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Runner on first and third and pitcher steps off, does hitter have to vacate the box


Ctucker

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13U with leadoffs, balks, etc.

Runners on first and third and a left-handed pitcher on the mound.  Runner on third takes off running, then the runner on first takes off running.  Pitcher throws to first base (either a legal pick off or a step off...doesn't matter).  First baseman catches the ball and then throws to the catcher.  Does the hitter who was in the box have to vacate the box or can he stay in there and the play goes around him (runner slides between hitter's leg or around him, etc)?

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He needs to vacate any area needed by the defense to make a play. If he makes any effort to get out of the way, he's good, that is, he is not liable for INT with a fielder. This is similar to a wild pitch with R3 trying to score.

He's liable for INT with the ball only if he intentionally knocks it down.

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Mr. Ctucker, could you tell us please what rule set governed your game. Was it OBR or NFHS? Also any other details about the play could be helpful. For example, did the throw home hit the batter? 

The answer given may be correct for high school rules but may not be for pro rules.

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3 hours ago, Senor Azul said:

Mr. Ctucker, could you tell us please what rule set governed your game. Was it OBR or NFHS? Also any other details about the play could be helpful. For example, did the throw home hit the batter? 

The answer given may be correct for high school rules but may not be for pro rules.

Hi Azul.  It was NFHS.  The hitter was slightly confused and took a step back.  The thrown ball didn't hit him and he wasn't called for interference.  I am assuming the umpire felt the step back was an "an effort to get out of the way" as @maven said above. 

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OK, here's the relevant FED rule:  Rule 7-3

ART. 5...Interfere with the catcher's fielding or throwing by:

a. leaning over home plate,

b. stepping out of the batter's box,

c. making any other movement, including follow-through interference, which hinders actions at home plate or the catcher's attempt to play on a runner; or 

d. failing to make a reasonable effort to vacate a congested area when there is a throw to home plate and there is time for the batter to move away.

Things to consider:  the time it takes for the pitcher's throw to first and the time it takes for the first baseman's throw home; and the time it takes for R3 to arrive at the plate (all told probably 4-5 seconds).

It's umpire judgment as to whether the batter had time to move away as the rule stipulates. Or would it be better for the batter to avoid making "any other movement"?

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16 hours ago, Ctucker said:

Does the hitter who was in the box have to vacate the box or can he stay in there and the play goes around him (runner slides between hitter's leg or around him, etc)?

To this one point, the batter isn't required to get out of the runner's way, but is required to ensure he does not impede the catcher's ability to make a play on the runner.   Any reasonable umpire should conclude that the batter had plenty of time to make an effort to vacate....and he can run any direction he pleases to accomplish that.

Speaking practically, it's in the batter's interest to get out of his teammate's way....whether that's to give his team the best chance to score, or simply save his own ankles.

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What about on a wild pitch where the batter doesn't move or steps right into the path between the catcher and the pitcher covering the plate? Either getting hit by the ball or in the way of the pitcher. 

“In the way of the pitcher” is likely a good indicator he did something naughty.
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