April 2010 Plays and Clarifications

April 30, 2010, 2:10 p.m. (ET)

April 2010 Plays and Clarifications

As the Championship season approaches many of you have been assigned to a National Championship. Now is the time to start your preparation both mentally and physically. Start an exercise program so your body will be ready for the physical demands of umpiring the entire season and your National Championship. Develop mental toughness by studying the rules and practicing ASA mechanics. Put both into practice on the field during league games and weekend tournaments.

We as umpires should look forward to the start of another softball season. We will be doing what we love to do, in the game we love to be a part of. If it were not for the game of softball, we probably would not be on the field. With this in mind we should become better umpires and improve the quality of the games that we umpire.

Rule 8, Section 2B (Batter-Runner is Out)

We have received several questions dealing with how long a fielder has to hold on to the ball on a force out if they tag a base or to retire the batter runner prior to reaching 1B. The ASA rules say that as long as the fielder has control of the ball and once they touch the base with the ball or any part of the body, the runner or batter-runner should be ruled out. The umpire must judge if the fielder had control of the ball when the base was correctly touched to have an out call.

Play:: B2 slaps the pitch toward the right side of the infield and F3 fields the ball with their bare hand and dives for 1B. In the base umpire’s opinion, F3 has control of the ball and is holding the ball securely while diving on 1B and touching it with the ball. As soon as F3 touches 1B with the ball, the ball rolls loose into foul ground.

RulingThis is a judgment call by the umpire in regards to F3 having control of the ball when touching 1B. The runner should be ruled out if the umpire judged the fielder had possession of the ball at the time of touching the base, regardless of the ball coming loose after touching the base. The issue is control for that split second that the ball touches the base. If control is established when the fielder touches the base B2 would be out.

Rule 7, Section 6B (Altered or Non-Approved Bat)

The only bat list that ASA posts on its web page is the Non Approved bats with Certification Marks. If the bat appears on this list or does not meet the requirements of Rule 3 Section 1A [1-3] it is considered a Non Approved bat. ASA Rule 1 (Definitions Non Approved Bat states that a bat that does not meet ASA Specifications and is on the current non approved bat list is a Non Approved bat. Since we no longer post the complete non-approved bat list and, in some cases, the bat manufactures do not submit a bat for approval, this definition is not accurate. However, the intent is the same. If the bat does not meet Rule 3 Section 1A [1-3] requirements it is a non-approved bat and all rules pertaining to using a non-approved bat will apply.

Play:B3 enters the batter’s box with a new model bat that does not have an ASA 2000 or 2004 Certification mark.

Ruling:B3 is called out, ejected from the game and the tournament for entering the batter’s box with a Non Approved bat.

Rule 7 Section 4M (Strike is called by Umpire)

Rule 8 Section 1F (Batter becomes a Batter-Runner)

We have had questions on a batter being hit by a pitched ball while being out of the front of the box. In ASA play we have two rules that govern this situation. One rule pertains to the batter being hit with a pitch that is out of the strike zone and the other pertains to the batter being hit by a pitch and preventing that pitch from entering the strike zone. ASA’s rule on preventing the ball from entering the strike zone is different than other organizations, but we feel our rule is consistent with the intent of other rules which pertains to a batter being hit by a pitch.

Play:B6, a slap hitter, is hit by a pitch a) while out of the front of the box and b) while out of the front of the box preventing the ball from entering the strike zone.

Ruling:In (a) the ball is dead and a ball is awarded the batter and in (b) the ball is dead and a strike called on the batter.

Rule 8 Section 2J (Batter-Runner is Out)

A question was submitted on the situation of an intentionally dropped fly ball as it is explained in the rule supplement. Rule Supplement 30 states “The ball cannot be intentionally dropped unless the fielder has actually caught it and then drops it. Merely guiding the ball to the ground is not an intentionally dropped ball.” The purpose of the rule is to prevent a defensive player from gaining an advantage for a possible double play. To have an “intentionally dropped” ball the ball must be caught and then dropped. It is always umpire judgment as to whether the fielder caught the ball and then dropped it.

Play:B1 hits a soft line drive to the left of F6 which enters the pocket of his glove and then allows the ball to fall to the ground before securing it to create a double play possibility.

Ruling:If in the judgment of the umpire, the ball entered the pocket of the fielder’s glove and the fielder caught the ball and then intentionally let it drop from the glove, the ball is dead, the batter is out and runners return to the last base touched at the time of the pitch

ASA Exam

Many of you have sent emails regarding questions about correct answers not matching up with questions on the answer sheet. It was discovered that the exam on the web was a different revision than the one that went to print. Even though this was caught early, some of you had already printed the test from the web and submitted your answers to your Local Association This caused some confusion but we were able to find and correct the issue. The correct test has been on the web since 02-09-10. We apologize for the inconvenience. If you are taking the test posted on the web, be sure to take the test posted after 02-02-10. Thank You!