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Some rules to Ponder.......

Aug 25, 2019

271. The bases are loaded with one out. F1 catches a hard hit ball on the short hop, as R3 falls down when she leaves first base. F3 a) tags the fallen R3, then tags first base to retire the batter-runner, or b) tags first base to retire the batter-runner, and then tags the fallen F3. In both cases, R1 touches home plate before the third out is made.

Ruling - LIVE BALL and a DOUBLE PLAY in both situations. In a), R1's run does not count because the third out is a FORCE PLAY. A force play is, among other things, a play on the batter-runner at first base. In b), R1's run counts because the third out on R3 is a TIME PLAY, not a force out. For a given runner, a force play ends when a following runner is put out. (3.FORCE PLAY, p 21)

NOTE - the USSSA Fastpitch rules book specifically includes a play on the batter-runner at first base in its definition of a force play

272. The bases are loaded with less than two outs when the batter hits the ball above the infield. The umpires incorrectly fail to call or signal "Infield Fly, the batter is out." The ball settles in fair territory. All of the runners advance one base and the batter-runner reaches first base safely. After the play is over, the defensive coach protests that the batter-runner should be out.

Ruling - LIVE BALL and all runner advances (other than the batter-runner) STAND. When an infield fly is not signaled or called, the batter-runner may be declared out if brought to the umpire's attention before the next pitch. It is the responsibility of the defense and offense to be aware of the situation, as well as the umpires (8.17.H NOTE)

273. R1 is on second base with one out. The playing field has painted out of play lines instead of fences. F7 catches a fly ball in live ball territory and then carries the ball out of play. R1 tags up and advances toward third base. F7 throws the ball to F5, who tags R1 before she reaches third base.

Ruling - this is a CATCH AND CARRY and the ball is DEAD; the batter-runner is OUT, and all runners are awarded one base. Runners are awarded one base if a fielder unintentionally carries a live ball into dead-ball territory (8.14.D.5, p 48)

274. The batter, in an attempt to swing at a pitched ball, steps backward toward the catcher. Both the batter's feet are in the batter's box when contact is made between the bat and the catcher's glove during an attempted swing.

Ruling - DELAYED DEAD BALL and OBSTRUCTION is called and signaled. At the conclusion of the play, the offensive coach is given the OPTION of:


ii) the PENALTY - the batter is awarded first base, and other runners are advanced only if forced

CATCHER OBSTRUCTION is ignored if the batter-runner reaches first base AND all other runners advance at least one base

(8.4.E, p 43)

275. B1 leads off the inning with a walk. As she touches first base, a) in a continuous motion she steps off first base into foul territory, b) in a continuous motion she steps on and past first base toward the outfield, c) in a continuous motion she makes one step toward second base and stops, or d) she stops on first base and then steps off the base in any direction. F2 throws the ball to F3, who tags the batter-runner while she is off base.

Ruling - the ball is LIVE when the batter becomes a batter-runner as a result of a walk.

In a) and b), the batter-runner is SAFE. A player who is awarded first base on a base on balls may continue on down the first base line after touching first base and immediately return without liability of being put out, if there is no feint or attempt to advance to second base

In c) and d), the batter-runner is OUT because in c) her step toward second base is considered an attempt to advance, and in d) she attained first base and stayed there momentarily before stepping off base

(8.10 NOTE 2, p 45-46)


What occurs at the pregame conference?

There is NO REQUIREMENT that the head coach attend the Pregame conference (see item #3 below). At least one adult coach must attend. NO BALLS SHOULD BE THROWN OR HIT DURING THE MEETING.

1) Lineup cards are exchanged and accepted by the plate umpire
2) Ground rules are discussed
3) The head coach must be identified (if is generally the person at the plate meeting, but by rule they are not required to attend)
4) Each team's attendee must verify "legally and properly equipped"
5) If necessary, a coin flip occurs
6) Time starts when the plate meeting ends
Aug 25, 2019

276. R1 is on second base and R2 is on first base with no outs. B3 hits a pitched ball to the outfield for a base hit. As B3 rounds first base, she decides to advance to second base as F7's throw is relayed to F2 in an attempt to retire R1. B3 is obstructed by F4 and is forced to scramble back to first base even though she is not played on.

Ruling - DELAYED DEAD BALL is signaled and OBSTRUCTION should be called at the time of the infraction. If the obstructed runner is put out prior to reaching the base that they would have reached had there been no obstruction, the ball is DEAD IMMEDIATELY. If the runner fails to attain a base or bases because of the obstruction AND is not put out, a dead ball is declared at the end of the play and the Umpire shall award her such base(s). If other runners are forced by the award to the obstructed runner, they are also advanced

In this case, even though the runner fails to proceed to second base after the OBS, if the umpire's judgment is that she would have made second base without the OBS, she is awarded that base. For example, a runner who is knocked down rounding first base and limps back to first base hurting is not required to attempt to advance to second base in order to be awarded the base

(8.13 EFFECT, p 46)

277. B1 leads off the inning and hits a pitched ball on the ground. B1 beats out the F6's throw but misses the bag in crossing first base. Even though F3 catches the ball while in contact with the base, the base umpire rules B1 "Safe".

Ruling - CORRECT RULING and MECHANICS by the base umpire. When a runner passes a base, the runner is considered to have touched the base for purposes of awarded bases.

Missing a base is an APPEAL PLAY. In order for the umpire to acknowledge and rule on B1's baserunning violation, the defense must make a valid appeal by holding the ball at the base or tagging the runner BEFORE SHE RETURNS to the missed base; part of the appeal is some indication by the defense that they are making an appeal

The runner is considered SAFE until such an appeal is made (8.6.D, p 44; 9.2, p 54)

278. A bounding ball touches first, second or third base and then rolls into foul territory where it is picked up by a fielder.

Ruling - LIVE BALL and FAIR. A batted ball which touches first, second or third bases is fair (3.FAIR BALL.C, p 20)

279. The batter is standing with part of her foot on the line and part outside the line a) prior to the start of the pitch, or b) when the ball is contacted by the bat.

Ruling - in a), ILLEGAL. Prior to the pitch, the batter must have both feet completely in the batter's box. The batter may touch the lines, but no part of the foot may be outside the lines prior to the pitch. The umpire should not permit the pitcher to pitch until the batter has taken a legal position in the batter's box, subject to the 10-second rule. In b), LIVE BALL and NO VIOLATION. There is no violation for an illegally batted ball unless the foot is on the ground completely outside the lines of the batter's box or touching the plate (7.4.A, p 38; 7.9, p 39)

280. The home team is playing with a 10 player lineup using the DP/FLEX option. In a), in the top of the second inning, the DP, Humphrey, plays defense for the pitcher, Johnson. In b), in the bottom of the second inning, the coach inserts the FLEX, Nixon, to bat for Johnson.

Ruling - in a), LEGAL. The DP may play defense for a player other than the FLEX player. THAT player will continue to bat but not play defense, and is not considered to have left the game. In b), ILLEGAL PLAYER; the FLEX and her coach are EJECTED. Placing the FLEX player in one of the first 11 positions in the batting order for someone other than the DP is an illegal player (5.4.F, p 31; 5.7.D, p 33)


Why is "LAST BATTED OUT" a nonsense term in Fastpitch?

There is no definition in any recognized code of what constitutes a 'last batted out". What is a "batted out" anyway?

1) Is a called strikeout a "batted" out, or a "non-batted" one?

2) What about a runner forced out at second base on a fielder's choice for out number three? Is she a batted out, or is the batter (who wasn't put out) the last "batted out"?

To avoid such quandaries, here is a magic term to remember -- LAST COMPLETED AT BAT. The LCAB is defined in Rule 8.3 NOTE!
Aug 25, 2019

281. B1 hits a pitched ball on a line over the head of F6, who jumps high in an attempt to catch the ball. F6 extends her arm and accidentally loses her glove from her hand. The glove then touches the ball.

Ruling - DELAYED DEAD BALL should be signaled when the detached glove contacts the ball. When detached player equipment contacts a batted ball, each runner is entitled to advance three bases from the time of the infraction, but the ball remains live. The batter-runner may advance further at her own risk, being in jeopardy after reaching third base (8.14.B.1, p 47; 8.15.B1, p 48; 10.2.B, p 57)

282. B1 hits a ground ball to F6, who throws wildly toward first base. Hustling F2 chases down the ball a) and holds it in her glove, then her momentum carries her into the dugout, or b) fields it while one foot is already in the dugout.

Ruling - in a), the ball is DEAD when the fielder steps into dead ball territory, and each runner is awarded ONE BASE from the time of the infraction. The award is one base when a fielder unintentionally carries a live ball into dead ball territory. In b), the ball is DEAD when it is touched by a fielder who is standing in dead ball territory, and the overthrow rules apply. Each runner is awarded TWO BASES from the time of the throw when a live thrown ball goes into a stand or player's bench. A fielder is out-of-play when one foot is entirely touching out of play (3.CATCH.4.a, p 19; 8.14.C.3, p 47; 8.14.D.5, p 48; 8.15.B&C, p 48)

283. A defensive player uses a multi-colored glove.

Ruling - LEGAL, as long as all other aspects of the glove are legal. The glove may be any combination of colors except the color of the game ball or optic. Glove lacing may NOT be ball colored. Manufacturer's logos are not considered in determination of glove color (2.9.B, p 11)

284. Washington, wearing #11, leads off the game for the visitors with a double. On the lineup card, the first batter is listed as Washington, #1. Before a pitch to the next batter (Adams) the defense appeals that Washington is batting out of order.

Ruling - NO VIOLATION, provided the NAME of the player is correct; the umpire should correct the number on the lineup card and continue playing. First and last name of an eligible player TAKES PRECEDENCE over jersey number if there is a discrepancy in the lineup card (5.1.B, p 29)

285. B1 hits a long fly ball to left field. F7 leaps, but misses the fly ball, which a) hits the top of the fence, then F7's glove, and then goes over the fence, b) hits F7's outstretched glove and then goes over the fence, or c) hits the top of the fence and then goes over the fence. In all three cases, the ball leaves the field in fair territory.

Ruling - in all situations, LIVE BALL until the ball goes out of play. In a), a Ground Rule Double is ruled. When the ball rebounds off the fence and then F7's glove, it is no longer IN FLIGHT. In b) and c), this is a home run (four base award) (3.IN FLIGHT, p 22; 8.14.A.1, p 47; 8.14.C.1, p 47)


What are the rules differences between USA Elite Select and other USSSA divisions?

In USA Elite Select:

1) Roster Batting is NOT ALLOWED; only a TRADITIONAL LINEUP of 9,10 or 11 batters (with, or without the DP/FLEX) for a max of 12 players may be used

2) Only ONE BATTER MAY BE DROPPED from the batting order, and only if at least 8 batters remain. The Absent Player Automatic Out rule applies

3) NO LCAB Courtesy Runner allowed -- If there is no unused substitute, there is no CR
Aug 25, 2019

286. R1 is on first base with no outs. B2 hits a pitched ball fair into deep right field. The bounding ball rolls 25 feet beyond the temporary outfield fence. F9 a) raises her hands, or b) chases and plays the ball beyond the fence as both runners safely touch all bases.

Ruling - in a) and b), DEAD BALL when the ball rolls out of play, and each runner is awarded TWO BASES from the TIME OF PITCH. Runners are awarded two bases if a fair-batted ball becomes dead because of bouncing over, or when passing through a fence; the same principle applies when the ball crosses the fence-line extended when there are "open corners" (8.15.A.1, p 48: 8.14.C.1, p 49)

Comment: there is NO RULE, and umpires cannot impose a ground rule, requiring players to "throw their hands up" to have an obviously out-of-play ball declared dead. If it's out-of-play, it's dead, whether the fielder chases ands plays it, or not

Having said that, if a fielder is confident a ball is out of play (when it may not be evident to the umpire), they may elect to NOT PLAY the ball, but umpires should keep the ball live and allow the offense to proceed. The risk in this situation is entirely the defense's.

When the play is over, the umpire may go out, inspect, and if the ball is indeed out-of-play, retroactively "kill" the play and make the appropriate award (two bases on a batted ball)

"Throwing hands up" is one method of a fielder demonstrating she is not playing the ball, but that gesture is NOT a requirement

287. F2 fields a batted ball in front of home plate and throws the ball toward first base. B1, running outside the three-foot running lane in fair territory, blocks F3's view of the thrown ball. F3 does not see the throw and misses catching the ball, which a) does, or b) does not touch B1.

Ruling - in a) and b), provided this is a catchable throw, DEAD BALL and INTERFERENCE. The batter-runner is OUT when they run outside the three-foot running lane and interfere with a fielder or a throw to first base. The fielder must be give a clear view of the thrown ball from a routine fielding position at first base. The ball does not have to make contact with the batter-runner for interference to be ruled if she interferes with receipt of the throw (8.17.F, p 49)

288. A game in progress is suspended a) by the umpires, because rain has made the field unplayable, or b) the Tournament Director, because her lightning detector has alerted.

Ruling - PROPER PROCEDURE; the umpire AND/OR tournament director shall suspend play if the weather or other conditions make play unsafe (4.1, p 26)

289. R1 is on second base with no outs. F1 delivers the first pitch to left-handed B2 and the outside pitch kicks off F2's shin guard. Seeing the wild pitch, R1 breaks for third base as on-deck batter B3 picks up the ball and flips it to F2. In the umpire's judgment, F2 a) would, or b) would not have had an opportunity to make a play on R1.

Ruling - in a) and b), this is a BLOCKED BALL, and the ball is DEAD when touched by the on-deck batter. In a), R1 is ruled out for the ODB's interference. In b), no one is out, but R1 is returned to second base. When the offensive team causes a blocked ball, the runner closest to home is out. However, IF NO PLAY IS OBVIOUS, no player is out, but all runners shall return to the last base touched when the ball became dead (3.BLOCKED BALL, p 18; 8.18.AA, p 53)

290. R1 is on first base with no outs. B2 hits a clear double but is obstructed by F3 while rounding first base. B2 is thrown out a) as she is sliding into second base, or b) as she is diving back to second base after over running or rounding it. In both cases, after B2 is put out, the defense gets R1 in a run down between third base and home and she is tagged out.

Ruling - in a) and b), DELAYED DEAD BALL should be signaled and OBSTRUCTION should be called when the violation occurs.

In a), when the obstructed runner is put out between the two bases where the obstruction occurred, the DDB becomes a DEAD BALL. B2 should be awarded second base based on the judgment that she would have attained second base, had she not been obstructed. R1 is awarded third base since she is forced by the award to B2 (all play on R1 occurred AFTER the dead ball)

In b), DOUBLE PLAY. Unless the umpire judges that B2 would have safely advanced to third base had she not been obstructed, the DDB ends when she attains second base. She is no longer protected after attaining THAT base, and therefore the out on her STANDS and the ball remains live with other runners in play

(8.13.A-B, D, p 46-47)


The popularity of this equipment in MLB is causing it to show up at our ball parks around the country. This is a SAFETY ISSUE and the rule is VERY CLEAR:

ALL FASTPITCH BATTING HELMETS SHALL BE EQUIPPED WITH A NOCSAE-APPROVED FACE PROTECTOR. The phrase "meets NOCSAE Standard at the time of manufacture" must be permanently affixed to the face protector

The C-Flap does NOT meet this standard

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