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Some Situations to Ponder and learn from

04/20/2017, 10:15am CDT
By Bob Tomlinson

It's a shame umpires in the state do not read this stuff on this website

Here are several situations for you to read about and think about. How would you make the correct call on all of these situations that have taken place in actual game situations around the state?

Here are two from a great friend and successful former coach at a Wisconsin Division 2 school. He's been staying involved by going out and watching games. The kind of person that is a true fastpitch fan.

Hey Bob,
I have enjoyed attending varsity games as a “fan’’ during the past couple weeks, and saw a few situations I thought were interesting.  Would certainly welcome your comments on them.


  • Head Coach verbally calls for a courtesy runner for his “catcher,’’ who has reached 1B on a walk.  Afters her announcement to the umpire, and umpire’s confirmation to the home scorebook, Head Coach discovers that his “catcher’’ is actually playing 1B in this game. Before any pitch is thrown, he verbally “rescinds’’ his substitution.   The home plate umpire says “OK’’ … the home-team coach says nothing … and the announced pinch-runner returns to the bench without penalty.
  • My question:  What is the correct impact?  I believe the substitution, once confirmed/announced by the umpire, is official.   She is a pinch-runner, and the 1B has one chance to re-enter.  I was stunned that the umpire and the home-team coach allowed this non-substitution without penalty.



  • Runners on 1st and 2nd, zero out.  Batter hits a legitimate “foul tip’’ that the C catches cleanly.    Runners were stealing on the play.  R2B reaches third safely.   R1B panics and attempts to return to first.   C throws to 1B, who steps on the bag but does not tag the runner.    Home plate umpire calls the runner at first out, but does not require the runner at 3B to “tag up’’ and/or return to 2B.
  • My take:   Runner at 1B was safe, given that she returned to the base without being tagged out.   Runner at 3B is legit, given that she stole the base without question.
  • My real question is how the home-plate umpire could call the runner at 1B out for not “tagging up’’ on a foul tip – he didn’t call the batter out for a foul fly ball – but yet allow the runner at second to advance to third.   Should have either been a weird triple play … or no outs at all, right?

And here is one that I personally saw occur at a recent game I was watching.

Top of first inning with one out. Batter gets hit in the head with a 62 mph pitch. Umpire sends batter to first but does not check out the player for possible concussed situation.  Now with that hit batter at first the #3 batter strikes out on a pitch in the dirt and takes off running to first. the ball had hit the dirt and had been cleanly blocked by the catcher who rose, stepped forward, picked up the ball and attempted to get the runner at first out stealing that brick. Batter runs into catcher in act of throwing and ball sails into outfield with the baserunner being safe at second and not advancing to third.

Coach of team in field calls time out and asks for explanation from home plate umpire as to why that batter who was already out on the strikeout with first base occupied was not called for interference on the play.

Answer was: I didn't see it that way. 

Coach then asks: "Do you mean you didn't see the contact that occurred or do you mean that you don't interpret that to have been interference. Now the catcher gets charged with a passed ball or the runners gets credited with a stolen base. Either way you just punished the catcher when in reality she made a remarkable fastpitch softball play.

Umpire says: "I didn't consider it interference."

Coach says, "OK and returns to the bench area."

Discussion ended and was never addressed again during the game.

Whaddaya think?

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