You are here:

Softball/16u fastpitch softball illegal pitch called


QUESTION: Runner on third. Batter steps in box. Pitcher steps on rubber brings hands together with ball in front of body and pauses. Home plate umpire backs up removes mask and steps aside. Pitcher with hands together steps back off rubber to wait for umpire to step back in.  Field umpire calls illegal pitch because pitcher "Presented the ball" and her next move must be to pitch no matter what the home plate umpire did. Runner on third was awarded home and scored the winning run.  Field umpire stated no matter what the home plate umpire did the pitcher was illegal to step back off the rubber, her next move was to pitch even with the umpire out of position.  My understanding is that the pitcher can step back off the rubber as long as their hands remained together as long as they do not start their pitching delivery.  Then lthey can separate their hands and step back on the rubber to start the pitch. Was this called illegal pitch the right call?

ANSWER: Hi John,

There is no such animal as "Presented the ball" in any rule book I have seen.  Anytime you hear an umpire use this get ready to use the "P" word.

"her next move must be to pitch" incorrect as you stated the correct understanding, the pitch doesn't start until the hands separate.

NFHS 6-1-1 f.
The pitcher may remove herself from the pitching position as follows:
1)before the hands come together, the pitcher may legally step back from the pitcher's plate with both feet
2)when the hands are together and no part of the windup motion has been made, the pitcher may legally step back from the pitcher's plate with both feet;
3)either foot may be removed first.

" Field umpire stated no matter what the home plate umpire did the pitcher was illegal to step back off the rubber, her next move was to pitch even with the umpire out of position." Incorrect

With the PU out of position and also unmasked(for whatever reason)it's obvious we could also have a suspension of play which would be no pitch and reset. The BU was wrong on a number of things here and the "P" word should have been brought out immediately.  I'm surprised the PU did not rectify this as they caused the problem, let alone let a winning run score on this situation.  You can't protest now but I would let their UIC know exactly what happened with a polite conversation.


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

QUESTION: I can't find the reference you sent in the NSA rule book.  Can you send where I can find this rule in the rule book and the section where it is located.  Also is there an Umpires handbook that refers to this interpretation.a

Hi John,

The NSA rule book is by consensus not the best written book on the rules of softball and I am not a NSA umpire, in most areas they are a very small org in fp.  However for now in this play let's just go with the umpire 10-6-2b
Play shall be suspended when the plate umpire leaves his/her position to
brush the plate or to perform other duties not directly related with the
calling of a play.

Then 6-9-a No pitch shall
be declared when The pitcher pitches during the suspension of play.  So written in their rule book is when the PU leaves their position, play is suspended.  If play is suspended a pitch if delivered is "no pitch".  You can't have an illegal pitch during a suspension of play.

Even according to their rules the pitch does not start until the hands are separated or  F1 makes any motion that is part of their windup so even though not spelled out in their rules every other org recognizes that a pitcher may reset off the pp if they have not separated their hands and/or made any motion to pitch.  The ref is for Fed play. Both major orgs in FP, Fed and ASA allow a pitcher to step back off the pp before separating the hands and or made....



All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


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)

©2017 All rights reserved.