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Softball/Circle violation


Hi, my question is regarding the 3 second circle violation rule or look back rule. Today during a an ASA 10U fast pitch softball game a runner on second lead off after the pitch. The catcher received the pitch and jumped up and ran toward the runner as they often do. The catcher runs into the pitcher circle and stands about 2-3 feet from the pitcher but does not give her the ball and still taunts the runner. The runner is called out for a circle violation. I thought the catcher in possession of the ball taunting the runner with a throw still meant it was a live ball? Can any player be in the circle with the ball in order for it to become a circle violation? I thought this only applied to the pitcher. Thanks for your insight!

Hi Linda,

Along with a whole list of other things, the look back rule ONLY applies to the pitcher in control of the ball in the circle, no one else!  If the pitcher makes any real or fake attempt at a play on the runner the LBR is off until the pitcher once again properly controls the ball and/or the runner does what's required of them.

The LBR is really not complicated but you have to understand all of it.  3 seconds also has nothing to do w/ the LBR but that's another question.  I think the problem here is the umpire's lack of understanding of the LBR and the defensive team trying to intimidate a poorly trained umpire into making a call that has NO basis in the rule book.

Certainly the "P" word could have definitely been brought out here.  Even at this young age the game needs to be officiated properly so the girls learn how to properly play the game.  I would still have the coach discuss this play with the UIC, not to get the umpire in trouble but to educate them.



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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

Amateur Softball Association (The authority in softball)

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