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Softball/Softball: offensive interference


Runners on 2nd and 3rd, one out, left handed slapper at the plate. Batter slaps to 3rd baseman who is up in front of baseline. Ball takes funny hop, 3rd base barely touches ball, shortstop coming to cover third bends down to field the ball, no chance to get batter or run going home but a chance to tag runner coming from second. Runner from second runs into shortstop knocking her down.  The umpire makes no call because in her words there was no chance to get the batter.  I agreed about the batter, but said that we could get the runner coming to 3rd. I said that the ball had not passed the shortstop, and the runner prevented her from catching the ball. She stuck with her call that there was no interference. Should this have been an out because of interference from the runner? If interference is called isn't it a dead ball and no runners advance except those forced to advance?

Hi Tony,

Interference or Obstruction questions are the hardest questions I get because they can be a HTBT situation.

What we have is a deflected batted ball.  ASA 8-j-4 the runner is out....when they intentionally interfere with a defensive player having an opportunity to make an out with the deflected batted ball. Fed is similar (w/ the exception of F1 first deflecting it).

So F5 initially deflects the ball and F5 is the one we would protect the opportunity of fielding the batted ball.  F6 comes over to pick up the ball and R2 collides with her.  Was it in your opinion "intentional"  If not, we cannot have interference.  Your umpire doesn't mention this word to you in your OP. The inability to make an out on the batter is of no consequence to this play, a mistake by the umpire and the wrong thing to say but is not the reason this is probably not interference.

The runner cannot be expected to anticipate that the ball will be deflected and if it is where it will go.  They are allowed (under most circumstances) a direct line to the base.  If F6 moved into the runner's path to the base to try to field the ball, and R2 could not reasonably avoid them, it is not interference.  In fact it could be obstruction by F6.

Based on just what you said in your OP, I agree with the umpire that this was not interference but not the reason you were given.



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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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