- 2019 OTHG Rules -


    1. AGE – Player’s minimum age, 40 yrs old, reached anytime during playing year

    2. RESIDENCY – All new players need to be either Town of Oyster Bay or Farmingdale (Nassau or Suffolk) residents or have graduated from a Town of Oyster Bay High School (2017)

    3. ELIGIBILITY – Established player maintains eligibility if he relocates outside of above locations


    1. Pre-Season rosters are mandated to be established at 16 players

      1. If the roster vacancy occurs AFTER the draft was completed but prior to the start of the season, the team is required to fill the roster position and the replacement player will be drafted from the pool of available players established by the OTHG Board

        1. Players must have been registered prior to the draft

        2. The draft method (“Preferential” or “Lottery Hat” selection) will be dependent on how the player was originally selected or what is available to the team ("Preferential" if none was selected during the draft otherwise replacement will be via a "Lottery Hat" pick)

        3. Preferential will only be from those left that came to the tryouts (2014)

        4. Lottery Hat will be from anybody left in the hat as of the evening of the draft (2014) and not those that sign up afterwards

      2. Vacancies that occur after the season has started, the team has the option of filling with a “Replacement Player” (2014)

        1. For all “In Season” replacements, the team has to lose a minimum of three (3) players (IR/Quit) for a total of thirteen (13) active players before becoming eligible to select a replacement player

        2. Drafts will occur on the 4th, 8th and 12th GAMES (not weeks) of the season

        3. The draft will take place at the park and all teams will be given prior notice to allow a team member to attend

        4. A minimum of three (3) players must be in the “replacement pool” before a team can select a player

        5.  Selection will be via a “blind hat pick”

      3. OTHG Board reserves the right to handle emergency roster/draft situations


    1. RESERVE/INACTIVE PLAYER”  – player who becomes inactive due to health or personal reasons but maintains his permanent roster spot

      1. Two consecutive years is maximum limit for being on “Reserve Player” status to maintain his permanent roster spot

      2. If the player doesn’t return to the active roster within the two (2) year limit, that player must re-enter league via the draft

      3. If placed on “Reserve Status” prior to or during the season, said player CANNOT return to the active roster during that calendar year (including tournament games). He has to wait until the ensuing season to be reinstated to the active roster (2005)

    2. REPLACEMENT PLAYER” (via pre-season draft) – replacement of an active roster player that went onto “RESERVE/INACTIVE PLAYER” list prior to the season starting

      1. Each “Replacement Player” will have their placement date and draft round recorded to determine seniority among the team’s Replacement Player(s)

      2. If more than one “Replacement Player” is on a roster and any “Reserve Player” returns to the active roster, the “Replacement Player” with the least seniority is the first player bumped off the active roster and the more senior “Replacement Player” retains his roster spot (last on – first off)

      3. If a “Replacement Player” is being “bumped” off the roster, he has the option to either return to the draft or wait up to two (2) years for a vacancy to occur for that team

      4. Permanent status can occur if a permanent vacancy occurs on current roster (team does NOT have option of denying the replacement player a roster spot if a vacancy exists)

      5. In Season Replacement Player (2014)

        1. Any replacement player selected by any team on/or prior to the 8th game of the season can attain permanent status on the team roster.

        2. Any replacement player selected by the team after the eighth (8) game cannot become a permanent player on that team’s roster and must return to the ensuing year’s draft pool in order to be eligible to play in the OTHG league


      1. Trades

        1. No trades are permitted for current roster players (2018)

      2. Roster Player Removal

        1. Removal of a player from current roster by the team for disciplinary reasons (absenteeism, behavioral, etc.) requires OTHG Board approval

        2. Player notification done directly, regular mail or e-mail notification not permitted


    1. DRAFT ORDER – Reverse order of final combined divisional standings (based on winning percentages)


      1. "Free Agent" Round - Teams seeded 7 through 12 of the previous year are eligible to "sign" a player of their choosing that meets the residency requirement (2017)

        1. These teams may utilize a Free Agent or default to a Preferential Pick

        2. Free agent player must register in person prior to the night of the draft

        3. Free agent does not have to attend the tryout/evaluation

      2. "Preferential” Round – initial pick is a known selection from the pool of eligible candidates as established by the OTHG Board

        1. Candidates need to have participated in the league tryouts/evaluation to be eligible (2013)

        2. Preferential Round will be held within two weeks of the tryouts/evaluation (2017)

      3. "Lottery Hat” Pick Rounds

        1. Subsequent draft picks, if needed, will be “blind” selections

        2. “Bumped” and “Re-registrants” (those not drafted the previous year) will have their name placed in the “Lottery Hat” pool twice to increase their chances of being drafted (2005)


      1. New Players

        1. From yearly registration

        2. Registration dates and methods to be established by OTHG President

        3. The Draft Pool is considered closed for (2013)
          1. Preferential Picks: w/ registration allowed up to the day of the tryouts/evaluation (2015)

          2. Lottery Picks: w/ registration allowed up to the actual drawing of the Lottery Hat Picks

          3. Those who have participated in the OTHG pre-season tryouts/evaluations are eligible as preferential picks or subsequent “Lottery Hat” picks

          4. Those that have not participated in tryouts can only be “Lottery Hat” picks

          5. Those that register after the tryout/evaluation and before the draft will be eligible to be “Lottery Hat” picks on draft night and subsequent drafts to fill roster vacancies up to the start of the season

          6. Those that register after the draft night can only be considered for “In Season Replacement Player” drafts or for the following year’s draft

        4. Proof of identification and residency

          1. A license/photo ID is required to establish identity, age and home residence. Additional proof may be requested by the Board (2019)

      2. Re-entering OTHG Players

        1. Active roster players

          1. Documented request to re-enter the draft must be received by the OTHG President prior to January 16th of the draft year

          2. Can only be “Lottery Hat” pick and not eligible as a “Preferential” choice

          3. Manager of player requesting to re-enter draft is no longer eligible to arrange a trade (2018)

          4. If re-entering player is selected by team he is leaving, player is replaced into draft pool and team makes new “Lottery Hat” pick

        2. “Bumped Player” (“Replacement Player” returning to the draft pool) will have their name entered in the “Lottery Hat” pool twice if not a “preferential” selection (2005)

        3. Former OTHG Players

          1. Anyone who played within the past four (4) years can only be a “Lottery Hat” pick and not eligible as a “Preferential” choice


      1. “Ghost” Player – any team that pays a “returning” player’s registration knowing that said player has no intention of returning will forfeit their next “Preferential” Draft Choice (replacement via “Lottery Hat” choice) (2005)

      2. Any candidate who refuses to play for drafting team will be barred from playing in the OTHG League for a period of five (5) years. 

        1. To compensate team losing draft choice, the replacement player will be the same as the lost pick (“preferential” for a “preferential”, “Lottery Hat” pick for a “Lottery Hat” pick) from available candidates

      3. If at the tryouts the board determines that a player has purposely misrepresented themselves and their abilities, the board may deem that player ineligible for the draft. The candidate may reregister for the next season (2019)


      1. Trades only permitted between “Lottery Hat” selections

        1. No trades permitted involving “Preferential” Selections

        2. No trades permitted between current roster players (including “Reserve and Replacement players”) and any draft choice

      2. Draft Pick trades limited to “Draft Night” only

    6. TRY OUTS

      1. League wide tryouts will be held each year for Preferential Picks (2013)

      2. No team is permitted to hold their own tryouts of draft candidates


    1. Based on winning percentages - number of wins (tie equals ½ a win) divided by total of games played

      1. Tie Breakers (Under Construction for 2015 to clarify)

        1. Head-to-head

        2. 1 game playoff (to decide divisional 1st place and/or top seed ranking only, all other ties go to next tie breaker)

        3. Divisional record

        4. Coin flip


    1. Determined by combined divisions overall standings (based on winning percentage)

      1. American Division – first six teams based on best winning percentages

      2. National Division – next six teams


    1. Format determined by the OTHG Board

    2. No game protests will be entertained

    3. A player must play at least 8 games during the regular season to be considered eligible for the tournament. Eligibility is subject to review by the board (2019)


    1. The OTHG Board has the right to review any player and/or manager’s conduct

    2. Any behavior that the OTHG Board deems inappropriate (fighting, vulgar and/or abusive language, violation of the Town of Oyster Bay Park Rules (2006) etc.) will be subject to review.  In reviewing the reported behavior, the OTHG Board will acquire as much information as possible from as many sources available (managers, players umpires, witnesses, etc.)

    3. If the OTHG Board determines such behavior was founded to be inappropriate, the following sanctions will be considered against the offending individuals

      1. Warning

      2. Suspension (length to be determined by OTHG Board)

      3. Ejection from the league


    1. Quorum to conduct league business consists of four (4) OTHG Board members and League President or his designated Vice President

    2. President has veto power

    3. Rule Changes

      1. Submitted in writing including submitters name and date

      2. Submitted no later than the initial meeting of the new calendar year for ample time to review and incorporate

      3. The OTHG Board reserves the right to modify rules during the course of the season (2017)




    1. OTHG League is governed by the ASA Slow Pitch Rules

    2. All OTHG League Playing Rules supersede in-conflict ASA Rules

      1. Any rule conflicts and/or interpretations will be address by the OTHG Board

    3. Managers (or his designee) must have in their possession at all games a printed copy of the OTHG Game Rules and OTHG Ground Rules

      1. Failure of the team to have in their possession a copy of the OTHG Game Rules, the team automatically forfeits their right to contest any play/rule interpretation made by an umpire that is based on an OTHG Rule (2006)


    1. The Over the Hill Softball League only carries liability insurance


    1. Allen Park Officials have authority to cancel games at their discretion

    2. Ground Rules will be the same for each game played on that field as established by the OTHG Board

    3. Base distances are 65 ft. (2006)

    4. Pitching distance is anywhere between50-55 ft. (2006)

      1. Distance used is at the pitcher’s discretion (2006)

      2. Distance used is flexible, pitcher can change distance pitch by pitch basis (2006)

    5. Home Team’s bench is the 1st base Side

    6. A physically applied commitment line lies halfway between each base (2014)


    1. No metal cleats of any type will be permitted

      1. Violation is an automatic out of that player without any advancement of other runners

    2. All players listed in the line-up must be wearing their OTHG Uniform shirt

      1. Violation will result in game forfeiture

      2. Exception: Any new player who hasn’t received his OTHG shirt

    3. Banned Bats (2006)

      1. All bats comprised of composite material (barrel and/or handle) are banned from use in all OTHG games (2006)

        1. Violation will result in the following penalties for each offense

          1. Team forfeits game (2006)

          2. Player is suspended for the next two consecutive games

        note – “Banned Bats” are NOT based solely on any "Banned Bat“ list (2012, 2015)  that may currently be supplied by the OTHG game umpires.  Each individual player is responsible for verifying his bat’s composition and that it doesn’t violate OTHG League Rules (2006)

    4. Altered Bats (2006)

      1. Definition – when the physical structure of a legal softball bat has been changed such as inserting material inside the bat or painting a bat (to disguise a banned bat) other than at the top or bottom for identification (2006)

        1. Violation will result in the following penalties for the 1st offense

          1. Team forfeits game (2006)

          2. Player is suspended for the next six consecutive games (2006)

        2. Violation will result in the following penalties for the 2nd offense

          1. Team forfeits game (2006)

          2. Player is banned from the league (2006)



      1. 1st Game – 7:00 PM

      2. 2nd Game – 8:20 PM

      3. 3rd Game – 9:40 PM

        1. Only 1st game has 10 minute grace period before forfeit is declared


      1. No new inning may be started 1 hour and 20 minutes from the official start of the game as determined by the umpire. The 1:20 clock always starts @ 7pm regardless of the actual starting time (2007)

      2. To minimize delay - Infield, Outfield and Pitcher warm ups are allowed for first three innings only (2011 by Manager Vote)


      1. Game is terminated when a team is leading by 18 or more runs

        1. Home team winning after 6 1/2 innings

        2. Visiting team after 7 innings

        3. Home team always gets to bat in any inning visiting team reaches/exceeds mercy run limit


      1. Must field a minimum of nine players

      2. All players must be on “Active” roster (“Reserve” players are ineligible to play)

      3. Teams with 8 players may use a "Guest Player" so as not to forfeit. Teams with less than 8 players will automatically forfeit (2019)

        1. A "Guest Player" is a player from the opposing team used to fill the roster to avoid a forfeit. The opposing team can only provide a player if they have 11 or more players that evening, otherwise a forfeit is recorded

        2. The "forfeiting" team will "hat pick" a single player from a choice of three players provided by the opposing team

        3. The selected player must bat last in the lineup

        4. If during the game, a "ninth player" for the "forfeiting team" shows up, the "Guest Player" will return to his team

        5. If the "forfeiting" team falls below 9 players during the game for any reason, the game is "officially" forfeited to the opposing team

        6. If a game plays to conclusion, it is a legal game and recorded as a victory for the winning team

      4. If a forfeit is declared, the score will be recorded 9-0

      5. Penalties

        1. 1st Violation -  $100.00 team fine

          1. Paid prior to ensuing year’s registration or subject to team status being suspended by the OTHG Board

        2. 2nd Violation – team’s status to be reviewed by the OTHG Board

    5. TIE GAMES

      1. Scores are final and reflected in team’s record

    6. REGULATION AND OFFICIAL GAME RULINGS (based on ASA book rules, Sections 3 and 5)

      1. A game is considered UNOFFICIAL and must be rescheduled in its entirety if the game is called and the game has not gone beyond 4 innings

      2. A game is considered OFFICIAL if it has been called by the umpire after five (5) or more complete innings as described below

        1. Both teams have equal at bats

        2. VISITING team is WINNING and the game is called

          1. If the home team has not batted 5 FULL innings, the game is rescheduled in its entirety

          2. The score of a called regulation game (5 or more innings) shall be the score at the end of the last COMPLETE inning

            1. Visiting team loses any runs scored in the incomplete inning

        3. HOME team is WINNING or TIED  and the game is called

          1. In the bottom of the 5th or later, the score is recorded at that point

            1. The inning does NOT have to be completed

            2. The score does NOT return to the last completed inning

      3. Any extenuating situations for continuing a game not covered by the above rules must be brought to the OTHG Board before the next set of league scheduled games

      4. Final results can end in tie games

        1. There are no "Continued Games" during the regular season, only rescheduled games

        2. Some tournament rounds may allow continued games. See tournament rules as appropriate

      5. The umpire is empowered to call a game at any time because of darkness, rain, fire, panic or any other cause that places the patrons or players in peril

        1. The Town also has the authority to stop play at any time for any reason they feel necessary

      6. If a game has been rescheduled with a regularly scheduled game, the original game is completed first

        1. OTHG Board reserves the right to modify league schedules as necessary due to field permits, time, league issues, etc


    1. All players on the active roster and present must be part of the line-up and play the field (unless sick or injured)

      1. If a player declares himself unable to play (sick or injured) upon arriving to the game, he will not be allowed to enter the game at any time (2018)

    2. Only players present at the start of the game can be listed in the line-up and all late arriving players must immediately be added to the bottom of the batting order upon arrival (2018)

    3. Managers will exchange "rosters" before the start of each game. Managers are required to sign off on the opposing roster and return it to the OTHG Board after each game (2019)

    4. Players must play the field for a minimum of 4 innings in every full length game (8 ½ - 9 innings)

      1. Player must play the field every other inning from the onset of the game or the players arrival (if after the start of the game) (2014) (ie. they cannot sit out the first 5 innings and play the last 4)

      2. Penalties

        1. 1st Offense – team warning

        2. 2nd Offense – lose of team’s next occurring “preferential” draft pick

        3. 3rd Offense – team status reviewed by the OTHG Board

      3. Manager may notify umpire and opposing manager before the start of a game if a player needs to exit the game early. Other than said player being ejected from the game, the lineup will be condensed with no penalty and the player will not be allowed to reenter the game (2018)

    1. Fielders

      1. Unlimited & unrestricted (w/o violating 4 inning rule)

    2. Runners

      1. Each player can run only once per game

        1. Violation runner will be declared out (2019)


    1. ARC

      1. The ball must be delivered with a perceptible arc and reach a height of at least 6 ft. while not exceeding a maximum of 12 ft. from the ground (2018)

    2. ILLEGAL PITCH (All in ASA “Rule 6 Section 7 Effect”)

      1. The umpire shall verbally state “illegal pitch”

      2. If a batter swings at or contacts any illegal pitch, it is nullified and all play stands

      3. If the batter doesn’t swing, a ball shall be called on the batter


      1. When a legally pitched ball lands on home plate or the home plate extension mat


      1. Each at-bat starts with a 1-1 count (1 ball 1 strike)



      1. Is in effect at every base in every situation that a runner is advancing towards.  No need to tag any runner but is permitted.

    2. COMMITMENT (is based on a runner's intent to advance to the next base on a base hit, a sacrifice fly or a fielder's choice) (2013)

      1. Any base runner can be judged by the umpire to have “committed” himself to the next base

        1. To aid in that judgment, physically applied “commitment” lines exist between 1st/2nd, 2nd/3rd and 3rd/home plate (2014)

        2. BOTH feet of the runner need to PASS over the commitment line for commitment to the next base (2014)

        3. This is a judgment call by the umpires that the player has fully passed the commitment line and can't be protested

        4. Does NOT apply to a runner who is returning to retouch a base on a caught fly ball (2008)

        5. Any base runner having passed the commitment line must continue to the next base. If the base runner crosses back over the commitment line towards the previous base, a DEAD BALL is called and the runner is out. All other runners are directed back to their previous base (2017)


      1. Advancement to 2nd or 3rd base, the runner is permitted to overrun the base without risk of being put out (as long as there is no attempt to advance)

      2. There is no limit to how far past the base the runner may go

      3. There is no requirement to return to the base prior to advancing

      4. Returning to a base, the runner is not permitted to overrun that base (subject to being put out)


      1. When a runner is advancing to any base that is occupied by a fielder (i.e. positioned to receive a throw), the runner must attempt to avoid contact with the fielder

      2. The runner is permitted to run to either side of the base, if needed, to avoid contact with the fielder.  The runner is not required to touch the base in this situation 

        1. Avoidable Contact – runner is declared out

        2. Incidental Contact – no penalty (i.e. caused by fielder’s action)

      3. At any base, the runner’s foot needs to be in contact with the ground in the area of the base or on/past the home plate extension line (same as touching a base) for the umpire to determine safe or out.

      4. This is a judgment call for the umpires (can’t be protested)

    4. SLIDING

      1. Not permitted (either feet or head first) when advancing to a base

        1. Exceptions

          1. Returning to a base, permitted to go into the base head/hands first

          2. If runner tripped/fell, can reach for the base with either hand or foot

    5. 3rd STRIKE FOUL OUT (2006)

      1. Dead ball situation, runners can’t advance

      Rule rescinded, using ASA Book Rule, which allows runner to tag on 3rd strike foul fly.