Hey, Blue! – When a Home Run Clears the Fence, Can I Give a High Five to My Hitter?
This month, we will explain if player interference can be called on a home run that clears the outfield fence. The situation described below is applicable in all divisions of Little League Baseball® and Little League Softball®.
In the bottom of the second inning, with one out and one runner on base, a batter hits a home run over the left-center field fence. The team pours out of the dugout and waits to celebrate the big hit as the players touch home plate. As the runner and batter-runner round the bases, the third base coach gives each player a “knuckle bump” and congratulates each with a pat on the back. Before the next batter steps into the batter’s box the opposing manager claims coach’s interference, stating that the coach cannot touch the players and because he did, both players should be ruled “out.” Is the manager correct to ask the umpire to rule the players out for coach’s interference?
Answer and Explanation:
The answer is: No. Once the home run ball clears the fence, the ball is “dead.” A player cannot be put out while the ball is dead. The exception is when one base runner passes another runner while rounding the bases.
To explain the ruling, reference rules 5.02 and 7.09 (h) in the 2015 Little League Baseball® and Little League Softball® Rulebooks.