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Softball/Play at second base



In a men's slow pitch play, this has come up several times. Does a runner on first base who is advancing toward second base on a ground ball have to slide or move to one side or the other to get out out of the way of the shortstop  or second baseman who is attempting to make a double play?  It is my understanding that he does not have to do either but can be called out if he is hit by the ball being thrown to first base or interferes with the throw, and the batter advancing toward first would also be called out.  The interference does not have to be intentional.

ANSWER: Hi Chuck,

You are 1/2 way correct and this is a question that comes up every now and then as players, (and some umpires) misunderstand the responsibilities of both the offense and the defense, and the rules!

I'm sure you have often heard the phrase the runner cannot simply disappear. They need just not make an "act" of interference.  If they are continuing on their direct path to the base and are hit by the ball unless they intenionally interfere (such as throwing up a hand or arm)they are not out by being hit with a throw.  We don't play dodge softball. Likewise they are not forced to slide, there is no rule they must do that.

I want you to think about what you said because it will serve you in other rule situations....."It is my understanding that he does not have to do either"  If the rules don't require them to do something how can we call them out unless they break another rule?  If they simply don't slide or deviate from their path what rule have they broken to be called out if hit by the ball?  None.

If they veer to the infield or outfield and are hit by the throw they are now out.  They have performed an "act" that interfered with the throw even if unintentional or with the best intentions.  If the runner was already put out, the runner closest to home would also be out, not necessarily the b-r.  This is a frequent argument starter by players and coaches who don't know the rule.  ASA 8-7-p.

The defense must accommodate the runner who is running on a direct path either by moving themselves and the throw to the infield or outfield side of the runner. It is their responsibility to play the position properly if they want a dp.  They cannot just rifle the ball straight toward the runner who is in their direct line to first if the runner was there 1st.  Well they can but it is not interference and the other player might have a few justifiable words with them.


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

QUESTION: What if the runner does not slide and collides with the infielder who is attempting to make the throw?

Hi Chuck,

without a specific play there are just too many variables to give you an answer on this.  If R1 is so close to 2nd how can there be any play at 1st?  The defense and the offense can arrive at the same time and it is nothing.  who collided with who?  etc.  many times it is a HTBT situation.



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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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