USA Softball News March 2008 Rule Clar...

March 2008 Rule Clarifications and Plays

March 31, 2008, 12:18 p.m. (ET)


As we begin to get the feeling that the Softball season is just around the corner, or in some places, moving toward full speed ahead, it is time to think about getting enrolled into the two premier Advanced Umpiring Camps offered by the Amateur Softball Association.

This year the Slow Pitch Camp will be held in Cincinnati, Ohio, from June 18 through June 22nd. The Fast Pitch Camp, on the other hand will be running from June 11 through the 15th, and it will be held again in Cumming, Ga., just outside Atlanta.

These Camps are designed to enhance umpiring skills by allowing umpires to spend time in the classroom, time on the field using drills designed to fine tune umpiring mechanics and ultimately work in live game situations allowing those skills that were just learned and rehearsed, to be put into practice. Sessions in the drill portion, as well as live game portion are recorded on a CD for each umpire. These discs prove very helpful in allowing umpires to evaluate their performance through videos.

Specific information regarding both the Slow Pitch and Fast Pitch Camp can be found on this very ASA Web Site. Click on Umpire Schools and then scroll down to the last two lines which are labeled Fast Pitch and Slow Pitch camps, click on “More Info” which will give you the basic information for each camp, and provide applications for the same.

For anyone holding a clinic or an umpire school in the next few months, don't forget to mention these camps and direct your umpires to the Web Site for more information.

Again, don't wait to register, call or E-Mail the Camp Coordinators today:

Slow Pitch Camp Fast Pitch Camp
Dee Fick Jimmy Derrick
513 563-2755 770 920-6912

2008 Rule Book Errors

Rule 2 Dimension Table: The batter's box distance from home plate shows to be 6' and should be 6" for all batter's boxes.

Rule Supplement #33 A 1 e: References RS # 14 and it should be RS #13.

Rule Supplement # 33 G 2: A word (Interference) was left out in the last sentence of the paragraph. The last sentence should read “Umpire interference may not be called in any other case.

Rule Supplement # 33 H: References RS # 18 and it should be RS # 17.

Rule Supplement # 50: Stealing: Base stealing in not legal in youth and Women's C & D Slow pitch, in CO-ED play and Master's and Senior's play. Because of the rule change this year All Adult SP, which includes Men's and Women's, can steal. The supplement should read “Base stealing in not legal in youth, CO-Ed, Master's and Senior's play…….

Fourth Out Appeal

The question of a fourth out appeal has been raised again and the ability to appeal a batter-runner not making it to first base or missing first base as a fourth out appeal to nullify a run that has scored. We need to remember, the reason the fourth out appeal was added to our rules was to penalize a runner for missing a base or leaving a base too soon and who has scored. Not to penalize a team for a batter-runner just stopping on the way to 1B because the third out has been recorded. How many times have we seen the batter-runner stop when the third out was recorded because they do not have to run to 1B any more? The same is true when they do run to 1B but miss it when going to 2B or just over running the base. In these cases they can be appealed for the third out but not the fourth out. The rule was made to nullify a run scored by a runner but violated a rule like missing a base or leaving a base too soon.

Play: R1 on 3B and R2 on 2B with 1 out. B4 hits a fly ball to F8 who catches it for the 2nd out. R1 and R2 both tag up, R1 scores and R2 is thrown out for the third out. The defense wants to appeal R1 for leaving to soon.

Ruling: If appealed properly R1 is out and the run is nullified by our Fourth out appeal. Rule 5 section 5 C

Play: R1 on 3B and R2 on 2B with two outs. B4 hits a ground ball in which R1 scores before R2 is tagged out between 2B and 3B for the third out. B4 never runs all the way to 1B because the third out has been recorded. Now the defense wants to appeal the batter-runner not reaching 1B.

Ruling: This appeal will not be granted since the third out has already been recorded. To nullify a run the fourth out appeal has to be on a runner who has scored and has missed a base or left a base too soon.

Remember the defense always has the opportunity to appeal a force out or the Batter-runner not making it to 1B as the third out before making the third out somewhere else. Once the third out is made elsewhere a Fourth out appeal has to be made on a runner who has scored and THAT runner has violated a rule.

For additional information and plays involving this rule refer to the 2007 Plays and Clarifications the April Editions.

Illegal Pitch / Runner leaving Early

The question has been asked what to do when an illegal pitch is called in fast pitch and also a runner leaves before the release of the pitch. If an Illegal pitch is called and then a runner leaves before the pitch is released then the base umpire should also call dead ball. Since dead ball is called and no pitch happens the umpire should enforce the Illegal pitch, a ball on the batter and the runner leaving the base too soon will be called out. If there is more than one runner on base then the runner leaving the base too soon is out and all other runners are advanced one base because of the illegal pitch.

PLAY: R1 on 1B and no count on B2. F1 commits an illegal pitch, by bringing the hands together a second time, which is called by the plate umpire, but continues the pitch. Just before releasing the ball R1 leaves the base before the release of the pitch. In (a) B1 does not swing at the pitch. In (b) B1 swings at the pitch and gets a base hit. In (c) R1 is on 1B and R2 is on 3B at the start of the play.

RULING: The illegal pitch happened when the pitcher brought their hands together, paused, the hands separated to begin the pitch, then the hands came back together prior to the release of the pitch. In (a) and (b) the ball became dead when R1 left 1B before the pitch was released. The fact that the batter did not swing in (a) or got a hit in (b) is irrelevant because the ball became dead when R1 left 1B early. Enforce both the leaving early and illegal pitch infractions, The Ball is dead and R1 is out and a ball is awarded to B2. In (c) The plate umpire should call illegal pitch when it occurs and then “dead ball” when R1 leaves 1B too soon. R1 is out, R2 is awarded home and B2 is awarded a ball in the count.

Rule 8, Section 7-S, Effect, Rule 6, Section 3-B, Effect-A Illegal Pitch

Umpire Manual

Last year the part of rule 10 which described the procedures of the Umpires checking the field and equipment was moved to the umpire manual. However the portion on the umpires checking equipment before each game was left out. The questions are coming in asking if the umpires should still check equipment. Prior to each game in championship play it is the responsibility of the umpire crew to complete a walk through inspection of the playing field. Prior to meeting with the managers, the umpire crew will complete an equipment inspection of each team which will include inspection of all batting helmets and bats. The umpire's will permit corrective action by the teams to make questionable equipment playable. The purpose of the inspection is to identify illegal or non-approved equipment.

Illegal or non-approved equipment must be confiscated by the umpire crew at the time it is identified, marked with the owner's information and held by the tournament UIC until the team is eliminated from play in that event.