The DP/Flex Written By Gary Leland
Fastpitch Softball DP/Flex
When it comes to fast pitch Softball DP/Flex starting lineup, there are ten starters not nine. The DP and the Flex are part of the starting players. The rules dictate that the DP/Flex needs to be included on the starting lineup.
Just like any other lineup, a substitute will only bat where the substituted player was batting from. The DP and the Flex are sort of joined to the hip in regard to the batting order. If the two players are in the game, the Flex takes the tenth position in the batting order and this means the Flex will not bat.
The only position the DP and the Flex can bat is the position occupied by the DP during the commencement of the game. During regular substitution, a player will leave the game and is replaced with another player.
Please note that swapping the DP and the Flex for each other is considered as half a substitution. This simply means that only a single member of the pair is allowed to either leave or re-enter the game. To justify this rule; when the DP comes into the game as defense for the Flex, the Flex will have left the game and this means the lineup comprising of ten players is now considered to have nine players.
In the scenario where the Flex re-enters the game on defense and is permitted to do this only once in a game, the DP goes back to playing offense and the lineup of nine players now grows back into ten players.
However, such moves will not affect the DP’s starter/re-entry/ substitution status in one way or another.
When the Flex steps in the field in offense for the DP, the Flex automatically replaces the DP in the batting order. This shake up causes the lineup to move from ten players back to nine players. In this scenario, the DP is removed from the game and the re-entry rules set up for substitutes apply to the DP.
When the DP re-enters the game once more, the DP goes back to their original position in the batting order. The lineup now moves from nine players back up to ten players. This move also means that the DP has exhausted his re-entry rights.
The Flex is now left to go back to playing defense only. Please note that this move will not affect the Flex’s re-entry/starter/ Substitution in any form. The rules also dictate that either the Flex or the DP can be substituted for under normal circumstances by other players, however, the substitute takes over the DP’s or Flex’s position, this is however dependent on whom the player is substituting for at that particular moment.
Defense Position Swaps Incorporates Both the DP and Flex
Just like it is with any lineup, position swaps for defense do not amount to substitutions. The DP for instance begins at the defensive position (F 10) which is basically the bench warming position. It clearly means that it’s easy to swap the DP with any other player apart from the Flex on defense; no one should have left the game as this doesn’t amount to a substitution.
The player that is taken away from the defense proceeds with batting in the usual spot on the batting order.
Furthermore, the Flex can be moved from the starting defense position to occupy another defense position. This move doesn’t apply to the F 10 (Benchwarmer) the player remains as the Flex and this move is not considered as a substitution.
DP/Flex Playing Short Handed
If the starting lineup comprised the DP/Flex players and it was composed of ten players, only then is when the offensive lineup totals for the shorthanded rule. This clearly states that the DP/Flex playing lineup requires that you have eight players playing offense for the game to progress.
The DP/Flex Powerful Rule 2
DP/Flex is a powerful tool especially when it being handled by a seasoned coach who fully understands the rule. Picture a scenario where a team has a hot glove or a situation where there is a vacuum cleaner in the infield, unfortunately the player is unable to hit a lick, an assured out when the player comes up to bat.
Picture a team that has a player one who is almost assured of getting on base one way or the other and is able to steal second way before the catcher is able to stand up, however, this immaculate player has a weakness when it comes to defense.
The DP/Flex position makes it possible for the team to turn round this situation into the team’s advantage. The team with these two positions will be able to use ten weapons against the nine from the opposition.
The team is permitted to use their nine best fielders and bat their nine best regardless of whether they are in the same nine or not. Most softball coaches clearly understand this part of the DP/Flex rule as it is considerably similar to the DH rule in the baseball league.
A word of caution though, if this is all what the coaches use the DP/Flex rule for, it means that they are missing out on the greatest influential possibilities. As a coach have you always wished and wanted to give your players a breather especially during the sizzling and hotly contested championship tournaments? However you are mindful of burning up your substitution possibilities too early during the game? Well fortunately for you the DP/Flex rule grants you the chance of resting your players.
As a coach, if you have been in a situation somewhere late in the game where one of your players is unable to go into the field and you have exhausted all your substitutes, well stress no more as the DP/Flex rule allows you to proceed with nine players on defense.
Softball DP/Flex NFHS Rule
In Softball, the DP rule replaces the DH associated with baseball. However, with the DP rule, you are allowed to do everything you did with the DH rule, what’s even better, you are allowed to do a whole lot more!
The DP rule is never dismissed and the rule is not mandatory. When the coach feels the need to use it, he needs to state it early on the starting lineup. Any team incorporating the DP rule begins the game with ten, but the team is allowed to continue playing or conclude the game with either nine or ten players.
Who is The DP?
The DP is an offensive player and needs to be listed in one of the 9 batting positions. The player’s (Flex) name that plays the DP is batting and needs to be placed in position 10 in the lineup. The rules dictate that a starting DP is allowed to re-enter the game once, however, the DP is required to go back to the original position of the batting order.
A Flex that started is allowed to re-enter the game once, however, rules also dictate that the Flex needs to go back to the tenth position in the lineup card.
Who Replaces the DP?
The DP can only be replaced by either a runner or a substitute hitter. In a scenario where the DP leave the game with just a single re-entry allowed, Flex runs for DP. In a game where the DP has gone off the pitch and still has a re-entry remaining, the Flex takes over as the DP.
When the Flex either runs or bats for the DP, the DP automatically leaves the game. This means that the FLEX will now bat in the seventh position.
In this scenario the lineup goes from ten players down to nine players. The DP is allowed to re-enter the game to either run or bat. The Flex then will assume back the original tenth position. The Flex only plays defense and will never leave the game.
The DP is allowed to play defense for the Flex. Besides, the DP is able to play the defense position for any player that is in the top nine batting order positions. DP goes in to pitch and Flex leaves the game. The line up-to Flex is allowed to re-enter.
When the DP assumes the defense position for any other player besides the FLEX, the player still bats and will not have left the game. In this situation the DP will play the second base position and is still allowed to bat in the seventh position.
The player that has relinquished his position doesn’t leave the game however, the player no-longer plays defense but is allowed to bat on the second position.
Dos and Don’ts
The coach cannot place the FLEX player in lineup of the first nine players for someone other than the DP. Again the role of the DP and that of the FLEX never gets terminated. A team may reduce from 10 to nine players and can increase the players back to 10 for any number of times during the game.
The rules dictate that the game may come to a conclusion with either ten or nine players. The DP is not left to play the defense position only. The player playing the FLEX position can never be left to play the offense position only.
Again the DP and the FLEX are not allowed to play offense at the same time. The FLEX and the DP are however permitted to play the defense positions at the same time.
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