May 2013 Plays and Clarifications

May 31, 2013, 12:50 p.m. (ET)
May 2013 Plays and Clarifications

May Plays and Clarifications
In recent weeks we have been asked several questions about equipment, specifically the new ASA Certification Mark and the testing of Slow Pitch and Fast Pitch bats. As we are all aware we have a new ASA Certification Mark for 2013 Slow Pitch Bats. (See Below)
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Bats with the new mark are allowed for Slow Pitch Only, along with approved bats with the 2000, and 2004 ASA Certification Mark. Also do not forget we also allow bats made prior to 2000 that have no mark at all. Fast Pitch Bats can only bear the 2000 or 2004 ASA Certification Mark and also we allow bats made prior to 2000 with no certification mark on them. Certification Mark on them. Since there is a difference between bats allowed in Slow Pitch and Fast Pitch, ASA has had to change the number on the SSL Portable Compression Fixture which is used to test bats.
To accommodate the new barrel compression compliance testing procedures, WSU SSL has made new decals (see below) available to those who have purchased an SSL barrel compression fixture. To receive a free new decal, with replacement instructions, provide shipping information to info.ssl@wsu.edu, with “new decal” as the subject, by 05/10/2013.
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Slow Pitch bats now have to exceed 1450 PSI and Fast Pitch Bats have to exceed 1550 PSI.
With the new numbers for the different classification of play we must be sure to test bats to the PSI number for the Championship we are attending.  At a Fast Pitch Championship if the bat has a certification mark on it and is not on the Non-Approved bat list with Certification Marks, we need to be sure the bats are tested to the 1550 PSI number. If we are at a Slow Pitch Championship then all bats, 2000, 2004 or 2013 will be tested to the 1450 PSI number.
Also keep in mind there is a list of bats on the ASA website that have been designed to  stay within the 98 mile an hour batted ball speed specification we have asked manufacturers to meet. In making these designs they may or may not pass the bat tester at the prescribed numbers we have outlined. These bats are referred to as Non Linear bats. Non Linear bats have been given a waiver to the 1450 and 1550 PSI number. In order to see these bats and the PSI numbers they have to exceed please go to the ASA website, asasoftball.com, and click on the Certified Equipment tab. In the top left corner of this page you will see a link to Non Linear Bat Compression Thresholds. This document contains all bats that have been given a waiver on PSI required numbers.
Please be sure to review the entire list on the web page that have to do with Approved Bats, Non Approved Bats with Certifications marks and Non Linear Bats. A periodic review of these lists will help you in the area of ASA Certified Equipment.  
Double Base:
We have been asked to address a few issues as they pertain to the double base. The first area of concern has to do with 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 may use either the white or contrasting color portion.

We have previously posted clarifications that if the throw pulls the defense off the white portion of the base and lands on the contrasting color of the base that this meets the rule of being pulled into foul ground. In doing so this would be an out at 1B if the throw beat the runner. Several umpires found this to be different than what was previously interpreted for plays at 1B.  While looking into this it was pointed out that the rule originally said “pulling the defense off the base…” and in 2008 the wording was changed to “pulling the defense off the white portion of the base…”

Apparently in the past being “pulled off the base” meant being pulled off both the white and orange portion of the base. It was later interpreted that the “base” must mean the white portion only because the orange or contrasting color portion of the base was not considered part of the base. Some feel that this was actually a rule change, but this was never approved as one; it was an interpretation on the wording of the rule. We were asked if we could go back to the old interpretation but because the interpretation and the rule book have been changed for over 4 years, the current ruling and interpretation remains. However, if a council member wants to submit a rule change to say “pulled off both the white and colored portion” of the base it can be considered and voted upon at the 2013 ASA Council Meeting.

Double Base:
There is some confusion on the issue of the Double Base becoming one base once the Batter-Runner reaches 1B safely. Specifically, we have some umpires that do not feel there is enough rule support, once the Batter-Runner reaches 1B safely, which allows the now Runner to stand on either color of the base as the pitcher is in the circle or ready to pitch.
Based on Rule 8, Section 2M[1-9],once the Batter-Runner reaches 1B safely, they may stand on either color of the base during the pitch in both Slow Pitch and Fast Pitch. They cannot be called out by the Look Back Rule for not standing on the white portion only.  We will be sure to address the wording in the rule book for 2014 to help clear up any confusion.

Male and Female Co-ed walk

A question has been raised about the rule pertaining to a walk in the game of Co-ed Softball. Rule 8, Section 1C[4] states:
(Co-ed) The ball is dead. A walk to a male batter will result in a two base award. The next batter (a female) shall bat.
EFFECT: The ball is dead.
EXCEPTION: With two outs, the female batter has the option to walk or bat.
EFFECT: Should the female batter-runner pass a male batter-runner when choosing to walk, no out shall be called during this dead ball period. A male batter-runner advancing to second base without touching first base shall be called out if properly appealed.

The question is when must a female batter declare the option of walking or batting? The answer is before she receives a pitch. If she steps in the batter’s box then decides to step out, change her mind and accept the option to walk before she is thrown a pitch she has every right to do so.

Infield Fly Rule:

Play: With one out, R1 on 2B and R2 on 1B, B4 hits a fly ball to the infield that can be caught with normal effort by F4 or F3. However, neither F3 nor F4 make any effort to catch the fly ball. The umpire does not rule infield fly because of the lack of effort by the infielders.
Ruling:   Incorrect procedure. By definition, here is no mention of the fielders making any effort to play the ball, on an Infield Fly .  If the batted ball can be caught with normal effort, B4 is ruled out and R1 and R2 may advance with liability to be put out.

Rule 1, INFIELD FLYA fair fly ball, not including a line drive or an attempted bunt, which can be caught by an infielder, pitcher or catcher with ordinary effort when first and second or first, second and third bases are occupied with less than two outs.

Runner Missing Home Plate:

Play:  With R1 on 2B, B2 gets a base hit to RF. R1 scores but misses home plate. After entering the dugout, R1 returns to touch home plate and draws a throw. On the throw to the plate, B2 advances to 2B.
Ruling:  Once a player enters dead ball territory, they are not permitted to come out of the dugout to touch home plate. When R1 did so and drew a throw, R1 was guilty of Interference by a retired runner.  The ball is dead and B2 is ruled out. If the defense properly appeals that R1 missed home plate, R1 would also be ruled out.

Rule 8, Section 3G
No runner may return to touch a base missed or one left too soon after a trailing runner has scored or once they leave live ball territory.

Rule 8, Section 7P  
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
Overthrow:
Play:  With one out and R1 on 1B, B3 hits a long fly ball to F7 which is caught. R1 leaves 1B before the ball is touched by F7 and has rounded 2B on their way to 3B when F7 throws the ball into dead ball territory. R1 is standing on 3B when the ball entered dead ball territory. Does the runner have the right to return to 1B since they have already touched an awarded base?
Ruling:  Base runners should always be given the opportunity to return and touch a base missed or left too soon when the ball becomes dead. The issue of “Once a base runner advances to the next awarded base, the runner may no longer return to touch any base missed or any base left too soon,” only applies after the runner is awarded that base. In this play, R1 has made it to 3B during the play and the award has not been given yet. R1 has not reached the base they would be awarded. Once the ball is declared “dead” and the umpire gives the award of two bases, the R1 has to go back to the base they left too soon or if R1 continues to HP from 3B, R1 would not be able to return. The award must be given and the runner must then touch the bases they are awarded.

Rule 8, Section 5G Effect:
All runners shall be awarded two bases. The award shall be governed by the position of the runners when the ball left the fielder’s hand. Runners must return to touch a base missed or a base left too soon. When two runners are between the same two bases, the award is based on the position of the lead runner. Once a base runner advances to the next awarded base, the runner may no longer return to touch any base missed or any base left too soon. 

May Rules and Clarifications (PDF)

May Rules and Clarifications (Word)