Hey, Blue – Dispelling Two Hitter’s Myths
This month, we will dispel two myths. The situations described below are applicable in all divisions of Little League Baseball® and Little League Softball®.
Situation No. 1:
With two outs and runners on second and third base, the batter has a one-ball, two-strike count. The pitcher delivers a change-up on the next pitch, and the batter offers at the pitch, “breaking the wrists” while attempting to check the swing. The pitch was out of the strike zone and the home plate umpire calls “ball.” The batter eventually grounds out to end the inning. Between innings, the manager approaches the home plate umpire and explains that the last batter in the inning “broke the wrists” before checking the swing. He asks, “Isn’t breaking your wrist on a swing an automatic strike?”
To effectively and properly explain the umpire’s decision on the pitch, we reference the Definitions Section (2.00) of the 2014 Little League Baseball® and Little League Softball® Rulebooks. According to the definition of a “strike,” on Page 64, an umpire is expected to make a series of judgment decisions.
A strike is a judgment by the umpire as to whether the batter struck at the ball. Breaking the wrists, or the barrel of the bat crossing the plate, are simply guides to making this judgment. There is no special playing rule specific to check swings.
Situation No. 2:
With one out and a runner on first base, the batter swings at a pitch that connects with the barrel of the bat and angles straight down to hit home plate. The ball caroms forward, rolling on the ground in front of home plate. The catcher charges out from behind the plate, fields the ball, and throws it to second base to start a double play. The batter does not run, and the double play is completed to end the inning. Still in the batter’s box after the out is recorded, the batter turns to the home plate umpire and asks, “It hit the plate, shouldn’t that be a foul ball?”
To explain the rule, we reference the Definitions Section (2.00) of the 2014 Little League Baseball® and Little League Softball® Rulebooks. Under the definition of “fair territory,” on Page 60, home plate is described to be in fair territory. There is no special playing rule specific to a batted ball hitting home plate. If a batted ball hits home plate, it is treated like any other batted ball.