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Discussion: What’s the Rule

Posted Discussion
March 6
Men's 65
221 posts
First of all this was at an ISSA tournament so the rules may be different. Here’s the situation. Runners on 2nd and 3rd. Batter hits a line drive that hits the runner on 3rd base. The umpire rules it a fair ball and that the runner kept his foot on the base when he was hit.

I don’t know the rule, but logically I think it should be a dead ball, the batter awarded first and the runners on 2nd and 3rd remain there, since there was no runner on 1st to force them to advance. The umpire said that it was a dead ball, the batter is awarded first and both runners move up a base, scoring the runner from third and the other runner moving from second to third.

What is the correct ruling?
March 6

969 posts
Hi MurrayW,

First, the ball is either fair or foul before it's anything else. If the runner has a foot on the bag, but is hit by the ball on some part of his body that is in foul territory it is a foul ball.
If the runner has a foot on the bag, but is hit by the ball on some part of his body that is in fair territory it is a fair ball.

You didn't specify in your scenario so I'll assume that the umpire saw that runner get hit by a batted ball in fair territory, while also in contact with 3rd base.

IF the nearest defender (3rd baseman) was standing in front of the bag / runner when this occurred, we have a LIVE BALL. This is unlikely, but possible. Result- Nobody is out. Runners advance at their own risk and the defense can make whatever plays are available to them. Why? Because the defense had an opportunity to make a play before the ball hit the runner, but for whatever reason did not.

IF the nearest defender (3rd baseman) was standing behind the bag / runner when this occurred we have a DEAD BALL. This is the more likely occurrence. Result- Batter-runner is awarded first base. All other runners advance if forced. Why? Because the defense never had an opportunity to make a play.

Hope this helps.
March 6
Donna McGuire

70 posts
ISSA follows USA (formerly ASA) Softball rules for most of its rules, including the situation MurrayW describes here. SSUSA and USA rules are the same for this situation. Tim cited that rule in his post. So the umpire should NOT have awarded the 2B and 3B runners a base.
March 6
Men's 65
221 posts
Tim, I thought I did specify that the runner had a foot on the bag and is hit by the ball in fair territory. Anyways, your assumption that the 3rd baseman was behind the runner and the ball hit the batter's body in fair territory is correct. The runners on 2nd and 3rd were not forced. Donna and Tim, thanks for clarifying the rule for me, and restoring my faith in rules should make logical sense.
March 9

1994 posts
Based on the situation as you described you are correct MurrayW
Dead ball. Batter is awarded first base. Since the runners on base were not forced to move they stay on second and third.
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