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Softball/Obstruction rule


QUESTION: Girls 10U asa sacramento fastpitch
Our player hit a ball to ceterfield, rounded first and was obstructed and it was signalled. Our player saw the signal as she rounded, so she continued running towards 2nd base. The 1st base Coach did not see the signal, so he yelled for her get back. She stopped and turned back to 1st and ended up getting in a pickle. The umpire that signalled the obstruction called he out and said it was not longer obstruction because she got in a pickle. My questions... Was that the correct call? If she just continued to 2nd and was out by 20 feet, what would the call be or does it matter. Finally, if an obstruction call is made between 1st and 2nd base, when can the player still be called out between 1st and 2nd base?

ANSWER: Hi Jess,

It was NOT the correct call and was a mis-interp of the playing rules so you could have brought out the "P" word.

By rule a runner cannot be called out between the bases they were obstructed (except for interference) so "pickle" or not when play is finished the umpire should not call the runner out, but rather call "time" and award the runner the base they would have made had they not been obstructed.  In your OP it sounds like we just put her back on 1st but if she would have made 2nd, it would be 2nd.

Just an afterthought, if your runner was knocked down by the obstruction, regained her run and then was put out in a pickle, would that particular umpire call her out or would that be different from your OP?  

ps...let the UIC know that umpire made that call and needs some more education on the rules (yes even at 10U)


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

QUESTION: Thanks Mark-
Here's a follow up extreme question. What if the runner was obstructed between 1st and 2nd and it was signaled and she hesitates for 1 second before continuing to 2nd. Half way to the bag she realizes she has no chance of making it, so she just stands there and let them tag her out even though she could have returned to 1st base without much effort. If she can only be called out between 1st and 2nd base where the obstruction was called if she causes interference, then it sounds like she is free do try for 2nd and give up, knowing she will just be sent back to 1st. Is there any interpretation about having a free path back to the bag and not taking it or anything about hesitating or does the obstruction call stay enforced until she reaches the next bag safely or causes interference and then the options are to award her 2nd base or send her back to 1st with calling her out not being an option.

Hi Jess,

It's not a extreme question at all...since she cannot be called out between the bases she was obstructed she is free to try for 2nd even though she has no hope of making it and in the umpire's judgment would not have made it, she will simply be returned to 1st if she does not safely achieve 2nd.

The obstruction call is good until she reaches the base she would have made, or passes past the bases she was obstructed, let's say she would have made 2nd but then tries for 3rd.  She is no longer protected by obstruction between 2nd and 3rd and can be put out.

Between 1st and 2nd she can pose for the tv cameras, wave at her friends in the stands, put on her makeup, pretty much anything she wants w/out being liable to be put out.  She does not have to advance or withdraw to any base.

An obstructed runner causing interference is very rare in my experience.



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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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