Hey, Blue! – The Batter is Out of the Box
This month, we will explain and define whether, or not, a batter is deemed to be in, or out of, the batter’s box when he/she places a foot on the drawn line while in the batter’s box. By way of example, two separate at-bats are described and ruled upon by the home plate umpire. The situations described below is applicable in all levels of Little League Baseball® and Little League Softball®.
To start the game, the lead-off batter enters the right-handed batter’s box, and proceeds to place his/her back foot on the line as he/she prepares to hit. The batter reaches base by hitting a single to right field.
The next batter steps into the left-handed batter’s box and places the toes of both of his/her cleats on the line closest to the plate. After going in to his/her batting stance, the pitcher delivers a pitch and hits the batter in the right elbow. Despite the batter being hit by the pitch, the umpire calls “strike” on the batter, and returns him/her to the batter’s box to continue the at-bat. After the batter is called back to hit, the defensive team’s manager asks for, and is granted, “time.” The manager approaches the home plate umpire and asks him to explain why he allowed the first batter to stand on the batter’s box line, and eventually reach safely, while the second batter did the same, but was not allowed to advance to first base on the hit-by-pitch.
Situation 1 Explanation:
The first batter completed a legal at-bat with the result being a base hit.
To explain the ruling, we reference Rule 6.03 in the 2015 Little League Baseball® and Little League Softball® Rulebooks, which states:
The batter’s legal position shall be both feet within the batter’s box.
Approved ruling: The lines defining the box are within the batter’s box.
Coaching tip: When instructing batting stances, make sure that your batters’ feet are completely inside the box before the pitch to avoid any potential situations.
Situation 2 Explanation:
The second batter was struck by a pitched ball that passed through the strike zone. Whether the batter is deemed to be in the batter’s box, or not, if the pitch was called a strike, the judgement of umpire stands.
To explain the ruling, we reference the Note to Rule 6.08 in the 2015 Little League Baseball® and Little League Softball® Rulebooks, which states:
NOTE: If the ball is in the strike zone when it touches the batter, it shall be called a strike, whether or not the batter tries to avoid the ball. If the ball is outside the strike zone when it touches a batter, it shall be called a ball if that batter makes no attempt to avoid being touched.
Approved ruling: When the batter is touched by a pitched ball which does not entitle that batter to first base, the ball is dead and no runners may advance.