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Softball/Crazy base running rules

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Question
Two different questions in regards to fastpitch base running rules.
First: Our batter hits a line drive to SS with runners on 1B and 2B no outs.  Our runners start to advance but SS makes what looks like a diving catch.  Runners return to bases and batter crosses first but as SS gets up and makes transition to throw, ball rolls out of her glove.  Everyone thought it was a catch including our third base coach who was only a few feet away but plate ump does not signal a catch and SS throws ball to 3B for the force.  Meanwhile, 1B coach tells runner that she made the catch and our runner starts to head to the dugout (approx 3 or 4 ft towards home plate) When runner realizes that umpire did not signal a catch, she runs back to first but 3B throws the ball and it gets to 1B before runner crosses the base for second time.  There was no tag on the runner. Home ump calls batter/runner out with a force out.  I argue that she had already crossed first and now it was a tag play.  Ump says that since she went back towards home plate, it becomes a force out again. Is that true?

Second question. A team did a trick base running play against us with runners on 1B and 2B. After the pitch, runner on 1B starts to jog towards 2B.  Runner on 2B does not move and our pitcher stares at the runner while in the circle.  When the runner got about 3 feet from 2B, she turned and started to jog back to first in attempt to draw a throw.    My question is if we had gotten her into a pickle and the girl on 2B broke for 3B and then jogging runner reaches 2B and a second pickle develops between 3B and 2B, is the girl (orignally starting on 1B and has reached 2B) allowed to run back to 1B to allow the runner now in a pickle an open base if she is forced back to 2B?  In other words, once 2B is reached, can that runner reverse back to 1B during a live play or does "The travesty of the game" rule apply here?  I'm trying to figure out the best way to defend this in the future and if she is locked to 2B once reached and previous runner has vacated towards 3B, we have more options versus getting into some kind of triangle pickle with 2 runners.  I appreciate your input.

Answer
Hi Mike,

Quite a mess and this is one of the hardest plays an umpire deals with. On something like this the umpire MUST give a call, either and "OUT" or a "TRAP" immediately. I mis understood the question, the b-r must be tagged during a live ball for an out.  8-7-c does not apply to this situation.

On this one we have do not have an out but I would have a respectful discussion with the umpire that they needed to give an immediate out or trap and they didn't do that.

R1 cannot leave 2nd if F1 has possession of the ball in the circle and R1 stopped at 2nd.  R2 off base may move toward a base, stop once and immediately advance or retreat, in this case it would have to be 1st since 2nd is occupied and R1 cannot move off it, assuming F1 makes no play on any runner or fakes a throw.  R2 really has no place to go.  

"When the runner got about 3 feet from 2B, she turned and started to jog back to first in attempt to draw a throw."  She must do that, she cannot stop or reverse her direction again and must move directly toward 1st. It really isn't a defensive problem unless you do something stupid.  That being said I am not a coach and don't give coaching answers.  If you want to write Tom on this forum he is a coach and could go into detail how to handle it.

mark

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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

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Amateur Softball Association (The authority in softball)

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