New rules expected for slo-pitch all across Ontario

May 8, 2020   ·   0 Comments

By Brian Lockhart

Slo-pitch is one of the most popular local sports.

Anyone who lives near a diamond in knows that slo-pitch is played from spring right through to Labour Day and sometimes beyond.

There are men’s leagues, woman’s leagues, mixed leagues, and masters leagues.

Normally games would be starting to get underway, however with parks and diamonds currently closed, the season, at best, will see a shortened summer schedule.

If play does get underway, most likely the sport will be governed by a new set of rules regarding behaviour on the diamond.

While no leagues in Ontario have yet convened for the summer season, NSA Canada, a governing body of slo-pitch in Western Canada has already released guidelines to be followed by teams when the season gets underway.

While NSA Canada does run the show in the west, there is probably a reasonable expectation that Ontario Leagues will follow suit with regards to new rules.

According to NSA Canada, some adjustments will include a maximum of 12 people per team for a game.

There will be no sharing of bats and no warm-up allowed.

There will also be restrictions in place for the team on offence regarding the use of the dugout and where the on-deck batter can stand.

Some rules will be more complicated – like the batting order.

Once the visiting team leads off in the top of the first inning, the home team will then take their bats for the first and second inning. The visiting team then will be up to bat for their second and third consecutive innings.

If a player hits but is thrown out at first or is out on a caught fly ball, they will be required to pick up their own bat. If, however, the batter makes it on base, the on-deck batter must pick up that bat – by the barrel – and return it to the dugout.

Game balls will be wiped with an alcohol based cleaner before the game and in between every inning.

Forget about gathering for three cheers after the game or celebrating a win. Handshakes between teams can’t happen.

There are also a number of other regulations for umpires.

While these new rules will be effect in the western provinces, expect them to be put into place locally as well.

At least for the upcoming slo-pitch season.

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