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Utrip Softball Rules

By Laura Gittins

Utrip softball refers to the United States Specialty Sports Association. USSSA softball, or fastpitch, is played in every state and Canada, split up into seven regions. The USSSA rules and by-laws specify the conditions and regulations which players and coaches must abide, as well as field dimensions, equipment and umpire guidelines. The USSSA rules apply to both seasonal and tournament play.

Playing Field

Every male division up to 12 & Under pitch from 40 feet. Every male division 13 & Under and above pitch from 46 feet. The female divisions 8 & Under to 10 & Under pitch from 35 feet; 11 & Under through 18 & Under "B" and "C" divisions pitch from 40 feet and 18 & Under "A" and above pitch from 43 feet. The base paths for every division measure 60 feet. The batters box measures seven feet long by three feet wide, placed six inches away from home plate with the front of the box four feet from the center of home plate.

Players and Substitutes

Teams must field at least nine players; one at every position on the field. A team can use an additional player as a 10th batter. A team may use a designated hitter for any player, not just pitchers, but the team must select the designated hitter before the start of the game and have his name included on the lineup card. Teams may have no more than three charged conferences during a seven-inning game. A charged conference consists of a meeting of players and coaches on the field while playing defense. In extra innings, each team may have one additional charged conference per defensive inning.


Before pitching, the pitcher must have his pivot foot touching the pitcher's plate; his non-pivot foot behind it without touching; his hands apart and his body facing the plate. The pitcher must pitch the ball underhand to the batter, but he may use any windup he desires, provided his delivery remains a continuous forward motion and does no more than one revolution if he uses the windmill pitch. When the catcher throws the ball back to the pitcher, the umpire will give the pitcher 20 seconds to release his next pitch.

Base Running

Runners must touch each base in order; first, second, third and then home. Runners must touch home plate for a run to count. Stealing is permitted, but a runner's foot must be in contact with his base when the ball leaves the pitcher's hand. Otherwise, the umpire will call the ball dead and the runner out. A team may use a courtesy runner for the pitcher or catcher whenever those players reach base, but the same courtesy runner may not run twice in the same inning. The pitcher or catcher can remain in the game if a courtesy runner takes their place on base.

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