May 2010 Plays and Clarifications
As summer approaches and Championship play arrives, having a good knowledge of the playing rules is a necessity in all of your games. This month we had some very interesting plays and situations that occurred across the US. Everyone is reminded that the monthly Plays and Clarifications are prepared for the purpose of discussing plays that have happened in our great game of softball.
Play: B2 is in the batter’s box with the heel of their foot touching the back line of the box. Once the pitch is released and during the batting motion, the heel of the batter’s foot goes outside the line because of a twisting motion. At the time B2 makes contact with the ball the heel is a) still outside the line with the rest of the foot in the box or b) back inside the box completely.
RULING: B2 is not out in a) or b). For the batter to be called out for making contact with the ball with the foot outside the batter’s box, the entire foot must be on the ground outside the batter’s box when contact occurs under Rule 7 Section 6D. In order to be considered to have left the batter’s box and return to the batter’s box the same logic must be applied. The batter must leave the box with their entire foot touching the ground and return to the box before making contact with the ball. Having part of the foot slide outside of the box and returning to the box when hitting the ball is not a violation of Rule 7 Section 6F
Rule 7, Section 6Q Batter is out:
Play: With bases loaded and one out, B5 swings and misses the pitch for strike two. F2 catches the missed pitch as B5's follow through hits F2's glove and knocks the ball out of the glove as (a) F2 is attempting a pick off at 3B or (b) B2 is returning the ball to F1 with no play apparent.
RULING: In (a) the umpire should rule dead ball and interference on B5. B5 is out and all runners must return to the last base touched, in the judgment of the umpire, at the time of the pitch . In (b) no interference is ruled as there is no play being made. The umpire should call time, allow both the offense and the defense to reset (RULE 1, INTERFERENCE; Rule 7, Section 6Q)
Rule 8, Section 2I Batter-Runner is out
Play: R1 on 3B, R2 on 2B and R3 on 1B and one out. B5 hits, what appears to be, an infield fly that it is not called by the umpires. The ball was not caught and F5 picks up the ball and throws home for a force play with no tag being applied, and the runner is called out. After all play has ceased the defensive coach requests time to discuss the play with the umpires as they feel that the infield fly should have been called per ASA rules. After the umpires discuss the situation the plate umpire calls the batter-runner out on an infield fly and rules the runner that touched the plate safe for not being tagged. The offensive coach protests and asks if the umpires can legally call Infield fly after the fact?
Ruling: If after the umpires get together and agree this fly ball met the criteria of Rule 1, INFIELD FLY, and the umpire failed to make the correct call at the time, then Rule 9, Section 1A[1-4] allows the umpire to call “Infield Fly” when the opposing team brought this to the attention of the umpires. In regards to R1 at 3B, by the umpire not calling “Infield Fly” this put both teams in jeopardy. Rule 10, Section 3C allows for the umpire to rectify any situation in which a reversal of an umpire’s decision or delayed call places the offensive or defensive team in jeopardy. In the above case, the batter should be ruled out for Infield Fly and return R1 to 3B.
As to the question of whether the umpires can decide, after the fact, to call an Infield Fly or not, the following information should be noted:
1) If the umpires thought it was a fly ball that could be caught by normal effort (Rule 1 Definition Infield Fly) and did not call infield fly, then the opposing team could protest a misapplication of the playing rules under Rule 9A, Section 1-4.
2) Not calling infield fly put both the offense and defense in jeopardy, especially the runner from 3B attempting to score.
3) Rule 10 Section 3C allows the umpires to rectify any situation in which a reversal of an umpire’s decision or delayed call by an umpire places a batter-runner, runner or defensive team in jeopardy.
In this case, if the umpires decide, under protest, that the Infield Fly Rule should have been called, then they put the defense in jeopardy by not knowing that they had to tag the runner. The umpires should have returned all runners to the last base touched before they ruled the batter–runner out on the Infield fly rule that should have been called.
Rule 8 Section 7J  The Runner is out:
Play: With 2 outs and R1 on second base. B4 hits a line drive that deflects off the pitcher and rolls toward F6 who clearly has a play on the ball. In a) R1 accidentally collides with F6 before F6 fields the ground ball and in b) intentionally collides with F6 before F6 fields the ball.
Ruling: In (a) the runner would not be out if the runner, in the umpire’s judgment, ran into F6 by accident and (b) the runner would be out if, in the umpire’s judgment, the runner ran into F6 intentionally before F6 fielded the ball. Our rule, in this situation, requires an umpire to judge intent before calling interference.
Rule 8 Section 7E The Runner is out:
Play: (Fast Pitch) with one out B2 hits an over the fence home run. While rounding 1B the runner stumbles and appears to have been injured. The first base coach (a) rushes on to the field to make sure B2 is ok. While checking the player for injuries the coach directs B2 back to 1B because they missed the base or (b) after B2 gets up and continues to 2B, the coach sprints onto the field, grabs B2 and tells B2 to come back to touch 1B.
Ruling: Rule 8 Section 7E addresses an offensive team member other than a runner that physically assists a runner while the ball is live. There is also an exception for when a runner scores and misses home plate.
An over the fence home run considered, by definition of a Dead Ball, as a ball that is not in play. We have other rules that apply when runners must run the bases on over the fence home runs.
A home run awards the batter 4 bases without liability to be put out except under appeal or protest. In the case of (a) once the coach came onto the field to check a possible injured play the umpire should call time to see if the player needed to be replaced. (Rule 4, Section 10) If the coach helps the player up and directs them to touch first base again there is not violation of the rules. In (b) the coach specifically went onto the field to grab the runner and assisted B2 in returning to touch 1B. In doing so the coach has taken away the ability of the defense to appeal the runner for missing 1B and therefore should be called out for a violation of Rule 8 Section 7E.
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!