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BOSL RULES (Last updated, August 4, 2018)

The following rules are specific to the League, if not covered here refer to Slo-Pitch Ontario Official (SPOA) 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.


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 umpire’s discretion. The already-declared singles hitter needs to announce to the umpire before each at-bat that they are a Single's Hitter.

When a single's 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.

If a declared singles hitter with runners on base hits a home run over the fence, all runners on base score and the singles hitter is awarded 1st base. If they had hit anything but a home run, the runners on base would be running until an out is made or time called by the umpire.

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.

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’s discretion

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 batter's 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's 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’s 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 league’s 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 league’s disciplinary process. The procedure will be as follows:

  1. 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.

  2. In the event that the player's attitude & behaviour 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.

  3. In the event that the player has been allowed to play under probation and his attitude & behaviour 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.

  4. 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 discretion.


As a S.P.O.A. sanctioned league, we follow the USSSA Bat Certification Program which states that only bats bearing the “new” USSSA logo located on the taper of the bat are allowed. This logo is known as the “Thumbprint” and is shown below. 

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 Committee.

Note: for the 2018 season, exceptions will be made for any bats which were previously approved by the BOSL and must possess a BOSL approved sticker.  Umpires and League Executives reserve the right to trace the League Approved Decal to ensure the bat in question is not deemed to be illegal.

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

Trapper gloves will be allowed at first base, catcher and pitcher positions only.

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 36 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. Note: 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 umpire's.

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.

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.

Mercy Rule:

Scoring eight runs or one more run than the opposition's total runs (whichever is greater) will end a turn at bat. For example, if the score is 16 to 1, the losing team can score 16 runs before the mercy rule would apply.

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.


The pitcher's 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 umpire’s 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 surface.

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.


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 - (borrowed player is catcher, 3 outfielders)
         7 roster players - (borrowed player is catcher, 3 outfielders, 3 infielders)

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 don't show up to the field to find out that they can't 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.


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

Tournaments will be seven innings or six and one half if the home team is winning by more than 8 runs. If home team is winning by less than 8 runs, they must take their at-bats. No new inning will be started after one and one quarter hours of play.

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

Substitutes: A team must have at least seven roster players for a tournament game. If a team has seven, eight, or nine roster players the opposing team will provide a catcher when batting. If the team has seven or eight roster players and the opposing team has more than ten players, the opposing captain will offer a player of his choice to play for the other team.

Tie Breaking:

SPOA 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 minus.

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 advance.


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:

  1. BOSL Players MUST wear a league issued jersey with light grey athletic bottoms, which can be traditional style baseball pants/shorts or any other light grey athletic pant or shorts when participating in regular season and tournament games.  Note, light 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.

    For the 2018 season, 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 issued/sold hat.  Players should not wear any headwear which could be reasonably construed as dangerous to others or excessively offensive.

  2. Upon approval by a player’s 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 league’s Uniform Policy have been exhausted.  Generally-speaking, only exceptions related to sizing issues of pants/shorts will be considered.

  3. 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 league’s Uniform Policy.  A player found to be regularly out of uniform may be subject to the league’s disciplinary process.