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Base runner advances to abandoned base


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In girls fast pitch, I have a base runner on 1st base.  After a strikeout, infielders (1B, 2B, SS and 3B) go to the pitcher's circle to congratulate (high five / slap hands, etc.) the pitcher for the strikeout while the pitcher is in the circle with the ball.  I have recently been told, by an umpire, that the base runner on 1st base can steal 2nd base during this celebration because the ball is still "live" and the infielders have abandoned the bases.  The interpretation I have coached and umpired by, is that once the pitcher has received the ball back from the catcher after a pitch and the base runner goes back to the 1st base, the base runner on 1st base cannot leave the base until the ball leaves the pitcher's hand on the next pitch to home plate.  Which is correct?

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The Rule set will be an important factor here. If it is ASA rules the "Look Back Rule" would be the reason the runner can steal second. If R1 took a lead on the pitch, and never retouched first, when the pitcher receives the ball from the catcher, while in the circle, the runner MUST immediately return to her base or advance to next base with the liability to be put out. Technically the ball is live until she makes contact with the rubber. It becomes live again when the pitcher releases the ball. 

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http://forum.umpiringsoftball.com/forum.php  :D

The explanation you got about "infielders abandoning their bases" is pure drivel that has nothing to do with the rule and isn't in the rule book.

If the runner had returned to first base when the look back rule went into effect, then at that point she cannot leave the base and steal second. It sounds like your understanding of the rule is correct.

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The Rule set will be an important factor here. If it is ASA rules the "Look Back Rule" would be the reason the runner can steal second. If R1 took a lead on the pitch, and never retouched first, when the pitcher receives the ball from the catcher, while in the circle, the runner MUST immediately return to her base or advance to next base with the liability to be put out. Technically the ball is live until she makes contact with the rubber. It becomes live again when the pitcher releases the ball. 

This answer is nonsense.

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