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Softball/ASA obstruction ruling


QUESTION: Dr. Ambrose, br is obstructed before reaching first base. Ball goes to outfield fence. BR is thrown out at home by one step. According to rule 85B3, we have the br out(?), since he advanced beyond the two bases where the obstruction occurred.

A.Is he out?
B.If yes, because he went passed the two bases where obstruction occurred?
C. or do we as umpire have him protected to home? because without being obstructed I believe he would have reached home safely. But according to rule it states he is out. Please clarify. Thank you.


In all obstruction cases we protect the runner to the base they would have made in our opinion had they not been obstructed  In your OP the runner is awarded home because that was your judgment.

ASA 8-8-5-b-3 simply means that the runner in not protected if they advance beyond the base we protect them to or are no longer in the safety zone between the bases they were obstructed.

Ie R1 is obstructed by F3 after rounding 1st and we determine they would not have made 2nd but they try and are tagged out at 2nd.  They are not out even though they advanced beyond the protected base, 1st, because they are between the bases 1st and 2nd and we cannot call them out between those bases.  That's the essence of the 2nd part of the rule.



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

QUESTION: I understand we protect runner between base obstruction occurred. 85B3 says; if obstructed runner is put out after passing base which would have been reached had there been no obstruction OR advanced beyond the two base where the obstruction occurred;
effect: A ball remains alive
        B Obstructed runner is called out.   To me this says if obstructed runner goes too far, farther than what they would have gotten without the obstruction we call them out. The runner pushed it too far.
So if runner pushes it to far do we call them out? thanks

Hi Jan,

yes if they advance past the base we protected them to, the defense can call an out.  However in your OP you protected them to home so no matter were they are tagged they are not out.

This rule could have been written better but let's take it like this

R1 is obstructed by F3 rounding first
We are only awarding R1 1st base
they try for 2nd and are tagged, they are past the base (1st) we are awarding but protected between 1st and 2nd so dead ball put them on 1st
they overslide 2nd and are tagged, they are now out because they are beyond the 2 bases they were obstructed.

Ok?  don't overthink this one particular rule.  Protect them to the base they would have reached, and between those bases and they are on their own if they pass that base.



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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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