Hello Wisconsin Fastpitch People,
It is week #4 of the 2018 High School (WIAA) softball season. Some game have been played during the past 13 days but they've all been cold and there haven't been very many. The coming week's forecast statewide is miserable in terms of fastpitch softball weather.
My friend Brian in Gilman texted me a picture of his deck after Friday night and Saturday morning's snow and a few minutes ago forwarded the weather forecast for the next couple of days in his part of the state, a forecast that includes the chance for six to eight more inches of snow.
Here in Poynette we have six games scheduled for the week. In all my years of coaching softball in this part of south-central Wisconsin I can never remember having to cancel six games in a week. Of course in the early days of my coaching span six games would have been exactly 50% of the complete regular season schedule allowed by the governing body in Wisconsin (WIAA). We've come a long way but the weather remains a problem statewide with a mid-march starting date and an early June ending date. I have always felt deeply troubled for my coaching friends and their players in the north and especially north of Highway 64.
I was able to get to game last Thursday and it was a good one. It was cold for sure. During the game the following situation took place.
There was a runner at first base with less than two outs in an apparent sacrifice situation. B2 squared around early and got the bat on the ball. Before contact was made the catcher was rising up and moving forward. The ball was bunted just to the right side of the plate just into fair territory. As the catcher was moving quickly forward her shin guard and the bat that had been discarded by the batter came into contact with each other. The catcher had the ball in her throwing hand within one second of the ball touching the dirt. She picked it up and threw to first. The play happened so fast that the throw from the catcher caromed off the batter-runner’s helmet well before she had reached the three foot running lane and into foul territory along the first baseline fence and remained in play. Both runners advanced another base leaving them at second and third.
The coach of the defensive team started claiming that the contact between the bat and the catcher’s shin guard amounted to interference by the batter which would mean that batter would be out and the runner who had been at first at the time of the pitch would be returned to first base. The coach felt that the batter had thrown the bat and hit the catcher in the shin guard.
The umpire ruled that either the action of getting rid of the bat did not constitute a thrown bat but incidental contact because the catcher acted so quickly. She could have had the batter out by 25 feet had she stepped to her left and created a throwing lane to first instead of throwing over top of the runner. Both runner were safe.
Here is another situation that often happens on bunts where the ball stays closet to a baseline or near home plate. The ball either rolls into a discarded bat that is in fair or foul territory or the bat makes contact with the ball after being discarded in fair or foul territory.
Check out Rule 7-4-13 on page 59 of this year's rules book and also on page 49 of this year's Case Book under Bat Hits Ball a Second time.
Until the next Bulletin -- have as great a week as you can practicing indoors if you must or keep warm outdoors if you try that.
Keep it Rising!