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Tournaments MUST send out schedules to all teams a minimum of 3 weeks prior to its start. This schedule MUST also be sent to the umpire assignor a minimum of 3 weeks before its start.

Tournaments must send out single elimination seeded brackets with teams’ pool play schedules. Tournament directors will also inform teams how they will receive their single elimination schedules once pool play has been completed. Tournament directors are prohibited from hosting tournaments where brackets are not made available prior to the start of the tournament. Exceptions are made for weather related schedule changes.

Single elimination seeded brackets will be set using the following:
1. Rank teams by winning percentage in their pool
2. If two teams are tied, compare head to head win-loss. If more than 2 teams are tied, skip this step.     3. If teams are tied, rank based on fewest runs allowed per game
4. If teams are tied, rank based on most runs scored per game
5. If teams are tied, a coin toss is used

Tournament directors are required to submit to USA Softball of MA. their final pool play results and bracket play within 7 days of conclusion of their tournament. This can be done via email with an Excel spreadsheet or by emailing a link to your tournament standings website. This will be used by USA Softball MA. to determine if teams need to be reclassified.


The following rules are required to be sanctioned by USA Softball MA. All tournament rules MUST be given to the team upon acceptance into the tournament.

TIME LIMIT: There are two (2) time limit format approved by USA Softball of Massachusetts

  • A minimum time limit of 1 hour 30 minutes. THE TIME LIMIT CANNOT BE A DROP DEAD TIME. Once an inning begins and time expires, the inning must be completed per USA Softball rules. Exceptions to this rule will be allowed in cases of inclement weather or in cases of scrimmages and showcase format tournaments. Any changes to time limits MUST be communicated to the teams prior to the change going into effect.

  • OR

  • Game time will be 1 hour 20 minutes and finish the inning. Then play one additional inning or half inning if the home team is ahead.For Pool Play games if teams play all 7 innings and the 1 hour 20 minute time limit hasn’t been reached, the next inning and the one additional inning will be played with the Tie Breaker Rule. If the score is tied after the additional inning the game will be considered over. For Elimination games, if after the additional inning the game is tied, the Tie Breaker rule will be used until a team is declared the winner. Exceptions to this rule will be allowed in cases of inclement weather or in cases of scrimmages and showcase format tournaments.


Pool Play Games - The following batting line-ups are allowed:

  • ●  Straight 9 and/or DP/Flex - Teams may bat 9 players with or without the DP/Flex.

  • ●  Continuous Order - When batting “up to” all roster players, any additional batter(s) shall be listed as an EP and may be listed anywhere in the batting order and may play defense as any position.

○ Example - A team may choose to bat 11 players and list one additional player as a substitute. A team is NOT required to bat all 12 players.

Elimination Games:

● Teams may use “straight 9” or DP/Flex. Both lines may use only one EP in their lineup (a max batting order of 10 players).

Teams that bat everyone in their line-up will take an out if a player is removed for any reason other than an ejection. Teams will not be allowed courtesy runners, pinch runners or pinch hitters when batting everyone. If a player is ejected when batting everyone, the game will be forfeited.


Metal cleats are not allowed for 12U divisions and lower. The tournament can prohibit metal cleats in older divisions BUT must make it clear in the tournament rules


Coaches that are ejected from a tournament game WILL be prohibited from coaching their team’s next game. Depending on the circumstances of the ejection, a coach may be suspended for the remainder of the tournament and may also require a disciplinary hearing with USA Softball MA.


Home team will be determined by a coin flip during pool play games. During elimination play, the home team will be determined by higher seed having choice. Should both teams be the same seed, a coin flip will be used.

TIE GAMES (See Rule 5, Section 11.):

During pool play, games may end in a tie even with time remaining. During elimination play, games that are tied after 7 innings or after time has expired will go into the USA Softball tie-breaker rule.

RUN AHEAD RULE – (See Rule 5, Section 9 A.1.B) Game will be complete if a team is ahead by the following runs: 15 runs after 3 innings, 12 runs after 4 innings, & 8 runs after 5 innings. The run ahead rule will be in-effect for both pool and elimination games.

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