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Discussion: Pitching Net

Posted Discussion
March 23, 2023
Rangview85
17 posts
Pitching Net
What are the rules of using a Pitching Net? Are the rules available to read anywhere?

Thanks in Advance.
March 23, 2023
DaveDowell
Men's 70
4281 posts
Rangeview85 ... SSUSA does not provide for, or allow, the use of pitching screens/nets in sanctioned tournament play ... As such, there will not be any rules in that regard in the SSUSA Rulebook ... However, local leagues who play under the SSUSA sanction are permitted to enact their own local rules to govern play ... Many of those leagues use pitching screens ... Maybe some of them will be kind enough to let you know here what they have found to be effective for them ... Good luck!

March 24, 2023
B.J.
1102 posts
Rangeview.. here is a pitching screen rule I wrote years ago when we held our October outside tournament here in The Villages.. feel free to use it or make changes to adapt to your league.. 1 change many divisions have made is that if a screen is used the pitcher must pitch from the pitching rubber and placing the screen no more than 3 feet in front of the rubber

1. 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 placed to the left of a right-handed pitcher, and to the right of a left-handed pitcher to maximize the pitcher’s safety.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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, a line drive over the top of the screen or fly ball with no penalty (umpire judgment).

6. 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)
March 24, 2023
Nancy Allen
Men's 55
1437 posts
B.J., in the leagues that I have seen, the ball hitting the screen is either a dead ball strike or dead ball out depending on the league. I think that the latter is a little harsh unless it is already the 3rd strike.
March 24, 2023
IDon'tKnow 3rdBase
Men's 65
28 posts
BJ. I like the pitching net rules you stated, but am puzzled by rule #5. The rules I have played is the pitcher can field hard hit balls up the middle provided it doesn't hit the screen. The pitchers is behind the screen after the pitch but can move outside the screen area after the hit. The safety protection applies to balls hit directly back at the pitcher and not to either side. Also popups are okay for the pitcher to catch anywhere. JP
March 24, 2023
B.J.
1102 posts
nancy.. since I wrote this rule as I said several years ago each of our 5 divisions has adapted their own version on whether a batted ball is a strike or just a dead ball do over..

Idontknow... we also have a couple div's that allow the pitcher to field a driven ball.. I personally don't like that because pitchers then tend to only get 1/2 way behind the screen after releasing the pitch and it is almost impossible for the umpire to track the pitch and try to watch to see if they are getting fully behind the screen..

also the screen is there for the pitchers protection .. them jumping out to make a play on a driven ball eliminates the protection of the screen
March 25, 2023
grayhitter59
Men's 60
342 posts
The net is great for league play, that allows for a lot more senior ball players to play this game.

As for tournament play, I do ever want to see a net. If you are a tournament player and want to pitch "gear up" if not find another position.

Also if you play in a league that has a net and you as a pitcher make the decision you want to come around the net, then that is on you, don't like the mandatory staying behind the net rule. Let grown men make there own decisions if the want to come out of the protection of the net.

My 2 cents.
March 25, 2023
grayhitter59
Men's 60
342 posts
sorry do not ever want to see a net.
March 25, 2023
Brock
Men's 80
84 posts
We use a screen in all of our senior leagues (over 40 thru over 70) in Colorado Springs. We place the screen measured 40 feet from the back of home plate and the pitcher can pitch from as deep as 55 feet. The pitch must be delivered OVER the top of the screen which basically eliminates calls of illegal low pitch since the screen is six feet tall. Any hit ball that hits the screen is a foul ball unless it's the 3rd strike then it's an out. Any hit ball up the middle that misses the screen may be fielded by the pitcher but the pitcher must stay behind the screen until the ball is hit.

We've been using the screens for several years now. Some pitchers were against it in the beginning but now love having it there. Using a screen eliminates the pitcher having to wear any protective gear.
March 25, 2023
Nancy Allen
Men's 55
1437 posts
BJ, I think that your rules are well thought out which is what you do. I am pleased that you referenced what the outcome of hitting the screen on a thrown ball would be. I do agree that it is for the pitcher’s safety, and they should get behind it and eliminate themselves as a fielder. I have concerns about the screen for anyone that uses it in leagues that also plays tournaments. I worry that they are conditioning themselves to be too relaxed after pitching a ball and worry about their safety. Part of this probably comes from a few decades ago when a young pitcher was killed by a hit ball in a league game here. We did a lot of research at that time and found that more pitchers died during batting practice with their teams than during play. I suspect that part of this is because the players swing at pitches that would not normally but also because the pitchers are more relaxed. I won’t talk on here about that incident because there are people still emotionally charged about it. A friend of mine was umpiring the game and believe him. My point though is because of that research, I worry about any time that a pitcher is too relaxed that their safety may be compromised.
March 25, 2023
k man
Men's 65
322 posts
A couple of additions that our local league uses are listing maximum dimensions for the screen, any ball that hits the screen is a do over ( I prefer the rule BJ states), and if the ball gets trapped in the screen or base of the screen, it's a dead ball and the runners get the base they were advancing to.

Also,, in one of the other tournament organizations that allows a screen, the pitcher is forbidden from fielding the ball unless it is touched by another defensive player or when an infield fly has been called.

I'm not promoting any of these, just stating some options out there
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