Second Softball Memo – Wednesday, May 7, 2023

I hope that this memo finds you all doing well. The regular season is chugging away, as we are already two weeks from the release of regional softball pairings. Knock on wood – this season has progressed nicely. The weather has been cooperative for the most part, and hopefully, that will continue. There are a few things that I’d like to address and remind everyone as the season rolls on.

Site Availability: A list of schools that have made their facilities available to be considered for postseason play was posted on the website Monday and emailed to coaches and administrators. I have updated the list, and it can be viewed by clicking here. Please double-check the dates you have listed as being available to host. If your school is not listed, but you want to be considered as a regional host, please fill out the form on Bound as soon as possible.

Bound Stats: Keep your statistics current in Bound. This means ALL statistics should be submitted. If a stat is being asked for in Bound, the expectation is that it needs to be entered into the Bound database. Please contact me if you experience any issue or have any questions regarding entering stats.

Umpires:. A reminder that there must be two certified varsity umpires to work varsity softball games. There must be one certified varsity umpire and one certified non-varsity umpire to work ninth grade and JV games.  Junior high must have one certified non-varsity or varsity certified umpire. Certified varsity umpires are registered through the IGHSAU, watch the online rules meeting, and take and pass the rules test. A certified non-varsity umpire is an umpire who has registered and watched the rule meeting. Junior high must have at least one certified non-varsity or varsity certified umpire

Can’t Find Umpires? Let me Know: If you run into a situation where you are short an umpire, please let me know. I can send out an email blast to umpires to help get you a replacement in a short amount of time. Just send me an email with the important information (who is playing, what time is the game, contact info and location of the game) and I can send an email blast out. We’ve done this the last couple of seasons and have had decent success. You can e-mail me at [email protected].

In the event you’ve had to cancel a game due to not being able to find umpires, please let me know. I’d trying to collect a database of how many games end up being cancelled due to no available umpires.

Umpire Memos: Our softball officials and rules interpreter, Cathy Creighton, has released two memos to umpires. Those memos have a lot of good material, and I encourage coaches to read them. The first memo can be read by clicking here. The second memo can be viewed by clicking here.

Official games: If a game ends because of weather conditions or darkness interferes with play so that the game is called (ended) by the umpire, it is a regulation game provided:

  1. Five full innings have been played, or if the home team has scored an equal or greater number of runs in four or four and a fraction turns at bat than the visiting team has scored in five turns.
  2. Play has exceeded five complete innings and is called when the teams have not had an equal number of completed turns at bat. The score shall be the same as it was at the end of the last completed inning; unless the home team, in its half of the incomplete inning scores a run (or runs) that equals or exceeds the opponent's score, in which case, the final score shall be as recorded when the game is called.

If a game is called before the five full innings are played – the game is suspended and restarted at the point of interruption. If the game cannot be resumed, the game is not counted. If the game has started and is later rained out, the on-site administrator must keep the lineup cards from the umpires. You will likely get a new set of umpires when/if your game is resumed.

Umpire Evaluations – There is a section on Bound where coaches may briefly evaluate the umpires that worked their games. To evaluate, go to your schedule in Bound and click on the white square with the three vertical dots in the middle. Select Officials and then list the officials and evaluate them. Coaches are not required to fill this out after every contest, but our softball evaluators read the feedback. The umpire evaluations are different from the umpire recommendations that coaches complete on Bound at the end of the season.

Media Box: A media box shall be lined in foul territory down the third baseline for all varsity contests. The minimum dimensions shall be five (5) feet wide by three (3) feet deep. An additional media box down the first baseline remains optional. By rule with Iowa adaptations, a ball passing through the media box is dead ONLY if the box is occupied. All balls passing through the media box without any media present are not automatically dead by rule.

Since the media box is a dead ball area when occupied, the following rule 8-4-3 applies:

8-4 Runners entitled to advance:

ART. 3... A runner is entitled to advance without liability to be put out when:

When a fielder loses possession of the ball, such as on an attempted tag, and the ball enters the dead-ball area or becomes blocked, each runner is awarded one base from the last base touched at the time the ball entered the dead-ball area or becomes blocked.

Thunder and Lightning Guidelines: A reminder: When lightning is seen, or thunder heard, stop for 30 minutes. If the lightning is seen or thunder is heard again, the 30 minutes starts over.

Tobacco Prohibited in High School Activities: A reminder that tobacco is prohibited by coaches, players and administrators at a high school activity. The penalty for using tobacco is ejection.

Coaching Behavior: There have been instances of assistant coaches walking up and down the fence line halfway into the outfield while the other team is batting. This should not be taking place. Coaches should be in the dugout while the other team is batting unless there is an injury or a called time-out. If this happens, umpires should restrict the coach to the dugout for the remainder of the game.

Walk-up Music and Music Playing Between Innings: We allow softball teams to have walk-up music during the regular season. It is prohibited during the postseason. The host team oversees the music played between innings. Visiting teams should not play music between innings or walk-up music from the visitors' dugout. It shouldn't be played if the home team doesn’t play music. Also, please keep the language clean in the songs that you play.

Administrators at Softball Games: The role of site administrators at athletic contests is to provide a safe environment for the teams and umpires working the games. Unfortunately, there have been instances this year where the administrators have been arguing calls and yelling at umpires during games.

This is unacceptable.

A site administrator is in charge of putting out fires, not pouring gasoline on them. In an era with a shortage of umpires, schools cannot afford to gain a reputation as a place where it is difficult to work and the administration does not have an official’s back if trouble arises. Umpires will stop accepting assignments from these schools. While I appreciate an administrator supporting their teams, arguing calls cannot happen. When the crowd sees the administrator yelling, it only reinforces that it is OK for them to do the same. In addition, do not send videos of calls from the game directly to the umpire. Any film should go to Cathy Creighton at [email protected].

Best wishes to everyone as the regular season progresses.

Jason Eslinger
Associate Director/Softball Administrator