed a waiting period so that they will have enough players to play a game. Umpires do "NOT" have the authority to mandate a courtesy rule that says a team has to wait for players to arrive. Any coach who tries to tell you that there is a courtesy rule is making it up and often trying to prevent a forfeit, GBMSL has never had such a rule (at least not in the last 10 years). Umpires should do their best to stay out of any of these conversations. If both coaches approach the umpire and inform the umpire that the game time has been changed then the umpire will respect that, but game time is still game time and the umpire will call play ball at that time.

Game time is game time- both teams knew that prior to the game and the league expectation is that the game get under way on time. Often a team player or even coach or parent has other obligations following the game, if their team is there on time and ready to play it is unfair that the opposing team try to convince them to wait on their late players.

It is the umpires responsibility to get the game going on time. If a team has 8 players they can invoke the 8 player rule if they have less then 8 it is to be declared a forfeit by the plate umpire.

As we head into the later part of the season it is even more important that games get going on time. Darkness is going to become an issue and we need as much playing time as possible without any delays, especially if you are playing on a diamond without lights!

Keith Chapman, President GBMSL

Code of Conduct for spectators, coaches & players- 2004

Hello to all:

Unfortunately this is the part of my position that I do not like to address.  For the vast majority of GBMSL Coaches, fans and parents the following does not apply.  I regret to say that for some it does apply.  What I am referring to is the code of conduct that needs to be followed by all.  In the past 2 weeks there has been a rash of unforgivable behavior by some coaches fans and parents towards our Junior Umpires.
Some Junior Umpires have been humiliated, berated and generally not treated with the respect they deserve.  Specific incidences of yelling, insinuated of bias towards a certain team and questioning of their abilities has occurred.  It is mandatory that we as a league and responsible adults support our Junior Umpires.  Yes, they will make some errors, but guess what, so do we as adults. 
Our young players make mistakes, but we do not humiliate them for an error.  We clap and tell them good try!   Why would it be acceptable to humiliate a Junior Umpire for an error?  Bottom line, it is not!  By allowing this to occur, we as adults are setting a very poor example for our young players.  Essentially we are telling them that the Umpires are not to be respected.
I would ask, that if anyone sees a Junior Umpire being treated unfairly, that they as an adult, directly approach the Coach, fan or parent who is treating the Umpire unfairly to sit down and be quiet.    Simply remind them that they are looking like fools and acting like a bully.  We do not allow bullying in the schoolyard, so we must not tolerate it on the field.
For the specific cases where I have talked to the Junior Umps who have had this happen, I reminded them they have the right to say the magic words, "Coach, you are ejected.  Please leave the diamond immediately."  Lets not let it come to this, please help to control the situation before it comes to this.  I would ask the all Community contacts forward this message to all of their Coaches and Junior Umpires who are not on my mailing list.
Any questions or concerns please contact me directly.
Pat Rodgers
Umpire in Chief
[email protected]

In addition to Pat's comments above, which I should emphasize the league strongly endorses, with the upcoming tournaments approaching across the league please keep in mind- "There will be zero tolerance for abuse of the above" So lets all get it figured out NOW! I would also mention that Pat has touched on the Junior's in our league, the same level respect should also be directed to our level 1 umpires as well. Remember, without them we cannot play our game!

Keith Chapman, President GBMSL

Rain Games- How to deal with them!-Posted May 31st/04

Wow what a somewhat dreary start to the season we have had!  We have been flooded, we have had wind, we have  had cold weather and we have had rain, lots and lots of rain starting right from the 1st of May which made us even have our Jr. Umpire Clinic inside.   Betcha you just can't wait for the bugs to come out in full force!!  (And you thought the rain was bad!!)

I would like to take this time to remind all Community Contacts and Jr. Umpires the rules regarding canceling a game due to bad or severe weather.
Per GBMSL Rule # 12- Canceling a game/ Rain Games, Paragraph 2:
The home team has the right to cancel the game due to “bad/severe weather” as long as the visiting game is given 1 ½ hours notice prior to game time. Again, a makeup date should be established and the statistician must be informed of the details by the canceling team.

What the above means is that if it is "bad or severe" weather occurring the game can be cancelled up front.  This is an extremely tough call to make especially at the start of the season. 

Many teams are raring to go and will want to show up at the diamond even if it is raining or about to rain.  They want to put in every effort to have the game played. 

Will this involve unneeded driving?  In some cases yes, the team will drive to the diamond and watch it rain.  In some cases they will drive to the diamond, the weather will clear and the game will be played! 

Paragraph 3 states:

If you have less than 1 ½ hours until game time the game can only be cancelled by the plate umpire who will make that decision at game time.

Game times are 6:45 pm for Tyke - Peewee, and 8:45 for Bantam.

If we look at paragraph 3, it states that the Home Plate Umpire can only cancel the game.  This is their sole responsibility.  They must judge the conditions of the field, imminent and or occurring weather and then make the decision.  They must try their best not to be influenced by the parents, coaches, players or anyone else.  The Home Plate Umpire should consult with their partner then inform the Head Coaches of their decision.  This is not an easy decision and we as a league must be fair and supportive to the Jr. Umpires.

In summary all of the above are difficult decisions to make!  From my end I would encourage wherever possible all teams should try to play their games at the scheduled times.  This may involve playing in less than perfect conditions, but many times it is better to play a game at the scheduled time, than to try and re-schedule the game and then have to work around the many conflicts that will come out of that.  Many parents and guardians schedule around games and practices.  It becomes very difficult for them to schedule outside of these times.  The same can be said for the coaches and Jr. Umpires.

If you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact me directly.  I would ask that all Community contacts forward this information to their Jr. Umpires.

Pat Rodgers
Umpire in Chief
[email protected]
705 538 0072

Was that a leadoff- explain what a leadoff is!- Updated May 3rd/05

This article was contributed by Brad Lyon: GBMSL Umpire-in-Chief (2002)
There has been a question that has arisen this week as to how many bases a batter/ runner can advance after a walk or dropped third strike.
Here is my rule interpretation, based Rule 8, Section 8 (Runner is out), Subsec. U, clauses 1, 2 and Note in the rulebook.
Here is the rule:
8.8 (u) "When a runner is legitimately off his base after a pitch or the result of a batter completing his turn at bat while the pitcher has the ball within the 2.5 metre radius of the pitcher's plate, he must immediately attempt to advance to the next base or immediately return to his base. (That, I think is fairly well understood. The runner has a couple of seconds to make a decision on which way he is going, he can't dance between bases, unless the pitcher makes a play on him.)
(1) Failure to immediately proceed to the next base or return to his base once the pitcher has the ball within the 2.5 m radius of the pitcher's plate shall result in the runner being declared out. (That's pretty simple. Rule of thumb is a couple of seconds to make the decision which way the runner is going.)
(2) Once the runner returns to a base for any reason, he shall be declared out if he leaves said base, unless a play is made on him or another runner (a fake throw is considered a play) or the pitcher no longer has possession of the ball in the 2.5 m radius or the pitcher releases the ball as a pitch to the batter. (The pitcher simply looking at the runner is not considered a play. There must be a physical action that indicates a play or attempted play, which is why a fake throw is included. )
NOTE: A base on balls or dropped third strike in which the runner is entitled to run is treated the same as a batted ball. The batter-runner may continue past first base and is entitled to run toward second base as long as he does not stop at first base. If he stops after he rounds first base, then he must comply with Sec. 8 u (1). (This seems to be where the problem is. A batter-runner in this situation is entitled to advance or attempt to advance to 1B. The B-R is allowed to try for second, as outlined in the Note.)
Note from Doug Cundall- Softball Ontario Deputy UIC (2005)---- as long as the runner does not stop more than once with no "play" being made on them then they can advance as far as they are brave enough to try for.  As soon as a play - fake throw, actual throw, pitcher running at them, etc. - is made then you disregard the 8 foot circle rule and the runner is fair game for a tag out but they must be played upon to be out..

That having been said, I would like to issue an admonishment to coaches: if you have a runner called out for leadoff in this situation, don't bother filing a protest. It will come down to the umpire's judgement as to whether a play/ attempt was made, and if the ump says there was no play made, that is his/her judgment and not protestable.