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Discussion: Senior League Play with Pitcher using a SCREEN

Posted Discussion
Dec. 1, 2020
spider9188
Men's 75
31 posts
Senior League Play with Pitcher using a SCREEN
We have a league here in Fountain Hills Arizona. We have NOT established firm pitching rules concerning the pitching screen. I would like feedback concerning the following. Do other Senior Leagues allow the pitcher to 1). place the screen 3-4 ft' in front of the pitching rubber
2). then go back the legal distance and width (2' wide by 10' deep
3). then pitch DIRECTLY over the TOP OF THE SCREEN?

We currently have that situation and it is distracting to some/most hitters seeing the ball over the top of our 7ft screen. Seems to me that the purpose of the screen is to protect the pitcher, not hinder the hitters. In several leagues I have played in (Florida Half Century, Brandon, Florida, to name a few) the pitcher is required to place the screen 3-4 ft. in front of the screen...moving it to the middle left for a right handed pitcher, and middle right for a left handed pitcher. Once the ball is released, the pitcher should then move behind the screen to avoid any contact.

OK...I would appreciate any input from other senior leagues on how they handle the pitching screen. Thank you for your time and consideration...The Great and Powerful OZ..
Dec. 1, 2020
Omar Khayyam
1346 posts
Hello spider, Our senior league uses a screen for the pitcher, in fact it is mandated that all pitchers must have the screen. Most pitchers place it 3 to 4 feet in front of them so they can take a step. However, there is no rule as to placement left or right (although no one moves it drastically in either direction) so some like to be halfway behind the screen when releasing a pitch and others like to be on the side of the screen in order to better field a ball (depends on the power of the batter!).

No one has ever positioned themselves 10 feet back and thrown over the screen with one exception. We have an invitational Saturday league that is mostly tournament teams and one excellent pitcher tried exactly that so the ball rose above the screen and dropped down. The League Commissioner told him that was illegal and he accepted it and there was no repeat of it (even though we didn't make it a rule).

I never experienced batting against it but I would not like it and it changes the game too much.
Dec. 2, 2020
B.J.
790 posts
Spider .. here is a pitching screen rule that I wrote for one of our local tournamnets...

PITCHING SCREEN RULE

A. The screen will directly face home plate anywhere within the 2x10 pitchers box. The screen must be positioned from one to three feet in front of the pitchers position, and must remain positioned there the entire 1/2 inning unless there is a pitching change. The screen must be positioned anywhere from the outer left side of the pitchers box for a right handed pitcher to the outer right side of the pitchers box for a left handed pitcher. The screen must be placed to the left of a right-handed pitcher, and to the right of a left-handed pitcher to maximize the pitcher’s safety.

B. Any batted ball striking any portion of the screen as observed by the umpire will be declared a dead ball strike unless it is the third strike in which the batter will be called out.

C. Any pitch delivered with the screen not in a legal position will be declared “no pitch.” If a pitcher refuses to place the screen in the correct position, the umpire will notify the player’s manager and remove the pitcher from the pitching position for the remainder of the game.

D. If a pitcher chooses to use a screen then they “MUST” step behind the screen after every pitch, failure to do so will result in an illegal pitch being called by the umpire and the pitcher will be issued a warning. If a second warning is issued to the same pitcher during the game then they will be removed from the pitching position for the remainder of the game. If the batter swings at the called illegal pitch, it is nullified and the result of the play stands.

E. For the safety of the pitcher they are not allowed to field any hard driven ball that is hit up the middle(umpire judgment) the penalty for doing so will be a dead ball single for the batter and all runners will advance one base if forced to do so. The pitcher will be allowed to field a slow rolling grounder or fly ball with no penalty(umpire judgment).

F. All thrown balls by the defense that hit the screen are in play, and the screen may not be knocked over or pushed to the side to allow a throw by a defensive player. Any thrown ball that becomes entangled in the screen becomes a dead ball, and all runners will be awarded the base/bases they would have attained had the ball not become entangled in the screen (umpire judgment)




















Dec. 2, 2020
Treestand Man
Men's 55
7 posts
USSSA Sr. Leagues allow the screen at the pitchers discretion. You might want to find their written rule on this matter and see if it fits your desired criteria.
Dec. 2, 2020
curveball
Men's 65
683 posts
Mostly agree with your ideas spider. Pitched over the screen in our Palm Springs League when I lived there, loved it. If you HAVE to pitch over it, it's very hard to cheat as a fielder off to the side of the screen. Pitchers must be able to field batted balls if behind the screen at contact.
Las Vegas Field Commish. said NO to pitching over the screen, and LVSSA doesn't enforce pitcher having to stand behind it till contact,
but pitcher is allowed to field the ball. What that does is give the "D" an extra fielder! THE PITCHERS SCREEN should be used in a manner to protect the pitcher, not provide more "D"
Pitching over a minimum 6' screen also eliminates 100% of the flat pitches being called...
Dec. 2, 2020
mck71
231 posts
Spider - we use the screen here (pitch safe net) and place it a little further in front of pitching rubber (6 ft) BUT we MUST pitch from the rubber (i.e. one foot needs be touching upon release of the ball) AND we don't throw over the net. We ARE allowed to play the ball as long as the batted ball doesn't hit any part of the screen (but most guys are behind the screen and it's the very close balls that get played since the net is not very wide).
Dec. 2, 2020
stick8
1832 posts
In a senior league I play in pitchers have the option of using a screen. Rules for screen are:
1) screen must be in line with the rubber-not to the left or right of it. Screen can be no more than a foot in front of the rubber.
2) pitcher can be a fielder but part of his body must be behind the screen when attempting to make a play on a batter. (Umpire judgement) Pitchers cannot jump out from behind the screen to the left or right to field a batted ball.
3) during an at bat if batter hits the screen it’s a strike. batter hits it again he’s out
4) any thrown ball from the infield or outfield that hits the screen is a live ball, play goes on
Our league uses 11 fielders. Standard way we play it is 5 infielders, 4 outfielders, pitcher and catcher. If a pitcher elects to use a screen it’s because he wants to be protected from getting drilled up the middle. It is NOT to be used as an extra defender.
It works out pretty well.
Dec. 2, 2020
berger
Men's 65
57 posts
Spider9188, our league in the Kansas City area has used the pitching screen for at least 6 years now. Here are our rules:
PITCHING SCREEN.
All teams must use the screen. It’s also recommended that pitchers wear protective gear (mask, shin guards and chest protector).
1. The screen will directly face home plate within three to six feet in front of the pitching rubber.
2. The screen must cover a minimum eight inches (i.e., one third) of the width of the pitching rubber.
3. The pitcher cannot “hide” behind the screen and pitch over it; the batter must be able to see the pitched ball, without the screen being in the way, from its release all the way to the strike mat.
4. Any batted ball striking any portion of the screen as observed by the umpire will be declared a dead ball and foul ball. A batter can use up his courtesy foul by hitting the screen but cannot foul out by hitting it. Thrown balls are in play.
5. The screen must be placed to the left of a right-handed pitcher, and to the right of a left-handed pitcher to maximize the pitcher’s safety.
6. Any pitch delivered with the screen not in a legal position will be declared “no pitch.” If a pitcher refuses to place the screen in the correct position, the umpire will notify the player’s manager and remove the pitcher from pitching. If a team’s second pitcher does the same, he will be ejected.
Dec. 3, 2020
spider9188
Men's 75
31 posts
I want to thank 'berger, stick8, curveball,mck71,BJ and Omar for taking the time to respond to our request! We appreciate your ideas and suggestions and it has definitely made our league managers take notice. All the best to you all and thanks again for your help and consideration. Regards, the Great and Powerful OZ...
Dec. 3, 2020
DieselDan
Men's 70
442 posts
Minimum pitching distance in our leagues is 50'. The screen is placed around 13 steps from the back of the regular plate. This allows those pitchers who like to have their pitches stay around 9-10' in height clear the 6'2" screen height.
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