You Make the Call...
According to Coaches Box Newsletters from Little League International...
SITUATION #1: – “The ball is dead when a balk occurs.”
Little League has changed its rules for what has traditionally been called a balk and now refers to it as an illegal pitch. All the illegal movements by a pitcher that had previously been called a balk, allowing a base runner to advance one base, are now merely penalized by the pitch being called an illegal pitch resulting in a “ball” on the batter. See Rule 8.05
SITUATION #2: – “On that throw to home, the catcher was blocking the base path before he/she caught the ball. Call Interference!”
When the defense blocks the base path without having possession of the ball it is called OBSTRUCTION, not interference. A fielder, any fielder, CANNOT block a base without having possession of the ball. See Rule 2.00 OBSTRUCTION. Also, see rule 7.06 (a) and (b).
SITUATION #3: – “The batter who batted out of order is out.”
After the incorrect batter completes his/her at-bat, and an appeal is made, the PROPER batter is out, (the one who should have batted). The improper batter (the one who did bat) is removed from base and any advance made by runners because of his/her batted ball, is nullified. The next batter due up is the one who follows the PROPER batter. See Rule 6.07.
SITUATION #4 – “Half of the batter’s foot was outside the box when he/she hit the ball. He/she’s out.”
A batter is out when he/she makes contact with a pitch when his/her foot is ENTIRELY outside the lines of the batter’s box. He/she is out on either a fair or foul ball. The ball is dead. He/she is NOT out if he/she swings and misses or if he/she does not swing. See Rule 2.00 ILLEGALLY BATTED BALL and Rule 6.06(a).
SITUATION #5 – “The batted ball hit the plate first, that’s a foul ball.”
Home plate is positioned BETWEEN the first and third base foul lines; meaning it is in FAIR territory. Therefore, a ball that hits home plate and bounds into fair territory, or comes to rest upon it, is a fair ball. All bases are in fair territory, therefore any batted ball that touches a base is considered a fair ball, regardless of where it bounces after touching the base. See Rule 2.00 FAIR BALL and FAIR TERRITORY.
SITUATION #6 – With a runner on third, the pitcher starts his/her wind-up. Midway through his/her delivery…the batter steps out of the batter’s box. The surprised hurler freezes in mid-stride and holds onto the ball. IS THIS A BALK/ILLEGAL PITCH?
See Rule 6.02(b) - The ball is dead and no illegal pitch shall be called. The batter may not step out after the pitcher starts his/her motion. Start over from “scratch.”
SITUATION #8 – No outs…runner on second. The batter fouls a pitch into the stands. The umpire throws a new ball to the pitcher who is standing behind the mound. As the pitcher is rubbing the new ball between his/her bare hands…the runner attempts to steal third but is thrown out. DOES THIS OUT STAND?
SITUATION #7 – Runner on first base…the batter hits a single into right field. The runner advances to third but misses second base on his/her way. The second baseman takes the throw from the right fielder and kicks the second base bag in disgust. IS THE RUNNER STANDING ON THIRD OUT FOR MISSING THE BASE?
See Rule 2.00/7.10 - This is an appeal play. Appeals must be made by verbal request or in an unmistakable manner. The runner is NOT out at this time.
See Rule 5.11 - This is considered NO PLAY since the ball is still “dead”…the pitcher must be on the rubber with the ball and the ump signal “play” before the ball is alive again.
SITUATION #9 – “The batter backed out of the box as the pitch was coming to the plate. That’s an automatic strike.”
If the offense is stalling and the batter refuses to get into the box after the umpire tells him/her to do so, then the umpire can call a strike on the batter without a pitch being made. However, if he/she is in the box and then steps out during the wind-up or the pitch, the umpire will call the pitch as he/she sees it. See Rule 6.02(b) and (c).
SITUATION #10 – “The pitch hit the ground before the batter hit it. The ball is dead.”
If a pitch touches the ground before entering the strike zone and is not swung at, it is a “ball.” If it bounces up and hits the batter, the batter is awarded first. If the batter hits the pitch, it is ruled like a normal pitch; safe or out. See Rule 2.00 IN FLIGHT.
SITUATION #11 – “The base coach touched the runner. The runner is out.”
This is a judgment call by the umpire. If the coach obviously and intentionally physically stops a runner or helps him/her up after falling, the runner is out. The base coaches touch must be judged as assisting that runner for this to be called an out. Merely touching him/her as he/she goes by or making an incidental touch as the runner is stopping is not grounds for an out call. See Rule 7.09(h).