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It is a myth that a batter’s hands are considered part of the bat when the batter is struck on the hands by a pitched ball. The situation described below is applicable in all divisions of Little League Baseball® and Little League Softball®.
Two runners are on base, and there are no outs and two strikes on the batter. The batter is set in the batter’s box and the pitcher delivers the pitch. The batter offers at the pitch and in the act of swinging the batter is hit on the hand by the pitch.
The umpire calls “dead ball” and indicates “strike three.”
After the manager requests and is granted time, he/she suggests that the player should be awarded first base because the ball hit the player’s hands. What is the ruling?
To make the proper call on this play, we reference the Definitions Section (2.00) of the 2014 Little League® Rulebook. Under part of the definition of a “strike,” on Page 64 Condition (e) states that a strike is a legal pitch that touches the batter’s person as the batter strikes at it. A dead ball is declared by the umpire.
Rule 6.05 (e) on Page 78 states: A batter is out when the batter attempts to hit a third strike and is touched by the ball.
In this scenario, the batter made an attempt to swing at the pitch. The swinging motion constitutes the batter offering at the pitch, making it a strike. The dead ball is called to eliminate the opportunity for a runner(s) to advance. A common misconception is that hands are part of the bat. The hands are part of a person’s body. If a pitch hits the batter’s hands the ball is dead; if he/she swung at the pitch, a strike is called (NOT a foul). If the batter was avoiding the pitch, the batter would be awarded first base.
What is the proper way to interpret a bunt attempt and what constitutes a bunt-strike. The situations described below are applicable in Little League Baseball® Major Division and Teenage Divisions.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, the pitcher begins his delivery to home plate. As he starts his motion, the batter moves into a bunting stance. The batter holds the bat over home plate as the pitch tracks high out of the strike zone. The batter makes no attempt to move the bat at all and the umpire rules the pitch a “ball.” The manager of the team in the field asks, and is granted, time so that he can get an explanation from the home-plate umpire as to why he called the pitch a ball when the batter never moved the bat out of the strike zone. The manager claims that since the batter did not pull the bat out of the strike zone while in the bunting position, it’s an automatic strike. Is the manager correct to challenge the umpire’s call?
To explain the rule, we reference the Definitions Section (2.00) of the 2015 Little League Baseball® Rulebook. Under the definition of “bunt,” a bunt is a batted ball not swung at, but intentionally met with the bat and tapped slowly. The mere holding of the bat in the strike zone is not an attempted bunt.
If no attempt is made to make contact with the ball outside the strike zone while in the bunting stance, it shall be called a ball. The batter must offer at the pitch for it to be a strike.
What is the difference between a foul ball and a foul tip. The situations described below are applicable in all divisions of Little League Baseball® and Little League Softball®.
Situation No. 1:
With no outs and no runners on base, the batter has a one-ball, no-strike count. The pitcher delivers a fastball that jams the batter, who pops the ball out of play. The foul ball results in the umpire signaling strike one. On the next pitch, a change-up from the pitcher fools the batter, who lunges at the pitch, popping the ball up. The blooper travels into foul territory down the first-base line, but the defense is unable to make a play before the ball hits the ground, resulting in the umpire yelling “foul ball” and signaling strike two. The batter would foul off one more pitch before eventually reaching safely on a base on balls.
To effectively and properly explain the foul ball call, we reference the Definitions Section (2.00) of the 2015 Little League Baseball® and Little League Softball® Rulebooks. According to the definition of a “foul ball,” on Pages 60-61, an umpire is expected to make a series of judgments based on foul territory.
A foul ball is a batted ball that settles on foul territory between home and first base, or between home and third base, or that bounds past first or third base on or over foul territory, or that first falls on foul territory beyond first or third base, or that while on or over foul territory, touches the person of an umpire or player or any object foreign to the natural ground. Note 1: A foul ball shall be judged according to the relative position of the ball and the foul line, including the foul pole, and not to as whether the fielder is on the foul or fair territory at the time the fielder touches the ball.
Situation No. 2:
With two outs and a runner on second base, the batter swings at a pitch that nicks the bat and goes sharply and directly into the catcher’s glove and is caught. The umpire immediately calls and signals foul tip and the base runner attempts to steal third base. The baserunner reached third base safely. At the end of the play, the manager of the defensive team calls “timeout” and asks the home plate umpire, “That ball was foul, why are you allowing the runner to stay on third?”
To explain the rule, we reference the Definitions Section (2.00) of the 2015 Little League Baseball® and Little League Softball® Rulebooks. Under the definition of “foul tip,” a foul-tip is a batted ball that goes sharp and direct to the catcher’s hand or glove and is legally caught. It is not a foul tip unless caught and any foul tip that is caught is a strike, and the ball is in play. It is not a catch if it is a rebound, unless the ball has first touched the catcher’s glove or hand. A foul tip can only be caught by the catcher.
A “strike” is defined as a legal pitch which meets several conditions, including being struck at by the batter and missed; Is not struck at, but part of the ball passes through any part of the strike zone; Is fouled by the batter when there are less than two strikes; Is bunted foul; Touches the batter’s person as the batter strikes at it (dead ball); Touches the batter in flight in the strike zone; or, Becomes a foul tip (Ball is live and in play).
This month, we will explain and define whether, or not, a player is required to slide. The situation described below is applicable in all levels of Little League Baseball® and Little League Softball®.
In the bottom of the second inning, with runners on second and third base, the batter hits a ball to shallow left field. The left fielder is unable to make the catch. The runner from third base scores easily, and the runner from second base runs through the third base coach’s “Stop” sign and attempts to score. By this time, the shortstop has received the ball and the catcher is yelling “home, home.” As the ball is thrown to home plate, the catcher moves in front of the plate and prepares to make a play on the runner. As the ball comes in, the runner ducks his head to avoid being hit with ball, but does not attempt to slide. As the runner crosses home plate, he bumps the catcher with his shoulder. The defensive coach immediately begins to admonish the umpire for failing to call the runner out for not sliding. Is the manager correct to claim that the runner should be “automatically” out for not sliding?
To explain the rule, we reference Rule 7.08 (a) (3) in the 2015 Little League Baseball® and Little League Softball® Rulebooks.
There is no “must-slide” rule in Little League. When the fielder has the ball and is waiting to make the tag, the runner has two options: 1. Slide; or 2. Attempt to get around the fielder. The runner must NOT deliberately or maliciously contact the fielder, but he is NOT required to slide.
If the fielder (any fielder, not just the catcher) does not have the ball, and there is a collision, you CANNOT call the runner out. However, if the umpire determines that the runner deliberately attempted to injure the fielder, the umpire could eject the runner for unsportsmanlike conduct.