This month, we will explain and outline how to appeal a play after the ball has been declared “dead” by the umpire. The situation described below is applicable in all divisions of Little League Baseball® and Little League Softball®.
In the bottom of the third inning, with no outs and no runners on base, the batter hits a slow-rolling ground ball that the pitcher fields. In an attempt to put the runner out, the pitcher’s throw to first base is high and leaves the field of play. The home plate umpire calls “time” and awards the runner second base. While attempting to avoid contact with the first baseman, the batter-runner fails to touch first base. Before the next batter enters the batter’s box, the Manager of the defensive team calls for, and is granted, “Time.” The Manager asks the base umpire if he saw the batter-runner touch first base before the home plate umpire declared “dead ball” and awarded the batter-runner second base. The response from the base umpire was, “Coach, do you want to appeal that play? If yes, the ball must be live to execute an appeal.”
Because the defensive Manager answered “Yes” to the base umpire’s question, the base umpire was aware that an attempt to appeal was forthcoming. With the runner standing on second base, and the pitcher on the mound with the ball in hand, the home plate umpire put the ball in play by pointing to the pitcher and declaring, “Play!” Once the ball was “live” the pitcher stepped off of the pitcher’s plate and threw the ball to the first baseman who touched first base. In the umpire’s opinion, the batter-runner did NOT touch first base, therefore the runner was called out on the appeal, despite the earlier ruling by the home plate umpire that awarded the runner second base.
By rule, the runner is not permitted to return to first base to re-touch once “time” is granted; or the runner has touched the next base.
Rule 2.00 – Definition of Terms – states that an appeal is an act of a fielder in claiming a rules violation by the offensive team.
Rule 5.11 – After the ball is dead, play shall be resumed when the pitcher takes a position on the pitcher’s plate with a new ball or the same ball in said pitcher’s possession and the plate umpire calls “Play.” The plate umpire shall call “play” as soon as the pitcher takes a position on the pitcher’s plate with possession of the ball.
Rule 7.10 – Any runner shall be called out, when … Play B – A throw goes out of play, creating a dead ball situation. On the play, the batter-runner misses first base, but is awarded second base on the overthrow. Even though the umpire has awarded the runner second base, the runner must touch first base before proceeding to second base.