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Softball/Is there a rule for collision avoidance

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Question
A player is stealing 2nd base in fastpitch high school softball. The throw is arriving several feet to the 1st base side of second. The girl stealing comes in standing up and crushes the shortstop attempting to make the catch. Unlikely injury with a slide. The ball arrives as the shortstop and runner make contact. The shortstop gets hurt with runner's helmut to head.

Is there a rule to protect the shortstop? Is the runner responsible to avoid a collision? Is the shortstop guilty of obstruction?

Thanks, Leo

Answer
Hi leo,

Unless the fielder has possession of the ball the runner has a right to a direct line to the base.  Unless the fielder has possession of the ball they cannot impede the runner's progress. W/out the ball it is actually the fielder's responsibility to avoid the runner. No major national org that I know of has a "must slide" rule.  Among other problems w/ a rule like that you are penalizing the runner (making them do something they do not want to do) for a bad throw by F2 IMO. (The throw is arriving several feet to the 1st base side of second.)

The runner cannot intentionally and maliciously crash into any fielder (that would be USC) but that didn't happen here.  F6 can protect themselves by altering the way they play the throw if they want but contact does happen in softball and is part of the game.

Sometimes the offense, the defense and the ball all arrive at the same place at the same time and that is a no call.

I might have obstruction on F6 but I would have to see it.

Mark

Softball

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Dr. Mark R. Ambrose

Expertise

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.

Experience

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

Organizations
Amateur Softball Association (The authority in softball)

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