USA Softball News March 2013 Plays and...

March 2013 Plays and Clarifications

March 31, 2013, 12:50 p.m. (ET)

March 2013 Plays and Clarifications

Welcome to the 2013 ASA Softball season. I realize some areas of the country are going strong and others are still looking at snow on the ground. However, we are all in the swing of things when it comes to the game we love, SOFTBALL.
Training of our umpires is in full swing with the completion of four National Umpire School to date and five more scheduled this year. To see a complete listing of all the National Umpire School dates and locations go to the umpire section of the ASA website and click on umpire schools.
Also remember we have our Fast Pitch Camp scheduled for June 11 – 16th in Lancaster California. As we always do we limit the number of students to 60 so that we have more face time with them. This allows for a little more one on one instruction during the camp. This year will also include an ISF camp with the Director of Umpires from the ISF, Bob Stanton, leading this portion. If you have a desire to attend this camp contact Laura Head the coordinator at or call her at 562-221-4540

National Umpire Exam
We have discovered an error on this year’s National Umpire Exam. Question 14:
A disqualified player is prohibited from playing but can remain in the team area or serve as a coach/manager. This is marked False on the answer sheet and it should be true. If you have taken the exam we apologize for the error and if you have not please be aware of the mistake.

Other questions on the exam are sparking a lot of comments and conversation. We look at this as a good avenue for all of you to learn and examine our rules as a body of work as they should be.  We welcome questions, comments and any conversation about any and all the questions on the exam. If you have questions please contact your Regional Umpire – in Chief, your Deputy Supervisor of Umpires or myself and we will be glad to get back to you and discuss your concerns. 

The 2013 UIC Clinic…Recruit – Train – Retain
The 23rd biennial UIC Clinic was held from February 7th through February 10th in Oklahoma City, at the Biltmore Hotel.  This year over 450 people attended the  making it the largest Clinic ever.

The Clinic got off on the right foot Thursday the 7th with a Hospitality Party hosted by Region 7.  A Texas barbecue was the order of the day along with liquid refreshments and plenty of door prizes.  Dallas Slow Pitch UIC Carla Cash and the many volunteers from that “Great State” deserve a tremendous amount of credit.  We are also very grateful to ASA Properties for their very generous donation of $2000.00 so that all present could eat, drink and be merry. In addition, Thursday evening we had 3 sessions to officially get the clinic underway including a new session for all Local Associations on the benefits of Register ASA.  Special thanks go to Kaycee Clark from the National Office for leading that presentation.

This year’s clinic featured a guest speaker. Don Vaden, Director of Officiating for the NBA, was this year’s guest speaker.  Don, during his career as a Basketball Official and an administrator, found time to coach Junior Olympic softball in the Piedmont, VA area.  Don was able to relate to the umpires, commissioners, etc., assembled, with many examples of what is necessary for NBA Referees to achieve on the road to their success. We also had a motivational speaker, Deb Hartwig, a member of the Southern California Staff.  Deb’s candid approach had many of us asking ourselves if we have done enough personally to help make a positive difference in our roles with ASA.  Her straight forward approach may have made some uneasy, but for many others it served as a wake-up call,  one that had us all ‘looking in the mirror’.

We had eight, 50 minute break-out sessions that were held Friday afternoon and Saturday morning.  They covered subjects such as; Angles and Distances, Train the Trainer, Recruitment and Retention and How to be Competitive in a Competitive market.  Also the topics reminded us that we should not forget where we came from.  Evaluations, the creation of Drills and a look at Mechanics Illustrated rounded out our break-out portion.

The Saturday afternoon sessions concentrated on the never ending topics of Equipment and Technology.  Special thanks go out to our Equipment Guru’s, Craig Cress, Kevin Ryan and Rich Cress.  Technology, for the second Clinic in a row, was lead by members of our Local Associations.  Sue Sawyer of So Cal ASA, Dora Martinez of San Antonio ASA and Brian Crane and Jimmy Derrick of Georgia ASA comprised the group that has worked hard to bring us the latest Technology in terms we can all understand.

This year we were pleased to use many of our Local Association staff in our breakout sessions.  In addition to those in the Technology group, special thanks go out to the following:

Jeff Amaral Massachusetts ASA: Tim Watts Nebraska ASA: Paul Drake Ohio ASA: Richard Croker Texas ASA: Greg Pohl St. Louis ASA: Brenda Terpstra Seattle ASA: John Wright Washington ASA: Stan Finch Hawaii ASA: Chris Drumm So Cal ASA: Newton Buckner Southern New York ASA: Dave Chandler Indiana ASA and Jeff Yorke and Brian Smith from Michigan ASA.  Thanks to our 15 Regional UICs who worked with the new presenters and the Deputy Staff to make this year’s clinic, by all accounts, a resounding success. 

It does not take much to get you “psyched” for this Clinic.  However, this year was a special one as we had great strength and motivation coming from behind the scenes.  Deputy Supervisor Malcolm Boyles is waging his winning battle against cancer and still found the time to lead two of the sessions from his home and also create a portion of the “How to be a UIC at a National Championship” presentation.  Malcolm thanks for taking the next step to make us all better.

Rounding out Saturday afternoon, during the Technology session, was the unveiling of the ASA Rule Book App which is now on sale and I understand doing well.  This presentation was conducted by Julie Bartel, with assistance from Codi Warren, Savannah Edwards and Steve Walker.  Special thanks go to all of the National Office Staff who give us outstanding support every time this Clinic rolls around. A very special thanks to Debbie Ford for all the work she does for the clinic but also for the effort she puts into the umpire program.

The Awards Banquet is always special and congratulations go out to all of those who were honored Saturday evening.  The National Award of Excellence went to our friend and fellow umpire, Wayne Vaught, whose hard work and courage, along with a big assist from his family and friends, got him through very trying times.  We are pleased to know we will see him at work at the Stadium this coming year.

In closing, there are three gentlemen who just won’t take enough credit for what they mean to the success of this Clinic.  Their support and effort many times go unnoticed, even though they, by their job description, are quite well known.  My sincere thanks to Craig Cress, Kevin Ryan and Chris Sebren for all that they do.  So be advised that when I heard this quote it seemed quite appropriate: “What is essential is invisible to the eye”.
Looking forward to 2015!

Fourth Out Appeal
We have had several questions in regards to the ability to make a “fourth out appeal.” We have included in this month’s Plays and Clarifications our posting about this rule from March 2008. We are sure these questions are coming up because of similar questions on the National Umpire Exam that have to do with a fourth out appeal. Hopefully a review of this posting will refresh everyone’s memory.
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 but R1 leaves early, 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, April Edition.

March Rules and Clarifications (PDF)

March Rules and Clarifications (Word)