In a recent tournament, we had two very odd calls and I was hoping for some clarification. The first was with R1 on first the batter bunted and R1 took off for second and rounded and made it all the way to third. The batter however ran out of the three foot line and the ball glanced off her shoulder. The first baseman stayed with the ball and made the catch and the batter was ruled out by the fielding umpire. However, the home plate umpire ruled interference, called the batter out and sent R1 back to first. The coach argued that since the fielder made the play she was not impeded with and therefore there was no interference.
The second situation was very similar. R1 was on third base and the batter hit a pop fly to the third baseman in foul territory. R1 bumped into the third baseman and the umpire called interference. Again, as in the previous case, the third baseman stayed with the ball and made the play. The umpire called R1 out and called the runner back to bat because the ball was foul and he could not award the batter the base on a foul ball. The defensive coach said that because the ball was caught, the batter should be out also. the offensive coach said that the rules state that in interference the runner closest to home is out and the batter is awarded first base no matter where the ball is. The field umpire said that because the fielder caught the ball there is no interference, the batter is out and R1 stays at third.
Please advise the proper calls in each case. THank you
The 1st thing to remember is any interference call is a dead ball, nothing happens after that. By rule all runners return to the last base touched at the time of the interference.
In Q1, ASA, if the b-r runs outside the 3' lane and in the umpire's judgment interferes with the fielder taking the throw at 1st it is interference. Since the interference call results in a dead ball at the time it hit the b-r, the fact that F3 eventually caught the ball doesn't matter. It has no bearing on the call. We return R1 to the last base touched at the time the ball hit the b-r.
Q2, ASA, With interference on a foul ball that could be caught w/ ordinary effort (as this one was, but the actual catch really doesn't matter), both the runner guilty of interference and the batter are out. Some other orgs call the runner out and then call a strike on the batter regardless if it could be caught, so it depends. I don't know of an org that awards a batter 1st base on this one. R1 in all cases is out.