Equipment rules designed to reduce risk of injury, as well as a
clarification that the media area must be located in dead‑ball
territory, are among the high school softball rules changes for the 2019
The four rules changes recommended by the National Federation of
State High School Associations (NFHS) Softball Rules Committee at its
June 11‑13 meeting in Indianapolis were subsequently approved by the
NFHS Board of Directors.
With revisions in Rules 1‑1‑7, 2‑22‑4 and 5‑1‑1, the home team or
game management may designate a media area in dead‑ball territory if the
facility dictates.
“Requiring the media area to be located in dead‑ball territory
minimizes risk and continues efforts to improve the safety of
participants, officials, fans and other essential personnel,” said Sandy
Searcy, NFHS director of sports and staff liaison for softball.”
In another risk minimization change, Rule 1‑8‑4 permits an eye shield
to be worn attached to the face/head protection only if it is
constructed of a molded, rigid material that is clear and permits 100
percent (no tint) allowable light transmission. This change aligns with
other softball equipment rules that currently prohibit tinted eye
“The prohibition of tinted eye shields already exists in Rules 1‑6‑7
and 1‑7‑1,” Searcy said. “In an effort to promote risk minimization,
tinted eye shields should be prohibited for defensive face/head
Among other rules changes was a clarification to Rule 1‑5‑2a, which
permits a softball bat to have an adjustable knob, provided the knob is
permanently fastened by the manufacturer. Any devices, attachments or
wrappings that cause the knob to become flush with the handle are also
The final change approved by the committee in Rule 6 stipulates that
the penalty for an illegal pitch is limited to the batter being awarded a
ball. Previously, the batter was awarded a ball and all base runners
were also awarded one base without liability to be put out.
“The new language creates more balance between offense and defense,”
Searcy said. “In NFHS softball rules, the illegal pitch is designed to
deceive the batter and, therefore, only the batter should receive the
According to the 2016‑17 NFHS High School Athletics Participation
Survey, there are 367,405 girls participating in fast‑pitch softball at
15,440 schools.
A complete listing of the softball rules changes will be available on the NFHS website at Click on “Activities & Sports” at the top of the home page and select “Softball.”