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February 2017 Play of the Month with UIC Matt Dunbar

02/09/2017, 10:45am EST
By USA Softball FL

SITUATION:  1-2 count, the batter starts her swing at an inside pitch.  The umpire, who did not blink, saw the ball hit the batter on the hands.  The umpire signals and calls dead ball and awards the batter 1st base.  The catcher asks the umpire to check with the base umpire if the batter swung.  The plate umpire asks his partner on a dead ball appeal on wether the batter offered.  The base umpire signals and declares that the batter had indeed offered.  What happens now?

RULING:  The umpiring crew did all the right things.  After the appeal was made, the plate umpire must now reverse the award and rule the batter out.  The batter who is hit by a pitch, on their person or clothing,  while in the act of swinging is charged with a strike and if it is the 3rd strike, is declared out.  It is not a foul ball but a dead ball strike.  The hands are not to be considered part of the bat.  This is a common misconception with players/coaches and even some umpires.

USA Rule 8 Section 4 H  A strike on the batter for each pitched ball swung at and missed which touches any part of the batter.

Effect 1 - The ball is dead

Effect 2 - A strike on the batter

Effect 3 - Each runner must return to the base occupied at the time of the pitch.

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