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Interference By A Foul Ball From Another Field

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Guest Mark

Hi,

I never ran into this before. I was the plate umpire for a girls 12U game. The batter hits a slow roller to the third baseman who came charging in to field it. She was about 5 feet from the ball when a foul ball from another field bounces in between her and the ball. She stopped, looked confused, and let the ball go by her. I just let the play continue. Did I make the correct call? What if the foul ball came in contact with the batted ball as it was coming down the third base line? 

Like I said this is the first time I ran into this and was curious what the correct call might be,

 

Thanks,

 

Mark

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3 hours ago, Guest Mark said:

Hi,

I never ran into this before. I was the plate umpire for a girls 12U game. The batter hits a slow roller to the third baseman who came charging in to field it. She was about 5 feet from the ball when a foul ball from another field bounces in between her and the ball. She stopped, looked confused, and let the ball go by her. I just let the play continue. Did I make the correct call? What if the foul ball came in contact with the batted ball as it was coming down the third base line? 

Like I said this is the first time I ran into this and was curious what the correct call might be,

 

Thanks,

 

Mark

At this age treat it as spectator interference.  For this particular situation giving the batter 1B would sound reasonable.

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Hey, Mark, under which rule set was your game played? Since you mentioned it was a 12U girls game I am assuming it was softball and not baseball. Once we know which code perhaps we can help you find a rule or an interpretation for that particular rule set.

As for baseball, the only code having a rule that even comes close to answering your question would be the NCAA in its rule 6-5c:

NCAA Rule 6 Dead Ball—Play Suspended

SECTION 5. Time shall be called by the umpire and play is suspended when:

c. An unusual circumstance interferes with the normal progress of the game, such as any crowd action, animal, ball, or other object on the field (see 6-4-a PENALTY);

6-4a PENALTY—The ball is dead at the moment of interference and the umpire shall impose such penalties as to nullify the act of interference;

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On 10/31/2018 at 5:24 PM, Guest Mark said:

Hi,

I never ran into this before. I was the plate umpire for a girls 12U game. The batter hits a slow roller to the third baseman who came charging in to field it. She was about 5 feet from the ball when a foul ball from another field bounces in between her and the ball. She stopped, looked confused, and let the ball go by her. I just let the play continue. Did I make the correct call? What if the foul ball came in contact with the batted ball as it was coming down the third base line? 

Like I said this is the first time I ran into this and was curious what the correct call might be,

 

Thanks,

 

Mark

I have coached many softball tournaments from 12U to 18U, under at least five different rule sets - and most of them in quad or tri-diamond areas where this happens frequently....I've seen games that had one or two foul balls per inning enter the field (and likewise, foul balls from our game entering the other diamonds).  I've also been in a couple of league settings where the facilities were tri/quads.

First, in all scenarios I've experienced,  where the facility is conducive to this event happening, either the tournament or the league has very clear and specific rules governing the situation.

If the invading foul ball is seen/noticed before the pitch is thrown the umpires call time and kill the play - usually before the pitch, but if the pitch is in progress, anything that happens is nullified.

If the play is in progress, in every scenario I have ever seen this happen it has always been "play on".

The only scenario I could think of really changing this is if the foul ball injured one of the players...or if the foul ball hit the live ball in play (especially if you ended up not knowing which ball was which) - but I've never seen either of those so I don't know how they would be handled.

In your scenario, I've always seen it handled as "play on".

 

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On 11/1/2018 at 7:00 AM, Senor Azul said:

Hey, Mark, under which rule set was your game played? Since you mentioned it was a 12U girls game I am assuming it was softball and not baseball. Once we know which code perhaps we can help you find a rule or an interpretation for that particular rule set.

As for baseball, the only code having a rule that even comes close to answering your question would be the NCAA in its rule 6-5c:

NCAA Rule 6 Dead Ball—Play Suspended

SECTION 5. Time shall be called by the umpire and play is suspended when:

c. An unusual circumstance interferes with the normal progress of the game, such as any crowd action, animal, ball, or other object on the field (see 6-4-a PENALTY);

6-4a PENALTY—The ball is dead at the moment of interference and the umpire shall impose such penalties as to nullify the act of interference;

Didnt we have something like this a few years ago in Cincinnati? Where a ball of the bullpen, which was beyond the RF fence, entered the field if play at the exact time a live ball was being thrown in to the infield for the purpose of making a play?

I want to say, the fielder caught the bullpen ball while the live ball just rolled into the infield.

But my memory might be a little fuzzy on this.

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We have discussed this issue at least twice—once fairly recently (July 2, 2018) and once in 2015. The more recent thread is titled “second ball on field…what’s the call?” and it is currently located on page 8 of the Ask the Umpire forum. Here’s one of my posts from that thread—

In an MLB game played on August 5, 2014, between the Reds and Indians, there was a play involving an extra ball on the field—the umpires kept the ball live:

With none out and two on (R1, R3), B1 hit a double to F9, who threw to F4 to F6 as a ball from the defensive bullpen flew onto the field near F4. F6 threw to F5 as R1 dove back to third and was tagged out. 

OBR Rule 5.01(b) states that after the umpire calls "Play" and until the umpire calls "Time," or until for legal cause (e.g., hit batsman, umpire or offensive interference, foul ball, etc.), the ball is alive. Rule 5.12 lists several additional opportunities to call "Time," including weather/darkness, light failure, an accident, mound visit, examination of baseball, fielder falls out of play, and the umpire orders a person removed.

Rule 5.12(b)(8) states, "Except in the cases stated in paragraphs (2) and (3)(A) of this rule, no umpire shall call 'Time' while a play is in progress." According to these rules, the umpire should not kill the ball simply because an extra ball flies onto the field. The circumstance of an extra ball on the field is not listed as an opportunity to stop play.

 

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1) as our resident historian, I knew you would come up with this. 

2) HOLY CRAP! That was 4 years ago!?

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