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Softball/How to appeal a call with an umpire

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Question
I am the coach of a 12U fastpitch club team.  This past Saturday, we attempted a delayed steal from second base to third.  As our runner approached third base, the third baseman set up in the baseline about 2 to 3 feet off the bag toward second base.  She did not have possession of the ball as she set up.  My runner attempted the slide as the ball was being thrown from the pitcher to the third baseman.  She was called out because she had no way of getting around the fielder as she slid and the fielder made the tag.  I called time out and questioned the umpire on what I felt was obstruction.  He said that she was in the attempt of making the play and was not in violation.  Of course, the 2012 ASA rule in the supplement section says that the fielder can not block a base without the ball.  In short, she must catch the ball first, then block the base and make a tag.  My question is, as a coach what are my options?  Can I appeal to the plate ump? Also, in general, what is the best way to make an appeal on a call or approach an umpire on a call I feel is incorrect?  Thanks

Answer
Mike,

First things first, as a coach you are screwed when an umpire doesn't know the rules.

Your umpire applied the NCAA rule regarding obstruction very well.  Everywhere else it is simple, if the defensive player is not in possession of the ball she must stay out of the runners way.  If the defense has the ball it is the runners duty to avoid contact.

Your only option in this situation is to talk to the umpire that made the call.  There is no appeal to the other umpire.  If the umpire that made the call wants input from the other umpire, that is up to him/her.

When I coach (12U this year) and an umpire interprets a rule differently than I understand it, I ask for time after play has completed, ask the umpire why they made the call the way they did.  If I think they have made an error on a rule, I will ask them to consult with their partner.  If I don't get the call I want, I head back to the dugout.  I note the situation in the book and make sure I talk to the UIC so he/she can correct his umpires (or me) for future games.

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Tom Mielke

Expertise

Rule and scoring questions for girls/womens Fastpitch Softball. Primarily High School (NFHS) and ASA

Experience

Rec, Varsity and Travel Ball Coach and High School Umpire

Education/Credentials
Michigan High School Athletic Association registered official: Softball, Basketball

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