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Softball/Flex and DP rule


Dear Sir,

I coach a fast pitch team in the Netherlands and would like to know about the flex/DP rule could you give me the rule paragraph etc.  which rule number etc.  I have a few pitchers and their hitting is not good enough and I would like to flex bat them, so if I understand the rule, I can flex a batter in for my pitcher???

Hi Charles,

ASA 4-3 and RS 15

This rule is not complicated but people like to make it so.  Just read each section, understand it, and that's what it is.

Ok.....if you're going to use a DP and a FLEX you must make it known prior to starting the cannot do it once the game begins

The DP can be any batting position 1-9 (for examples later this DP is going to be #1 batting 3rd) the DP bats (plays offense) for the FLEX player.

The FLEX who plays only defense MUST be listed 10th (for examples later this will be player #2) the flex does not bat in this position, we only bat the 1st 9.

The DP and any sub for the DP must stay in the original batting position (in this case B3)  If you put in #4 for #1, #4 is now the DP

The FLEX any any sub for the flex stay in the 10th position.  If you put #5 in to play defense for #2, #5 is now the FLEX.

The FLEX may bat but ONLY in the DP's position (in this case B3)or may run ONLY for the DP. This is a substitution for #1 (the DP)and takes the game from 10 down to 9 players and #1 is considered to have left the game, they may re-enter once, but only at B3.

The DP may play defense for the FLEX. This also is a substitution (for #2 Flex)and takes the game from 10 down to 9 players and #2 is considered to have left the game.  They may of course re-enter once.

The DP and the FLEX can never be on offense at the same time.  This makes sense because the DP is batting for the FLEX, the FLEX may only bat in the DP's position (in this case B3)and the DP may only bat at B3

Those are the's some more complicated stuff....

If the DP (#1) is playing defense for the FLEX (#2)(your playing w/ 9) and you wish to re-enter the FLEX, the DP can leave the game and #2 bats at B3, still playing w/9.....

OR the DP may continue to bat at B3 and play offense only (now you're playing w/10) and #2 goes back to 10 and does not bat......

OR the DP may continue to bat at B3 and play defense for ANOTHER PLAYER(as explained below). In all the above cases this a re-entry for the FLEX #2 and should they leave the game again, #2 would be out of the game.

The DP may also play defense for any other player at any position. (Let's use #3,B8) #3 is not considered to have left the game and this is not considered a substitution. #3 continues to bat in the B8 position but not play defense.

In this case both the FLEX and the DP are playing defense at the same time and this is legal.  The DP continues to bat at B3, the FLEX is not batting.

You can go back and forth between 10 and 9 players the entire game.For example after 2 innings you have #2 bat for #1 at B3.  You now are playing with 9 and you play that way for 2 innings.  In the 5th you re-enter #1 to bat at B3 and #2 moves back to 10th, you are now playing 10 again.  This is not considered a substitution for #2 since they are the flex player returning to their position.  


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Dr. Mark R. Ambrose


I can answer all questions about book rules and "case book" rules governing the playing of ASA softball. Have a REAL situation that happened and are not sure the proper rule was applied, ask me.


I am a registered ASA umpire, a MASA "At-Large" umpire since 1996 and a retired District Umpire-In-Chief. I have very extensive experience in MASA State Championship and ASA national qualifying tournament play both as an umpire and an Umpire-In-Chief. I completed 3 ASA National Schools including the ASA national advanced umpire school in Ok City("Bernie" for those who know him was the lead clinician, I survived the week and couldn't let my kids watch the game tapes when I got home. No, I love you Bernie). I was one of 4 "Yankee" umpires selected to umpire the Men's D National East Championship in 2002 in Winter Haven FL

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