DP typically stands for Designated Player. You can think of it as similar to a Designated Hitter in Baseball, but here’s the difference; a designated hitter in baseball can hit in place of another player already in position, but a designated hitter cannot play defense.
DP in Defense
In Fast Pitch Softball, a designated player (DP) can make hits for a player as well as temporarily play defense, and can later on in the game return to their original position. If you’re a designated player playing turn for a hitter or in the offense team, you’ll be known as the “pinch runner” or “pinch hitter”.
DP Flex Rule USSSA and DP Flex Rule Softball NCAA basically say that the only person that can play pinch runner, and this is the person in defense (known as the flex), that this pinch runner replaced. The designated player can’t replace anyone else when taken out, but take note that a designated player can be brought back into the lineup of the chosen flex person
Basic Softball Substitution Rules
Using a DP and Flex
For a visual guide to help you understand the use of a Designated Player and a Flex in your softball game, take a look at this video for deeper insight:
It’s always handy to have a DP Flex Cheat Sheet to remind you of the rules for softball substitution, and what’s even more important is keeping track of your lineup by using a lineup card. You can write out a template yourself but alternatively, you can download one of these DP Flex Line Up Card Templates with different designs you can choose, print, and then fill out for games, and if you’re interested in that cheat sheet since it’s a new rule and it might take some time to remember the conditions, you can take a look at printing this downloadable file to keep with you as a guide during softball games.