TOURNAMENT RULES & GUIDELINES
FYI - There are certain AWS/NCS directors and tournaments that will have special or different rules and awards depending on the region/location and type of tournament. Please check the tournament website or with the tournament director of the event you are playing.
Some of our special events include but are not limited to: Memorial events, Midnight Madness, Las Vegas Worlds, BONEYARD BLAST, Dublin Dirty,Toys-4-Tots, Clean softball, etc. Most of these events sell out fast, get payment in before we are sold out or you may not make it into our events.
- Teams must register annually here at our website. Once you are registered, you as the manager can create and edit your team(s). The annual $50 registration fee is non-refundable.
- Teams must add an online roster before they play in their first event. If you do not add your roster, a $50 fee will be added to your entry fee. We will request you email us your roster well before the tournament and we will input it for you. If not, you will keep getting charged each event.
- Some of our special events may require a deposit or full payment in advance. These payments are non-refundable unless you withdraw from the event well before the deadline, we cannot get you in the tournament or an agreement is made to refund your money.
- Standard Tournament: All teams must pay any balance owed IN CASH along with having an on-line roster before taking the field. If we do not receive full payment at game time or deadline, you will forfeit… PERIOD! If your roster is not online by the cut-off date, you will owe a $50 fee for us having to add your roster ourselves. If you need roster help, please contact Customer Support at firstname.lastname@example.org / Dani at 916-919-5677.
Special Note: (Confirming teams)
· If we reach out to teams and you do not get back to us in a timely manner, we reserve the right to pull you out of any event that you have not made payment for. Please make sure we have your proper email and cell phone.
MENS, WOMENS, and COED (make sure you are legal for NCS/AWS Events. Please contact us if you feel you might be in violation of playing in a division you should not be, and we will help!)
"CLICK HERE" to visit our AWS Team & Player Rankings along with our run spot info
- OPEN DIVISIONS – No player restrictions
- C DIVISON - No more than (3) “B” players MAX (no “A” or higher ranked players allowed)
- D DIVISION – No more than (3) C players, (no B or Higher players allowed)
- E DIVISION – No more than (3) “D” players MAX (no “C” or higher ranked players allowed)
- REC DIVISION – No more than (3) “E” players MAX (no “D” or higher ranked players allowed)
- All Forces (Click Me)
TEAM AND PLAYER RANKINGS AND ELIGIBILITY
· We use AWS Rankings first and if not ranked with AWS we will use the current year's Highest AWS-NCS or USSSA roster to determine what a player is ranked for our tournaments. For example, if a player is currently on "D" roster for their gender specific team but on a “C” roster for their COED team, they will be ranked "C" for our event in all divisions (the only exception would be if they started the year on "D" COED team but were bumped by USSSA after June 1st. Also of note, if there is a player NOT on a USSSA roster this season, we will revert to the previous year/year's rankings. (Military, Black American, Native American, and Senior rosters do not count against you in standard “D” & “E” Men's, Women's, and COED divisions)
· (AWS PLAYER / TEAM RANKING LIST always supersedes USSSA Roster Rules, Team and Player Rankings) Check our list before entering events Make sure you are legal
· All Players must be able to show a legal photo ID at all times (must be 18 years of age or older). You must have your photo ID on yourself, in your bat bag, or on the park/complex’s property. In some circumstances, we will allow a player to make a run to their car in the parking lot but will not allow any travel or a wait time of over 3 min or so.
· Driver’s License is what we use for determining Men's or Women's eligibility - If DL states male or nonbinary, player is only allowed to play as a man for our events, If DL states female, player is only allowed to play as a woman for our events etc.
BE PREPARED TO SHOW YOUR ID AT ANY TIME! BE LEGAL FOR THE DIVISION YOU’RE PLAYING IN! WE WILL NOT ACCEPT ANY CHEATING! YOU WILL BE KICKED OUT OF THE EVENT IF YOU’RE CAUGHT! ILLEGAL TEAMS and/or PLAYERS AND TEAMS THAT GET EJECTED FROM OUR TOURNAMENTS ARE NOT ELLIGIBLE FOR ANY TYPE OF REFUND!
· NO SANDBAGGING: If we find out you are only an ASA, NSA, etc. team and you sandbag into a lower division, we may decide to remove you from our event at any time. PLEASE PLAY IN THE DIVISION EQUAL TO YOUR RANKING IN THE ASSOCIATION YOU PLAY IN REGULARLY. (i.e., if you are a "D" team in ASA, you should be playing "D" in our AWS tournaments. If you feel you cannot compete at the same level, email for re-class request)
· Teams and players may petition for reclass at any time:
· This must be done by email at email@example.com
HOW TO CHECK PLAYER RANKINGS
- You will want to first check here at our AWS PLAYER RANKINGS. If the player is not listed on our site, then go to USSSA.com on your computer go into slowpitch site and check for athletes or player search section If not on AWS-NCS Roster -We use highest roster, not USSSA Ranking.
TOURNAMENT WITHDRAWAL PROCEDURES
- Should your team withdraw for any reason once the team has been entered, the cancellation/withdrawal must occur prior to the tournament being “SOLD OUT” or prior to the brackets/game times being posted on the association's website -WHICH EVER COMES FIRST!
- An email sent or voice mail left must be confirmed by the respective tournament director. Until the director responds to and/or confirms your cancellation, your team is still in the tournament.
- Should your team cancel after the specifications listed above, your team is still responsible for the entire entry fee of said tournament unless a replacement team can be found. There will be a $50 charge to all teams dropping even though a replacement team was found.
- Unpaid entry fees will result in the team and each individual player being placed on our associations’ Suspended Lists until payment is made in full. Manager is responsible for payment. If player wants to be removed from suspension, they can pay their share of 10% of total amount owed
In the case of State, Regional, National, NIT, Midnight Madness, Toys-4-Tots, and/or World events, brackets may be drawn up to two (2-3) weeks in advance. In situations such as these specialty events, team withdrawals must occur prior to entry deadline or completion of bracket whatever comes first.
Thank you in advance for your cooperation by notifying all tournament directors well in advance should your team withdraw from a tournament.
All teams agree to our rules upon entering our tournaments.
STANDARD GAME TIMES / START OF PLAY
- 60 minutes (championship game is 70 minutes)
- Some events may have longer or shorter game times so please the check the specific event website/page or director before the start of play
- All teams must be prepared to play 15 minutes before your scheduled game time. If the other team is ready to go and you are not, there could be a forfeit so be there 15 min early and ready to play
- The Tournament Director reserves the right to modify game times, playing locations, or tournament structure due to field conditions, time constraints, safety issues, team count, or inclement weather
- Shall consist of seven innings, or the end of the time limit, or the end of the innings advertised.
- In pool play there will always be a coin flip to determine home team throughout the tournament until playoffs or the championship game, at this point higher seed will have the choice to be visitor or home team. If one of the teams is undefeated and the other team has (1) loss or more, the undefeated team would get the choice of home or visitor.
RUN SPOTTING (we do not run spot or mix divisions at World Events)
- When a lower-level team plays a higher ranked team the homerun rule will be leveled
- The full number of runs spotted will be given at the start of game and not per inning (typically 6 runs per division we may choose more or less runs if director feel its warranted)
- We do not allow teams that are two or more divisions higher to play any of our E or REC teams
In most of our events, we will not combine divisions. If we do combine divisions to get enough to have a competitive tournament and we end up having more than 1 upper-level team, they will play a separate playoff/championship game. If there ends up being just 1 upper-level team in the tournament or 1 team in your division, the said team may not be eligible for championships or awards and can only play in our pool play portion of the event.
· If only 1 team is entered in your division, you may only be allowed play in the pool play portion of our event.
· Teams of higher level will spot lower teams runs in pool play - then play only other teams entered in the same division for playoffs/championships -
If 3 or less rec teams are in a division, you may have to play E teams the entire event and be spotted runs. If we get enough in each division, we will not mix divisions.
- There will be no team jumping at the same tournament
- Men can only play on (1) Men’s team (Open, D or E) and (1) Coed team (Open, D or E) but can also play in the 40’s division as well. Men cannot play in the women’s division.
- Women can only play on (1) Women’s team and (1) Coed team (Open, D or E). Women cannot play in the men's division.
*** players caught jumping teams will be ejected from the tournament, game will be forfeited, and the team in question may also be kicked out of tournament! ***
Please check tournament Page/Website for specific HR rules for tournament entered.
- MENS OPEN – 10
- MENS C - 8
- MENS D – 4
- MENS E – 2
- MENS REC - 1
- WOMENS OPEN - 5
- WOMENS C - 3
- WOMENS D – 1
- WOMENS E - 0
- COED OPEN – 7
- COED D – 3
- COED C - 6
- COED E -2
- COED REC - 1
RUN / MERCY RULE
- 20 after 3 innings / 15 after 4 innings / 10 after 5 innings (“C” and above divisions will be 12 runs after 5 innings, FLIP FLOP RULE is in effect)
- POOL PLAY ONLY…. For seeding purposes, the max run differential is 15 runs.
TIE-BREAKER RULE (For Seeding Purposes)
- Ties will be broken in the following order:
- Best record
- Run differential
- Runs scored
- All games that are tied at the end of the time limit or allotted innings in pool play will end in a tie.
Extra Innings/ International Tie Breaker Rule
Last batted out starts at 2b / You may use a courtesy runner
- The home team and the umpire are responsible for working together to keep an accurate score.
- If the home team does not have a complete book but the visiting team does, we will have the umpire coordinate with the visiting team to keep the accurate score. (Umpire has final say)
- All teams must have 8 players to start the game
- To add a player, they must arrive before their turn in the lineup and be on roster. If you must play shorthanded, no automatic out will be given
EXTRA HITTER(s) (E.H.)
- Teams can bat as many players as there are on your roster but must finish the game with same amount you start with or take an out for players who do not finish.
- The opposing team and umpire must have the right to know how many you are batting.
- MENS AND WOMENS TEAMS – There is one courtesy runner allowed per inning. This can be any player on the team roster, and it does not count as a substitution move. If your courtesy runner is on base when it is their time to hit, you would have to take an out UNLESS you have a sub on the bench that can substitute in for the original batter that the courtesy runner came in to run for. That would then remove the courtesy runner from the bag without penalty and they could hit in their place in the lineup.
- COED TEAMS – We allow one courtesy runner per inning…. per gender…. Men must run for men and women must run for women. This can be any player on the team roster, and it does not count as a substitution move. If your courtesy runner is on base when it is their time to hit, you would have to take an out UNLESS you have a sub of the same gender on the bench that can substitute in for the original batter that the courtesy runner came in to run for. That would then remove the courtesy runner from the bag without penalty and they could hit in their place in the lineup.
COED SPECIFIC RULES 5-5
- Coed teams must play at least equal number of women as men (4M/4W, 5M/5W, 6M/6W, etc.) but can play more women than men. Never more men than women.
- Women will hit the small ball
- The pitching area shall be the area the width of the pitcher’s mound (usually 24 inches) up to six 6 feet behind the back edge of the pitcher’s mound
- Pitchers must wear a protective mask
- Before the first pitch, the batter has automatic time out until he or she is set in the box (1 pitch only)
- Pitchers have 5 seconds to release the ball after presenting
- Pitchers may pitch from up to 6 feet behind the rubber but must come set before release
- Each at bat starts will be a 1 ball – 1 strike count with no extra fouls
- A strike zone will be used with no mat
- The height restrictions will be a minimum of 4 feet from the ground up to a maximum of 10 feet from the ground
- Pumping/Juking will be allowed except in our REC division
- A caught foul ball on the 3rd strike is a live ball. The play is not dead, and runners can try and advance
- A pitcher will not be allowed to use tape or any other substance, including a glove, upon the pitching hand or fingers of their pitching hand
- No foreign substance can be applied to the ball at any time
- At the start of a game or when a pitcher relieves another pitcher, not more than one minute may be used to deliver not more than (3) practice pitches to the catcher or some other teammate.
PITCHER’S LEGAL MOTIONS THAT ARE ALLOWED IN ACTUAL DELIVERY OF THE PITCH
- After assuming the pitching position on the pitcher’s mound or in the pitching area, the pitcher must present the ball in FRONT OF HIS BODY (for at least one second) in either one or both hands before starting the delivery motions. (Note: All pitching rules that apply to the pitcher’s actions before and during the release of the pitch along with the restrictions on height, speed, etc., shall remain the same.)
- The pitcher may hold or grip the ball in any manner before delivery.
- Only a definite underhand motion is permitted in the delivery of the pitch.
- The pitcher may release the pitched ball in any manner when delivering the pitch. This includes all types of delivery.
- After the pitcher presents the ball, he may make any windup or arm motions desired, either in front of his body, above his head or behind his back, including stops and pauses in these motions.
- The pitched ball must be released within 5 seconds from the time the pitcher has the ball, and the batter has taken his position in the batter’s box. From this point, the umpire shall not give a call or signal for “time” unless something unusual occurs.
- The pitcher must face home plate on delivery of pitch.
- Realizing that the pitcher does not fool very many batters to the extent that they cannot hit the ball, it is desired that pitchers not be handicapped by technicalities, when they do develop a new technique or delivery that, perhaps, will add to the pleasure and appeal to the spectators if the pitcher adheres to the basic pitching rules.
TYPE OF PITCH PERMITTED
- The ball must be pitched in a definite underhanded motion at slow speed.
- A pitched ball must have an arc and be at least 4 feet off the ground and not rise higher than 10 feet off the ground after leaving the pitcher’s hand and before it passes any part of home plate.
- The speed of the pitch and height of the pitched ball are left entirely to the judgment of the umpire. Any doubtful pitch should be ruled as an unfairly delivered pitch. The umpire shall warn a pitcher who delivers a pitch with excessive speed. If the pitcher continues to deliver excessive speed pitches, this can lead to the pitcher’s removal from the pitcher’s position for the remainder of the game.
- A pitch that does not reach 4 feet as required (flat level pitch) may not be deemed an excessive speed pitch but merely an unfairly delivered pitch.
- The catcher must remain in the lines of the catcher’s box when the pitcher is in position and remain there until a pitched ball has reached or passed home plate or is batted.
- Base distances of 70 ft are standard (65 ft bases may be used at TD’s or parks discretion)
- Men and Women's Divisions - one base allowed on a walk
- COED Divisions - Men take two bases and women take one base (when walking a male, the woman hitting behind them has the option to take a walk every time (no stealing))
BALL THROWN BY A DEFENSIVE PLAYER
- If a ball thrown by a defensive player inadvertently hits an offense player or a bat that is outside the dugout, the closest runner to home plate is out (the on-deck batter and bat are live and are not included in this scenario)
PLAYERS HIT WITH LIVE BALLS OUTSIDE THE DUGOUT AREA
- If the defensive team has a player or bat outside the dugout and they/it gets hit by thrown ball, the ball is dead, and all runners advance one base.
- If the offensive team’s batter or bat gets hit by a thrown ball, the closest runner to home plate is out.
ILLEGALLY BATTED BALL
- Occurs when a ball is hit fair or foul when both feet of the batter are in contact with the ground COMPLETELY outside the lines of the batter’s box, or when his foot is in contact with home plate, or when the ball is batted with an illegal bat.
ILLEGALLY CAUGHT BALL
- Occurs when a fielder catches a batted or thrown ball with a mask, a cap, or with any part of his clothing detached from the proper position on the fielder’s body.
- Making the motions of a tag without the ball. This may be considered obstruction and the offender may be ejected.
- A batted ball that goes directly from the bat not higher than the batter’s head (this is only an out on the 3 strike).
DUGOUT RULES (Without Covid Restrictions)
- All players must stay in dugout or in an out of play area. We allow (1) on deck hitter to be out of the dugout.
- No alcohol and/or smoking/vaping of any kind is allowed in the dugout or in the field of play
- NO Loud or vulgar music
POOR SPORTSMANSHIP WILL NOT BE TOLERATED
- NO “F” bombs
- NO throwing the bat
- NO taunting
- NO loud or vulgar music inside the parks (any violations to these rules could result in immediate ejection from the game and/or the tournament)
- If (3) players from same team get ejected in the same game the entire team is removed from the tournament.
- POOL PLAY – Forfeits during pool play games will be scored as a 15-0 game in the OPEN and D divisions ,and a 10-0 game in the E and REC divisions.
- BRACKET PLAY – Any forfeit in bracket play will be scored as a 7-0 game in all divisions
- Teams do not get a refund if you run into a forfeit
DISPUTES OR PROBLEMS
- Only managers can talk to the umpire or the director regarding issues during a game. If a manager is unsure on a ruling from the on-field umpire, please find the tournament director immediately. Do not wait until the game ends because it will be too late to possibly fix the situation. (Tournament Director’s Decision is Final)
INJURED PLAYERS AND SUBSTITUTES
- Player/substitute, manager, coach, trainer, or other 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 covered.
- If treatment can be administered in a reasonable amount of time, the individual would not have to leave the game. The amount of time is determined by the umpire’s 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.
- A player who exhibits signs, symptoms, or behaviors consistent with a concussion (such as loss of consciousness, headache, dizziness, confusion, or balance problems), we highly recommend the player and/or coach remove them from the game and take them to the hospital.
INJURED PLAYERS COMING OUT OF THE GAME
- If a player gets injured and needs to come out of the game, their next at bat will be considered an out and all subsequent at bats will be skipped with not out taken.
EJECTED PLAYERS COMING OUT OF THE GAME
- When a player is ejected from the game, all their subsequent at bats will be considered outs, if no sub is available.
- There is no penalty for unannounced re-entry or substitutions.
- The act of an improper re-entry is handled as a protest by the offended team. Improper re-entry is a violation after a pitch is made. Examples of improper re-entry are:
o Starter who re-enters in an incorrect batting position.
o Starter who re-enters a second time.
o A substitute who re-enters the game.
- If an improper re-entry is discovered by the defense while the player is playing offensively, the following penalties will be enforced:
- If the improper re-entry is discovered while he is at bat, player is ejected, and a proper substitute assumes any accumulated balls and strikes.
- If the improper re-entry is discovered after he has completed his time at bat, but before a pitch has been made to a succeeding batter, he is called out, and the player is ejected from the game. All base runners, if they have advanced, must return to the base occupied at the time the improper re-entry took a position in the batter’s box.
- If the improper re-entry is not discovered until a pitch is made to the next batter or the improper re-entry enters as a substitute runner, the player is ejected. All play that occurred while the improper re-entry was in the game will stand.
- If an improper re-entry is discovered by the offense while the player is playing defensively, the following penalties will be enforced:
- If the improper re-entry is discovered after he makes a play on a fair-batted ball (catch or throw) or a play on a foul fly ball before the next pitch, revert to the previous pitch, the batter and each base runner are advanced one base. The improper player is ejected. If the improper re-entry is discovered after a pitch, which did not result in a batted ball on which the improper player made a play, the improper player is ejected (this includes the pitcher)
THE OFFICIAL AWS BALL - Must have All World Stamp or be marked properly (see below)
- DUDLEY is our official ball of choice. The optic yellow ball…. 12-inch balls for the MEN and an 11-inch for the WOMEN.
- All Game Balls must be DUDLEY and must be OPTIC YELLOW in color. All Dudley balls are allowed except the ZN Stadium Ball and any 47-core ball
- If a team is caught throwing in an illegal ball by the opposing team or umpire, the penalties will be as follows:
- 1 time – Warning / 2 time – Batter is OUT / 3 time – Game is FORFEITED
- Teams must throw in a ball when your team is up to bat
- Please write your team name on your own balls so foul balls can get returned to the correct team
- Umpires or TD have the right to pull any ball from any game at any time. (We will return balls after events conclusion or when team is eliminated from play) They also have the right to make teams share balls to prevent unfair play if they feel any balls may be at an advantage or throw in AWS-NCS balls if applicable.
- We "Do Not" always supply balls, so be prepared to bring your own balls.
ALTERED BALLS (Illegal for AWS play)
- Any ball that has had its original manufactured physical structure changed in any way or balls that have been frozen, micro-waved, heated, melted, cooled, re-stitched, or the surface has been modified to be rougher or softer, etc.
- All bats must have USSSA, NSA, USA, or ASA stamp (No senior, baseball, or fastpitch bats allowed)
- The REC divisions can swing ASA bats as well.
- No bat is legal for AWS play if it is badly worn, abused, damaged, altered, or shaved. Bats shall not have rough or sharp edges, or anything that would present a hazard.
- No bat is legal if there is an excessive foreign substance on the barrel or taper of a bat. (i.e., too much pine tar, stick-em type products, etc.)
- AWS Umpires or Directors reserve the right to remove any bat we feel is altered, damaged, or made to enhance ball/bat performance. We will take the bat for that game and return it upon the end of the game with the mutual understanding it will not be used for the remainder of the tournament. If the bat is caught being used a second time, the player using the bat at that time will be ejected from the tournament and will be asked to leave the park/complex. If a player refuses to give up the bat for the remainder of the game, he/she will be removed from the tournament and park/complex as well.
- Coaches of adult teams which have multiple offenses under these rules may be suspended for failing to have his or her team follow AWS rules.
- Metal spikes of any kind are prohibited in AWS tournaments
- Any player may wear a protective mask to prevent injury and is strongly recommended
- Pitchers Must wear protective mask or helmet
- All exposed jewelry or items that are judged to be hazardous or potentially dangerous by the umpire or director may not be worn during the game
- Due to safety concerns, at no time can a camera, audio, or video device be worn or used by an umpire, player, or coach on the field of play. Any exception must be approved the AWS Office and CEO Jay Zetz.
All players can choose to use first baseman’s mitt at any position
ADDITIONAL IN-GAME SITUATIONS
- ROSTER PROTESTS REQUIRE $100 CASH AND MUST BE REQUESTED BEFORE THE END OF THE GAME
These are the 3 types of protests that we allow:
· Checking (1) player that you know is ranked higher than the allowable player matrix (i.e., a protest of a “C” player playing illegally in the “E” division. You would point out the player in question. We would ask for their ID and then check the player to see if they are legal or not based on our rules)
· Checking (4) chip players that you know are above the allowable limit of chip players (i.e., a protest of a team having too many “D” chip players playing in an “E” tournament. You would point out the (4) players in question. We would ask for all their ID’s and then check each of them to see if they were counted as chip players based on our rules)
· Full roster ID check to see if all players are listed on the roster that was turned in before the first game (this is NOT an online player ranking protest) (i.e., a protest to prove a player playing in the game is not on the roster that was turned in prior to the first game. We would pull the roster and ask for all the ID’s for the players on the opposing team to make sure they are all listed on the roster)
RAIN OUTS AND OTHER SIMILAR ACTS OF GOD
- Any rain out or similar Act of God that causes us to have to cancel an event during tournament play will result in a CREDIT based on the games played (i.e., If playing in a $400 4GG tournament and only (1) game gets played, a $300 credit will be issued for a future tournament. If (2) games were played, a $200 credit, and so on. The credit is only good for tournaments run by the same director group and will expire if not used within (2) years of original entry date) Teams can also choose a refund that may be prorated.
- If the game guarantee is met for the tournament, no credits or refunds will be given.
(Once a game starts, it is considered a played game)
- If the cancellation occurs during the pool play portion of a tournament, no awards will be handed out.
- If a cancellation occurs during the bracket play portion of the tournament, awards will be handled as follows:
- Awards will be awarded if there is a clear-cut winner of the tournament (i.e., If there is an undefeated team playing a team from the loser’s bracket in the Championship game, the awards will be given as 1 for the undefeated team and 2 to the loser’s bracket team, etc.)
- Awards will not be awarded if there is no clear-cut winner of the tournament (i.e., If the bracket has just started and there are multiple games remaining with no clear-cut winner)
AWS Awards Details: (Basic events not always exact)
· With 4 or less teams its winner takes all as long as we have at least 2 teams in your division.
· 1st and 2nd place prizes will be given out with 5 or more teams.
· 1st-3rd place prizes will be given out with 12 or more teams in your division.
· 1st-4th (possibly 5th and 6th) place prizes will be given out with more than 24 or more teams in your division.
- All World Sports - NCS have standard park rules during tournament play which include but are not limited to the following:
- NO alcohol / NO Smoking / NO glass containers / NO loud or vulgar music
- There are always going to be PARK SPECIFIC rules that each city sets forth so please check the city’s park website to check on the following additional rules:
- NO dogs at most parks - Some parks may allow dogs on a leash so make sure you check the website to make sure it is ok before you bring them out / NO scooters / NO bikes / NO skateboards / NO sunflower seeds