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QUESTION: runner on first- no outs- ground ball to second, runner starts towards second but will run into tag- stops and heads back to first to by time for batter to reach first- second baseman throws ball over firstbase and into foul territory- runner starts toward second but is called out by umpire-- umpire says the runner can't  go backwards to avoid a tag- really? did they do away with the pickle in ASA slowpitch and I missed it? clear this up for me


What was the outcome of the protest?  I guess that umpire doesn't have many run downs in their game.

You didn't miss anything in ASA SP but the umpire sure did.  Only the b-r between home and 1st cannot retreat in order to avoid or delay a tag.  Any other base it is perfectly legal.

If you didn't protest you really need to give the UIC a call, this can't be allowed to continue, I see trouble ahead for that umpire if they don't get it right..


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: is there a specific rule number that I can reference when I see him again on Wednesday? I did protest, adamantly, and was told that he knew the rules and I was wrong- end of story-- that is when it really got good! The umpire works the girls high school games and said with his numerous years of experience he was correct and I should shut up and just play ball-- and next time he saw me he would show me in the rule book where the rule is-- so if I could come armed with a hard copy, it would sure make for some good entertainment when we meet again! thanks for your help, Ted Fowler.

Hi Ted,

It seems you argued "adamantly", not protested.  A protest is when you state before the next pitch, play or all infielders have left the infield "Blue, I am protesting this call as as misapplication of the playing rules"  Then if the protest is upheld the game starts again from that specific point, unless you win the game, then the protest is moot.  So a "protest" is not the "end of story".

I can't give you a rule. Nowhere in the book does it say a runner is NOT OUT if they retreat backwards toward a base from a tag (except they are out between home and 1st).  However we do have about 4 pages of rules (chap 8) that do tells us when a runner is out and this act is not among them, therefore it is not illegal.  

Since the umpire stated "and next time he saw me he would show me in the rule book where the rule is" you are all set.  If I were you I would wait with salivating expectation of that moment.

"The umpire works the girls high school games and said with his numerous years of experience he was correct "  If the play is exactly as you stated, "umpire says the runner can't go backwards to avoid a tag"-this greatly concerns me.  How can you umpire "numerous" years making a call like that?


ps I don't know what level of softball this is, but the play seems to be at 2nd not throwing over or around R1 to 1st.


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Dr. Mark R. Ambrose


I can answer all questions about book rules and "case book" rules governing the playing of ASA softball. Have a REAL situation that happened and are not sure the proper rule was applied, ask me.


I am a registered ASA umpire, a MASA "At-Large" umpire since 1996 and a retired District Umpire-In-Chief. I have very extensive experience in MASA State Championship and ASA national qualifying tournament play both as an umpire and an Umpire-In-Chief. I completed 3 ASA National Schools including the ASA national advanced umpire school in Ok City("Bernie" for those who know him was the lead clinician, I survived the week and couldn't let my kids watch the game tapes when I got home. No, I love you Bernie). I was one of 4 "Yankee" umpires selected to umpire the Men's D National East Championship in 2002 in Winter Haven FL

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