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Dropped 3rd strike/interference


Guest Justin

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Guest Justin

Third strike is swung on and missed, ball strikes catcher shin guard and is projected up the first base line IN FOUL TERRITORY

Batter takes off in attempt to reach first, throws bat toward on deck circle and inadvertantly strikes ball,

What is the call? NFHS high school

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...it's a pitched ball on U3K. If the ball had gone out of play, what would be the award?

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“SECTION 4 RUNNER IS OUT

ART. 1 . . . The batter-runner is out when:

a. he intentionally interferes with the catcher’s attempt to field the ball after a third strike;”

Excerpt From: NFHS. “2018 NFHS Baseball Rules Book.

I had to look this one up but from what I can see it must be intentional.

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Mr. maven posted this case play just last week in the Situations forum in a thread titled NFHS passed ball situation - ball 4, R2 stealing on pitch.

7.3.5 SITUATION I: With a runner on third base and one out, B3 receives ball four for a base on balls. B3 takes several steps toward first base and then realizes he is still holding onto the bat. With his dugout on the third base side, he stops and tosses the bat in front of home plate towards his bench. As he tosses the bat, F2 throws the ball to third in an attempt to put out R3. The ball contacts the bat in mid-air and is deflected into dead-ball territory.  RULING: The ball is dead. Interference is declared on the batter. If R3 had been attempting to steal home, R3 would be declared out and B3 awarded first base on the base on balls. If R3 was attempting to return to third base on the play, B3 is declared out for the interference. (7-3-5)

And here’s another case play clearly stating that the batter is responsible for controlling his bat--

2019 NFHS Case Book Play 7.3.6:  In hitting a slow roller to F5, the (a) whole bat slips out of his hands and interferes with F5 or (b) his bat breaks and hits the ball or F5 as F5 attempts to field the ball. RULING:  In (a), the ball is dead immediately. B1 is declared out for interference, because B1 is responsible for controlling his bat and not allowing it to interfere with a defensive player attempting a play. In (b), there is no penalty and the ball remains live.

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1 hour ago, Senor Azul said:

Mr. maven posted this case play just last week in the Situations forum in a thread titled NFHS passed ball situation - ball 4, R2 stealing on pitch.

7.3.5 SITUATION I: With a runner on third base and one out, B3 receives ball four for a base on balls. B3 takes several steps toward first base and then realizes he is still holding onto the bat. With his dugout on the third base side, he stops and tosses the bat in front of home plate towards his bench. As he tosses the bat, F2 throws the ball to third in an attempt to put out R3. The ball contacts the bat in mid-air and is deflected into dead-ball territory.  RULING: The ball is dead. Interference is declared on the batter. If R3 had been attempting to steal home, R3 would be declared out and B3 awarded first base on the base on balls. If R3 was attempting to return to third base on the play, B3 is declared out for the interference. (7-3-5)

And here’s another case play clearly stating that the batter is responsible for controlling his bat--

2019 NFHS Case Book Play 7.3.6:  In hitting a slow roller to F5, the (a) whole bat slips out of his hands and interferes with F5 or (b) his bat breaks and hits the ball or F5 as F5 attempts to field the ball. RULING:  In (a), the ball is dead immediately. B1 is declared out for interference, because B1 is responsible for controlling his bat and not allowing it to interfere with a defensive player attempting a play. In (b), there is no penalty and the ball remains live.

What does this have to do with the price of tea in China? 

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37 minutes ago, WilsonFlyer said:

The question I've always been told to ask myself is, "Did the bat hit the ball or did the ball hit the bat?" The former is interference and the latter is nothing.

You're referring to 8-4-1d, "intentionally contacts the ball with the bat a second time in fair or foul territory." But that applies only to a batted ball, not a D3K.

12 hours ago, aaluck said:

“SECTION 4 RUNNER IS OUT

ART. 1 . . . The batter-runner is out when:

a. he intentionally interferes with the catcher’s attempt to field the ball after a third strike;”

Though this provision mentions hindering F2 (not contacting the ball per se), I think it's the closest we have. In any case, it provides the right test, that it must be intentional hindrance to count as INT.

On the OP, I've got nothing, play the bounce.

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FED rule 8-4-1a is not the applicable rule for this question. Rule 7-3-6 is the correct one to apply here—

2019 NFHS rule 7-3 ART. 6 . . . If the bat breaks and is hit by the ball or hits a runner or a fielder, no interference shall be called. If a whole bat is thrown and interferes with a defensive player attempting a play, interference will be called.

PENALTY: The batter is out and runners return. If, in the umpire’s judgment, interference prevented a possible double play, two players may be ruled out.

Please note that the rule does not say anything about intentional or accidental—the batter cannot throw his whole, unbroken bat and affect a possible play. This rule added to the case play 7.3.6 where it clearly states that the batter is “responsible for controlling his bat and not allowing it to interfere with a defensive player attempting a play” is pretty persuasive. In addition, FED case play 8.4.1 Situation J closes its ruling with this unequivocal statement—“The batter may not use a bat or any other personal equipment to hinder the defense.”

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Well at first I thought I was right as @maven has stated--as I also thought that was the closest thing in the rule book.  However, after reading @Senor Azul's post I am wondering if I was correct.

1 hour ago, Senor Azul said:

7.3.6 where it clearly states that the batter is “responsible for controlling his bat and not allowing it to interfere with a defensive player attempting a play” is pretty persuasive.

That is very persuasive language and seems to take intent out of the question as it pertains to the bat and interference with a defensive player as opposed to effecting a fair/foul ball.

HOWEVER, 8-4-1a is SPECIFIC as to after a third strike--though not addressing the bat specifically.

Can we get a consensus on this?

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I'm not applying the standard from 7.3.6 to this play. 

7.3.6 concerns a batted ball and a flung bat hindering the fielder. I'm protecting a fielder from even accidental hindrance with the bat and applying the principle quoted.

The OP concerns a D3K—basically, an error (not an Error) by F2—and I'm not protecting the ball from accidental hindrance. If the bat hit F2, that might be different, or if the hindrance were intentional; but if you don't want to risk the ball taking a weird bounce (off the bat, say), then field it cleanly!

I still like a no-call here.

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3 hours ago, aaluck said:

Well at first I thought I was right as @maven has stated--as I also thought that was the closest thing in the rule book.  However, after reading @Senor Azul's post I am wondering if I was correct.

That is very persuasive language and seems to take intent out of the question as it pertains to the bat and interference with a defensive player as opposed to effecting a fair/foul ball.

HOWEVER, 8-4-1a is SPECIFIC as to after a third strike--though not addressing the bat specifically.

Can we get a consensus on this?

I think your closest application/scenario is the bat laying on the ground and F9's throw to the plate hits it, preventing F2 from tagging the runner trying to score.

  • It's not a batted ball
  • There's no intent

It's nothing.

I'd even argue that the catcher tripping over the bat in the U3K scenario is also nothing, under the same principle - ie. if F2 trips on the bat trying to receive a throw from F9, it's nothing.

The live ball in motion falls into one of three categories: batted, pitched and thrown (which also includes a catch all for kicked, deflected, etc)...so, whatever one it is determines the rules...and I'm pretty sure it's not the first two.

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38 minutes ago, beerguy55 said:

I'd even argue that the catcher tripping over the bat in the U3K scenario is also nothing, under the same principle - ie. if F2 trips on the bat trying to receive a throw from F9, it's nothing.

The live ball in motion falls into one of three categories: batted, pitched and thrown (which also includes a catch all for kicked, deflected, etc)...so, whatever one it is determines the rules...and I'm pretty sure it's not the first two.

...it's a pitched ball on U3K. If the ball had gone out of play, what would be the award?

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1 minute ago, Matt said:

...it's a pitched ball on U3K. If the ball had gone out of play, what would be the award?

Thanks.  I've always been unclear on where a pitched ball ends, but I forgot that point....I also have a mental block in differentiating between a pitched ball, and a pitch.   ie. the bat hitting a pitch is a batted ball...but the bat hitting a U3K isn't a batted ball...so a pitch isn't always a pitched ball.

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Mr. beerguy55, the concept you are talking about is that a bat becomes part of the field when legally discarded by the batter-runner. There are at least two FED case plays that state this concept. Here’s one (the other is 2.16.1 Situation D)—

2020 NFHS Case Book Play 8.4.1 Situation E With bases loaded, B4 hits a one-hopper to F5, who throws to the plate. The throw is off line and hits B4's bat that had been tossed away from the plate by the umpire. Is this interference?  RULING: No. The bat in this situation is considered part of the playing field. Therefore, the ball remains alive.

Now onto the argument that Mr. maven makes that somehow there is a difference between a whole, unbroken bat thrown interfering with a fielder as opposed to interfering with the ball. Again, there are at least two case plays that prove that argument is wrong. The first has already been posted—case play 7.3.5 Situation I in which the thrown bat knocks a thrown ball out of mid-air. Here’s the second case play—

2020 NFHS Case Book Play 8.4.1 Situation J:  B1 bunts the ball down the first-base line, the catcher comes out from behind the plate and (a) the batter/runner intentionally drops/throws his bat and contacts the batted ball prior to any fielder having an opportunity to field the ball; (b) without contacting the ball intentionally, the batter/runner drops/throws his bat or other batter/runner equipment which impedes a fielder’s opportunity to field the ball. RULING:  The ball becomes dead immediately in both (a) and (b), the batter/runner is ruled out and all runners return to the base they occupied at the time of the pitch. The batter may not use a bat or any other personal equipment to hinder the defense.

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At one time we all agreed that the FED definition of when a pitch ends is limited in scope. Mr. beerguy55, you posted the following July 18, 2019, in the thread Is This a Hit By Pitch? in the Ask the Umpire forum.   

There are base running awards based on a pitch, or pitched ball going out of play...and the definition of a "pitch" is what determines if that ball that went out of play was a "pitched ball" or something else.

To me, the definition of a "pitch", and where a "pitch" ends, is applicable to awards as a result of the ball going out of play...pitched ball vs batted ball vs thrown (kicked/redirected) ball

But I don't think there's one way to wrap in a bow a clean definition of either a pitch, or a pitched ball, or both, to cover all technicalities.

1.      There is a standard for a pitch when it goes out of play.

2.      There is a standard for a pitch, in determining the point when a batter can no longer swing to get a U3K, or get hit by a pitch, or bat the ball (but it's still a pitch for the purposes of going out of play)

3.      There is a standard for a pitch in determining the catcher's ability to catch a third strike. (and sometimes this lines up with point 2 and sometimes it doesn't)

And I don't think you can cleanly define and apply black and white terminology, especially against the second two because there is overlap (eg. a pitch that touches the catcher can still be caught for a third strike, or go out of play as a pitch, but can't be batted or ruled a HBP).

At that point, it's all about common sense and understanding the spirit of the game. You can't follow the literal definitions.

And you know what? Mr. maven also agreed with this limited application of FED rule 2-28-4. He posted earlier in that same thread the following—

That rule applies to judging the status of the ball when it leaves the field. It's a pitched ball until one of those things occurs. After that, it's a batted or thrown ball (if live) or dead.

 

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On 4/15/2021 at 12:34 PM, Senor Azul said:

FED rule 8-4-1a is not the applicable rule for this question. Rule 7-3-6 is the correct one to apply here—

2019 NFHS rule 7-3 ART. 6 . . . If the bat breaks and is hit by the ball or hits a runner or a fielder, no interference shall be called. If a whole bat is thrown and interferes with a defensive player attempting a play, interference will be called.

PENALTY: The batter is out and runners return. If, in the umpire’s judgment, interference prevented a possible double play, two players may be ruled out.

Please note that the rule does not say anything about intentional or accidental—the batter cannot throw his whole, unbroken bat and affect a possible play. This rule added to the case play 7.3.6 where it clearly states that the batter is “responsible for controlling his bat and not allowing it to interfere with a defensive player attempting a play” is pretty persuasive. In addition, FED case play 8.4.1 Situation J closes its ruling with this unequivocal statement—“The batter may not use a bat or any other personal equipment to hinder the defense.”

Did FED at one time state that interference with a thrown bat have to be intentional?

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From the very first FED rule book (1945) there has been a rule against throwing a bat and interfering with play. Here is how it appeared in 1945 as rule 8-5-1c:

The batter-runner is out when…

c. His bat hits the ball a second time while it is on or over fair ground and deflects its course. When this occurs, ball becomes dead.

Play—B2 bunts. Ball in flight or on the ground in front of home base is hit as the batter’s swing is completed or when he drops his bat. RULING:  B2 is out. Ball becomes dead and each runner must return to his base.

By 1953 the rule had become 8-4-1c and here is what you may be asking about and where any confusion may have started…

c. His bat hits the ball a second time and the act is intentional or the bat is carelessly dropped or thrown in such a way as to strike the ball and deflect its course; or

NOTE:  This is interference and the ball becomes dead (5-1-1e). If it is clearly accidental and ball rolls into the bat, it is not interference.

The rule became 7-3-6 in 1981 (I think).

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