Questions from coaches and umpires
No it is not. Only 2 items are approved by USA softball
A Pow’r wrap... https://goo.gl/images/CbkC5B
And a swing sock.. https://goo.gl/images/zCnBBY
Both have links to show what they are.
THE 2 ITEMS LISTED ABOVE ARE FROM THE USA SOFTBALL CERTIFICATED EQUIPMENT SECTION
On any rotation play, the home plate umpire remains stationary and focused on all players until the base umpire gets to this next position. Once he reaches that new starting position, the plate umpire returns to home plate.
When giving the count it should be “2 balls, 2 strikes” not “2 and 2”.
At home plate please do not reach out to see if you are too close to the catcher, if not sure simply move back. As I always say NEVER NEVER NEVER TOUCH A PLAYER.
Please stay awake on walks, the ball is live during a walk, if a catcher wants a new ball after pitch, simply step back, keep our hands at your side and tell her the ball is live.
Help on a checked swing and the pitch is called a ball
When requested, ask for help. Many times the dugout has the best view of this so if a coach makes a reasonable request honor it. Maybe you were partially blocked and your partner got a better look. Let’s get it right. If the coach is asking to be disruptive that is a different issue and needs to be addressed.
NYSSO’s formal ruling which takes into consideration both the medical concerns of the individual player and the safety of all players is: To be permitted to play, any student athlete wearing a migraine earring in a daith piercing shall provide written notice from certified medical personnel stating the necessity of such an earring. The earring shall be covered with tape. The player would also need a waiver from NYSPHSAA - the procedure/form outlined on the NYSPHSAA web site calls for the player's doctor to provide documentation to Public High School and then it would provide the official waiver form/letter to the player.....
DP/FLEX & COURTESY RUNNERS
An eligible courtesy runner may be used for the pitcher or catcher. When a DP bats for the pitcher or catcher, a courtesy runner may not be used. There are times where the DP will play defense, either by dropping to 9 players or using an “Offensive Player.” When determining whether a runner is entitled to have a courtesy runner, the simplest question to ask is, “Did the pitcher or catcher bat her way on to base?”
The only difference between the USA Softball rule and what high school permits with regard to footwear is the prohibition against metal cleats/plates. All other permissible footwear is permitted. That includes, but is not limited to, polyurethane spikes. The NYSPHSAA waiver to the USA/ASA rule pertains only to “metal” and not other aspects of the rule.
Video recording/taping from the dugout/team area is prohibited. Teams may use video recording/taping devices outside of the dugout/team area, but are prohibited from going to or viewing any such device during the game.
COACH’S STATEMENT 1
“Teams can’t huddle on the field when they come off on defense.”
There is no rule prohibiting the team that just came off of defense from huddling near their dugout between innings. As long as they are ready to bat without delay, leave them alone.
COACH’S STATEMENT 2
“All Easton bats are illegal.”
Bats that meet the specifications of the rules and are not on the banned bat list are legal. No manufacturer has been “singled out.”
See USA softball non approved bat list.
COACH’S STATEMENT 3
“The pitcher who warmed up is required to pitch to one batter.”
There is no “must pitch to” rule in USA Softball. You may find such a requirement in baseball rulebooks or NFHS rulebooks, but no such rule exists in USA Softball; therefore, there is no applicable rule to NYSPHSAA.
PLAY 1: With 1 out and R3 on 3rd base, B4 attempts a suicide bunt. R3 comes across the plate to score. F2 fires to 1st base to retire B4. B4 is declared out for 3-foot lane interference. Does R3’s run count or is she returned to 3rd base?
RULING 1: On 3-foot lane interference, runners are returned to the base last held at the time of interference, not time of pitch.
PLAY 2: With 2 outs and R3 on 3rd base,, B4 attempts a suicide bunt. R3 comes across the plate to score. F2 fires to 1st base to retire B4. B4 is declared out for 3-foot lane interference. Does R3’s run count?
RULING 2: R3’s run does not score. The final out of the inning was on the BR prior to safely advancing to 1st base.
PLAY 3: With R1 on 1st base, B2 bunts up the 1st base line. F3 charges and fields the ball. As F3 attempts to apply the tag on B2, B2 steps back toward home plate. At the time B2 steps back toward home plate, R1 had rounded 2nd base. What is the proper ruling?
RULING 3: When the BR steps back toward home plate in an attempt to avoid or delay a tag, the ball is dead. This is considered a form of interference. Runners are returned to the base last held at the time of the interference, not time of pitch.
PLAY 4: With R1 on 1st base, B2 receives a base-on-balls. F2 requests time to speak with F1. Once time is granted, R1 and R2 run over to their 3rd base coach. Is this permitted?
RULING 4: There is no rule prohibiting a base runner from leaving her base to confer with a base coach during a non-charged defensive conference. With that said, umpires must be diligent in assuring to break up any such conferences without excessive delay.
Umpires must record all conferences – that means BOTH offensive and defensive conferences. There is no excuse for not recording conferences. Place the lineup cards in your lineup cardholder in such a manner that you can quickly and easily record the conferences without delaying resumption of play.
The plate umpire, not the scorekeeper, is responsible for reporting all changes to the opposing team. Do not walk over to the opposing team’s dugout to report the change. Loudly and clearly state the change from the home plate area and resume play. If there is an official scorekeeper, report the change to the opposing team and then to the scorekeeper. The opposing team gets the courtesy of the change before the scorekeeper does.
Be sure the coach or book person is getting the information.
WHO COVERS 3RD - R2 TAG-UP
With R2 on 2nd base, B3 hits a long fly ball to F8, who catches the fly ball. The base umpire is responsible for the tag-up. The plate umpire is responsible for the play at 3rd base if R2 advances. The plate umpire must get out from behind home plate, move toward the pitcher’s circle to observe play and move to 3rd base clearly ahead of R2 to be waiting and in position for a call at 3rd base.
WHO COVERS 3RD – R2 ON 2ND – OUTFIELD HIT
With R2 on 2nd base, B3 hits a low line drive to left field. F7 fields the ball on one hop and fires to 3rd base for a play on R2. Who makes the call? The plate umpire is responsible for this play for multiple reasons. First, the plate umpire is not responsible for any play at the plate. Second, this is not a force play. Third, this is not the first throw by an infielder. Therefore, the umpires divide up responsibility and cover the plays accordingly.
See your NYSSO mechanics manual on page 36 “ADDITIONAL RESPONSIBILITIES FOR BASE UMPIRE”
ANOTHER WILD PITCH
Plate umpires shall not provide the catcher with a new ball on wild pitches and retrieve the original ball. It is unprofessional for an umpire to run to a backstop to chase errant pitches. That practice does nothing to provide an incentive for the pitcher to throw decent pitchers or the catcher to catch/stop them.
If you engage in an amicable conversation with a coach and the conversation becomes heated, you’ve done something wrong. Either avoid the conversation to begin with or learn to respectfully address coaches. If multiple coaches have a problem with you, then there is probably a problem with you. “Umpires get into more trouble for the things they say and how they say them than for any judgment call on the field.”
AS A GROUP WE HAVE DONE THIS VERY WELL, LAST SEASON THERE WERE NO EJECTIONS OF COACHES. WE DO HAVE A GOOD WORKING RELATIONSHIP WITH OUR VARSITY COACHES. THAT SAID IF YOU MUST
Umpires are permitted to “sell” outs with their left arm. That is to accommodate left handed umpires who find it awkward to sell an out with their right arm. However, when signaling a routine “hammer” out, umpires must use their right arm.
Do not expand the strike zone on a 3-0 pitch. The pitcher has failed to throw a strike in 3 pitches and the batter has avoided swinging at a ball 3 times. So if this happens a 4th time, why would you reward the pitcher and penalize the batter? That is illogical and contrary to your role as an umpire.
the following was asked of Eric and I and after several emails to out state interpreter, NYSSO has made the following ruling...
We received the following question from a coach:
Is the DP who is playing on defense in the position of pitcher or catcher entitled to a courtesy runner when they come to bat in the next half inning on offense?
This question was sent to NYSSO for clarification and this was their interpretation.
Any pitcher or catcher who bats for themselves and reaches base safely is entitled to a courtesy runner. This includes if the player is also the DP. It does not matter who is in the Flex position.
In the top of the first inning only, the pitcher and catcher are identified as those players listed on the line-up card as pitcher or catcher. Every player listed in the starting lineup needs to have a position listed, so it would not be possible for the DP to get a courtesy runner in the top of the first inning. After the top of the first inning, the player physically playing the position coming off the field on defense is considered the pitcher or catcher for courtesy runner purposes. Since the DP may play any position on defense, it is possible for the DP to get a courtesy runner following defensive half-innings when they came off the field as the pitcher or catcher.
We understand this may seem in conflict with some parts of the rule book, but this is the official NYSSO interpretation / ruling and MUST be understood and followed..
Umpires please go over your rule book concerning the DP and FLEX as several coaches plan to get more creative this season..
Lanks and Savoia
This is from the USA softball rule book..
“On a bunt attempt where the batter puts the bat across the plate and the pitched ball is out of the strike zone, a ball should be called unless the batter moves the bat toward the ball.
On a missed bunt attempt with two strikes, the dropped third strike rule applies.”
Rule supplement 10.
So simply holding the bat across the strike zone with no movement toward the ball should result in the pitched being called a ball or strike based on the location of the pitch only.
Bunt VS. Slap..Coaches were looking for a definition of a bunt vs. a slap. A bunt is defined in the USA rule book, but a slap is not...
a good guideline for us to use was taken from another rule book...
Slap. A slap hit is a batted ball that has been struck with a short, chopping motion rather than with a full
swing. A ball that is slapped foul is treated like any other foul ball and shall not result in an out unless caught in flight.
as always you best judgement should be used.
For immediate dissemination to all chapters with the requirement that each chapter immediately disseminate the following to all of their members: JEWELRY Play 1: The umpire crew notices a player in the line-up who has tape, Band-Aids, etc., on both ears. What are umpires supposed to do? Ruling 1: “If an umpire suspects that a player is covering up jewelry ... in the presence of the head coach, ask the player is she covered up jewelry. If the player states that she does have jewelry on, she must remove it before she is eligible to play. If the player states that she does not have jewelry on, accept her statement as truthful. If you later discover during the game that the player was wearing jewelry, the player and head coach will be subject to penalties for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Note 1A: Umpires do not direct players to remove the tape.
Note 1B: Umpires must use common sense, good judgment and thoughtful reasoning in making any decision. NYSSO does not box umpires in with regard to how to handle the situation of a player who is subsequently found to be wearing jewelry after saying she wasn’t. Umpires will handle the situation in accordance with the rules, common sense, good judgement and thoughtful reasoning. However, umpires will not make up penalties not supported by the rule book (e.g., “restricted to the bench.”) Violating the jewelry rule and lying about it is unsporting conduct. Umpires have the discretion to issue warnings, eject violators, eject head coaches,
etc... Umpires are paid to handle situations. This is a situation that needs handling.
APPEAL PLAYS Play 2: With R3 on 3rd base, B4 hits a grounder to F4. R3 easily beats the errant throw to the plate. The ball ends up against the backstop. However, R3 clearly misses home plate. F1 states to you, the plate umpire, “The runner missed home.” What do you do?
Ruling 2: The plate umpire should state, “Your appeal is denied.” This is an improper appeal. The pitcher is attempting to make a live ball appeal, but she is not doing so properly. In order to make a live ball appeal, the defender in possession of the ball must either tag the runner or step on the base.
Note 2: When appropriate, a dead ball appeal (not a live ball appeal) may be made without the ball.
INFIELD FLY Play 3: With R2 on 2nd base and R1 on 1st base, B3 hits a high fly ball within the infield. The ball is easily catchable by F3. The ball lands
untouched in fair territory before 1st base and kicks into foul ground where it settles or is first touched.
Ruling 3: By definition (in all softball and baseball codes), this is a foul
ball. One of the criteria for an infield fly is that the ball be fair. Since runners aren’t forced to advance on a foul ball, how can a foul ball result in an infield fly?
Play 4: With R2 on 2nd base and R1 on 1st base, B3 hits a high fly ball within the infield. The ball is easily catchable by F3. The ball lands untouched in fair territory beyond 1st base and kicks into foul ground where it settles or is first touched.
Ruling 4: By definition (in all softball and baseball codes), this is a fair
ball. All other elements of an infield fly are met. The proper ruling is an infield fly.
Play 5: With R2 on 2nd base and R1 on 1st base, B3 hits a high fly ball within the infield. The ball is easily catchable by F3. The ball lands untouched in foul territory before 1st base and rolls into fair territory before 1st base where it settles or is first touched.
Ruling 5: By definition (in all softball and baseball codes), this is a fair ball. All other elements of an infield fly are met. The proper ruling is an infield fly.
ON-DECK CIRCLE Play 6: The on-deck batter from the 3rd base dugout would like to use the on-deck circle on the 1st base side.
Ruling 6: The on-deck batter may only do so if the batter is batting left- handed. She may not use the 1st base side if the batter is batting right- handed, because that means she would be facing the “open side” of the batter. That isn’t permissible when using the “opposite” on-deck circle. Play 7: The on-deck batter from the 3rd base dugout would like to use her “own” on-deck circle on the 3rd base side.
Ruling 7: An on-deck batter is always permitted to use the on-deck circle on her side regardless of the “open side” of the batter. In other words, an on- deck batter may always use her own circle, regardless of whether the batter is batting left-handed or right-handed.
PITCHER’S PLATE Play 8: As F1 stands on the pitcher’s plate and takes her sign from F2, the plate umpire clearly sees that the pitcher’s right foot is in contact with the pitcher’s plate, but breaks the plane of the 24 inch pitcher’s plate. In other words, the left portion of her right foot is touching the plate, but the remainder of her foot is outside the 24” plate. Ruling 8: Illegal pitch. At the time of the pitch, the pitcher’s feet must be
within the pitcher’s plate, not merely in contact with it.
PITCHING REQUIREMENTS Play 9: After F1 takes her sign from F2, F1 merely taps the ball to the outside of her glove.
Ruling 9: Illegal pitch. For at least 20 years, NYSPHSAA has required the pitcher to bring the ball within or at least partially within the glove. The purpose of the modification was to avoid a quick pitch as well as a “touch and go” and to give consistency to the rule at a time of ambiguity.
RUNS SCORING ON INTERFERENCE PLAY Play 10: R3 occupies 3rd base with one out. R3 breaks for the plate on a squeeze play as B5 bunts a fair ball in front of home plate. R3 touches home plate. Then, B4 illegally interferes with the throw going to 1st base (i.e., commits three-foot lane interference).
Ruling 10: R3 scored prior to B4 committing three-foot lane
interference. Score the run. Call B4 out.
Note 10: On this same play, if there had been two out already and B4 is called out for interference, then R3’s run would not count. That is because the third out of the inning was called on the BR before reaching 1st base. INTERPRETER ON FIELD Play 11: An interpreter is on the field next to 2nd base assisting R2. The interpreter interferes with F4 making a play.
Ruling 11: An offensive interpreter on the field should be treated as if she was the runner who she is assisting.
Note 11: A defensive interpreter on the field would be subject to the same obstruction penalties as a defensive player.
ILLEGAL BAT ATTACHMENT Play 12: B1 comes to bat, when the plate umpire notices a device attached to the knob of the bat. This device is able to record information regarding the swing.
Ruling 12: This device is illegal for multiple reasons. First, it is not an approved attachment under the rules. Therefore, the bat is, by definition, altered. Second, it is an illegal electronic device.
CHANGING A FOUL TO FAIR CALL Play 13: With no runners on base, B1 hits an aerial ball down the 1st base line. The base umpire properly turns toward the outfield, straddles the line and calls “Foul” right after the ball landed. Unfortunately, the ball landed in fair territory. The ball then rolls out of play, beyond the outfield fence, which does not connect to the fence going down the field. The umpire crew gets together and there is no doubt whatsoever that the ball was fair.
Ruling 13: The only permissible change of a foul call to a fair call in NYSPHSAA is an over-the-fence home run. That is because the ball only
becomes dead when it has left the field of play. Player reaction is not a concern.
Note 13: An over-the-fence home run is different than the “book rule double” situation in the play above. The primary difference and justification for ruling differently is that the ball becomes dead when the umpire rules “foul” as opposed to when it leaves the field of play over the fence. The issue here is that defensive players may have reacted to the foul
call. Therefore, the defense was placed in jeopardy by the umpires. OFFICIAL CONSOLIDATED INTERPRETATIONS 3-27-17
Hope everyone has had a productive season to date, so let’s please cover a few items brought to our attention.
>>>From the NYSSO manual: If a call must be made and your partner did not make it in his area after ample opportunity, then make the call.
If your partner misses a blatant obstruction or interference call in their area, you need to call it if you see it, after giving them a chance to make the call themselves. For example, If the batter/runner runs into the first baseman, stopping her progress, rounding first base after hitting a ball over the outfielder’s head, and the base umpire fails to see it, and you as the plate umpire see it, it must be called. That runner is now protected as far as you feel she would have advanced had the obstruction not occurred. Please remember there is a time/distance factor involved. A player who is obstructed at first base and then thrown out on a bang-bang tag play at third should be ruled safe due to the obstruction at first base.
Obstruction and interference are calls that must be made, each one puts one team at a disadvantage an is a violation of the rules.
>>>Fair/foul on balls near home plate.
Home plate is entirely in fair territory. A ball coming to rest on the plate or touched by the defense over home plate is a fair ball. The fair/foul lines extend from the back corner of home plate to the foul pole. This means that part of each batter’s box, home plate, and all the bases are in fair territory. A batted ball touched inside the batter’s box might be fair or might be foul depending on where it is touched by the defense (or comes to rest). It is not automatically foul because it is touched “in the box”.
If the batted ball is touched by the batter while they are “in the box”, then it is always a foul ball.
>>>Pre-Game meeting at home plate
There seems to be some confusion over what needs to be covered at the pre-game with the coaches.
If a coach asks a question about a rule it should be answered in a short, concise manor.
Never offer an opinion if a coach asks a question about a ruling from a previous game. Politely inform them that you will properly enforce the rules correctly today.
As officials we are paid and required to correctly assess the situations on the field and rule correctly. If you are unsure of the proper application or enforcement of a rule please get with your partner for assistance. GET IT RIGHT. We cannot simply ignore a coaches request for an explanation by saying “we got it coach” just to save face. No one is perfect but sometimes a quick talk thru with your partner will clarify the situation.
We are still finding illegal bats in the dugouts. Please review the rule book, and keep an eye out for dented or cracked bats toward the end of the season.
THE HOME PLATE UMPIRE MUST HAVE THE NON APPROVED BAT LIST WITH THEM.
The certification mark below is not acceptable for high school softball.
These are good marks as long as the bats are not on the non- approved bat list
***Please see the attachment for non-approved bats with the certification mark.***
Please read and review the 2017 rule book 4ule 4, section 3 page 52 Designated Player
Concerning DP/FLEX, there are several things that the coaches can do and can’t do. As umpires we must know what is and is not allowed. For example
The DP and FLEX can play defense together, any 9 of the 10 players currently in the lineup can play defense. If both the DP and FLEX players play defense at the same time, then the player on the bench is a “offensive player only” they have not left the game and will bat if their spot in the line- up is due the next half inning.
The DP can bat and if she reaches base the FLEX can pinch run for her. In this case the DP has left the game and the lineup is only 9 players. The DP can re-enter the game and the FLEX goes back to the 10th spot.
The DP and flex cannot play offense together, because the only place the FLEX can enter to hit is the spot occupied by the DP. In this case the DP has left the game once and the lineup is down to 9 players.
Situation 1...R1 on first, one out. R1 legally attempts a steal on the release of the pitch, the batter pops up the pitch in fair territory between home plate and the pitchers circle. The third baseman attempts to catch the pop up but the ball hits off her glove and rolls into foul then dead ball territory. At the time the ball rolls into dead ball territory R1 has already touched second base.
Ruling. Place the batter-runner on second base and place R1 on third base. See rule 8, section 5, item I. page 103.
Situation 2...The count on the batter is 2 balls and 2 strikes. On the pitch the batter checks her swing and pulls the bat back, the ball hits the bat and goes directly to the catcher’s glove and is caught.
Ruling. The batter is out due to the foul tip. See rule 1 Definition of “Foul Tip” page 28 and rule 7, section 4, item E page 89.
Situation 3..R1 on first and R2 on second, no outs. R1 leaves prior to the release of the pitch. The pitcher pitches the ball and the batter- runner grounds to the third baseman who fields the ball and throws to second base prior to R1 reaching second. After the play the defensive coach wants the option to take the result of the play and decline the R1 leaving early.
Ruling. This option does not exist because the ball is dead as soon as the runner, R1, left to soon. See rule 8 section 7 item S page 108.
Stay in the book and please email any questions to Eric Lanks and myself.
1. The lead-off batter in every inning should be in their on-deck circle while the pitcher is warming up. They cannot be near home plate timing swings. Also note they should not be in the opposite teams batter box as there is no current batter putting her in the path of a foul ball.
Please keep on top of this as the lead-off hitters tend to get too close to the plate when the pitcher is warming up. If you get any discussion about this simply follow the rules and send them to the on deck circle, that is where the Next batter is suppose to be prior to her at bat with a few exceptions. Warming up and timing her swing are not one of those exceptions.
2. Pitchers are required to as per rule 6A section 1 item D
“While on the pitchers plate, the pitcher shall take a signal or appear to take a signal with the
hands separated. The ball must remain in either the glove or pitching hand.” If they take a signal off the rubber it is an illegal pitch. If they take a sign off the rubber them engage the pitchers plate correctly and appear to take a sign they are legal.
3. Uniforms.as per rule 3 section 6 item C....
“Undershirts- players may wear a solid colored undershirt,. It is not mandatory that all players wear an undershirt , but if more than one player wears one, they must be like in color and style. No player may wear ragged, frayed or slit sleeves on exposed undershirts.” So if two players are wearing black and three are wearing red undershirts they must all match. Inform the coach to correct the issue.
4. Ask the coaches to include the substitute’s numbers on the line- up card. This will make substitution recording easier for you as the game progresses.
5. Be sure to check for the coaches helmets prior to the start of each half inning. The helmets are required, no exceptions. If no helmets available they can coach the offensive team from the dugout.