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Burlington Oldtimers Slo-Pitch: BOSL Rules

BOSL RULES (Last updated, Feb 8 2024)

The following rules are specific to the League, if not covered here refer to Slo-Pitch National Official
(SPN) Rule Book for the current year. The Burlington Old Timers Slo-Pitch League has been formed for
enjoyment and participation. The purpose is to provide recreation in a setting of good sportsmanship.
The theme is to have fun.

A player must be 35 years old within the calendar year for the mens 35+ League


Consumption of alcohol on or around the ballpark is prohibited and may result in player ejection or
suspension for the balance of the season. "Tailgate" parties on city property are not permitted.

Base Running:

Singles Hitter - the single hitter is out if he tries to advance to second base. The interpretation of this
rule is the same as a runner over-running first base. This is an umpires discretion. The already-declared
singles hitter needs to announce to the umpire before each at-bat that they are a singles hitter.
When a singles hitter is awarded a walk he is NOT required to touch first base before a replacement
runner is placed on the first base bag. This rule is to speed up the play of the game and to respect the
injured singles hitter.

UPDATED Feb 8 2024
If a declared singles hitter hits a home run over the fence with players on bases.  The declared hitter will
stay on 1st base, while other players on the base get to go home and will be counted for RUNS IN.

Base runners must keep in contact with the base, and may advance only when a pitched ball is batted or
the umpire advances the runner. Lead off called on third strike will result in both the batter and the
runner called out.

Courtesy runners - Any player may request a courtesy runner once they reach a base. The replacement
runner must be the last out, if the last out is on base or next at bat then team captains will select the
next previous out.

Note: the courtesy runner must be initiated by the player and NOT the coaches.
Each pitch not hit becomes a dead ball.

Sliding is permitted at second and third bases only. The base runner will be called out for sliding at first,
home or the safe line. Exception at first... it is possible to slide if the player has already obtained first and
slides back in response to a throw.

Collisions on the bases are to be avoided; the onus is on the runner to avoid a collision. If, in the opinion
of the umpire, a collision is deliberate the player will be ejected from the game.

The runner is out if he interferes with an attempt to field the ball or with a thrown ball - Umpire

Safe Line : A line drawn in foul territory starting at the top left-hand corner of home plate perpendicular
to the third base line. A runner attempting to reach home must do so by touching the ground in foul
territory on or beyond the SAFE line. Sliding into home plate is not allowed. The runner is out if he
touches home plate whether or not a play is being made. A runner is not out if the plate is touched in an
attempt to avoid a collision.

The catcher cannot put out a runner with a tag. To record an out, the defensive player must touch home
plate with the ball in his possession before the runner crosses the safe line and touches the ground
behind home plate.

Commitment Line - A line in foul territory drawn 21 feet from the back of home plate and perpendicular
to the third base line. When a runner crosses this line by touching the ground in foul territory on or
beyond the line but does not reach home plate, he shall be called out when the ball is legally held by a
defensive player in contact with home plate. Runners, who have not crossed the line or who cross the
line but must tag up on a caught fly ball, may return to third base.

A player hitting more than a single can touch either first base bag. On an infield hit he must run to the
orange bag. Once first base is attained, only the white base is in play (the orange base no longer exists
for the purpose of base running).

Intentional chopping down on the ball is not allowed; the batter will be out automatically.
Bunting is not allowed.

The batter must remain in the batters box after "play ball" is called unless time is called.

The infield fly rule will apply.

Throwing a bat will cause a batter to be called out and possible further discipline.

If the batter fouls his third strike, he will be called out.

Only the Team Captains may question an umpire call.

Abusive language will result in player ejection.

Players making phantom calls or gestures may be ejected from the game. Players are asked to address
the umpires as Mr. Umpire or Ump.

A player ejected from a game for a first offence will miss the remainder of the game and one more. A
suspended player may be subject to further discipline depending on the situation. A second offence will
result in a disciplinary hearing and may result in further suspensions. In circumstances involving extreme
misconduct by a League member while an umpire is not present, Board members and Team Captains
have the authority to suspend players immediately until further notice.

A member of the board must be notified within 24 hours of any suspension. It will be examined by the
disciplinary committee and recommend any further actions to the board.

If a player with an obvious injury during a game cannot continue, he will not be ruled out during
subsequent at bats. However, his removal from the game must be reported to the umpire/opposing
captains at that time.

Disciplinary Procedure:
Any member of the BOSL, who in the opinion of his Co-Captains and/or the majority of the other team
Co-Captains conducts himself in a manner having little or no regard for the safety and well being of
other players or members of the BOSL.  Or conducts himself in a manner not keeping with the purpose
of the BOSL, will be subject to the leagues disciplinary process. This process may result in a short term
suspension, a long-term suspension or expulsion from BOSL. If a player, in the opinion of his Co-Captains
plays at a level unrelated to discipline that adversely affects the game and the playing experience of the
other players, that player may also be subject to the leagues disciplinary process. The procedure will be
as follows:

The Co-Captains will call a meeting with the player. Minutes of the meeting will be kept in writing. A
copy will be sent to The Disciplinary Committee.

In the event that the player’s attitude & behavior does not improve, the player and his Co-Captains will
be called to meet with the Disciplinary Committee. Minutes of the meeting will be documented. Copies
of the minutes will be distributed to Board of Directors. The player will be advised whether he will be
allowed to continue playing under probation, suspended or be expelled from the BOSL.

In the event that the player has been allowed to play under probation and his attitude &; behavior does
not improve, the player will be called to meet with the Board of Directors. Minutes of the meeting will
be documented. Copies of the minutes will be distributed to the player, Disciplinary Committee and
Board of Directors. The player will be advised whether he will be allowed to continue playing under
probation, suspended or be expelled from the BOSL.

If a player so chooses, after a minimum suspension of one year, the player may petition, in writing, the
Board of Directors to be re-instated. A decision to re-instate the player will be at the Board of Directors

As a SPN sanctioned league, we follow the USSSA Bat Certification Program which states that only bats
bearing the USSSA logo located on the taper of the bat are allowed. This logo is known as the

There are 2 USSSA thumbprints. The grandfathered USSSA 1.20 thumbprint and the new USSSA 1.15

This new bat standard was introduced to address the problem of the previous composite bats breaking
in (either naturally, or by mechanical means) to a level beyond the legal limit.

Bats must be made available for umpire inspection prior to each game. If an illegal bat is used the player
is an automatic out and the result of the play is not allowed. The bat will then be confiscated by the
umpire and not returned until the game is complete. If the same player uses another illegal bat in the
same game he is ejected from the game and will face the Disciplinary Committee. If the player uses the
same bat again, in a different game then he will be ejected from the game and face the Disciplinary

Balls (restricted flight 12", 0.40 COR) are used.

Trapper gloves will be allowed at any position.

Metal spiked shoes are not allowed. (Soccer or multi cleat rubber shoes are allowed).

Home plate will be wooden and will be 24 inches wide by 40 inches long.

A hammer for base pegs and a 65 foot rope marked for pitchers mound and bases will be provided to
each team.

Two regulation bases plus a safety base will be supplied to each team. The white safety base will be in
fair territory, the orange base in foul territory.

Players who wish to wear a baseball helmet for safety reasons, either at the plate or in the field, will be
permitted to do so provided that the helmet has a CSA or equivalent sticker and is an actual baseball
batting or coaching helmet (i.e. hockey helmets, bicycle helmets, etc., are not permitted).

The Game:

Regular season games are a maximum of 90 minutes or 9 innings, whichever comes first, with no new
inning starting after 75 minutes (after the hour and fifteen minute mark). The umpire will provide a last
Inning warning at 75 minutes. If the last inning warning has been given and the 90 minute limit is
reached before the home team has completed their at bat, the score reverts back to the previously
completed inning.

One thing to also make clear, this does not apply to tournament games which are usually 7 innings or 90
minutes, whichever comes first, with no new inning after 75 mins.  A game called by the umpire, which
cannot be resumed within 30 minutes, will be a regulation game if at least four (4) innings are
completed; or if the home team is leading after three and one half (3.5) innings.

Games may be declared rained-out by;
a) designated member(s) of the Board of Directors,
b) the umpire assigned to the game in question,
c) the City of Burlington Department of Parks & Recreation.

Team captains are not empowered to unilaterally or in consultation with other captains to call off a
game. Their opinions may be requested by the umpire, but the decision to play or not play is ultimately
the umpires.

The umpire is empowered to call a game at any time due to rain, darkness or any other cause that puts
the players in peril.

Five pitching warm-ups in the first inning, one warm-up pitch per inning thereafter. A warm-up ball
through the infield in the first inning only. Relief pitchers will also be permitted five pitching warm-ups
upon entering the game, with one warm-up pitch per inning thereafter. The umpire will move the game
along and the players will cooperate in order to play within the time allotted.

All games will start at the scheduled time except early games where a 15 minute grace period will apply.
Home plate umpire is responsible for communicating game final score to league executive.

Shift Rule:
Maximum number of 4 fielders on each side of second base until the ball is hit.

****Absolutely NO 5 men infield or outfield****

Rationale: Some of our more competitive players will play 5 fielders on one side of the diamond, even
when our more senior players are at bat.

In the case of an infraction the offensive team has the choice of accepting the outcome of the play or
having the batter go back and assume the previous count

"Fielders" includes infielders or outfielders.

Revert Rule:
If a game is called for time before an inning is completed, the score reverts back to the previous inning
only if the home team is losing. If the game is tied, it will end as a tie. If the home team is winning, they
will be awarded the win.

Home Runs:
There is no limit to the number of home runs a player or team may hit during the regular season or
during tournament play.

The player at his own discretion has the option to "run out" his home run or simply just walk off the field
after hitting as such. This is at the discretion of the player and not of the umpire.

An in the park homerun counts as a homerun. If a batter can run all four bases without being thrown out
the batter will be awarded a homerun.

If the ball is thrown out of play the batter will be awarded the extra base.  If it happens to be a triple and
the ball is thrown out of play the player is awarded a triple but sent home for the error, this does not
count as a homerun.

Mercy Rule:

Max of 8 runs per inning. 
****Plus ONE Run Rules****

If a team down 8 or more runs, a plus one rule take into effect. 

In the 1st inning, if the home team is down 8 runs, they are allowed to score no more than 9
runs (plus one rule) *** Note this is only for the home team, as the visiting team will had have
the chance at first at bat

Every other inning, if a team is down by 8 or more runs, the opposition is allowed to score the
equal amount of runs plus one 

For example, if the score is 16-1, the losing team can score a max of 16 runs  (15 runs to tie
and is allowed for an additional 1 run to score)  The max run scored by the losing team, cannot
exceed more than one to take the lead

There is no mercy rule for the visiting team in the top of the last inning.

It is strongly recommended that no jewelry of any type be worn in any BOSL play. If worn, each player is
solely responsible for any injury/damage that may be caused by this jewelry. The umpire may have any
player remove any jewelry or equipment that he deems dangerous.

The only place on the field you are to wear your sunglasses on your hat is in the field and not at bat.

Passed Balls:
For a ball thrown out of play by any fielder, the base runners are awarded two bases from the time of
the throw.

If the ball is caught and carried out of play, the runners advance one base.


Updated January 29 2024
For the 2024 season pitchers will be mandated to wear a mask.

The pitchers box will be 24 inches wide and located from 50 feet to 60 feet from home plate.

The pitch must be delivered at a slow speed and have an arc between 6 and 15 feet on its path to the
home plate. Height of the arc is to be determined at the umpires discretion.

A pitch, which strikes the wooden plate, is a strike unless "no pitch" or "illegal pitch" is called.

If a pitch exceeds a maximum arc of fifteen feet or does not obtain a minimum arc of six feet, the
pitched ball shall be called an "ILLEGAL PITCH" by the umpire in a voice loud enough for the batter and
catcher to hear, and the umpires left arm extended horizontally in order to alert the fielders. The plate
umpire shall then call a "ball", provided the batter does not swing at the ball. If the batter swings and
misses, the result is a strike; if the batter hits a fair ball, the ball is in play.

ALL BATTERS WILL BE PITCHED TO. If in the umpires opinion the batter has been intentionally walked,
the batter shall be awarded 2nd base.

Playing Field:
Bases will be placed 65 feet apart or in case of a smaller playing field, one foot inside the grass-playing

Outfield boundary line will be open except where fenced.

Batter box will be 3 feet wide by 7 feet long and will be identified by the umpire where not lined.

Millcroft Park Tree on the Left Field Side
When a batted ball at Millcroft hits the tree in fair territory , the play shall be deemed dead. It will be a
"No Pitch"

Teams will consist of ten players on the field. Players may be stationed anywhere on the field within fair
territory except the catcher who will remain behind home plate. The batting order will remain the same
throughout the game. There must be seven roster players to field a team. (There must be seven roster
players at the start of the game or the game is default.)

A team may borrow one player from the opposing team for defensive purposes only when they are
unable to field a team of 10 or more roster players. The borrowed player shall play at the catching
position. In the interest of player safety, if the borrowing team has a roster player that is unable to play

any other position besides catcher, the borrowed player may play another field position if agreed upon
by both sets of captains. A borrowed player does not bat.
Rule application:
10 or more roster players - (no borrowing permitted)
9 roster players - (borrowed player is catcher)
8 roster players - (1 Pool player. borrowed player is catcher )
7 roster players - (2 pool players, borrowed player is catcher)
When a pool player is provided the pool committee will provide a player with a rating that is similar to
the combined ratings of the players missing.
- example : If a team is missing a 32 rated player and a 12 rated player they will receive a player with a
rating of 22 or similar which is available to play from the approved pool player list.

Should any team forfeit a game for any reason, either in regular season or during a tournament, the
score will be counted as 8 - 0. Should any two teams JOINTLY forfeit a game for any reason, the score
will be counted as Rain Out.

Team captains who know in advance that they will have fewer than 10 players attend their game should
make plans for this. If 9 players can attend, they can borrow a catcher (or other position, if they have a
player who can play only catcher safely). If 7 or 8 players can attend, the pool administrators
(pool@bosl.ca) can be consulted and additional player(s) requested. If fewer than 7 players can attend,
the game must be forfeited, ideally well before the game starts (so that players dont show up to the
field to find out that they cant play). If neither team can field at least 7 players, then both teams forfeit
the game.

If a team finds itself in a situation in which they unexpectedly have only 7 or 8 players attend the game,
they may borrow enough willing players of *appropriate* skill level from the previous game (as
applicable) to get them to 9 players provided both sets of captains can agree on this. Please keep in
mind that this is intended to be an emergency procedure, and not a way for players to get more games
in, and only if the borrowing team has 7 or 8 players attending.
Home team will supply and set up the bases. Home team will be the second team listed on the schedule.
Umpires will supply one new ball for each game. The home team will supply a back up ball.

Updated: Feb 8, 2024
Tournament standings:

Based on regular season standings, the team with the highest winning percentage will claim the top
seed (#1).  It will then proceed to the second highest winning percentage and so forth…until all sixteen
teams have secured a seeding. 

Teams will be divided into four pods of 4 teams.  Team designation will be as follows.
i) POD A - Team Seeded: #1 , #8, #9, #16
ii) POB B - Team Seeded: #2, #7, #10, #15
iii) POD C - Team Seeded: #3, #6, #11, #14
iv) POD D - Team Seeded: #4, #5, #12, #13

Each team within their pods will play 3 round robin games.  For example:
Game 1) Team #1 vs Team #8 (D2) & Team #9 vs Team #16 (D1)
Game 2) Team #1 vs Team #9 (D2) & Team #8 vs Team #16 (D1)
Game 3) Team #1 vs Team #16 (D2) & Team #8 vs Team #9 (D1)

The top two teams in each pod will move onto the Championship Bracket.  The bottom two teams will
enter the Consolation Bracket.  Both brackets will see teams being re-seeded from 1 to 8. Then it will be
divided into two pods, with four teams each.  

Championship Bracket designation will be as follows:
i) POD A - Team Seeded: #1 , #4, #5, #8
ii) POB B - Team Seeded: #2, #3, #6, #7

Consolation Bracket designation will be as follows:
i) POD C - Team Seeded: #1 , #4, #5, #8
ii) POB D - Team Seeded: #2, #3, #6, #7

Each team within their pods will play 3 playoff round games.  For example:

Championship Bracket
Game 1) Team #1 vs Team #4 (D2) & Team #5 vs Team #8 (D1)
Game 2) Team #1 vs Team #5 (D2) & Team #4 vs Team #8 (D1)
Game 3) Team #1 vs Team #8 (D2) & Team #4 vs Team #5 (D1)

The top two teams in each bracket pods will move onto the Championship and Consolation Semis.  The
bottom two teams in each bracket pods will be eliminated from tournament play.  

The Bracket Semi-Final games will see the top four teams in each bracket and will be re-seeded from 1
to 4.  Teams will then play head-to-head, single game elimination. 

The Semi-Final Round - per bracket:
i) Team #1 vs Team #4

ii) Team #2 vs  Team #3

Final Round
i) Winners of head-to-head per bracket - 7 full innings will be played.

These league rules apply to tournaments except as noted below or if the executive sets specific rules for
a tournament:

Tournaments will be played max of seven innings or six and one half.   The final score of the game will
stand.  Plus & Minus will take effect in the round robin and playoffs. No new innings to be played after
75 minutes, max of 90 minutes. In the last inning, the home, if up by one or more runs, WILL NOT get to
take their batting. If the winning team is up more than 8 runs (9 or more runs), the plus/minus will be a
total of 8 runs.

Tie Breaking:
SPN tie breaking rules will apply. Note that the maximum plus/minus from any game is 8 (eight) runs.
Regular season standings: where there is a tie based on winning percentage then the tie breaker is plus

Tiebreaker Rule (Tournament Play) - In the event of a three way tie the two teams with the highest plus-
minus advance. When two teams are tied in second with plus-minus the team winning head to head will

Pitching: Additional punitive rules may be instituted for intentional walks.

Substitutes: A team must have at least seven roster players for a tournament game.

Round Robin:
i) If a team can only field nine players before the start of the game, Captain(s) may ask the other team to
assist them in playing defensive assignment of being the catcher.
i.e. Team A fields 9 players before the match, Team A captain may ask Team Captain B to provide a 10th
defensive player and is limited to playing the role of the catcher.

ii) There will be no pool player(s) provided.

i) If a team can only field nine players before the start of the game, they will have to play both offense
and defense with nine players. No "borrowing a player" rule-in-effect.

ii) If a team can only field eight players before the start of the game, Captain(s) may ask the other team
to assist them in playing defensive assignment of being the catcher.


All players available at game time will be in the batting order and will play defensively. Defensive players
may substitute randomly; the batting order will not change.

For player who arrives late, no matter what the inning, he will be added to the bottom of the batting
order. There will be no limit as to when a player may enter the game.

Known players requiring a base runner will be declared to the umpire and to the opposing team captain
prior to the game.

Any batter having safely reached base requiring a courtesy runner shall be a declared batter for the
remainder of the game. The courtesy runner will be the last OUT from the team.

A declared batter cannot advance past first base regardless of where the ball is hit. The base runners will
advance at their own risk.

BOSL Uniform Policy:

BOSL Players MUST wear a league issued jersey with grey athletic bottoms, which can be traditional
style baseball pants/shorts or any other grey athletic pant or shorts when participating in regular season
and tournament games. Note, grey baseball pants/shorts with pin stripes will be permitted. During
inclement weather (i.e. rain, cold early May nights), jackets/rain pants will be allowed.

Headwear will be worn at the discretion of the player. The player has the option to wear any hat of their
choosing; however, players are encouraged to wear a league sold hat. Players should not wear any
headwear which could be reasonably construed as dangerous to others or excessively offensive.

Upon approval by a players team captain(s) in conjunction with the Board of Directors, an occasional
exemption may be granted where all other reasonable attempts to conform with the leagues Uniform
Policy have been exhausted. Generally-speaking, only exceptions related to sizing issues of pants/shorts
will be considered.

The Uniform Policy will be enforced at the Captain level. They will have the authority to sit an out-of-
uniform player until such a time that the player is fully compliant with the leagues Uniform Policy. A
player found to be regularly out of uniform may be subject to the leagues disciplinary process.
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