July 2011 Plays and Clarifications

July 31, 2011, 12:37 p.m. (ET)

July 2011 Plays and Clarifications

It is the end July and I am sure ASA Championship Play is in full swing. We have a number of National Qualifiers completed and many more to be completed, not to mention State and Local Association Championship being played around the country. We know our umpire communities are busy calling games, watching games and discussing situations, plays and playing rules. Hopefully the plays and rule questions we add every month to the Plays and Clarifications helps stimulate your mind and answer questions you may have about rules and/or game situations.
Rule 1 Catch / No Catch
Play:   B1 hits a line drive, knocking the glove off F5’s hand.  The glove falls to the ground with the ball remaining in the glove.  Is this a catch? 
Ruling: No catch. (Rule 1, Catch A1: To establish a valid catch the fielder shall hold the ball long enough to prove control of it and or the release is voluntary.
Rule 1, No Catch B3: It is not a catch when the fielder catches a batted or thrown ball with anything other than the hand(s) or glove / mitt in its proper place.)  
The act of knocking the glove off the hand with the ball still in it shows no control is established before the glove comes off and makes this a no catch situation. With the glove lying on the ground even though the ball remains in the glove is an example of detached equipment.  In this case, like the helmet or bat lying on the ground, the glove is now part of the ground and a valid catch cannot be completed.

Rule 3 Equipment
Play: What type of helmet, if any, would a bat girl in JO Fast Pitch have to wear?
Ruling: The bat girl must wear a double ear flap NOCSAE approved batting helmet.  (Rule 3, Section 5E: All adult Fast Pitch, Modified Pitch, and JO Olympic offensive players, including the on-deck batter and Junior Olympic players acting as coaches in the coaching box must properly wear double ear flap NOCSAE approved batting helmets.)
Even though this rule does not specifically cover bat girls, it is implied that all JO participants including bat girls have to wear a double ear flap NOCSAE approved batting helmet.

Rule 8 Batter-Runner and Runner
Play:   With two outs and R1 on 2B, B4 hits a ground ball to F6. F6 fields the ball and throws high to 1B. F3 jumps up and catches F6’s throw and the throw takes F3 onto the contrasting color of the base. F3 only touches the contrasting color of the base before B4 reaches 1B.  Is B4 out?
Ruling: Since the throw from F6 was an errant throw, that in the opinion of the umpire took F3 to the contrasting color of the base, the batter-runner would be out.  (Rule 8, Section 2M [5]:On an errant throw pulling the defense off the white portion of the base into foul ground, the defense and the batter-runner can use either the white or contrasting portion. If the umpire judged the throw took F3 to the contrasting color portion of the base that is in foul ground, then F3 can use either portion of the base. Note the throw does not have to take F3 beyond the contrasting color of the base to be considered to have pulled the defense into foul ground.)

Play:   With one out and R1 on 1B, B3 swings at the ball for strike three and the catcher drops the ball. B3 runs toward 1B because the catcher dropped the ball in a) the catcher throws the ball wildly to 1B and the ball goes into RF, b) the catcher throws to pick off R1 but hits the retired B3 in the back with the ball.
Ruling: (Rule 8, Section 7P EFFECT: When, after being declared out or after scoring, an offensive player interferes with a defensive player’s opportunity to make a play on another runner. EFFECT: The ball is dead. The runner closest to home plate at the time of the interference is out. All runners not out must return to the last base touched at the time of the interference.
NOTE: A runner continuing to run and drawing a throw may be considered
a form of interference. This does not applyto the batter-runner running on
the dropped third strike rule.)
It is the responsibility of both the catcher and the batter to know the game situation.  The dropped third strike rule is not in effect in this situation; therefore the batter-runner is not running under the dropped third strike rule. If the umpire judges the action of the retired batter to have hindered, impeded, or confused the defense, this is interference.  Simply running toward 1B when the dropped third strike rule is not in effect does not constitute interference.  With that said in a) if the umpire judged the throw was wild because the catcher made a bad throw, it is not interference. In b) if the umpire judged the thrown ball hitting the retired B3, impeded the defense’s opportunity to execute a play,  interference should be called on a retired offensive player and the runner closest to home would be called out as well.

Play: Team A has ten players listed on the line-up card in a game of JO Fast Pitch. The DP is batting in the 4th spot for the pitcher listed in the 10 spot (FLEX) on the line-up card. In the 4th inning the DP gets a single to LF. The coach of team “A” calls time and puts the pitcher in to run for the DP. After one pitch the coach asks for time and now wants to put in a courtesy runner for the pitcher. Is this legal?
Ruling: This is not legal and should not be allowed. (Rule 8, Section 10E: The courtesy runner is not permitted to run as a courtesy runner for the Designated Player (DP) if the DP is batting for the pitcher or the catcher.

In this case the DP is who earned their way on base, not the pitcher, so no Courtesy Runner would be allowed.