Obstruction?

Discussion in 'Softball Rules Questions - Answers' started by Oddthomas, Jul 17, 2019.

  1. Oddthomas

    Oddthomas New Member

    Bret man.... and others? This question came upon another site. Most people were split as to whether score R1 or send R1 back to 3rd?

    Obstruction question.

    R1 at 3rd and R2 at 1st. No outs. Batter hits ground ball to the infield. R2 is put out at 2nd on a force play but was obstructed by F4 on her way to 2nd. R1 is heading home and touches the plate just after the force out at 2nd. (Defense had no play on R1 at home.)

    Per NFHS 8-4-3 and USA 8-5-B-2, ball is dead “if the obstructed runner is put out prior to reaching the base that would have been reached had there been no obstruction.” In discussion later with a UIC their interpretation was that the ball was dead at the time of the force out and R1 should be returned to 3rd. However, the USA rule also says “all other runners shall be awarded the base or bases which would have been reached, in the umpire’s judgment, had there been no obstruction.” In my opinion, had there been no obstruction R2 would have been out at 2nd and R1 would have scored. The NFHS Rule has similar language but refers to “each other runner affected by the obstruction.” Finally, NFHS case book 8.4.3, Sit. A refers to the umpire calling time “at the end of playing action or when the obstructed runner is put out.”

    So, bottom line question, if R1 touched the plate after the force out at 2nd must she be returned to 3rd?
     
  2. BretMan2

    BretMan2 TSZ/OFC Umpire in Chief

    When R2 is put out, umpire should call time.

    An obstructed runner cannot be put out in between the two bases where the obstruction occurred.

    The batter-runner would be awarded first base. R1 would be placed on second base.

    If the umpire judges that R1 would have scored had the ball not become dead (and it sounds like she would have), then she is awarded home, as “another runner affected by the obstruction”. If judged that she would not have scored, she’d be placed back on third base.
     
  3. daboss

    daboss Active Member

    Hey BretMan, Does the umpire hold his arm out to the side at the time of the infraction until the runner R2 reaches 2nd base? As I understood your explanation above the umpire is not going to call time till she reaches the base. Let's assume the infraction happened halfway between 1st and 2nd between the players R2 and F4. A coach might notice the arm out and immediately know a call is coming before their blood pressure spikes. I'm interested in how an umpire handles the above scenario as far as your mechanics.
     
  4. BretMan2

    BretMan2 TSZ/OFC Umpire in Chief

    When an umpire calls obstruction, he’s supposed to hold out his left arm with a fist. This is the signal for a delayed dead ball. It means that we have some sort of rule violation with a potential award or penalty at the end of the play.

    Whenever an obstructed runner is put out, by rule the ball becomes immediately dead.

    So those are the two mechanics involved. You can see that the arm going out and the ball becoming dead might happen very close together. It’s even possible that the ball might become dead even before the umpire gets a chance to raise his arm. But that doesn’t change the rule or the ruling. The same rules covering obstruction will still apply.
     

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