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 > Little League Online > Learn More > Rules Regs & Policies > Rule Interpretations > Follow the Bouncing Ball

Follow the Bouncing Ball

The ballgame is proceeding with no problems. The pitcher winds up and throws a 44 foot pitch (or a 58 foot pitch on the 90 foot diamond.), the ball bouncing in front of the catcher. Lots of things can happen then, and lots of people have different ideas of the implications.

The Little League rule book says:

1. The batter swings and misses the bouncing ball. Ball is alive, umpire calls a strike. Rule 2.00, “Ball”, “In Flight.”

2. The batter does not swing at the bouncing ball, but it goes through the strike zone on the bounce. Ball is alive, umpire calls a ball. Rule 2.00, “Ball”, “In Flight.”

3. The batter does not swing at the bouncing ball, and it does not go through the strike zone. Ball is alive, umpire calls a ball. Rule 2.00, “Ball.”

4. The pitch bounces and hits the batter. The ball is dead, and the umpire awards the batter first base. Rule 2.00, “Ball,” “In Flight,” 5.09 (a).

5. The batter swings and hits the bouncing ball. Ball is alive, play it as if it didn’t bounce. Rule 2.00, “In Flight.”

6. The Little League, Intermediate (50/70), Junior, Senior and Big League division batter swings and misses, strike three with first base empty or with two outs. The catcher catches the bounced pitch, but the batter can STILL attempt to reach first base on the “dropped” third strike. See Rule 2.00, “Ball,” “In Flight “(Because the pitch hit the ground, it is no longer “in flight” and therefore, no longer a “catch.”)

7. The pitcher accidentally throws the ball straight down; it hits the ground and dribbles to a stop BEFORE crossing the foul line. If there are runners on base, the umpire calls "time" and on the 60-foot diamond, calls illegal pitch (or on the 90 foot diamond, a balk is called). See Rule 8.01(d).

8. The pitcher accidentally throws the ball straight down; it hits the ground and dribbles to a stop AFTER crossing the foul line. Ball is alive, umpire calls a ball. See rule 8.01(d).

Don Essex, VA #9