USA Softball News July 2008 Plays and ...

July 2008 Plays and Clarifications

July 31, 2008, 12:26 p.m. (ET)

July 2008 Plays and Clarifications

During the month of June both the Fast Pitch and Slow Pitch Advance Umpire camps were held and were a tremendous success. The following are a synopsis of both camp’s success.


The 2008 Fast Pitch Camp was successfully completed recently in Cummings, GA. Thanks to the tireless efforts of Georgia UIC, Jimmy Derrick, and his staff, all who attended were treated to excellent hospitality throughout their stay in Georgia. The week began with breakfast at the Hotel and a drive to the Camp site in Cummings with the three instructors Kevin Ryan, Jim Craig and Julie Johnson. Opening remarks began the official presentation. Craig Cress, Director of Membership Services, was on hand to welcome all the students.

The first day was dedicated to the plate, starting with a very informative lecture on Plate Mechanics given by Julie Johnson, and followed by work outside on all aspects of Plate mechanics with the help of the umpiring Staff of the Georgia association and highlighted by help from local softball players, some of whom were acting as umpires for the local Youth leagues in Cummings. The day ended with a hearty meal, and a “skull session” highlighted by a question and answer session with Craig Cress and Kevin Ryan, Supervisor of Umpires.

The next two days followed similar formats with Base Mechanics and the 2 Umpire system being highlighted on Thursday, and the 3 Umpire System featured on Friday.

On Friday, all involved in the school wore red shirts to support the troops. Commissioner Al Dattollo and UIC Jimmy Derrick made sure red shirts were provided to all the students. Hopefully, this is a tradition that will continue on for future Camps.

All students were afforded the opportunity to work games in a 3 Umpire System on Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday. Each student was given a tape which featured their plate drills and the game they worked on the plate. In addition to drills and lectures, a test was given and reviewed each day and Case Plays in Fast Pitch, given by Jim Craig, were presented for discussion.

Twenty Nine enthusiastic umpires attended the camp and were treated to a “Graduation Party” on Saturday evening. Included in the party’s festivities was a slide show highlighting the events and memories of the camp.

It was announced at the end of this year’s camp, that next year’s camp will be held at the Hall of Fame Stadium Complex in Oklahoma City.


The Slow Pitch Advance Camp proclaimed a “Big Success.” The graduation class of the 2008 Slow Pitch Advanced Camp (June 17 – 21) consisted of 39 umpires that received classroom instruction, on-field practice drills and actual game evaluations at Eggleston Park and Rumpke Park in Cincinnati, Ohio. The umpires had the opportunity to work both the two and three umpires systems and receive evaluations on their performance from a hand-picked group of instructors. The instructors were L. P. Montgomery (Southern Territory Deputy Supervisor of Umpires), Mike Deleo (Region 8 UIC), Malcolm Boyles (Western Territory Deputy Supervisor of Umpires) and Jerry Fick (Region 10 UIC). Fick pulled double duty as he and his lovely wife, Dee, served as Camp Coordinators. Cincinnati ASA sponsored the event and umpires traveled from Germany, Alaska, California, Delaware, Washington, Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois and Ohio to participate.

Three days of intense study and nightly evaluation games left little time to concentrate on anything but umpiring. The Camp gave each umpire an opportunity to improve their knowledge of the slow pitch game, improve their umpiring skills and mark another milestone of the road to becoming an ASA Elite Umpire.

The general conscience by both instructors and campers was that the camp was a “BIG SUCCESS”.

There have been many questions this month on the issue of a charged conference on visits to the pitcher by a coach. The questions have been if a coach goes to the pitcher and has a conversation with the pitcher and then decides to change the pitcher is this a conference. We believe our rule is clear on this situation.

Rule 1 Charged Conference: When a team representative requests a suspension of play or delays the game for the purpose of delivering a message to another team member.

Play 1: After having a conference with the pitcher in the 2nd inning the coach of the defensive team request time to go and talk to their pitcher. The coach talks to the pitcher, first baseman, and the third baseman. As the coach leaves the field the umpire tells the coach that that was their 2nd conference.

Ruling: This is correct the coach requested time and delivered a message to the defensive team.

Play 2: The coach if the defensive team has a conference with the pitcher and catcher in the 1st inning. In the third inning the coach request time and goes out and talks to the pitcher. After a small conversation the coach makes a pitching change before returning to the dugout. Is this a defensive conference?

Ruling: Yes, in this case the defensive coach requested time for the purpose of talking to their pitcher. While doing so they decided to make a change. By rule the defense requested a suspension of play for the purpose of delivering a message therefore this is a charged conference.

Play 3: The coach of the defensive team has a conference with their pitcher in the 2nd inning. In the 5th inning the coach request time and goes out to talk to their pitcher. As the coach approaches the pitcher they turn around and call to the umpire that they will be making a pitching change. Is this a conference?

Ruling: No, this is not a charged conference. In this case the coach informed the umpire that they will be making a change prior to delivering a message to any defensive team member. The reason for the suspension of play was for a pitching change not for delivering a message.

Remember when charging a conference to either the defense of the offense the question of who requested a suspension of play and for what reason. If the suspension of play was to deliver a message then there is a charged conference. If the suspension of play turns out to be for a pitching change and not to deliver a message, then no charged conference has taken place.

TIME LIMIT: There appears to be some confusion on the time limit rule in Junior Olympic Classification of play. Specifically Rule 5 Section 10 C. The rule states; In all Junior Olympic Class A 12-Under, 14-Under, 16-Under and 18-Under, Class B 12-Under, 14-Under, 16-Under, and Gold Pool play, No inning shall start after 1 hour and 40 minutes. This is being interpreted that these divisions of play have a time limit in elimination play. In fact the rule means that all these division of play have the time limit in POOL PLAY. Section D of this rule goes on to clarify in class B they also have a time limit in elimination play up to the upper and lower brackets of the final games. So remember in Championship Play all of the divisions listed in Rule 5 Section 10 C have a time limit in Pool play.

ODD PLAY: This month we received an odd play which really requires us to look at our rules and apply the rules that fit a specific situation. The play is as follows:

Play: R1 on 1B with less than two outs. B3 hits a ground ball to F4 who tags R1 with the glove but the ball was in the hand out of the glove. F4 then makes an errant throw to F3. B3 then proceeds to pass 2B and be thrown out at third base. The offense then asks the umpire to ask for help on the tag of R1. The umpires conclude the ball was not in the glove and R1 was not out. What do we do with R1 and B3?

Ruling: Rule 10 Section C is the only rule we have to address this particular play. It allows the plate umpire to rectify any situation in which a reversal of an umpire’s decision or delayed call by an umpire places a batter-runner, a runner, or a defensive team in Jeopardy. In this play the “phantom tag” out call has put the runner in jeopardy. We must apply the rule and not assume or guess what could have happened if R1 was called safe. Therefore, the umpires should award the runners the base that they would have reached had there not been an errant call. Our judgment, in this case, puts R1 on 2B and B3 on 1B OR if in your judgment your thought R1 would have reached 3B and B3 would have reached 2B, you could put them on those bases. Remember that this is a batted ball to the infield.

In conclusion, when interpreting any type of play, our answer must be justified by one of our rules and not by our opinions.