Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union

To download a printable copy of the softball manual, click here.

Regional Tournament Dates:
Class 1A and 2A: July 6, 7, 9, 12
Class 3A: July 6, 9, 12
Class 4A and 5A: July 8, 10, 13
State Tournament: July 19-23 in Harlan Rogers Park, Fort Dodge for all classes
Official tournament ball: Dudley SB 12L RF Y FP — Red stitch (.47 COR)

For questions regarding softball contact:
Jason Eslinger – Office: 515-401-1836; Cell: 515-240-7649
Email: [email protected]

All tournament information, including a copy of this manual, tournament manager checklist, tournament site information, game night scores from across the state and other pertinent information can be found on the IGHSAU website

Guidance that was supplied to coaches, players and umpires at the start of the regular season should be utilized. Those considerations can found by clicking here. There will be no post-game handshakes at the end of each regional contest. 

Please become familiar with tournament administration policies and procedures when hosting regional games for the IGHSAU. Do not postpone or reschedule any tournament games without first contacting the IGHSAU. If your school is selected as a host site for a tournament game, it is the responsibility of the tournament manager to contact all schools that will be playing at your site.

To report regional scores, log into Varsity Bound and enter your score on your Varsity Bound page as you’ve been doing all season. Scores must be entered immediately following the conclusion of your regional contest. Regional brackets and scores will be updated on the IGHSAU website immediately after the score is entered.  Schools hosting doubleheaders should text the neutral site score to Jason Eslinger at (515) 240-7649. If you are having trouble entering scores in Varsity Bound, please text your scores to Jason. 

The tournament roster form can be found on your school’s Varsity Bound page. You will find the roster form by clicking on your schedule page.

Each team’s athletic director shall complete and send the form to the appropriate tournament manager at least 48 hours before each regional contest in which his/her team is participating.

Each team is limited to 28 TEAM PERSONNEL for all regional and state tournament games. Team personnel consist of all school representatives, including but not limited to certified coaches, players, managers, statisticians, certified athletic trainers, etc. Regular season guidance on who is allowed in the dugout so that proper social distancing can be achieved is still in effect.

Please do not add parents, coaches' spouses or children or other non-team personnel to this list.  The roster form should include only those personnel with a specific game-day or school-related responsibility.

Admission to the tournament site will be made strictly from this form, and the tournament manager will also use this form as a data sheet to prepare the program prior to the tournament. Coaches may change the personnel on this form for each day of competition or if no changes are made, send a copy from round to round to each site's tournament manager.

National Federation Softball Rules with Iowa Adaptations will be utilized during all rounds of the 2021 Softball Tournament. Regional tournament pairings, times, and locations are released by the IGHSAU and will be available on the IGHSAU website. The eight regional winners in each class advance to the state tournament.

All regional tournament games will be seven innings unless the game is tied, is terminated prior to seven innings due to the margin-of-runs rule, or terminated for other reasons by decision of the umpire-in-chief.

The margin-of-runs rule to be observed in regional play is as follows: a 12-run differential after 3 or 4 innings (2.5 or 3.5 innings if the home team is leading by 12 or more runs) and a 10-run differential rule after 5 or 6 innings (4.5 or 5.5 innings if the home team is leading by 10 or more runs).

**The international tiebreaker and time limit options are not used during regional play.

Tournament sites are tentative and subject to change depending on the participating teams. Regional finals will be played at the softball facility of the higher seed (best seed) of the remaining two teams in each region. Seeding for the regional final will be based on the final regular season IGHSAU softball rankings.

The IGHSAU reserves the right to schedule double headers, switch tournament sites for geographic, capacity or administrative reasons. 

In the case of two non-ranked teams meeting in the regional final, the following ordered criteria will be applied to determine the site host:

  1. Winner of head-to-head competition during the regular season
  2. Better record against common opponents during the regular season
  3. Better overall winning percentage
  4. Higher team ranking during the regular season
  5. Coin flip

IGHSAU member schools must have applied to host the regional tournament and certify that the facility being utilized meets the minimum requirements to host, including adequate field lighting, bleacher safety, restrooms, concessions, and meets the minimum field dimension requirements.  Host schools should have already signed and returned the IGHSAU Hosting Contract through your Varsity Bound Account.

The athletic director of a team affected by a site change will be notified via email. Site/time/date changes will also be posted on the IGHSAU website.

2021 state tournament pairings will be made available on the IGHSAU website upon completion of all regional final contests in each class. Pairings will be made based on the final IGHSAU rankings of the qualifying teams. In the case of multiple unranked teams qualifying in a class, the following tie breaker will be used to determine the higher seed:

  1. Winner of head-to-head competition during the regular season
  2. Better record against common opponents during the regular season
  3. Better overall winning percentage
  4. Higher team ranking during the regular season
  5. Coin flip

The IGHSAU assigns and pays all umpires for all tournament series games. Names, phone numbers and email addresses of assigned umpires will be available to the host athletic director via email from the IGHSAU. The umpires are instructed to arrive 60 minutes prior to game time. All information regarding the names of the assigned umpires is confidential and for the knowledge of the tournament manager only.

Host schools must contact umpires prior to the contest to inform them of the name of the site manager, contact information and other information related to the contest (parking, changing area, etc.)

Three-person crews will be again assigned for each game beginning with the semi-final round of regional play for all classes.  Three-person crews are also assigned for all regional final games as well as each game at the state tournament.

Prior to the start of a game, the tournament manager is responsible for postponement due to inclement weather. Notify the IGHSAU immediately, followed by the participating teams and each umpire.  See Appendix B, Guidelines for Postponements, for further information

Once a game has started, the umpire-in-chief must determine whether to end the game. This decision should be made in consultation with the tournament manager. The tournament manager should be prepared to offer information on lightning strikes in the area; weather radar, forecast, etc.   If the game is ended by the umpire before it is a regulation game, the tournament manager must call Jason at (515) 401-1836 or by cell (515) 240-7649. Game management must wait a minimum of 30 minutes on any delayed game prior to postponement (use good judgment). The IGHSAU will determine the make-up time, date and umpires for any makeup or resumed games.  It is important to record the score, secure the line ups and point of game information (outs, balls, strikes, etc.) when the game is suspended.

The following NFHS rules apply when weather impacts games which have started:

Rule 4-1-6--After the game starts (when the umpire calls "Play Ball"), the umpires are sole judges as to weather conditions, including whether or not the grounds are fit for play and whether conditions are suitable for starting the second game of a scheduled doubleheader.

Rule 4-2-1--If a game ends because of weather conditions, or darkness interferes with play so that the game is called (ended) by the umpire, it is a regulation game provided:

  1. five full innings have been played; or if the home team has scored an equal or greater number of runs in four or four and a fraction turns at bat than the visiting team has scored in five turns.
  2. play has gone beyond five full innings and is called when the teams have not had an equal number of completed turns at bat.  The score shall be the same as it was at the end of the last completed inning; unless the home team, in its half of the incomplete inning, scores a run (runs) or exceeds the opponent's score, in which case, the final score shall be as recorded when the game is called.

During regional tournament games, the home team must score more runs (not tied) than the opponent before the game is ended due to weather or darkness or the score reverts back to the end of the last completed inning.

Administrators (and guest) who hold IGHSAU/IHSAA administrator passes will be admitted to regional contests and to state tournament contests. Administrators (and guest) must enter through the pass gate and show photo identification. At least one administrator present will be expected to supervise their students and crowd.

One bus driver may be admitted, along with those individuals listed on the tournament roster form. Coaches and their teams shall be admitted (team members must be accompanied by the coach) at any game in the region in which they are assigned, regardless of whether they drew a bye, have been eliminated, are scouting, etc.

Each host site must supply optic yellow Dudley SB 12L RF Y FP — Red stitch (.47 COR) game balls for all games. This is the only ball that may be used in regional competition.  Please have 12-16 "suitable" Dudley balls available.  "Suitable" means the softball is already rubbed up a bit and not in poor shape.

Admission price is $6 per session for each round of the regional tournament. A link to IGHSAU signage  for host schools to print out and post during all rounds of regional play can be downloaded by clicking here.   Admission shall be charged to everyone kindergarten age and up. Do not charge for children who are not yet in school.

All awards will be sent directly to the Tournament Manager for presentation at the conclusion of each tournament game. Regional Final hosts will receive a packet of awards including the championship banner, Ticket Punched poster, as well as information for the team advancing to the state tournament.

Due to summer hours and office closures in the summer, regional final host ADs have the option of receiving the awards packets at their home address or an alternate school address.  The IGHSAU will contact host ADs to confirm the address for shipment of the materials.

The preferred game time is 7 p.m. for a single game; 5:00 p.m. for the first game of a doubleheader and on fields without lights.  Please do not start a game prior to the published time unless IGHSAU approval is given.  If incoming weather or other circumstances necessitates a change in time, please contact the IGHSAU.  In doubleheaders, make every effort to have the teams involved in the following game ready for play as close to the scheduled start time as possible

A media box is required to be lined in foul territory down the third base line for all regional contests. An additional media box down the first base line is recommended. The minimum dimensions of these boxes shall be 5 feet wide by 3 feet deep. Only official media photographers/videographers may occupy the media boxes.

In regional tournaments both teams may take infield practice on the actual playing diamond. There is a seven-minute limit. The timing shall be done by the home management, preferably by the public- address announcer or scoreboard operator. A reminder shall be issued with one minute remaining. A team still has the option of hitting ground balls in front of their dugout in foul territory during their seven-minute warm-up time if they prefer. Both teams must be afforded the opportunity to use the playing diamond for their seven minutes if they choose.

If the host school is playing, the host school shall remain in its normal dugout and inform the opponent of their dugout assignment.

When playing at a neutral site during tournament play, the top team listed on the bracket is considered the home team and shall occupy the third base dugout and the bottom-bracket team the first base dugout.  A coin toss is no longer needed.

Ensure that the official scorer and public-address announcer arrive at least 30 minutes prior to game time. The public-address announcer shall announce players and/or actions of the game on an impartial and nonbiased basis (the same for both teams).  Please make sure the public-address announcer visits with each team before the game for correct pronunciations of athlete names.

The display or usage of balloons, banners, signs, or confetti is prohibited. Signs such as those used for advertisements on an outfield fence or for tournament administration are allowed. Additionally, any object which could provide a safety concern is prohibited, as are any artificial noisemakers (e.g. air horns, cowbells, etc.) These rules also apply to the state tournament.

All spectators at IGHSAU-sponsored softball tournaments shall wear shoes. Decorative masks which are non-COVID-19 face coverings are not permitted.

A tournament softball game is held as part of the educational environment.  The Board of Directors of the Iowa Girls’ High School Athletic Union has adopted the following policies.  It is the expectation that the host school enforces these rules regarding unacceptable behavior:

Any of the following actions will result in ejection of the offender from the premises:

  • Disrespectful conduct, including verbal or written profanity, obscene gestures or comments, offensive remarks or signs of a sexual nature, or other vulgar actions that demean individuals or the
  • Throwing articles onto the contest
  • Entering the contest area in protest or
  • Physical confrontation involving contest officials, coaches/directors, contestants, or
  • Spectator interference with the
  • Use of laser light

Use of artificial signs, banners, and noisemakers (air horns, cowbells, keys, thunder sticks, megaphones, etc.) is prohibited. (First offense = Warning. Subsequent offense = Ejection.)

Please notify the IGHSAU if any spectator is ejected from the facility, including the name of the spectator.

A procedure has been established to assist officials and administrators when spectator conduct becomes a problem.

The administrator in charge for the evening shall meet with the officials when they arrive on-site 60 minutes prior to scheduled game The administrator should identify his/her location during the contest so umpires know where to locate the administrator if the need arises.

If a problem arises during a game, the umpire shall stop play, notify the administrator in charge of the problem, and determine a remedy to the problem. The remedy may include requesting supervision of the troublemaker, direct confrontation of the troublemaker by the administrator, or removal of the troublemaker from the premises. The game will not restart until the administration complies with the remedy ordered by the umpire.

Host game management is responsible for every spectator, regardless of which school the spectator supports. At no time are umpires to address spectators directly. Any necessary communication with spectators shall be done by the administrator in charge.

What defines a problem which needs to be addressed?

A) Any derogatory or inappropriate remarks directed at players, coaches or officials.

B) Any comments or actions by spectators which prevent the official from doing his or her job at the highest level possible.

No alcohol or tobacco is to be sold or consumed on the grounds of any state tournament venue leased or provided to the IGHSAU for the purpose of conducting a State Championship. Section 123.46 of the Iowa Code States: A person shall not possess or consume alcoholic liquors, wine or beer on public school property or while attending a public or private school-related function. A person shall not be intoxicated or simulate intoxication in a public place. A person violating this subsection is guilty of a simple misdemeanor.

No pets are permitted at events sanctioned by the IGHSAU or IHSAA. Any person with a pet will be asked to leave. This policy shall comply with the provisions of Iowa Code 216c in that such a person with a disability or person training an assisted animal has the right to be accompanied by a service  dog or an assisted animal under control. The person is liable for damage done to any premises or facility by a service dog or assisted animal.

Media Outlets, along with interested schools or individuals may apply to the IGHSAU regarding video broadcasting access at select postseason lead-up events while following procedures required for access. Information can be downloaded by clicking on the link below. Note: There is no charge to stream audo-only radio broadcasts of regional tournament contests.

Regional Event Policies

Regional Event Broadcasting Fees

Application Form

Flash photography is permitted from dead ball territory only. No photographers, press, etc. will be allowed in live ball territory unless they are in lined media boxes. Only official press photographers may be in media boxes during the contest. Any amateur photographers must pay admission to the contest and are not allowed in media boxes. These rules apply equally to television stations using video cameras.

Paying spectators, including those scouting for other teams, are not restricted from videotaping if the video equipment is hand held or on a monopod. A tripod may be used if located on the ground and does not hinder any spectator’s view. Tournament managers are not to make special arrangements for seating or electrical hook-ups for spectators trying to film or videotape. No supplemental lighting is permitted.

Teams wishing to videotape the games are permitted to utilize equipment as long as it is not hindering spectator's view and is attended at all times.  Unattended cameras affixed to the fence are not permitted.

All press outlets have been advised to directly contact the tournament manager of a site from which they wish to cover regional tournament games.

Radio stations and newspapers are not obligated to inquire through the IGHSAU nor is the tournament manager obligated to acquire sanction from the IGHSAU for regional tournament coverage.

Television stations are not obligated to acquire sanction from the IGHSAU to tape highlights or to tape a game for 24-hour or more delayed rebroadcast. Live video broadcast or video streaming of regional softball contests is not permitted without IGHSAU permission.

No fundraising, solicitations, etc. will be permitted within the softball complex. All raffles, bake sales, booster club sales, etc. must take place outside the complex at IGHSAU-sponsored tournament games.

A United States flag shall be displayed in the facility and the National Anthem shall be played prior to the contest (before the first game of a doubleheader).  No live presentation of the Anthem should be scheduled this year due to the COVID-19 situation. 

Players are expected to conduct themselves in a quiet and attentive manner until the Anthem is fully completed.

The script to be read: “Ladies and Gentlemen, the playing of our National Anthem.  “Ladies and Gentlemen, please direct your attention to the flag of our great country with the playing of our National Anthem.”

Music may be played prior to the game, between innings, and after the game. In an effort to maintain neutrality during the regional tournament, if walk-up music is played, it must be played for both teams. The visiting team must have the opportunity to submit a playlist in advance to the regional host site, and if either team chooses to not have walk-up music, it shall not be played for either team.  Administrators should review the music in order to determine its appropriateness for the venue, i.e. language, profanity, etc.

Walkup music should stop as soon as the batter steps into the batter's box.

Host schools are responsible for securing the appropriate copyright license for music played at IGHSAU regionals.

The umpire-in-chief may order the music turned down or off if the music is inappropriate or is interfering with the orderly administration of the game.

A host school may furnish the official programs for its tournament either on a gratis or sales basis and may retain any profits derived from the sale thereof. Please contact the opponent's school administration prior to soliciting advertisements from that community's businesses.

The IGHSAU will only send roll tickets to schools serving as hosts who request them. You may now utilize your own roll tickets and avoid the return shipping costs of the IGHSAU roll tickets. Please keep in mind that you are still responsible for following the ticketing procedure as outlined below if you utilize your own roll tickets. If you wish to have IGHSAU tickets mailed to you, please contact Sherry Tegtmeier at the IGHSAU, 515-401-1839 or via email at [email protected].  IGHSAU Board policy requires member schools serving as hosts to:              
• Collect the money for the tickets sold.              
• Tear ticket(s) off the roll in consecutive order and then tear the ticket(s) in half or have the person at the entrance door tear the ticket(s) in half and deposit them in a receptacle, there upon the spectator may enter the tournament venue.  

The proper handling of any cash demands a set of checks and balances to protect the schools, volunteers and employees against everything from unintentional errors of addition and subtraction to the potential of fraud. Many of our member schools have adopted these ticketing procedures and are currently utilizing it for non-athletic events and activities.  Report the beginning and ending numbers of tickets you used for any particular tournament series. The Softball Tournament Financial form may be downloaded by clicking here.

Please print, complete and forward the tournament report form with the check after you have hosted your last event for that tournament series. REMINDER: All gate receipts must be received in our office no later than 30 days from the Regional Final date. If the IGHSAU does not receive your school’s gate receipts within this 30-day period, the IGHSAU will then notify the Athletic Director at your school and your school may be in jeopardy of not receiving 20% of the gate receipts. 

PASS OUT TICKETS: Please try to avoid pass-out tickets. In the event that it is necessary to give pass-out tickets, it is suggested that a rubber stamp be used to mark the back of a person's hand.One bus driver may be admitted, along with those individuals listed on the tournament checklist.

Have on hand a roll of tickets of any type which could be distributed as spectators leave the complex. When the game is made up, this ticket would be honored. Anyone not having this ticket would be required to pay admission.

Prior to the semifinal round of regional play, information will be posted on the IGHSAU website explaining all state tournament protocol and information. A packet of information about the state tournament in Fort Dodge will also be provided to the regional final winner at that site.