Comments from the National Umpire Staff:
As the Junior Olympic and Men’s Fast Pitch National Championship grow even closer it is definitely time to make sure you are ready to go as an ASA/USA Umpire. It is time to get in shape both mentally and physically. Both are necessary to achieve your best performance level. The mental aspect of the game as well as rule knowledge, mechanics and game control coupled with the physical aspect of being in good physical shape for the heat and humidity that usually accompanies most of the Fast Pitch Championship weather can be very stressful on umpires.
Begin to get your mind right. Read the rule book. Review and study the Umpire Manual so that when the time comes you will read and react to the play and be in the right position. Think about all that is involved with the pre-pitch process. Use the time between pitch to think about all that may happen on the next pitch. Then going or getting to the right spot becomes natural.
Good luck and as usual show everyone why ASA/USA Umpires are the best.
Rule Book Corrections:
Rule 5 Section 10C Time Limit
As we know last year we changed the rule for time limit in Junior Olympic play. However after the rule book was sent to print it was clarified that the 16U Gold and the 18U Gold did not have a time limit in elimination play. Regretfully it was missed in the corrections for the 2015 Official Rules of Softball / Participant Manual. The time limit rule should read as follows:
The rule should read as follows: In all Junior Olympic Pool Play Class A 12- Under, 14-Under, 16-Under, 18-Under, 16-Under Gold and 18-Under Gold pool play in Fast Pitch, no new inning shall start after a 1 hour and 40 minute time limit. In Junior Olympic Fast Pitch elimination play Class A 12- Under, 14-Under, 16-Under, 18-Under fast pitch no new inning shall start after a 1 hour and 40 minute time limit. If the game is still tied after the time limit has expired, the tie breaker shall be in effect at the start of the next inning. EXCEPTION: There shall be no time limit in elimination play beginning with the winner’s bracket final.
By the correction of the code change there is a time limit to Junior Olympic Class A 12-Under, 14-Under, 16-Under, 18-Under, elimination play except beginning with the winner’s bracket final. There is no time limit in 16 Under Gold and 18 Under Gold in any elimination play.
Rule 8 section 7Q. Effect 2:
When a defensive player has the ball and the runner remains upright and crashes into the defensive player.
1 The ball is dead.
2 The runner closest to home is out.
3 Runners must return to the last base touched at the time of the interference.
4 If flagrant, the offender is ejected.
Number two is incorrect. It was changed from the 2014 book by mistake. Number two should be the runner is out. Please make note in your rule book.
National Umpire Schools
The last of the National Umpire Schools was held this past weekend in Cincinnati Ohio. We had a total of 754 students go to National Umpire Schools down over 200 students from 2014. It appears for those who came, the new set up with one more instructor than was normally used worked out well. This year we have kept up with the evaluations and will have a good indication on the content, presentation and presenters.
Regretfully this year the Fast Pitch Camp was canceled due to lack of participation. The last Camp will be the Slow Pitch Camp in Atlanta Ga June 11th – 14th. I am sure they still have open spots for this camp if you have Slow Pitch Umpires that need to go for training.
Plays and Clarifications:
Play: Junior Olympic Pool Play, a team is batting all 16 players present. In the 3rd inning B4, the pitcher gets a hit and the coach puts the person batting in the 12th spot in to be a courtesy runner.
Ruling: Illegal. In Junior Olympic Pool Play only players not listed in the batting order and have not been a substitute can be a courtesy runner. This should not be allowed by the plate umpire.
Play: In the top of the third inning B7 the catcher gets a base hit. The coach whose team is only batting 9, reports in Thompson to be a Courtesy Runner and Thompson takes their place on 1B. The umpire puts the ball back in play and before a pitch is thrown the coach calls time and changes their mind or made a mistake and he wants to put Johnson in as the Courtesy Runner. Is this legal?
Ruling: No, this is not legal. Since Thompson was submitted to the Plate Umpire and Thompson had taken their place at 1B, Thompson is the legal Courtesy Runner. By rule you cannot have a courtesy runner run for a courtesy runner. Rule 8 Section 10F.
Play: R1 on 2B and R2 on 1B and one out. B4 hits a hot ground ball that hits 1B and ricochets and hit R2 while off the base. F3 is playing up and F4 is playing toward the hole between 1B and 2B. The umpire rules no interference because the ball was a deflected batted ball and R2 did not intentionally get hit by the ball. Correct?
Ruling: This is not considered a deflected batter ball and Rule 8 Section 7J  does not apply. The base is considered part of the playing field when it pertains to a batted ball. If the umpire felt that F4 still had a ply on the ball and could have made an out then R2 should have been called out for interference. Rule 8 Section K.
Play: R1 on 2B, R2 on 1B, one out. B3 hits a high fly ball to F6 who is in the baseline when R1 runs into F6, in a) Contact with SS was before the ball was touched and b) Contact with SS was after the ball was touched and the ball dropped. Ruling?
Ruling: In a) and b), a dead ball should be called when R2 runs into F6 and R2 called out for interference. (Rule 8 Section 2F . On this play the Infield Fly Rule is in effect. In a) when R2 runs into F6 the status of the ball is fair and should be treated as such. In b) when the ball is touched by F6 the ball becomes fair. In both cases B3 should be called out due to the Infield Fly Rule B3. (Rule 8 Section 2I)