The Vermont Principals Association
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Softball Guide 2024

1. Season

  • Softball has been defined as a spring sport.  Therefore, the season will open March 25, 2023 and conclude the second Saturday in June (June 9/10). 

2. Important Dates

1st date to practiceMarch 25,2024
1st date to playApril 8, 2024
Last date to playJune 1, 2024
Applications DueJune 2, 2024
Pairings PostedJune 3, 2024
PlaydownsJune 4/5, 2024
QuarterfinalsJune 7/8, 2024
Semi-FinalsJune 10/11, 2024
State Finals: CastletonJune 14/15, 2024

3. Max Games

  • The maximum number of games is sixteen for the spring season. 

4. 12 Run Rule

A 12 run rule is implemented.

NFHS Rules Updates:

1-8-6:  Permits electronic information to be transmitted to the dugout from anywhere outside of live ball area.

3-2-3:  Beginning January 1, 2027, uniforms may only bear a single manufacturer’s logo, school name, school logo, mascot and/or the participant’s name. Advertisements, messages, team slogans, etc., will no longer be permitted.
3-2-5: Removes the color restriction for headbands and ribbons.
3-2-7: Defines where a wristband with a playbook/playcard may be worn. If worn by the pitcher, the wristband with a playbook/playcard must be worn on the non-pitching wrist or arm.

4-2-7, 10-2-3e, h: The umpire may call (end) a game if playing conditions in or around the facility become unacceptable to safely continue the game.

6-1-2c, 2-47: The pitcher may now have both feet off the ground at the same time as long as both feet remain within the 24-inch width of the pitching plate and the pitcher does not replant the pivot foot. A definition for a replant was added.

6-2-2: Pitchers can only use dirt, powdered rosin or comparable drying agents that are listed on the USA Softball’s certified equipment webpage to dry the hand.

Points of Emphasis:

  1. Game Management
  2. Unacceptable Conditions
  3. Unreported vs. Illegal Substitutions
  4. Pitching Mechanics: Replant   


  1. The official rules will be the current National Federation FastPitch Softball Rules with the following exceptions:
    1. The V.P.A. Softball Committee has adopted the Federation rule that allows adult coaches in the coaching boxes, if they so desire. *Emphasis on coach’s clothing (proper attire) See Rule 3, Sec. 5, Page 37. NOTE- No jeans or denim of any color are allowed. 
    2. A varsity game will end after five innings, or thereafter, when a team is behind by 12 runs, and has completed its term at bat, or the home team is ahead.  (See rule 4-2-3).
    3. If a game is called prior to the completion of any full inning, after the fifth inning, the game becomes suspended game, provided the visiting team has scored one or more runs to  tie the score or take the lead.
    4. A regulation called game shall end in a tie, (if the score is tied) if the game has gone five complete Innings.
    5. Any interrupted game, with under five completed innings will be treated as a suspended game according to Federation rules. Games will be picked up at the point of interruption.
    6. If an interrupted game has not been played for five complete innings, the  coach of the losing team may elect not to resume play at a later date and the existing score will be the official results.
    7. By state adoption the optic yellow ball must be used, home teams’ choice
    8.  A double first base must be used
    9. The Dudley optic yellow ball with a poly core will be used in all Tournament games, as well as a double first base
    10. An athlete who exhibits symptoms of a concussion is to be removed from the game and must be cleared by an appropriate licensed medical professional as designated by the home school before they may return.
    11. One defensive coach is allowed to be outside the dugout on the field of play. They must be in close proximity to the dugout at the discretion of the umpire.


  1. Suitable Field
  • The basic criteria for a suitable field are as follows: level, drained, clean baselines, back stop with no unusual dimensions, properly marked, standard dimensions.
  1. Protest
  • In the event a protest is upheld, umpire fees and expenses for replayed game shall be paid by the home team.
  1. Certified Officials
  • ONLY UMPIRES certified by the Vermont High School Softball Umpires Association (VHSSUA))will be eligible to do varsity games.To become certified, umpires must attend a Federation Interpretation Clinic. To become certified umpires must satisfy the requirements of the VHSSUA. The requirements and the clinic dates are listed on the VHSSUA website
  1. Ground rules:
  1. Line up cards
  • The line-up card must include the name of the replacement coach for each team and the first name and last name of the players  
  1. Equipment
  • The catcher’s helmet and mask combination shall meet the NOCSAE standard. The bats must be ASA approved with permanent ASA approved certification mark (2000 or 2004)
  1. Ejections:
  • Teams receiving two or more ejections in a season must meet with the Activities Standards Committee before being allowed or to continue in the tournament.
  1. Coaching Certifications
  • All coaches must complete the NFHS Coaches Education, the NFHS implicit bias course and NFHS Concussion  Education Program. (Concussion Education required before practice starts). First year coaches have one year to complete this requirement, but must complete the concussion education before your first practice. AED/CPR training will be required effective Fall 2016.
  1. Sub Varsity Games
  • Sub-varsity games may be played with a time limit if mutually agreed upon by the teams prior to the beginning of the game.
  1. Double Headers
  •  Regular season double headers must be 7 innings in length.
  1. Rescheduled Game Double Header
  • A rescheduled game, that results in a double header, will be a 5 inning game if both schools agree. 


TOURNAMENT PLAY (there will be an “open tournament” for 2023)

  1. The VPA softball committee will establish the playing dates for the tournament.
1st date to practiceMarch 25,2024
1st date to playApril 8, 2024
Last date to playJune 1, 2024
Applications DueJune 2, 2024
Pairings PostedJune 3, 2024
PlaydownsJune 4/5, 2024
QuarterfinalsJune 7/8, 2024
Semi-FinalsJune 10/11, 2024
State FinalsJune14/15, 2024
  1. Infield Practice
  • Practice time on the infield will be limited to 20 minutes per team before game time.
  1.  Final Tournament Site
  • Finals tournament site will be at Castleton University 

4. Allow Personnel:

  • The total allowable number of personnel at tournament time will be 24.  This will include 

    players, coaches, scorers, etc. 

5. Play Down Locations: 

  • All tournament games through the semi-finals will be played on the field of the higher seeded team. If the V.P.A. Softball Committee identifies a field as unsuitable, the seeding committee will approve a suitable field. The Committee has asked the umpires association  for their input on field safety and suitability for tournament play.

6. Officials for Final

  • Four officials will be assigned to each final, and paid by the VPA office.

7.  Host Site

  • The host school, or the one agreeing to host the playoff, will be responsible for crowd control and for paying the officials.The areas around the benches and the backstop are restricted, and spectators are not permitted in these areas.

8. Innings:

All tournament games will be a minimum of seven innings; 


            a.  If the game is an interrupted game the coach of the team losing may elect  

not to resume play at a later date and the existing score will be the official results.

9. 12 Run Rule in Playoffs:

  • The 12-run rule is in effect up until the quarterfinals. From the quarterfinal through the finals the 12-run rule is waived.