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SDHSAA board adopts a 'run rule' for softball

Softball pciture January 2023.jpg
Erin Woodiel
The Argus Leader

The South Dakota High School Activities Association board of directors met Wednesday. One of the points of action was a mercy rule for the newly sanction high school softball league in the state, which the board approved.

“At the NFHS level, you can make exceptions to how you’re ending your games, and things of that nature. We wanted to have a 10-run rule after five innings and 15-run rule after three innings, very similar to a mercy rule scenario,” explained SDHSAA assistant executive director Jo Auch. “That would be in affect for regular and post-season games.”

Mercy rule type situations are no stranger to high school sports in South Dakota. Sports such as football and basketball have running clocks, while football also has point margin limit for most of the seven classes of competition.

Another rule adoption for softball during Wednesday’s meeting was what classifies as ‘regulation’ if a game has to be suspended due to weather or darkness – especially since some softball fields in the state might not have stadium lights. For instance, five full innings have to be played, or the home team batting has scored equal to or a greater number of runs if it ends after the top of the 4th. If a game is tied after five innings, and the game is called off due to weather or darkness, games will be labeled a tie and seed points will reflect that a tie occurred.

According to the proposal, “the rule book already allows for situations as to how to handle weather, darkness, ect. If five innings are completed or the home team is ahead in the 4 ½ innings of play, the [softball committee] felt it best to have a consistent means as to how we would end contests if we had a ‘suspended game’ noted by the umpires.

The spring of 2023 will mark the beginning of sanctioned high school softball in South Dakota. The newly developed sports will have three classes of competition. Teams can start practice on March 20th with first games scheduled to begin March 25th. The first sanctioned state softball tournament will take place in Aberdeen at Players Complex and Northern State University on June 1-3.

Nate Wek is currently the sports content producer and sports and rec beat reporter for South Dakota Public Broadcasting. He is a graduate of South Dakota State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism Broadcasting and a minor in Leadership. From 2010-2013 Nate was the Director of Gameday Media for the Sioux Falls Storm (Indoor Football League) football team. He also spent 2012 and 2013 as the News and Sports Director of KSDJ Radio in Brookings, SD. Nate, his wife Sarah, and two kids Braxan and Jordy, live in Canton, SD.