I was umpiring a double header yesterday when a not-so-common event occurred while I was on the field. In this case, we have runners one first (R1) and second (R2) with one out. In this scenario, I am the field umpire located at C position, which is in the infield grass, behind the pitchers mound and a couple paces to the third base side (see A, B, and C in graphic for umpire positions).
As the ball is hit, the runners see the ball to the ground and are on the go. The ball is hard it toward the second basemen (2B) moving slightly to his right. As he makes the approach to make the play, the ball strikes runner R1 on his way to second. This is runner interference.
The call: When a runner is struck by the ball before passing the infielders or in an area where a play is able to be played by an infielder, the ball is dead and the runner hit by the batted ball is out. The batter runner (BR) is awarded first base. Everything was going good up to this point.
Now comes the tricky part. The runner going from second to third does not get to advance. The ball is proclaimed dead, R2 is awarded no bases; he returns to the last base occupied. My partner made this call, and at the time I wasn’t sure, but I thought the call was correct. The coach got all up in my partner’s face, eventually earning his warning.
I eventually sold myself on the call by the end of the game, even mentioning it passing to the coach. Of course he told me to go read the rule book. In reality, he needs to review it himself.
Win Good Guys.
Outside of this play, there was only one other note from the two games. I never realized how many people don’t touch bases when running around the diamond. I had two instances where runs would have been taken off the board (including the 3rd and 4th runs in a grand slam in the top of the last inning to put up the visiting team by 2 runs). Had the home team appealed it, the visiting team would have only tied the game that inning as there were two outs. In the long run, it didn’t matter, the visiting team blew the game in the bottom half of the inning, walking in the winnig run. The other miss happened earlier in the game, and eventually the runner was caught at third on that play. Remember, always touch every base.
Next game is Thursday at 2pm. Its tournament time!