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"Wrong" Game Balls - Start Game Over or Proceed?

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Last night, my 12U all-star team competed in a regional tournament game of our international parent organization.

My team was the visiting squad, thus hit first.

Our my 1st batter walked on 4 pitches and stole 2nd base.  My 2nd batter reached base on a slowly hit ball between SS and 3B, with my leadoff batter taking 3B.

The ball that was put in play sounded "squishy" coming off the bat.  After checking the ball in question, it was discovered that the ball was deemed for t-ball use (not appropriate for 12U play).

After some discussion, the on-site tournament director apologized for the mishap and required us to start the game over! I pleaded my case that the game should resume at the very situation (no outs, runners on 1B and 3B, my 3rd batter due up), since the umpire-in-chief was responsible for putting the ball in play, the opposing pitcher (and catcher) having had ~15 warmup and in-game exchanges of the ball, and that the mistake was only discovered when the ball was struck by one of my batters.

In all of my years on coaching youth all-star baseball (and participating in and/or watching youth baseball tournament games, HS/collegiate games, and professional games), I have not seen or heard of this situation coming up.  

What is the correct ruling?  Should the game have resumed at that very situation (no outs, runners on 1B and 3B, my 3rd batter due up), should the game start over at the top of the 1st inning, or is it a tournament director's decision?

My team eventually won the game in the late innings, so I guess the decision was moot.  However, the controversy persisted throughout the game, as the score was very close.  Still, though, I'd like to know if there is a formal interpretation/rule on this situation.  Thank you.

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No way there is any formal or correct interpretation as to how this should be handled.  You had a valid argument.  TD did as well.  All that you had to do is protest it all the way up to the tournament committee of your organization and let them make the final decision.

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And how would you have argued if you were the home team, with your opponent on first and third with nobody out?

I'm not sure if there is a governing rule or not, but I'll tell you what I've seen in similar situations (the common one being a shared field where the rubber isn't the right distance (or the bases) and not discovered immediately.)   Very common in softball where the rubber could be 35, 38, 40 feet depending on ages.

The rule of thumb I've seen is you don't want to give either team any advantage - so you either complete the inning, both halves, then correct the issue.  Or start over.  I would argue if you're in the top of the inning, start over, if in the bottom, complete the inning.   At some point in the game you may decide to just complete the game, but you could conceivably fix the problem in the top of any inning if you really wanted to.  As long as both teams get the same disadvantage/advantage in both defense and offense, play on.

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For the LL tournament all balls are required to be RS-T only rated... As the plate guy it is my responsibility for that ball and only that ball to be put into play during the course of the game. If I was the coach and the TD decided we would have a 'do over' I would immediately file a protest and let the tournament committee figure it out, continuing my protest until it hit the end of the line in Williamsport if required. If at that time I was told 'do over' then that is what it is however... The defense in reality should have been the group gaining the advantage since those safety balls do not travel nearly as far or as fast as a traditional baseball. 

Messy situation no matter what however I looked in the rule book and could not find a due over provision in the book.

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I wonder whether the TD would have started the game over had this error been discovered after 4 innings with the score 7-4 or some such.

The rules don't address massive f-ups like this one. We have to rule in the spirit of fairness. Of course, because your team was ahead at the time the error was discovered, you wish to keep your advantage. There's nothing wrong with coaches advocating for their teams, but this situation points out why we need officials in sports.

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53 minutes ago, beerguy55 said:

I'm not sure if there is a governing rule or not, but I'll tell you what I've seen in similar situations (the common one being a shared field where the rubber isn't the right distance (or the bases) and not discovered immediately.)   Very common in softball where the rubber could be 35, 38, 40 feet depending on ages.

The rule of thumb I've seen is you don't want to give either team any advantage - so you either complete the inning, both halves, then correct the issue.  Or start over.  I would argue if you're in the top of the inning, start over, if in the bottom, complete the inning.   At some point in the game you may decide to just complete the game, but you could conceivably fix the problem in the top of any inning if you really wanted to.  As long as both teams get the same disadvantage/advantage in both defense and offense, play on.

Your "rule of thumb" is in direct conflict with the USSSA Fastpitch rules (p 7 of the 2017 book):

Quote

NOTE: Every effort should be made by the Umpire to obtain the correct dimensions. If the base distances or the pitching distance is found to be at the wrong dimensions during the course of the game, the error shall be corrected immediately, with no penalty. The game shall continue and shall not be protested for this reason.

 

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53 minutes ago, CJK said:

Your "rule of thumb" is in direct conflict with the USSSA Fastpitch rules (p 7 of the 2017 book):

 

Good thing I've never played under USSSA Fastpitch rules. :)

I have no problem with the rule, and if there is a rule in whatever rule set is being played, of course enforce it.  I think the practice I've seen is by far the most fair.  I wouldn't want to see one team have to face a pitcher from 35 feet, and then the other team in the bottom half of the inning get 40 feet.   At least with bases being 65 feet instead of 60 for half an inning it kind of works for and against both teams - further to run and also further to throw.

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I just didn't know if other codes had similar provisions, but I definitely knew that USSSA Fastpitch did.  It's in the part that charts dimensions of the field.

And while I've seen little girls struggle like crazy from 2 feet farther away than they're supposed to be, I've also seen big girls that absolutely could not throw a strike from 3 feet too close.  I was really surprised.  (And impressed at how much faster their bad pitches looked.)

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1 hour ago, CJK said:

I just didn't know if other codes had similar provisions, but I definitely knew that USSSA Fastpitch did.  It's in the part that charts dimensions of the field.

Most (all?) baseball codes have a similar provision on missed field dimensions.

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That scenario seemingly accidental.   I was (and still am) mighty peeved about the following intentional switch to a soft ball last week:   8u game top 6th (last inning) my team at bat leading 10-8.  Home team pitcher taking warmup throws.   I'm coaching 1B.  Before our better steps in, opposing coach shouts to his  pitcher..."hey, use this ball instead" and they throw balls to each other to switch.

I thought this was suspicious but wasn't sure, and didn't want to seem like a d*ck in an 8u game to challenge the other team on it.  Our first batter struck out without making contact.  Our next two hit grounders that didn't sound right so only then did I call time to check the baseball, and sure enough the ball was soft, and not even leather.   It was a soft plastic fake baseball toddlers might use.

The ump put a real ball back in play and the game continued.  My team did win the game, but is bugs me to no end the lack of integrity so many adults have when it comes to winning youth baseball games.

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18 minutes ago, Guest NJ Coach said:

That scenario seemingly accidental.   I was (and still am) mighty peeved about the following intentional switch to a soft ball last week:   8u game top 6th (last inning) my team at bat leading 10-8.  Home team pitcher taking warmup throws.   I'm coaching 1B.  Before our better steps in, opposing coach shouts to his  pitcher..."hey, use this ball instead" and they throw balls to each other to switch.

I thought this was suspicious but wasn't sure, and didn't want to seem like a d*ck in an 8u game to challenge the other team on it.  Our first batter struck out without making contact.  Our next two hit grounders that didn't sound right so only then did I call time to check the baseball, and sure enough the ball was soft, and not even leather.   It was a soft plastic fake baseball toddlers might use.

The ump put a real ball back in play and the game continued.  My team did win the game, but is bugs me to no end the lack of integrity so many adults have when it comes to winning youth baseball games.

How long was the coach's suspension after being ejected?

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It's why all "new" balls should go through the umpire, and not direct from bench to pitcher.

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Rich...Sarcasm noted. But lack of integrity in youth sports bothers me greatly, even more so at such a low 8u level which should be simple,honest and pure. 

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I had this happened earlier this year. It was 12U and still no clue how no one knew it was the wrong balls. Top second with 2 outs I get called to the field. I bring both head coaches together and say we will finish the rest of the inning out with the same balls and switch them out top third so no team has an advantage. Both coaches were fine with it and we moved on. 

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