Hey, Blue! – What Side Are You On?
This month, we will explain the “when” and “how” in which a batter may face a pitcher from different sides of the plate during the same at-bat. The situations described below are applicable in all divisions of Little League Baseball® and Little League Softball®.
In the top of the third inning, the pitcher finishes his warm-up pitches and the umpire asks the batter to step into the batter’s box. Two pitches into the at-bat, the right-handed batter steps out of the right-side batter’s box and switches to the other side of the plate to now bat left-handed. Before stepping back on to the pitcher’s plate, the pitcher looks over to his manager with a look of disbelief. The manager asks, and is granted, time so that he can speak with the home-plate umpire about the batter’s decision to switch sides of the plate during the at-bat. The manager claims that by rule, the batter engaged in an illegal action and should be declared “out.”
To effectively and properly explain how a batter can be called out for an illegal action, we reference Rule 6.06 (b) in the 2015 Little League Baseball® and Little League Softball® Rulebooks. According to the rule the batter can switch boxes at any time, provided he does not do it after the pitcher is ready to pitch.