By-Laws for 2016-17

Henderson County Senior Softball League

Mission Statement

To promote the game of Senior Softball through fair play, civility, good sportsmanship, and competitiveness with parity of play; so as to provide a venue for Senior Adults in the Henderson County, North Carolina area to enjoy a fun, recreational sport, that promotes physical and mental well being.

Code Of Ethics

All players in the Henderson County Senior Softball League (HCSSL) will conduct themselves in a positive manner, both on and off the field. Players will :

A. Abide by the current HCSSL Rules and By-Laws.

B. Accept the decisions of the Umpires, Team Managers, and League Officials with good sportsmanship manners.

C. Neither taunt nor degrade anyone.

D. Attempt to avoid bodily contact that may cause injury to yourself or others.

E. Never use abusive, foul, or threatening language.

F. Not commit any act that could be considered unsportsmanlike conduct.

G. Accept that winning, while part of the game, should be secondary to having recreational fun and fellowship.

H. Whenever possible, while on the field of play; praise a player’s ability, and never make negative comments that could diminish a player, or cause embarrassment to him, or the HCSS League.

I. Abide by all Henderson County Parks and Recreation rules including, but not limited to:

1. No alcoholic beverages allowed.

2. No loud or abusive language or actions.

3. No pets on the playing fields. (dogs are allowed in the park while on a leash)

HCSSL Officers are responsible for enforcing this Code Of Ethics in the best interest of the League and its players. Violations of any provision of the Code of Ethics may be grounds for suspension from one or more games, or from membership in the Henderson County Senior Softball League, as determined by the consensus of the League Officers

Henderson County Senior Softball League Members shall abide by the following rules.

A. Definitions Used in This Document

1. Tuesday/Friday Team: A team within the League whose players are selected by an assigned Team Manager, who assigns the team’s batting order and each team player’s defensive position. These teams only play against other Tuesday/Friday Teams.

Note: for the purpose of this document, Tuesday/Friday refers to any “regular” game, played among HCSS League Members only, at Jackson Park , on any weekday.

2. Special Team: A Special Team is one that plays an opponent team other than a Tuesday/Friday Team. These are Special Games played against teams from areas other than Henderson County. A Special Team Manager will be assigned to manage and coach each Special Team.

3. Tournament Team: A Tournament Team is one that plays an opponent in a tournament.

A Tournament Team Manager will be assigned to manage and coach each Tournament Team. Tournament Teams will adhere to Tournament Rules. Players are selected by the Tournament Team Manager.

When playing away from Jackson Park, in both Special and Tournament Games, all play is governed by “Home Rules”, and not necessarily by the rules of the HCSS League.

4 .Player Age Brackets: In Special Games, and in most Tournaments, including the State Finals in Raleigh; players may only play on a team in their specific age bracket, or a lower age bracket.

Players are grouped in the following age brackets according to their age as of December 31st of the current year. 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70-74, 75+.

Exceptions a. Some Tournaments and Special Games allow up to three players to play “up” to the next age bracket.

b. On Tuesday/ Friday play, age bracketed games are always preferred, but can

only occur if enough players are present, and enough fields are available.

B. Fees and Eligibility

1. All Members must fill out The League Application Form, and sign The Liability Waiver.

2. Members will pay a yearly membership fee (dues) to be registered as a player in the League; To be entitled to play in any Tuesday/Friday game, and to be eligible to play in Special or Tournament Games

3. The Membership Fee of $ 40.00 is due and payable to the HCSS League by April 1. It can be mailed to: HCSS League, PO Box 411, Etowah, NC 28729 . Dues will also be collected at the fields by the League Treasurer. There is a $ 5.00 penalty fee for a payment received after May 1.

4. To remain a Member in Good Standing, and eligible to participate in the League, dues payment must be received no later than June 1.

5. The membership fee for new members joining after the State Finals in Raleigh is reduced to $ 25.00 for the remainder of the season.

6. No refund will be given after the player participates on a scheduled play date. (after the trial period for New Members)

New prospective members may play with no charge for two weeks. After that trial period, the dues are payable, The Application Form must be filled out, and The Liability Waiver must be signed.

7. The membership fee entitles a member to play all regular Tuesday and Friday play dates. The fee does not guarantee participation in Special, Tournament, or Raleigh games, where full participation is impossible due to the limited number of playing slots.

8. The membership fee also entitles each member to a League shirt, and /or, a hat.

9. There may be an extra fee for registration and other expenses pertaining to Special and Tournament Teams, such as food catering. Some of the expenses may be paid by the funds received from League Sponsors. Expenses not paid by League sponsor funds will be paid by the individual Member/ Players.

10. Special / Tournament Team Managers are responsible for collecting fees pertaining to Special/Tournament Games and submitting them, along with any other required form(s), to the requesting organization.

11. At the time of registration, all new players will be required to provide proof of age to the Treasurer, or other League Officer registering them. All players must be at least fifty years old by Dec. 31st of the current year.

C. Election and Responsibilities of League Officers

1. The League Officers are, in rank order: President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary.

Each League Officer is a volunteer elected by a majority vote of voting League Members.

The League Officers for the following year will be elected by League Members present at a well publicized Tuesday/Friday play day, after the State Seniors Tournament, and preferably before the Annual League Banquet. This written or verbal– (if unopposed) vote will be conducted by the end of September of each year. The date of the election will be announced at least one month in advance to give every member enough notice of opportunity to run for an Office, or to vote in the election. The newly elected League Officers’ terms begin on October First of each year.

The League President may appoint a member to fill an Officer vacancy that may occur during the season. All League decisions will be decided by a simple majority vote of the League Officers with the League President being the tie breaker.

2. The primary responsibilities of the League Officers are described below:

a. President:

1. Oversees all administrative and operational functions of the League.

2. Makes day to day operational decisions within the Rules and By-Laws of the

League.

3. Coordinates League functions with the Henderson County Parks and Recreation Dept.

4. Selects players to assist in helping with field equipment, game set up, and other League activities.

5. Coordinates Special Game and Tournament scheduling with other teams.

6. Arranges and organizes the Hendersonville Tournament, and annual League Banquet.

7. Determines the number of teams participating in the Raleigh Senior Tournament, and their age brackets. Secures a suitable hotel for players while in Raleigh. Makes sure all Raleigh team fees are paid.

8. Secures and communicates with League Sponsors. Promotes sponsors through various media outlets.

9. Approves player/ candidates for Officer positions, and conducts annual voting for Officer positions.

10. Selects Team Managers and Umpires.

11. Assists other League Officers with the performance of their duties if needed.

b. Vice President:

1. Provides input to the President.

2. Accepts inputs from any League member pertaining to the League Organization, or Playing Rules

3. Resides over the League– with the full authority and responsibility of the League President, upon the President’s direction, absence, or incapacitation.

c. Treasurer:

1. Manages the financial account(s) of the HCSS League.

2. Disburses funds for League operations as approved by the President.

3. Deposits funds received from player’s dues, tournament fees, and sponsor donations.

4. Prepares an annual budget.

d. Secretary:

1. Records minutes of all League meetings.

2. Receivesand maintains player applications.

3. Keeps records of, and distributes players’ new uniform shirts and hats.

4. Maintains player data base, with all contact information.

5. Maintains copies of this document for records and distribution.

6. Assists the President with other record keeping duties.

D. Responsibilities of Other Volunteers

1. In order for the League to function efficiently, other volunteer positions may need to be filled by willing players assigned by the League President. Such volunteer positions and related responsibilities are listed below. Players wishing to volunteer should do so directly to the President.

a. Tuesday/ Friday Team Manager: Manages a Tuesday/Friday team.

b. Special or Tournament Team Manager: Manage and coach Special Teams.

c. Umpire: Officiate game.

d. Equipment Manager: Maintain and store all League equipment.

e. Special Functions Manager: Assist with planning and preparation for any special League functions.

f. League Photographer: Take League member photos, as well as action photos in Special games and Tournaments.

g. Public Relations Liaison: Secure sponsors to support the League with monetary and material support. Keep sponsors updated on League activities, and provide news inputs concerning League activities to news media outlets. 

h. “Health and Welfare” Coordinator: Receives and disburses information to the League Members ( by notifying the League President ) regarding serious illnesses or deaths of members or their families. Sends appropriate cards on the League’s behalf.

i. Appeals Committee: Will hear appeals from players who have been disciplined for Code of Ethics violations. Three volunteers approved by the League President will serve on the committee.

2. All Team Managers will be volunteers approved by the League President.

3. Any League member may talk with any League Officer about concerns or ideas pertaining to the League.

E. Team Assignment

1. Tuesday/Friday Team:

a. A Tuesday/Friday team will consist of players selected by the assigned Team Managers. Teams will be arranged so that all League Members In Good Standing present, will get to play every inning, even if this means that there will be extra players on the field, or in the batting lineups.b. Team players will be selected within age brackets when possible; with the players picked so the

teams will be as equally competitive as possible.

c. The method of choosing team players will be as follows:

The League Officer in charge will determine the number of teams playing, and then assign the Team Managers. Each Team Manager will select players from the pool of total players present according to the Consecutive Pick Method outlined below. This method assures fairness and equality in each of the team’s selections, and thus makes for more competitive play. The manager’s selections are not made in the player’s presence, thus avoiding the possibility of hurt feelings.

The numbers represent the order of the player selections by each Team Manager.

a. Two Teams; 24 Total Players

Red Team: 1, 4, 5, 8, 9, 12, 13, 16, 17, 20, 21, 24

Blue Team: 2, 3, 6, 7, 10, 11, 14, 15, 18, 19, 22, 23

b.Three Teams; 36 Total Players (or three short teams, w/ 15 Total Players)

Red Team: 1, 6. 7, 12, 13, 18, 19, 24, 25, 30, 31, 36   

Blue Team: 2, 5, 8, 11, 14, 17, 20, 23, 26, 29, 32, 35

Green Team: 3, 4, 9, 10, 15, 16, 21, 22, 27, 28, 33, 34

 e. Once the player selection has been completed; any late arrivals will be assigned to teams as follows: The first late player will go on the “short” team, or on the Red Team if all teams are even in players. The next late player will go on the Blue Team, and the next on the Green team if playing three teams. ( Exception to above: If needed to keep teams competitive, late players may be assigned to any team as long as all team managers are in agreement.)

f. When players have to leave after the first game is completed, and this leaves one team two or more players short, or unable to field the minimum nine players; the full team will supply one or more players to play offense and defense for the short team, so as to keep both teams as competitive as possible for the second game. The players switched to the other team must ( if available), be from the same age brackets as the players that left the team short. This will be worked out between the two Team Managers so as to be as fair as possible to both teams.

g. If a team is only one player short of the full team, then the full team will supply one “defensive only” player make the teams even. (player and position played, agreed to by Team Mgrs.)

h. If by players leaving, this causes both teams to be short the minimum number of defensive players, (nine), then the second game will be re-formatted into a “three short team” type of game.

i. If a player from the batting team, who is filling in and playing a “defensive only” position for the defensive team, (team in the field), fails to make a play, by committing a “mental error”, or “judgment lapse”; such as failing to properly cover a base; that allows a runner to advance a base, and to be “safe”, who otherwise would have not been able to advance or be almost certainly “out”: the Runner will then be called “Out”.

This does not apply to physical errors committed while the play was attempting to be made.

Note: any problems in the team selection process will be handled and settled by the League President, or ranking League Officer present.

2. Special Games.

a. Special Games are those played against teams in other leagues, or from different areas. A schedule of all Special Games for the year will be sent out to all League members, and be posted at the fields.

b. Players wanting to play in any Special Game will put their names on the Game Sign-

Up sheets that are posted at the fields. The sheets are posted approximately two weeks prior to the games. Upcoming Special Games are also announced via E-mail for the week ahead.

c. Team Managers have full authority and responsibility to select the players they determine will be best for the team. If more players are signed up then are necessary, or can be accommodated for a game, it may mean that some will not get to play.

 d. It is the responsibility of each player signed up to inquire of the Team Manager about his playing status before going to the game. Although managers would like to play everyone signed up, it is not always possible.

e. The player selections by the Team Managers may not be appealed to any League Officer, unless it can be proven that they were made with consideration or bias, and not on a player’s ability, or without regard to roster openings.

f. Players selected for Special, Tournament, or Raleigh teams, must be HCSS League members in good standing. The only exception to this will be if any team does not have enough players from among League Members to field a team In that case only, a team may have Non-League players ( Ringers) on its roster, as approved by the League President.

Note: Non-League players who have played with us in previous consecutive years are “Grand-fathered” into our League, and may continue to play with us. However, since they do not pay League dues, they are responsible to pay their share of any Tournament/ Raleigh fees that have been paid for by the League, for its members.

g. Although winning is desirable, the primary goal of the HCSS League is to provide playing opportunities to as many of our members as is possible. The use of outside players or “ringers”, that would deny, or limit this opportunity for some of our players, is not within that goal, and therefore will not be allowed. (except as noted above)

h. Players that are signed up to play in any Special or Tournament Game, that, for whatever reason cannot make the game, must notify the Team Manager as soon as possible before the game date.

i. A player’s dissatisfaction with Special Team selections, or with any rule or provision as stated in these By-Laws, or any complaint about field conditions, or any other League issue; is Not to be taken up with the Administration or Staff of The Henderson County Parks and Recreation Department. Any complaint should only be made to The President, or other Officer of this League, upon which it will be properly dealt with.

g. It is, and always has been the goal of the HCSS League to have everyone that wants to play, to be able to do so. However, with the many members we have, and the limited number that can be on a Special/Tournament Team, it is logistically impossible for everyone to be able to.

F. League Promotion

1. In order for the HCSSL to thrive and grow, each player is encouraged to promote the League and recruit new players. All men and women are welcome, age fifty and up. A player’s age is determined by his age as of December 31 of the current year. This applies also to his team age bracket in Special Games, and tournaments, and at the Raleigh Senior Games.

G. Tuesday/Friday Guest Participation, Trial Period.

1. Any individual, age fiftyor over, may participate in Tuesday/Friday games as a guest of the League . A guest is considered to be a guest for two weeks. This two week period is also a trial period for perspective new players, after which the new player will be required to pay the League Dues. Any trial or guest play after two weeks will require special permission from the League President.

H. Tuesday/Friday Play

1. Code of Ethics, and Disciplinary Procedure:

Any profanity, verbal abuse, physical threats, combative physical altercation, will be addressed by the League Officers, and appropriate action will be taken, including a warning, suspension, or dismissal from the League.

The player affected has a right to appeal the decision to the Appeals Committee.

2. The League will abide by the playing rules specified by The Amateur Softball Association and The Senior Softball USA Association, except as modified, and included herein:

3. Games will be played twice a week on Tuesdays and Fridays, with batting practice starting at 9:30 AM. This schedule may be changed due to weather or other unforeseen conditions. If the schedule is changed, efforts will be made to inform all the players.

4. The official season start date is at the beginning of Spring, by March 21st. However Winter play will have been happening on a random basis, weather permitting.

5. All players should attempt to attend as regularly as possible. Players must make every effort to arrive on time and stay until games are completed. Players that are going to be late, or have to leave early should notify the League President ahead of time. This will help the team coaches in their player selection so as to keep the teams competitive.

6. Official Season end date is December 1st, however Winter play will continue as long as fields are playable and weather permits.

7. All players who come to play will be given the opportunity to play every inning of each game; even if this means having extra players on the field, and in the batting lineups.

8. Two, seven inning games are normally played. ( some game formats—three teams— may have fewer than seven innings). Games may be shortened due to weather conditions; players having to leave the game due to injuries; fatigue, or other valid reasons. Game formats, the number of teams playing, the number of innings played, or whether to play two consecutive offensive and defensive innings; will be decided : ( with advice from Team Coaches) by the League President, or ranking League Officer present.

9. The League President may direct umpires to call only Strikes if he feels that windy, or wet conditions are having a discernible effect on both pitchers.

10. Umpires for Tuesday/Friday play are volunteers. All calls will stand, unless the Coaches and the majority of players on both teams agree that the call was missed. Mistakes in rule interpretations, however, are causes for call reversals, as determined by the League President.

I. Rules of Tuesday/ Friday Play

1. A Strike Mat will be used in conjunction with Home Plate. All legally pitched balls that hit the mat, or any part of Home plate will be called Strikes.

2. A Double Base is used at First Base with the outer portion of the base,( usually colored orange) being in foul territory. The defensive First Baseman must use the inner (fair–white) portion of the base, and the Batter-Runner must use the outer (colored) part of the base. However,when no play is being made at First Base, the Batter-Runner may use any portion of the base..

If coming back to First Base, or tagging up, the runner must use the inner–white part of the base.

3. A Commitment Line shall be marked perpendicular to the foul line and placed twenty feet from Home Plate. Once Runner’s foot touches the ground on or past the Commitment Line, the Runner may not return, to third base but must continue on to the scoring plate. If after crossing the Commitment Line, a Runner stops, and returns across it, he will be called Out.

4. The Scoring Plate is placed eight feet from the back tip of Home Plate, in a straight line with First Base. The Scoring Plate is to be used by the Runner only. The defense can only get the Runner out by touching Home Plate, while in possession of the ball. If the Runner touches Home Plate, he is Out.

5. All the plays at Home Plate are Force Plays. The Runner from Third Base is Out, if having passed the Commitment Line, the catcher, or other defensive player has possession of the ball while touching *Home Plate before the Runner touches the Scoring Plate. *The Strike Mat is part of Home Plate.

6. The pitcher’s box shall be a box (not marked out) the width of the pitching rubber extending six feet from the Home Plate side of the rubber towards Second Base for a total of fifty six feet from the back of Home Plate. The ball may be delivered from anywhere within the box, with both feet being in the box at the beginning of the delivery.

7.. The pitched ball shall be delivered with a perceptible arc no higher than twelve feet, nor lower than six feet from the ground. Any deviation from this is an Illegal Pitch, which will be a Ball on the batter, providing he does not swing at it.

The batter may swing at an Illegal Pitch; if he misses it, a Strike is called. A hit ball will be in play as from a normal pitch.

8. Sliding will be allowed at Second and Third base. Sliding is also allowed when returning to First Base. The Runner is not allowed to slide or dive into the Scoring Plate, nor as a Batter-Runner initially going to First Base.

9. An Over-run Rule shall be in effect for Second and Third Base. The Runner shall be considered safe so long as he turns to the right after passing the base. Any attempt to advance to the next base, or decoy the fielder, cancels the Over-run Rule, and the Runner is liable to be tagged out. The Batter-Runner may turn either left or right after passing First Base, but is liable to be tagged out on any attempt to continue to Second Base.

(Umpire Judgment)

a. Avoiding Collisions:Base Runners must make every effort to avoid colliding with defensive players.

Runners shall be called Out–”Interference”, for contact with any defensive player who is in the act of making a play on a batted or thrown ball, or who is about to throw a ball to another fielder; providing that, in the Umpire’s judgment, the contact was deliberate, or the Runner could reasonably have been expected to minimize or avoid contact under the circumstances, and failed to do so.

A Batter-Runner running to First Base must run to the outer orange portion of the double base, and has the responsibility to avoid a collision with the First Baseman who is in the act of fielding a batted ball, or receiving a thrown ball from another fielder; even if this means running to the right of the orange portion of the base, and not touching it.

If no play is being made to First Base, however; the Batter-Runner may touch either portion of the base, and the First Baseman must get out of the way of the Batter-Runner, or be called on “Obstruction”. An Obstruction call could award the Batter-Runner with Second Base, if he intended to advance, and in the Umpire’s judgment would otherwise have made it.

If by avoiding a collision, a Runner fails to touch the base he is running towards, the Umpire may call him safe. (Umpire Judgment) \

10. Tagging of runners is allowed, except between the Commitment Line and the Scoring Plate.

11. Metal cleats are not allowed.

12. Courtesy Runners may be used if on the roster. Courtesy Runners may be used at any time; however, the same Courtesy Runner may not be used twice in an inning. (this does not apply at a 70+ age bracketed game, where unlimited Courtesy Runners are allowed.)

Note: Although consideration should be given to the game situation and the manager’s request: On any Tuesday/ Friday Game, any base runner may choose to run for himself, and refuse a Courtesy Runner. (does not apply to any Special or Tournament game where the team manager solely decides if a Runner is to be replaced with a Courtesy Runner.)

13. A Substitute Runner may be used from Home Plate, for a batter who has a medical condition, or an ailment that prevents him from running. The Substitute Runner must be on the team roster. The use of a Substitute Runner must be approved by both Team Managers.

The Substitute Runner must start from behind the catcher, in a straight line with the pitcher.

14. There is a Five Run Limit per inning with unlimited runs allowed in the last inning. After the batting team has scored five runs, it will cease batting, and return to the field.

Catch Up Exception”: If the batting team is still five or more runs behind after scoring five runs, it may continue to bat until it is within five runs, or three outs are made.

Note: a team would have to be eleven or more runs behind at the start of an inning for this to apply.

15. Flip Flop Rule: The purpose of this rule is to save time, by preventing the Visiting Team from accumulating additional runs in the top of the last inning; when it already has a ten or more run lead.

The rule states: “ If the Visiting Team is ahead by ten runs or more after six complete innings of play; (or the next to the last inning in a shortened game) the Home Team will remain at bat for the seventh, (or last inning) . If the Home Team fails to tie, or go ahead, then the game is over, and the Visiting Team wins. If the Home Team ties or goes ahead, then the Visiting Team will bat. If they fail to tie, or go ahead, the game is over.”

16. Home Run Rule: There will be unlimited over-the fence home runs.

17. 80 Year Old Rule: If a batter , age eighty or above, hits a ball, not touched by an infielder, and the ball hits the ground in the outfield , either as a fly ball or grounder, the Batter-Runner may not be thrown out at First Base. Any runners that are on base at the time may advance at the risk of being forced out, or tagged out.

 

18. Bat Rule:/ Ball. Knowing and accepting the fact that not all bats are created equal, the League Officers reserve the right to exclude (ban) any bat which would give an unfair advantage to individual players; or which are deemed to be unsafe for defensive players. This exclusion (ban) will apply to all bats of the same brand/model for all teams and players.

These exclusions can occur at any time during a season.

a. As stated in the SSUSA Rule Book, players may use SSUSA ( Senior Softball approved bats. ( All bats marked “1.21 bpf” or less) SSUSA approved, or ASA approved.

b. Players who are found using an Illegal, or Altered bat will be called Out, with no advance of runners. Subsequent violations will result in action by the League Officers that could result in a suspension period for the offending player.

c. The ball used in League Play will be an ASA Approved Optic Yellow, 12” ball with a Cor of .44, and a Compression Rating of no more than 375 psi.

19. Use of Pitching Screen: Due to the danger the pitcher faces, ie. being so close to thebatter, with very little time to react to hard hit line drives; in the interest of Safety; effective as ofthe 2014 season, the HCSS League will use a Pitching Screen at all games played in Jackson Park. This will apply to both Tuesday/Friday Games, and Special and Tournament Games. Any team refusing to use the Pitching Screen when one is available, will take a forfeited loss score of 7-0.

The approved screen will be placed parallel to, and approximately four to six feet in front of the pitching rubber. The right edge of the pitching screen must be approximately on a straight line with the left edge of the pitching rubber. ( for right hand pitchers)

For left-handed pitchers, the screen will be placed on the right side of the pitching rubber in the same manner, but even with the right edge of the pitching rubber.

The pitching screen is provided solely for the protection of the pitcher. It is incumbent upon the pitcher to use the screen properly ( retreating behind it when necessary ) to prevent injury. Any resulting injury to the pitcher due to his failure to use the screen properly will be his sole responsibility, and not the responsibility of the Henderson County Senior Softball League, or its officers.

Batted balls that strike any part of the Pitching Screen are Dead Ball Strikes. Batted balls that strike the screen after the batter has two strikes ,are just Dead Balls. The batter remains at bat with no change in the ball/ strike count. There is no runner advance on any batted ball striking the Pitching Screen. Any thrown ball striking the Pitching Screen remains in play, and the runners may advance at their own risk.

The screen is also required for batting practice.

Henderson County Senior Softball League Articles of Association

1. The name of this association: Henderson County Senior Softball League

2. Purpose of this association: To provide a means for persons over the age of 50 to engage in the game of softball.

3. Association Officers: For the purpose of accountability this Association shall have a minimum of two officers.

4. Association Members: This Association will be open to all persons who meet the age requirement regardless of race or gender.

5. Liability: The liability of the officers of this Association for monetary damages shall be eliminated to the fullest extent permissible under (State) law.

6. Indemnifications: The Association indemnifies the officers of the Association to the fullest extent of the (State) law.