USA Softball News April 2009 Plays and...

April 2009 Plays and Clarifications

April 30, 2009, 12:28 p.m. (ET)

April 2009 Plays and Clarifications

Umpire Recruiting

We have had several areas around the country tell us about successful ways of recruiting and retaining umpires. Because of the economic times it seems our profession, umpiring, is coming of interest to a lot of people. The ability to make some extra monies and become a part of the best group of people around the country seems to be the big selling points. One item that has caught our attention is a group in the Seattle area that posted a recruiting blurb on Craig’s list, a nationally known internet job recruiting site. In one week time they have signed up 40 new umpires with several more sending in résumés and emails of interest. Our hats go off to those who continue to strive and put forth the efforts to grow our umpire numbers around the country. It is imperative we continue to do so and then work to keep these new umpires, train these new umpires and let them see why we love this profession as much as we do.

Rule Book Issues

Page 26 Rule 1 Definition Charged Conference: replace the word “for” with the word “from” in the rule …..or delays the game for the purpose of delivering a message to another team member, unless the pitcher is removed FROM the pitching position.

Page 101 Rule 10 Section 5: numbers 1-8 will be changed to A-H

Umpire Uniform

We have had several questions on the issue of the color of the mask that must be worn by the plate umpire. Rule 10 Section 5 [8] states that the plate umpire in Fast Pitch must wear a black mask with black or tan pads and a black throat protector. An extended wire protector may be worn in lieu of a throat protector on the mask.

Umpire Award Information

Several umpires have asked questions on where to find the qualifications for the award programs, Elite, NIF, and Medals offered by the ASA umpire program. These qualifications can be found on the web page at ASA by going to the following:

  1. Click on the umpire program
  2. Tab down to award programs
  3. Click on the award program of choice and when you are in that program
  4. Click on the application for the award.
  5. The application has all the qualifications for every award program offered by ASA.

    Plays of the Month

    Catcher’s Obstruction after an Illegal pitch has been declared:

    The Illegal Pitch: Remember that an Illegal pitch is a delayed dead ball, Rule 6 Section 8 effect, so that the play may continue. Once the play has ceased our rules, Rule 8 section 8B in Fast Pitch provide that if the batter hits the ball and reaches first base safely and if all other runners advance at least one base on the batted ball the illegal pitch is nullified. All action from the play stands. No option is given. When the batter does not reach first base safely and all other runners do not advance at least one base the manger will be given the option of taking the result of the play or enforcement of the Illegal pitch by awarding a ball on the batter and advancing all runner one base.

    The Catcher’s Obstruction is also a delayed dead ball. Rule 8 Section 1D [1, 2] states that if the batter hits the ball and reaches first base and all other runners advance at least one base catcher’s obstruction is canceled. If runners do not advance at least one base, including the batter-runner then we enforce catcher’s obstruction with the effect of: the manager has the option of taking the result of the play or enforcing obstruction by awarding the batter first base and advancing all runners if forced.

    PLAY:With R1 on 3B and one out. F1 commits an illegal pitch which is called by the umpire who gives the delayed dead ball signal. B3 swings at the pitch and is obstructed by the catcher. The ball is foul and R1 does not score.

    Ruling:The umpire should signal illegal pitch when the pitcher commits an illegal pitch. Once there is catcher’s obstruction the umpire should also call obstruction and when the play ends the umpires should rule as follows:

    1. Since the batter did not reach 1B and R1 did not advance at least one base the offensive team gets the option of the result of the play, which is the enforcement of the illegal pitch, or put the batter on 1B and R1 remains on 3B. Rule 8 Section 1D [2]
    2. If the offensive team wants the result of the play, enforce the illegal pitch by awarding a ball on the batter and award R1 home. Rule 6 Section 8C
    3. Interference by a runner after an Infield Fly has been declared:

      We have received a question about an act of interference by a runner after an infield fly has been declared. The following occurs:

      1. An infield fly is declared on a fly ball which can be caught by an infielder, pitcher or catcher with ordinary effort when first and second or first, second, and third occupied and less than two outs.
      2. The ball must be fair for the out to be recorded on an infield fly.
      3. If an act of interference happens by a runner in fair territory the ball becomes fair and then declared dead due to the interference.
      4. The batter would be out because of the infield fly and the runner would be out on interference.
      5. Play:R2 on 1B and R1 on 2B with no outs. B3 hits a fly ball between 1B and 2B. The umpires rule infield fly and the ball hits the ground in front of F4 and hits R2 who was returning to 1B while F4 is attempting to field the ball.

        Ruling:When the ball hit R2 between 1B and 2B the ball is established to be a fair ball and the umpires should call “Dead Ball”. B3 is out according to Rule 1 Definition Infield Fly. R2 is now ruled out for interference according to Rule 8 Section 7. The runner is out when struck with a fair untouched batted ball while not in contact with a base and before it passes another fielder excluding the pitcher or if it passes an infielder and another fielder has an opportunity to make an out. The runner is in jeopardy and is entitled to advance with liability to be put out according to rule 8 Section 4L, when an infield fly is declared and caught, runners may tag up and advance. If the ball is not caught, runners may advance at their own risk. Since the runner chose to run at risk then both the batter and runner are out in this play.

        Advance Camps

        This is a reminder to all that the Fast Pitch and Slow Pitch Camps are just around the corner. The Fast Pitch Camp will be held first, starting on the10th of June and ending on the 14h of June. Instruction on the 3 Umpire System and dedicated work on the pitching machine are just two of the many features of this years camp. Students will be able to work the three umpire system at the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium Complex. Applications are now being taken at the National Office. Credit card payment will be accepted. For more details contact Chris Sebren by phone at 405 425-3432 or by E-Mail at The Slow Pitch Camp will be held the following week, starting on the 17th of June and ending on the 21st of June. The camp provides a drills and practical experience which will bring out the best in your umpiring abilities. It also targets specific mechanics and techniques which will allow you to better overcome the challenges of umpiring in the Slow Pitch Game. The camp will be held for the second year in a row in Cincinnati, Ohio. Practical game experience will be provided throughout the camp. For more information please call or E-Mail Dee Fick at: 513 563-2755 and You also may obtain more information on the camps by going to the ASA Web Site @, and clicking on Umpires, then Umpire Schools and going to the bottom of the list to find the Fast Pitch and Slow Pitch Camps.