** Spirits declared league winners in 2021 **
(See news, further down this page)
Welcome to the home of softball in Oxfordshire and the Oxford Softball League. Here you will find details of how to join a team, how to get in touch to find out about introductory training, as well as details (coming soon) of the season schedule and league table.
Softball has been played in Oxford since at least the early 1980s which led to the founding of the Oxfordshire Softball Association (OSA) in 1990. The Oxford Softball League plays most of its games on Tuesday and Thursday nights at Horspath Athletics and Sports Ground, Horspath Road, Oxford OX4 2RR.
Visit our Facebook page for regular announcements and details of events, training, and games.
Softball in Oxford
Currently, the Oxford Softball League is for mixed (co-ed) slowpitch softball; however, there are opportunities for ‘single sex’ tournaments and many of our players play fastpitch softball. Slowpitch softball is a social team sport, played by teams made up of 5 men and 5 women. The ball is thrown (pitched) underarm and hit by the batter towards the fielders on the defensive team, who wear gloves on their non-throwing hands to catch the ball. Its closest comparable sport is baseball. Despite its name, the ball is hard, but larger than a baseball. Find out more on our About softball page.
Looking to play?
If you’re new to the sport or the league and would like to attend an introductory session, please head over to our new players page. We’d also love to hear from you if you’ve played before and are simply looking for a team.
The 2021 Softball Season
Following the government easing of restrictions and guidance from Sport England and BaseballSoftball UK, we were delighted that softball was able to start again in Oxford in April. Safety procedures have been in place around the sessions all season but actual game rules are unaffected. COVID risk assessments were necessary. The league has an overall COVID-19 Officer and every team has its own COVID-19 Officer. At each game that person has responsibility for the special procedures which must be followed by all present. Players have been required to register before attending. However, as an outdoor, and relatively socially distanced sport, we were confident that softball can be played safely and provide some much needed physical activity for our players. Indeed, apart from a few teams suffering from those isolating during the ‘pingdemic’, we had no outbreaks within our players.
Our League Games
During the first seven weeks we were in a ‘less competitive’ format to welcome lots of new players into teams within the league. League games continue to be at Horspath Sports Ground each Tuesday and Thursday (see schedule). Registration links are emailed around to captains. If you’re new, and want to get in on the action, please register as a new player first.
Sunday training sessions (£3 per head to cover the cost of pitch hire) on:
9, 16, 23 May, 11 July, 1 Aug 2.30-4.30 pm (Pitch 1)
More Sunday (new player) sessions planned on 12 and 26 September. (Information to follow!)
Thursday training sessions (again £3 per head) on:
17, 24 June, 6.45 – 8.30 pm (Pitch may differ each week).
Experienced league players:
Sunday scratch game are being planned for 12 and 26 September. Watch this space!
New Players Welcome!
New players are always welcome and we will be running occasional training sessions, leading up to a series of pre-season sessions throughout April which offer an ideal opportunity to get involved. If you are interested in registering for such events, please let us know:
These sessions are completely free of charge and all equipment is provided – all you have to do is turn up and give it a go!
No experience is necessary but if you have played before that’s an added bonus. There is no such thing as a ‘typical’ softball player – players in our league range in experience (from complete beginners to those that play at the highest national level), age (from 14 to 60+), fitness levels and nationality.
However, being a co-ed league makes us extremely sociable – you will find most players in the onsite bar after games, there are social events throughout the year and some even play weekend tournaments together.
So, whether you are…
Looking for a new sport to try
Looking for a way to meet new people
An experienced player looking to join the league
A player who hasn’t played for a while and wants to return to softball
…Oxford Softball is the place for you!
Training and scratch games planned for 12 and 26 Sept 2021
Registration links will be up shortly. See you on the diamond!
Scratch games 24 Aug 2021
We managed to play a few sets of scratch games after the competitive season ended. As we didn’t want the fun to stop!
Last run out for softball in Oxford for 2021?
Please come along and play, before the AGM on Tuesday 10 August 2021.
Spirits declared 2021 league winners in a closely fought contest
As you can see from our 2021 (comp) league table, we had a 3-way points tie at the top of the table, with Spirits, Rebels and Angels all with 6 points each. The winners were worked out by looking at the head-to-head results. These are the results where these 3 teams played each other.
Spirits beat Angels 18-11 but lost to the Rebels (9-10). However, the Rebels lost to the Angels (12-19). This gave run differences of Angels (-7, +7 = 0), Rebels (+1, -7 = -6), Spirits (+7, -1 = +6). Looking at this ‘mini-league’, the Spirits, with their positive run difference take the title. Congratulations, Spirits!
Season – part 2 (competitive)
We began the second part of the season on 22 June 2021. This time it’s competitive (although very respectful of our large numbers of new players, I think). These are the temporary arrangements/rules:
As we are in a ‘building year’, please have as much generosity to your opponents as possible, especially where your opponents have several rookie players in evidence. On the other hand, this is a competitive phase: we’re looking for winners and awards for batting etc.
- Usual WBSC runs ahead rule applies (20 runs after 4 innings, 15 after 5) [as usual]
- However, teams are encouraged to bat out the full 7 innings, after the game has been won.
- (This is due to larger squads and substitutes – often new players – needing a little game time, and may not get it if the game stops after 4, 5 or 6 innings. Consider turning the situation to a more fun one, by mixing up the teams, or making some other sporting change that could benefit the lower-scoring teams/individuals.)
- Maximum of 7 runs per inning (whether ahead or not), except in the final inning (where it’s unlimited)
- Or, more specifically, the inning stops at the end of the play where the 7th run has been scored (it is possible to score more than 7 runs).
- Borrowing of players: maximum of 2 (regardless of gender) [new for this year]
- For those teams still without a recognised pitcher, they are also allowed to borrow a pitcher (possibly in addition to the above two)
- The pitcher should not bat if the borrowing team is able to field a full complement of batters [as usual]
- If a team cannot field a legal 10 players, automatic outs should be played
- Teams who are seeded in the top 5 (finishing places from part 1 of the season) are strongly urged to ignore the ‘automatic out’ when playing teams in the bottom 3. The lower team may only be able to field 8 or 9 players but top 5 teams are encouraged not to impose the automatic out when the ‘hole’ comes up in the batting order.
- Collect stats on plays in your scorebook to be entered on the website [as usual]
- Make sure that you note to which base each batter reaches following their hit
- And note ‘fielders choice’
- Errors are not to be recorded (e.g. where a fielder *should* have stopped the ball, keeping the batter-runner to 2nd base only, even though the runner eventually made it home: in this case you would award a home run to the batter, not 2nd base like the professionals would).
- Games, until late July must begin by 7. However, if teams wish to begin early (e.g. 6.30) that is OK, but do not forget to arrange this with opposing captains AND your allotted umpire (and let the umpire chief know).
From 27 July, we need to play 2 games on Tuesdays and 2 on Thursdays (due to pitch availability). The round robin (and your official games) may conclude on 5 August. However, as the 4th and 5th place is crucial, there may be a playoff for those teams lined up at 4th and 5th in the table. The entire table is very likely to determine the two divisions next season. So, extra rules:
- Where the teams ranked (at the end) 4th and 5th are within 3 points of each other, they need to play off on 10 Aug in order to determine who goes into Div 1 and Div 2 next year. If their points difference is more than 2 (two) then this will not be necessary.
- Clarification: if the team in 5th place would like to be in division 2 next year, they are welcome to declare this and the playoff game does not need to be played
- The playoff game is not scored as points in the general table (so the team in 4th cannot pass the team in 3rd!)
Possibly a few fun games on 10 Aug as desired.