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Differences between ASA and USSSA Rules

Local travel ball teams are typically registered with both ASA and USSSA and so should be familiar with both organizations’ rules. At the last USSSA tournament, they were handing out free rule books, which I gladly accepted. While largely the same as ASA rules (of which I am very familiar), there are a few significant differences between ASA Fast Pitch and USSSA rules which are summarized in the following table:
Subject
ASA
USSSA
Pitching DistanceRule 2, Section 1:
10U: 35’
12U: 40’
14U: 40’
16U: 40’ (43’ in 2011)
18U: 43’
Rule 1, Section 1:
10U: 35’
12U: 40’
14U: 40’ (43’ in 2011)
16U: 43’
18U: 43’
Double First BaseRule 2, Section 3H:
Double first base mandatory
Rule 1, Section 2B:
Double first base optional
Strike on a bunt attemptRule Supplement #10
On a bunt attempt and the pitched ball is out of the strike zone, a ball should be called unless the batter moves the bat toward the ball.
Rule 3, Section 13:
In order to take a pitch, the bat must be pulled back from the ball.
Mercy RuleRule 5, Section 9:
15 runs after 3 innings
12 runs after 4 innings
8 runs after 5 innings
Rule 4, Section 4:
12 runs after 3 innings
10 runs after 4 innings
8 runs after 5 innings
LineupRule 4, Section 1C1a:
9 position players
1 Designated Player (optional)
Rule 5, Section 3 and 4:
9 position players
1 Designated Hitter (optional)
Up to 2 additional players (optional)
Lineup CardRule 7, Section 2B2:
If DP/Flex is used, Flex player is listed as the 10th player in the lineup.
Rule 5, Section 4:
The defensive player for which the DH bats is listed after the DH in the same lineup spot.
Use of DP/DHRule Supplement #15 J and K:
The DP can play defense for any player in any position. Should the DP play defense for any position other than the FLEX, that position player continues to bat and does not play defense.

The role of DP/FLEX is never terminated. A team can go back and forth between 9 and 10 players any number of times in a game.
Rule 5, Section 4A and 4B:
The DH is terminated for the rest of the game if the defensive player subsequently bats, pinch hits, or pinch runs for the DH.

The DH is terminated if the DH assumes a position in the field.


Note that while ASA uses the term “Designated Player” (DP) and USSSA uses “Designated Hitter” (DH), both the DP and the DH are functionally equivalent. Also, while I list USSSA age divisions the same as ASA age divisions, USSSA actually designates each age as its own division (i.e. there is an 11U division, a 13U division, etc).


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