Little League Softball was created in 1974 as an offshoot of Little League Baseball. The rules governing Little League Softball are set up by the governing body in Williamsport, PA. These rules are set up to govern how teams are chosen, the number of pitches, the age restrictions, league boundaries, and everything in between.
Players between the ages of nine and twelve can participate in Little League Softball.
Each league is set up in September. Each league will elect a board of directors and this board of directors will have the final say in the selection managers, coaches, and umpires. Each league cannot have fewer than four teams or more than ten teams. Each league shall draw its players from a certain geographical area.
Each team shall have the same number of players. The number of players shall be between 12 and 15 players. The board of directors determines the number of players per team. The selection of players by a team uses the same rules as the Little League Draft Selection process. This is set by the governing body in Williamsport and is similar to the free agent draft in Major League baseball.
Little League Softball has very strict rules governing pitchers. Any player on a roster can pitch. Pitchers who are 11 and 12 years old are restricted to 85 pitches in a day. Players from the ages of nine and ten are restricted to 75 pitches per day.
Lets say a pitcher reaches her pitch limit while facing a batter. The pitcher can continue to pitch until that at-bat ends. Then the pitcher will be removed.
There are strict rules governing the rules of rest for a pitcher. These rules are based on pitch count and the age of the pitcher. These rules look something like this: 61 or more pitches, three days rest, and the pitcher cannot pitch in the team's next game. 40-61 pitches: two days rest, and the pitcher cannot pitch in the team's next game. 21-40 pitches, one day rest. With fewer than 20 pitches the pitcher may pitch the next day.
The Little League Softball Field has the same dimensions as a Little League Baseball Field. The only exception is the pitching mound. The pitching mound is 40 feet instead of 46 feet away from home plate. The bases are 60 feet a part. The outfield fences must be at least at 165 feet away from home plate. Usually the outfield fences are any where between 165- 200 feet from home plate.
The Little League Softball game is six innings long. If it rains, the game becomes official after four innings. Little League Softball has the mercy rule. This means if a team is more than ten runs ahead after four innings, or 3 ½ innings if the home team is ahead.
Batters and Base Runners
Every player on a Little League Softball team must play two innings and bat at once during a game. A player can leave and reenter provided the player being substituted for has batted at least once. The batter is automatically out after a third strike. The base runner cannot leave the base until the pitched ball has been batted or reaches the batter. The manager is allowed two trips to the pitchers mound per inning. On the third trip to the mound, the manager must replace the pitcher.