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Your questions, Responses by UICS

Your Questions....

1. If a defensive player moves forward into the base path trying to make a play on a grounder, and collides with the base runner who is running in the base path to the next base, so as not to be able to make the defensive play, how do you determine if it is interference by the defensive player or obstruction by the base runner?

Answer: On a batted ball, defensive players are entitled to field (make a play) on the batted ball. The offensive players must avoid the defensive player making a play on the batted ball.while advancing to his/her next base. If the Defense is not making a play on a batted ball and gets in the way of an Offensive runner trying to advance to their next base, this is called OBSTRUCTION. If the Offense gets in the way of the Defensive player making a play on a batted ball that is called INTERFERENCE. In the umpire’s judgment, contact does not have to be made in order to call this infraction.
RULE (2) INTERFERENCE states "Offensive interference is an act by the team at bat which interferes with, obstructs, impedes, hinders or confuses any fielder attempting to make a play. If the umpire declares the batter, batter-runner or a runner out for interference, all other runners shall return to the last base that was, in the judgment of the umpire, legally touched at the time of the interference, unless otherwise provided by these rules.
RULE 7.09 (j) Also states "It is interference by a batter or a runner when the runner fails to avoid a fielder who is attempting to field a batted ball...
2. This is in regards to ruling on a balk call in Junior, Senior or Big League baseball.  Can you clarify the ruling on a balk called when the pitcher throws a pitch anyway and the hitter hits the ball into field of play?  Is it a dead ball or delayed dead ball? If delayed dead ball, what is the award for the offensive team if the player hits the ball? Does the offensive team get the choice of the rule (no pitch and runners advance one base) or the play (whatever happens, stands)? 

Answer: The ball is live until the umpire calls time. If the ball is pitched and the batter gets a hit and all runners including the batter-runner advance at least one base safely, the play stands and the balk is nullified, this would be a delayed dead ball. There is no (Coaches Option) on a balk ruling. The play stands on the ruling covered by the balk PENALTY.
RULE 8.05 JUNIOR/SENIOR/BIG LEAGUE PENALTY states “The ball is dead (when the umpire calls time), and each runner shall advance one base without liability to be put out, unless the batter reaches first on a hit, an error, a base on balls, a hit batter or otherwise, and all other runners advance at least one base in which case the play proceeds without reference to the balk. When a balk is called , and if the pitch is delivered, it will be considered neither a ball nor strike unless the pitch is ball four (4) awarding the batter first base and forcing all runners on base to advance.
3. A runner is caught between first and second base in a run down. The fielder reaches and tags runner with an empty glove while holding ball in his/her other hand. Umpire does not signal out because runner was not legally tagged.  Runner, thinking he has been tagged, stops after which the fielder catches up to him and tags him with ball held in hand.

Offensive coach claims obstruction "fake tag" with the empty glove. 

What is your call?

Answer: Since the fielder did, in fact have the ball in his/her possession, but just erred in the attempt to make the out, the runner is out when tagged, no obstruction.  The runner is required to have some idea what is the actual rule and share in the responsibility for the mistake.
4. With a runner on third base, with two outs, and two strikes on the batter, the runner breaks for home. The runner slides into home plate, and in the umpire's judgment, touches HOME plate before the pitch reaches the strike zone. The runner is not touched by the pitched ball. the umpire calls the pitch a strike and scores the run. correct?
Answer: Since the umpire is required to call the pitch, irregardless of the play at the plate, and since the pitch was strike three for the third out, the out stands and the run does NOT count.
Rule 6.05 (m) applies because the batter constitutes the third out and no runs may score when the batter is out before reaching first base safely Rule 4.09(a) exceptions (1)