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 > Little League Online > Learn More > Newsletters > Coach's Box Newsletter > 2011 > Coach's Box - September > Umpire Feature

Umpire Feature

Volume 6, No. 6 - September 2011

Hey Blue! I Have a Question?

By Operations Department

With a runner on second base, a ground ball is hit to shortstop, but the ball goes through the player's legs into outfield. The runner, advancing to third base brushes the shortstop.

Can the runner be called out for interfering with shortstop, even though the ball was already in the outfield?

Thanks.

Local Little League Coach

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RE: Local Little League Coach:

A fielder is protected while fielding a batted ball under 7.09 (j), which states in part … "It is interference by a batter or runner when the runner fails to avoid the fielder who is fielding a batted ball…," so the question becomes, when is a player considered fielding a ball, and when is he not.

A fielder is considered as fielding a batted ball during his first effort at fielding the ball and also any second effort provided the batted ball remains within about a stride of the fielder. For example, a batted ball that hits off the chest of a shortstop and falls to the ground is still being fielded by that fielder provided the shortstop can legitimately reach the ball without taking more than one stride. If a runner were to make contact with that fielder, while reaching for the ball in his second effort, the ball should be ruled dead and the runner called out for interference under 7.09 (j).

However, if a batted ball is not fielded cleanly and is out of the fielder's reach after taking a stride, then 7.09 (j) no longer applies. In the scenario presented, the ball has passed through the legs of the shortstop and is in the outfield when the contact is made. Thus, it would be inappropriate to rule the runner out for interference. Depending on how soon after the ball passed the fielder the contact with the runner occurred, the fielder could be called for obstruction as he is no longer fielding the ball and must be out of the way of the runner.



Hey Blue … I have a question:

If a batter hits ball a few inches in front of home plate, and when the batter drops his bat, it hits the ball, what is the rule?

Thanks,

Local Little League Coach

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RE: Local Little League Coach:

According to Rule 6.05 (g), the batter is out when after hitting or bunting a fair ball, the bat hits the ball a second time, in fair territory. The ball is dead and no runner may advance.

If, however, the batter drops the bat, and the ball roles against the bat a second time, and in the umpire's judgment there was no intent to interfere, the ball remains alive. For most instances, we can hang our hat on this statement: Ball initiates second contact, ball is alive and in play. Bat initiates second contact call play dead and batter out, no one advances.


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