Interference Rule on Slide into Catcher

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Jul 12, 2020
10
3
The situation is bases loaded and the batter hits a ground ball to the pitcher who throws home to the catcher who is in front of the home plate. The runner on third base starts towards home outside the 3rd baseline. As the runner runs towards home, she crosses the 3rd baseline into fair territory and slides into the legs of the catcher who was trying to throw out the batter-runner advancing to first to complete a double play. The runner from 3rd was already out on the force play. Questions: 1) Should the batter-runner also be called out or should the runner closest to home, in this case, the runner going to 3rd from second base be declared out as well? 2) Should the player be ejected since it was intentional as she crossed the 3rd baseline and targeted the catcher's legs. I would consider this slide flagrant. The runner had a clear path to the home plate outside the 3rd baseline. 3) This is sliding technique is a taught behavior. Should not the Coach also be ejected? BTW, the catcher had to leave the game. This situation occured in a California HS Softball playoff game. Only the runner from third was called out.
 
Mar 1, 2013
304
43
Would have to see it, but it certainly sounds like the player was deliberately trying to interfere with the catcher and not advance to the next base. Since she was already declared out, you have a dead ball, runner closest to home is out and everyone else returns to the last base touched at the time of the interference. You're not getting three outs on this play.

As for ejections, that's another "have to see it" but if you eject the player, the coach will likely follow because he'll come out and make an rear out of himself, especially if he's the one coaching the behavior.
 
May 6, 2015
2,398
113
to me should be interference, ejection, although it happened very fast. way runner got up, looked at catcher, and scooted out of there also to me signals intent (ie let me get out of here before someone says something).

also reminds me, need to make certain DD understands difference in how to set up for tag play at plate (left heel on left front corner) vs force play (right heel on right front corner to remove them as far from runner as possible). worked a lot on former, not so much on latter.
 

marriard

Not lost - just no idea where I am
Oct 2, 2011
3,975
113
Florida
This sort of play was made illegal many years ago.

In NFHS, this is an ejection; there is no extra out for the malicious contact unless there was a clear double play on (I can't see first base so I can't see if that play was really available - just an attempt is not enough). since the runner was already out. However, as the runner coming home is clearly a retired runner, you can still go to an obvious double play call if needed on the interference - and call the appropriate runner out. As you can see, you can get caught out here even with the rule book in front of me - I totally missed an aspect of the play.

Most relevant rules below but it covered a couple of other places as well.

NFHS 8.6.14
A runner is out when:
ART. 14 . . . She remains on her feet and maliciously crashes into a defensive player. Malicious contact supersedes obstruction.

PENALTY: (Arts. 10 through 14) The ball is dead and the runner is out. Each other runner must return to the last base touched at the time of the interference. When a runner is called out for interference, the batter-runner is awarded first base and credited with a fielder's choice. If this interference, in the judgment of the umpire, is an obvious attempt to prevent a double play and occurs before the runner is put out, the immediate succeeding runner shall also be called out. If interference occurs by the runner on a foul fly ball, the runner is out and the ball is dead. A foul ball is called in this situation and the batter remains at bat unless it was a bunt attempt with two strikes on the batter (F.P.) or it was the third strike (S.P.); the batter is also out in these cases. (Art. 14) The runner is also ejected.


NFHS 3.6.18
ART. 18 . . . Initiating malicious contact is prohibited.
PENALTY: (Arts. 18, 19) Considered serious offenses, the offender shall be ejected. (Art. 18) If by the offense, the play is dead immediately, the offender is declared out unless she has already been put out or scored and all runners return to the last base touched at the time of the malicious contact (8-6-14). If by the defense, the offender is ejected at the end of playing action.

Why wouldn't the coach have approached the plate umpire about this? You should know this is illegal.

Also if I am the plate umpire, I am pretty sure I would have got the crew together to discuss what happened. There can be a lot of 'information overload' when this unfolds in front of you especially if you are focused on a different aspect of the call (in this case that a force at home was completed) and your partner is there to help talk it through and maybe provide info you didn't see or didn't process properly.

One totally unrelated thing that makes no sense:
- Is there a third umpire I don't see (but I should be seeing if he is there)? I am not sure exactly what the 3b umpire is doing? - yes I know no one is looking at him, but it caught my eye.
 
Last edited:
Jul 12, 2020
10
3
To me almost anytime there a play in front of the plate, where we instruct the catcher to set up in order to allow the runner a path to the plate, interference at a minimum is the call. For this catcher, the actual position of feet and the location in front of the plate needs to be emphasized and worked on more.

Thanks again to all for your input. Note in this case, no interference was called and the umpire did not make any verbal call or signal the player was out beyond pointing at the plate.
 
Jul 12, 2020
10
3
This sort of play was made illegal many years ago.

In NFHS, this is an ejection; there is no extra out for the malicious contact unless there was a clear double play on (I can't see first base so I can't see if that play was really available - just an attempt is not enough). since the runner was already out. However, as the runner coming home is clearly a retired runner, you can still go to an obvious double play call if needed on the interference - and call the appropriate runner out. As you can see, you can get caught out here even with the rule book in front of me - I totally missed an aspect of the play.

Most relevant rules below but it covered a couple of other places as well.

NFHS 8.6.14
A runner is out when:
ART. 14 . . . She remains on her feet and maliciously crashes into a defensive player. Malicious contact supersedes obstruction.

PENALTY: (Arts. 10 through 14) The ball is dead and the runner is out. Each other runner must return to the last base touched at the time of the interference. When a runner is called out for interference, the batter-runner is awarded first base and credited with a fielder's choice. If this interference, in the judgment of the umpire, is an obvious attempt to prevent a double play and occurs before the runner is put out, the immediate succeeding runner shall also be called out. If interference occurs by the runner on a foul fly ball, the runner is out and the ball is dead. A foul ball is called in this situation and the batter remains at bat unless it was a bunt attempt with two strikes on the batter (F.P.) or it was the third strike (S.P.); the batter is also out in these cases. (Art. 14) The runner is also ejected.


NFHS 3.6.18
ART. 18 . . . Initiating malicious contact is prohibited.
PENALTY: (Arts. 18, 19) Considered serious offenses, the offender shall be ejected. (Art. 18) If by the offense, the play is dead immediately, the offender is declared out unless she has already been put out or scored and all runners return to the last base touched at the time of the malicious contact (8-6-14). If by the defense, the offender is ejected at the end of playing action.

Why wouldn't the coach have approached the plate umpire about this? You should know this is illegal.

Also if I am the plate umpire, I am pretty sure I would have got the crew together to discuss what happened. There can be a lot of 'information overload' when this unfolds in front of you especially if you are focused on a different aspect of the call (in this case that a force at home was completed) and your partner is there to help talk it through and maybe provide info you didn't see or didn't process properly.

One totally unrelated thing that makes no sense:
- Is there a third umpire I don't see (but I should be seeing if he is there)? I am not sure exactly what the 3b umpire is doing? - yes I know no one is looking at him, but it caught my eye.
Yes, this was a playoff game. There were three umpires working game.
Home Plate.jpg
 
May 6, 2015
2,398
113
Looking at that still makes it even clearer. C was already moving off HP before contact.

Also note runner was running in fair territory, not in lane.
 

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