Looking for help on NFHS DP/FLEX Rule

Discussion in 'The Umpires Life and Rulings' started by Coach Presty, May 28, 2021.

  1. Coach Presty

    Coach Presty New Member

    I am an assistant coach our local HS team (PA-NFHS rules), and at a recent game a situation came up that I would like to get a rules interpretation on. The opposing team was using a DP/FLEX in their lineup (all was in order with the DP batting 5th, and the FLEX pitching and called out properly and placed in the 10th spot in the lineup). In about the 5th inning the home plate umpire came over an told us that the opposing team was “flipping” their DP/FLEX, and when they took the field, the original DP was playing left field and the original FLEX was not playing defense. I mentioned it to the head coach at the time that this was not proper use of the DP/FLEX rule and that I didn’t think you could “Flip” the DP/FLEX, but he felt it wouldn’t affect the outcome, so he let it pass. For the remainder of the game the original DP played defense in LF and did not bat, and the original Flex batted in the 5th spot and did not play defense. After the game, I approached the plate umpire and asked for an explanation for my own clarification, and that I didn’t feel that the rules allowed you to “Flip” the DP/FLEX. The plate umpire seemed to agree with me after some discussion, but then the field umpire came over. He originally agreed with me, then disagreed, but never gave a good explanation why. He seemed more concerned with not admitting that they were wrong than with getting it right so we would all be better informed the next time.

    As for my “ruling” on the matter:

    - The DP and FLEX cannot change positions in the batting order (5 for 10 and 10 for 5), just like the 4 batter and 7 batter can’t change places in the order. You can collapse the order from 10 to 9 and the original FLEX can take the original DP’s batting spot, but she doesn’t then become the DP, and allow the original DP to become the FLEX.

    - From the NFHS DP/FLEX Powerpoint presentation:
    o The DP can never be on defense only:
    If they don’t play offense (use their bat) they have left the game
    o The FLEX can never be on offense only:
    If they don’t play defense (use their mitt) they have left the game

    I think there is other evidence we could look at, but nothing that specifically states that the DP and FLEX can’t change places.

    Looking forward to your interpretations & comments.
  2. BA824

    BA824 Active Member

    Yea you are correct. Coach and umps wrong. If the Flex goes into batting order in DP spot DP has left the game but has a re entry. Kills me after all these years people can’t figure this out
    Passion4theGame and RedsDad like this.
  3. BretMan2

    BretMan2 TSZ/OFC Umpire in Chief

    Coach Presty, it sounds like you have a better grasp on this rule than the umpires who are working your game.

    The DP & FLEX can’t “flip flop” the way you were told. One can replace the other, but then the one replaced is out of the game and would need to use a reentry to come back in the game.

    Here’s hoping that in the future all of your umpires will know this rule!

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