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Softball/ASA JO Fastpitc Softball - Base runner hit by batted ball

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Question
This happened in a scrimmage with coaches doing the umpiring.  
Runner on 1B.  Batter hits the ball medium hard just to the first baseman's right side.  (The side toward 2B).  She misses it and then the ball hits the base runner in the leg/foot as she is running to 2B.  The second baseman had no chance at the ball.  The only possibility to make an out was the right fielder.  She was back a ways and the batter-runner was pretty fast.  I say there is no interference because it was very unlikely for the right fielder to make a play.  The coaches from the other team say that is always called interference and the runner is out.  I know this is a HTBT situation, but how would you make the decision?  What would be your thought process?
Doug

Answer
Hi Doug,

A runner is not out if hit w/ a fair untouched batted ball after it has passed an infielder (exc F1) and in the umpire's judgment no other player has a opportunity to make an out.  (ASA 8-8-d)

The key word is opportunity not "chance or maybe".  Is it reasonable that the fielder has a very legitimate opportunity to make that out?  It is not "always" interference but in my experience very seldom a call and certainly much less so as the level of play goes up.

In your OP "very unlikely for the right fielder to make a play" doesn't even come close to meet the criteria for an interference call IMO.  Most umpires give the benefit of the any reasonable doubt to the runner.

Now if the ball was touched (by any def player)in any way, the runner would not be out if they could not avoid contact with it (read intentional).

Mark

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Dr. Mark R. Ambrose

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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.

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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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