GHSA SOFTBALL WEEKLY BLAST #1 (Pre-Season)
SPORTSMANSHIP - The NFHS is concerned that unsporting behavior in education-based athletics has increased across all sports. As a result, the NFHS has made sportsmanship the No. 1 Point of Emphasis for the 2022-23 school year. Sportsmanship, or good sporting behavior, is about treating one another with respect and exhibiting appropriate behavior. It is about being fair, honest and caring. When these types of appropriate behavior occur, competitive play is more enjoyable for everyone. Coaches set the tone at athletic contests with their display of sportsmanship. If these individuals act in a sportsmanlike manner, their behavior sets the tone for players, spectators and others. If coaches, however, are complaining constantly about the decision of contest officials, spectators are more likely to do the same. There must be a collaborative, working relationship between contest officials and game administration to promote good sportsmanship and safely conduct the contest. Everyone has their roles to play in creating a positive, sportsmanlike atmosphere at contests. Officials should focus on the actions of players, coaches and other bench/sideline personnel. A positive, open line of communication between officials and coaches ultimately results in a better contest for everyone involved. Contest officials, however, should never engage with spectators who are exhibiting unsporting behavior. Once the contest begins, school administration is responsible for dealing with unruly spectators. A proactive approach by school administration includes monitoring the behavior of spectators and intervening as needed. If spectators are using demeaning or profane language at officials – or at others in the stands – those individuals should be removed from the contest by school administration. In recent years, a heightened level of unsportsmanlike behavior has been occurring by spectators at high school sporting events, and it must be stopped. The use of demeaning language, or hate speech, by students, parents and other fans must cease. High school sports and other activities exist to lift people up, not demean or tear people down. The goal is to treat everyone fairly and treat each other with respect. Any speech or harassment that is insulting, demeaning or hurtful will not be tolerated. High schools must establish a culture that values the worth of every single person – both players on the school’s team and players on the opposing team. There must be a no-tolerance policy regarding behavior that shows disrespect for another individual.
BEADS IN HAIR – Beads may be worn if they are gathered closely and each strand is not swinging loosely to prevent contact with another player. If the beaded hair does not appear to be safely gathered, umpires merely need to ask the coach to have player do so.
ARTIFICIAL NOISE MAKERS IN DUGOUT - GHSA policy prohibits the use of “artificial noise makers” in the dugout and on the field of play. Banging on buckets with any item that is not part of the game is NOT permitted. NOTE: hands, bats, balls are items that are part of the game and are allowed. Drum sticks, air horns, etc. are not permissible.
HUDDLES – Teams are not allowed to huddle on the playing field between innings. This is a safety issue. When recognized, for the 1st violation the head coach will receive a “warning”. The coach will be restricted to the dugout for a 2nd violation.
PITCHING – Pitchers shall step on the pitcher’s plate with their hands separated and SHALL take or simulate taking a sin from the catcher. Failure to do so will result in an illegal pitch being called.
DAMAGED BAT – A damaged bat is one that could deface the ball and the bat shall be removed when initially detected without penalty. If a batter is detected using a damaged bat after it has been previously removed from the game, the batter is out and the player and the coach are restricted to the dugout.
RUNNING LANE – The 3-foot running lane begins 30 feet from home plate. When the batter-runner reaches the running lane, she MUST use it. She may run outside the running lane to avoid a fielder attempting to field a batted ball. The batter-runner is considered outside the running lane if either foot is completely outside the lane and on the ground. It is interference if she is outside the running lane and, in the umpire’s judgement, interferes with the fielder taking the throw at first base. There MUST be a throw for interference to be called.
EXTRA INNING TIE-BREAKERS – Since there are no longer Power Rankings, the implementation of the “tie-breaker” policy is not mandatory. As such, games may end in a tie. But, if the “tie-breaker” policy is to be used it must be communicated during the pregame home plate meeting with the umpires and may only start in the top of the 10th inning.
TIE GAMES – It is a region-by-region decision to allow, or not allow, games to end in a “tie”. But, that decision whether it is a region game or not shall be communicated to the umpires at the pregame meeting at home plate.
FIELD MARKINGS – It is the responsibility of the “host school” to ensure are properly marked, including the 3-foot running lane, in accordance to NFHS rules. If the field is not properly marked the umpires should contact the game manager, or head coach, when conducting the pregame field walkthrough. If the field is not properly marked, and cannot be done so prior to the start of the game, the umpires shall submit a “Game Report” to the GHSA Office.
MEDIA TIMEOUTS – A reminder that the short “Media Timeout” update will be aired on the GHSA website each Wednesday throughout the season beginning August 17. Coaches and umpires are encouraged to send me items to cover.
Good Fortune this season!